Chocolate Granola Slice
I’m quite surprised that these were such a hit at work, given that they are entirely sugar-free and my colleagues had not been on a sugar fast since the beginning of the year like me! But I think that the cacao butter creates such a ‘chocolatey smell‘ that makes them appealing. It also could be that I have not taken any treats into work for some time (since aforementioned sugar fast), and they were just showing their gratitude and appreciation!
I was inspired by a recent post by Quirky Jo on Facebook about her energy bars and having just completed a Whole30, these were an indulgent delight.
Cacao butter along with cacao powder, is one of the two major components of the cocoa bean. After the cocoa beans are extracted from the larger, fleshy fruit, the beans are cleaned, roasted and then pressed to extract the raw cacao butter. After the cacao butter is extracted, the remaining solids are processed into cacao powder.
Cacao butter and powder are reunited to make chocolate, along with sugar and milk, according to taste.
I wonder how the Inca’s actually thought of that? Most of chocolate’s colour, flavour, antioxidants and caffeine come from the cocoa powder. But cacao butter, which appears creamy beige, is responsible for chocolate’s bulk and consistency.
Composed of a combination of fats that is solid at room temperature, but liquid at 37°C, cacao butter is the reason that chocolate literally melts in your mouth. It is also known as theobroma oil, so in some parts of the world, it may be referred to as such. Despite it not having very much of a ‘chocolate’ flavour, it has an intense chocolatey aroma and mouth-feel.
One of the most important qualities of cacao butter is its high stability as compared to other fats. This gives it a very good shelf life of up to 3 years due to the antioxidants found in it, which reduce the chances of the oil becoming rancid. Although it is still primarily consumed as chocolate, I have been using it more in my baking as I love the taste and consistency it brings to my recipes. And of course, it is a fabulous emollient for putting on your skin too.
This recipe uses cacao butter as the ‘energy bar’ part of the slice with added protein powder. If you use a sweetened protein mix you will not have to add any stevia at all. Or you could use a tiny bit of honey if you wish. The result is a very satiating but satisfying treat that won’t leave you craving for more, like other chocolate treats can.
I make this slice upside down. In other words, the base becomes the top and vice versa! I do this to make it easier to cut and it presents with a smooth top and bottom!
Top (White) Layer
1 tab dried cherries
1 tab goji berries or inca berries
130g cacao butter, chopped
40g coconut butter
40g nut milk
30g protein powder
Stevia to taste
1 big handful flaked coconut, toasted
1 cup toasted granola*
30g sunflower seeds or pepitas
Mince the dried fruit on SP 8 for 10 seconds. Remove from the bowl and set aside.
Base (Dark Layer)
150g almonds (or a mix of nuts)
70g dates, pitted
25g coconut butter
½ teas cinnamon
1 teas cocoa
For the top layer: Chop the cacao butter on SP 9 for 10 seconds and heat on 50°C, SP 1 until melted. Add the coconut butter, protein powder, nut milk & stevia and mix until smooth on SP 2. Stir through the coconut, granola & seeds on SP 1 REVERSE and spread out evenly into a lined square tin. Refrigerate while you make the base.
For the base: Without cleaning the TM bowl, blitz all of the base ingredients until a dough forms, adding a little water if required. Press onto the topping and smooth over. Refrigerate until firm, then cut into squares.
You could make this slice completely nut free by substituting the nuts for sunflower seeds.
*I used a gluten-free homemade granola mix but any will do, even some toasted buckwheat will do. Here is a fabulous one that my friend Kristin makes from Mamacino. As all granolas will vary in weight, you will need about a cup for this recipe.