When it comes to holiday desserts, who doesn’t love a little Chocolate? Something about it’s rich savory-sweet goodness makes it a perfect treat no matter what the occasion. But when dairy isn’t an option, those milk chocolately goodies can be more of a pain (literally) than a pleasure. Until now…Meet Cacao!
Cacao beans are where cocoa comes from; which are then heated and filled with added sugars and milk fats to then create chocolate. It is truly the purest form of chocolate you can consume. Raw Cacao is thought to be the most nutritionally complex food on the planet thanks to its high source of antioxidants and minerals. It can boost your mood, fight fatigue and even help you lose weight by naturally regulating blood sugar – all proving its nutritious as well as delicious!
Speaking of delicious, who doesn’t love a good Chocolate and Raspberry combo? Today we’re pairing the tangy taste of raspberries with superpowered cacao in what I call my Choco-Raspberry Mousse Tarts and let me tell you, these babies will be a HUGE hit. Not too sweet, teasingly tart and in a perfect portion-sized mini, it’s THE perfect addition to any holiday table! They can even be made into mini-tarts making them a perfect bite-sized appetizer for holiday entertaining!
CHOCO-RASPBERRY MOUSSE TARTS (AND MINI’s TOO!)
- 1 cup of Almond Meal
- ¼ tsp of Sea Salt
- 4 Medjool Dates (pitted)
- ½ cup of Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 tbsp of Vanilla Extract
- Parchment Paper (cut into thin, 2in long strips)
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until fully blended and slightly sticky but still crumbly. Depending on the size of your dates, you may need to add 1-2 tbsp of water but no more. Once mixed, use either a regular muffin tin or mini-muffin tin, place a strip in each hollowed section – 12 for the regular muffin tin / 24 for the minis. With clean fingers or a spatula, spread and press the mixture down into the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment paper strips, evenly to form smooth layer. This is your crust and the strips are for easy removal once they’re complete. Now set your tin inside the refrigerator.
- 4 cups of Raw Cashews (soaked for at least 3 hours; preferably overnight)
- 1 cup of Coconut Oil (liquid state)
- 1 cup of Fresh Raspberries
- 1 cup of Raw Maple Syrup
- 1 cup of Coconut Milk
- 1 tbsp of Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup of Raw Cacao Powder
Drain your soaked cashews and rinse well. Place them into your blender with the maple syrup, coconut milk and vanilla and blend until creamy. Next add in the raw cacao powder, coconut oil and raspberries and blend again, scraping down the sides when needed. Once fully blended and creamy, remove the springform pan from the refrigerator and pour over the crust; making sure the strip is still sticking up over the edge of each one. Place into the freezer to set for 2-3 hours.
When it’s time to serve, you’ll want your tarts to sit out for at least 15 mins (7-10 for the minis) so they can soften to the perfect mousse-y texture. Which is just the right amount of time for you to make the yummy ganache! It looks super fancy but this dairy-free chocolate ganache is easier than 1-2-3 to make. Seriously! You’ll need:
- 1 cup of Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life Brand is excellent)
- 1 tbsp of Coconut Oil
- 1 handful of Fresh Raspberries
Melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler. Whisk together until smooth and melty. Drizzle a little (or a lot!) over the top of each tart and top with fresh raspberries, serving immediately.
If there are any tarts or mini’s left, I’d place them in the refrigerator until another tart is requested. Anything longer than an hour or so though, they should be placed back in the freezer.
You could tell everyone that these cutie tarts are raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and kosher or just sit back and watch them devour each living, health-boosting, delicious bite in clueless wonder. Even the pickiest of palettes won’t be able to tell that they’re not ingesting a single processed, artificial or chemically infused ingredient; making this one holiday treat the gift of good health as well as good taste.
(UPDATE: My ‘whole-pie/torte’ version of my recipe is featured in the December issue of Living Health Magazine out now!)
Happy Holidays Everyone!