Recently I hosted some lovely mama’s for a child-free evening of conversation, cocktails, desserts and a movie. It’s a simple thing I like to do regularly for all of the mothers in my life as I know its both relaxing to get together on a Friday night in our sweatpants or pyjamas and also encouraging to be around one another to know that we are not alone as we share our ups and downs in this adventure called motherhood!
Generally on these evenings I overflow the lounge room with copious amounts of cushions and throws so we can mooch around with our drinks and desserts and a display of ice cream tubs and chocolate make up the buffet (you know, all the essentials in life!). But at my recent evening I decided to offer a healthy option that went beyond a fruit platter. I started looking up healthy desserts on Pinterest and one thing led to another as I got a little bit click crazy and next minute I was in the kitchen baking an array of vegan, raw, organic desserts!
While I’m not vegan myself, these recipes seemed to be the healthiest things I could find as they were void of any processed sugar. The fact most of them were dairy free, grain free and gluten free were an added bonus. Full of lots of healthy fats from the nuts, seeds, coconut oil/milk/butter and sweetened by the fruits themselves, these desserts were so delightful I’ve even started making them for my kids.
I have a really week spot for Cherry Ripe…a chocolate bar with a coconut and cherry filling and coated in dark Cadbury chocolate. If I can find the double coated dark I’m in candy heaven and may or may not stock up! Of course, this is full of artificial flavours, additives, preservatives and I don’t even want to KNOW how much processed sugar! So when I came across a recipe for a ‘raspberry ripe’ I was both skeptical, but then pleasantly surprised when I found a healthy version of my favourite candy bar.
After a few attempts of tweaking my recipe I think I have finally found the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon cup of tea…and definitely replaced the commercial chocolate I usually need in my afternoon slump!
Tenacious Mama’s Raspberry Ripe Bars
~500g frozen organic raspberries
~ 1 cup desiccated coconut
~ 1 cup unstabilised rolled oats
~ 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
~ 1/4 cup coconut oil
~ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 200g dark chocolate (I use 85% – the higher percentage of cocoa the less sugar)
~handful of goji berries for garnish
~ Blitz sunflower seeds in a herb/coffee grinder for a few seconds
~Blitz rolled oats, desiccated coconut and sunflower seeds in food processor until slightly crushed
~ Add frozen berries and vanilla extract to food processor and blitz until well combined
~ Add in melted (but not hot) coconut oil as it’s blitzing to get a smoother consistency (Not too much, this will help bind the bars together as they freeze)
~ With a spatular, spread mixture into a shallow baking tin that has been lined with baking paper and smooth it out until even. You don’t want it any thicker than 1cm, but more than 5mm
~ Place tray in freezer for a few hours to set
~ Remove tray from freezer and remove mixture by holding the baking paper and lifting it onto a cutting board
~ Heat a large knife under hot water to easily slice through the frozen mixture. You want this step to be fast so that the bars don’t start thawing out. Slice into 3cm x 10 rectangles (or whatever size you desire) and place on another tray lined with baking paper. Spread the bars out from each other slightly before putting sliced bars back in the freezer
~ Melt chocolate slightly in a saucepan over low heat on the stove. I use a plastic spatular and mix the chocolate briskly so it doesn’t burn. This step should only take a minute or so, you don’t want it too runny and you don’t want to burn the chocolate
~ Dip individual raspberry bars into melted chocolate until well coated and place back on lined baking tray. Try to make this step fast so bars don’t thaw. The chocolate will start to harden as soon as it hits the frozen raspberry mixture. Once all coated place back in freezer to set
I like to do an extra step and drizzle more chocolate in a zigzag over the bars and sprinkle goji berries on top, but this is just for garnish, so feel free to skip this step
Keep Raspberry Ripes in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy as a guilt-free indulgence with an afternoon tea or as an evening delight!