This no cook triple layered chocolate slice is packed full of healthy whole foods and taste every bit as good (if not better) than a ‘normal’ chocolate treat. If you have a sweet tooth then it’s worth taking the time and effort to learn how to make healthier alternatives that are nutrient dense to nourish your body instead of robbing the nutrition out of your body which is what refined processed junk food does. This is also a great way to sneak healthy foods into picky eaters and kids will love this too, in fact why give them junk food with no nutrition when they can have a nutrient dense block of chocolate!
By making your own food you are in control of what goes in so here are the reasons why I chose these main ingredients to be the centre of my triple layered chocolate slice. Cacao (raw) is high in antioxidant rich flavonoids, B vitamins and essential minerals especially magnesium, cocoa (roasted) will have less of these due to the heating process but it’s still loaded with heart healthy nutrition so if you don’t have raw then you will still reap some benefits. On its own cocoa is very bitter and so needs to be mixed with something sweet and medjool dates are perfect. These juicy dried fruits are high in fibre which binds with bad cholesterol in the body preventing it from being absorbed in the gut. They are also a good source of vitamins A and K which are good for healthy skin and eyes, if fact a recent study reported that there are at least fifteen minerals and twenty three different amino acids present in dates that are missing in some of the other fruits. Black beans are a large part of this recipe because they are reported to be the healthiest of all the beans, their black skins are an outstanding source of phytonutrients along with being high in fibre which aids digestive health and acts as a prebiotic feeding our good gut bacteria which in turn keep us healthy. Nuts also feature in this recipe as they are nutritional power houses of healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.
You will need a food processor and may need to source an ingredient or two but I will be posting many more recipes that will call for these things that you might not have (like coconut oil) so they wont be left sitting on the shelf.
1/2 cup or 70g of Almonds (whole with brown skins on not blanched)
1/2 cup or 30g of unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon of ground vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 heaped tablespoons of cacao/cocoa powder
6 medjool dates
2 tablespoons of water (or a touch more if needed)
1 cup of 120g of pecans
1 tin of black beans drained and rinsed
6 medjool dates
1 1/2 tablespoons of cashew butter
3 teaspoons of ground vanilla or 2 teaspoon of extract
1/2 cup or 40g whole porridge oats ground into a flour
4 tablespoons of cacao/cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 heaped tablespoon of coconut oil in solid form or 2 if it has melted
1/2 cup or 5 tablespoons of cacao/cocoa powder
8 tablespoons of maple syrup
3 drops of medicine flower vanilla extra or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
I like to start with the middle layer as it’s easier to handle when it’s chilled in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. So start by putting all of the pecans into the food processor and grinding them down into small chunks, don’t worry on the exact size, the smaller the chunks the more smoother the texture will feel when you eat it. Next place all of the ingredients from the middle layer into the food processor.
Mix until all of the ingredients are well incorporated, towards the end it will start to roll into a large ball. Place in a dish or tray and put into the fridge or freezer to chill a little while you do the next step. There is no need to wash the food processor in between just put the next set of ingredients straight in.
Get your coconut oil ready, if it’s solid then melt it down by placing into a small dish and sitting it on top of a cup with boiling water in. If the weather is warm then the oil will naturally have already melted.
Place the almond nuts for the base layer into the food processor and grind them down into smaller pieces, next add in and process all of the other base ingredients. The mixture will start to stick together and ride up the side of the food processor, stop and push it all back down so it gets well mixed. It should be ready once it has reached this stage so put some of the mixture in your hand and squeeze it, it should stick together and easily form into a ball like in the picture above. If not then your dates where probably not moist enough so add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches this stage.
Now line a tray or dish with either cling film or grease proof paper and press this base mixture into a layer approximately 1cm thick. The mixture doesn’t have to fit the dish like mine does because it’s not a runny type of mixture, it’s mostly pressed into shape so it could be placed on a larger tray not touching the edges if that’s all you have. Get the middle layer out of the fridge or freezer and press it on top of the base layer. As this layer is much thicker I took three or four large chunks and pressed it on in sections using my hand and fist till the thickness looked roughly even and smoothed all round, I then smoothed the top with the back of a metal spoon.
Now make the topping by placing all of the ingredients into the food processor, if you still have any lumps of cocoa powder then just smooth them down a bit more with the back of a spoon or spatula, finish by spreading this mixture on top of your middle layer. Place in the fridge for a few hours till the top mixture firms up a little, it won’t be solid but will stay soft and gooey. If you placed it into a dish like mine where it touches the edges and you used cling film then carefully prise it from the container by using a blunt knife to separate and lift it from the sides and corners, when it has loosened carefully lift the whole cling film out with the cake so you can place it on a board and cut into blocks. Store in the fridge in an airtight container, it should keep well for a week or two – if it lasts that long!
If you want the top chocolate layer to be a bit firmer then use a little less maple syrup, roughly 6 tablespoons, it should resemble a paste when its all blended in the food processor, with less maple syrup it will taste a little more bitter.
If you don’t have a small grinder or an additional attachment on your food processor for grinding the oats into a flour then breaking them down in your food processor first might work (I haven’t tried this though), a blender jug should be able to grind them down too. Worst case the oats won’t grind into a fine flour but if they break down into smaller pieces then that should be good enough as this recipe has a nutty texture in the base so you shouldn’t notice the oats too much if you are eating them a little whole. Oats ground into a fine flour will just give a more smoother texture to the middle layer.
Medjool dates are usually very moist, if yours feel dry then you can soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes. Make sure you take out the seed in the middle, I also find it helps to give them a rough chop down before adding them to the food processor so they get incorporated better into the mixture.
For those new to different nut butters you can find cashew butter with the peanut butters in most supermarkets, if not then all health food stores will stock it, you can substitute with almond butter but I just find cashew has a more creamier taste.
If you are not familiar with cacao powder then it’s the the raw version of cocoa powder so either can be used, raw cacao just contains more nutrition as the bean hasn’t been roasted like cocoa.
Coconut oil is now in most supermarkets and health food stores, it’s solid in cooler weather and naturally melts in warmer weather. Make sure you are purchasing it in its natural unprocessed state so you are consuming an oil with full health benefits. It should say on the jar raw, unrefined, cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil (all or most of those words should be on the label), it should also smell of coconut oil when you open the jar. You can read more about coconut oil and its uses here.