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Raw “Baking”

Healthier and damn tasty

Words: Joe O'Connel
Recipe: Ruby Ralph

Sugar is bad. Refined sugar is particularly bad - not great for us or Mother Nature. We all know it, we all eat it, and we all wish we ate a little less of it. Enter, the Raw Food movement. What started as a weird thing that hippies and yoga instructors tried to get everyone on board with, has turned into a global awareness of the benefits of doing less to the food we eat. The rationale being that eating food both closer to harvest and in a raw or almost raw state, better preserves nutrients, enzymes and pro-biotic bacteria that cooking would otherwise destroy. The science is pretty clear; heat and time will usually kill off the good stuff in food. This is easy with fruit and veg, but how do we get our sweet fix? Raw baking uses predominantly organic, well sourced alternatives to sugars and animal fats to create an equally satisfying sweet treat with loads more goodness - and is just as satisfying. We’re always trying our hand at new ways to make our food healthier but just as damn tasty - here is one of our sweet treat staples from our Leonard Street cafe.

Ingredients

Base

170g whole nuts of your choice
(we use almonds)
70g desiccated coconut
170g dates, stone removed
35g cocoa butter
(or melted coconut oil if you’re struggling to find cocoa butter)

‘Salt caramel’

390g dates
150g almond butter (or whatever nuts you have chosen)
75g maple syrup
20g vanilla essence
Small pinch maldon sea salt

Ganache

300g good quality 70% dark chocolate

Method

1. Place all the base ingredients in a food processer and blitz together until well incorporated and almost dough like.
2. Line an A4 size tray with baking paper and press your mixture in to form an even and solid base.
3. Pop it in the refrigerator while you are making your caramel filling.
4. Soak the dates in enough warm water to just cover, and place a lid on to keep the heat in.  Steep for 5 minutes while you weigh up the rest of the ingredients. (This allows the dates to become softer and will make blending them to ‘caramel’ a lot easier).
5. Strain the dates, (reserving the liquid) and place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Puree on high speed until very smooth.  If too thick, let it down with a splash of the saved date liquid.
6. Pour the caramel onto the base and spread to make an even layer, pop in the fridge for 2 hours until set firm.
7. Place the dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a gently simmering pot of water and allow to melt. Don’t overheat the choc or it will become grainy and dull. Allow to cool to room temp, but the choc should still be runny.
8. Pour the melted choc over the cold caramel base and spread evenly. It will set quickly, so don’t dilly dally.
9. Once set, cut with a hot knife so you don’t crack the chocolate and dig in.