For chocoholics, V-Day is one of the best days of the year, because it’s totally acceptable to eat chocolate everything. But this year, instead of reaching for your stock-standard supermarket buys (which are often laden with added sugars and preservatives), why not treat yourself or your significant other to some homemade treats.
Ahead, you’ll find Pana Chocolate’s raw, vegan cacao crunch recipe. These bite-sized chocolates taste incredibly indulgent but they’re actually not too bad for you and your waistline. Although it may be tempting, just don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting—everything in moderation!
A chocolate filling for those who like a little crunch! The buckwheat adds a biscuit-like texture to the otherwise creamy raw chocolate. As well as being an easy and delicious chocolate centre for individual chocolates, this is perfect as an icing for raw desserts.
Makes: approximately 28 small chocolates
Time: 25 minutes preparation, plus 2 hours setting time
Equipment: high-speed blender, piping bag, chocolate moulds (or similar)
90 ml (3 fl oz) nut milk (or use an unsweetened store-bought version)
100 g (3½ oz/⅔ cup) cashews, soaked
1 tablespoon cacao powder
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) rice malt syrup
2–3 45 g (1½ oz) bars of Pana Chocolate Raw Cacao
- Before starting ensure your chocolate mould is completely dry. Any little drops of water will leave watermarks on the finished chocolate.
- Melt chocolate slowly in a bain-marie. If the chocolate is not melting to a smooth consistency, you can add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Hold the chocolate mould on a slight angle. With a ladle, spoon the chocolate over each mould to fill. Tap the edge of the mould with your ladle handle to release any air bubbles. This is especially important if your mould has lots of detail.
- Tip the mould upside down over the bowl of chocolate and let the excess drip out, tapping gently with a metal spatula.
- Run your spatula over the top and sides of the mould to remove all excess chocolate – this will ensure a clean and professional finish. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Set aside any excess chocolate to be used to close off the chocolates once the fillings are in place.
- Place all ingredients except the buckwheat into a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth.
- Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe a small amount of filling into lined chocolate moulds.
- Sprinkle some crunchy buckwheat on top of the chocolate filling, leaving enough space to fill the moulds.
- Close the moulds with chocolate and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Once set, knock the chocolates out of the moulds.
This is an edited extract from Pana Chocolate, The Recipes by Pana Barbounis published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $36 and is available in stores nationally.
Photographer: © Armelle Habib