Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cashew-Almond Chocolate Easter Eggs

This time of the year is hard for me.  I struggle with the insane amount of chocolate everywhere.  It's like all of it is calling my name at the grocery store, in the checkout aisles and on the back counter at work.  I have a life-long love for chocolate, especially the extremely dark stuff, but like any long term relationship, sometimes things get a little out of control or over the top.  To me a good piece of chocolate is more than just a fine quality product, it just speaks to me and understands me in ways only a true love can.  To keep a flame like that going you need to take it easy sometimes and take a break from one another or just keep it casual, which is usually pretty hard for me. I rush into things, eating as much chocolate as I can, much like a sixteen year old girl falling head over heels in love.

Since I started eating the way I do (no refined sugars, no gluten, no legumes etc) I've been able to cut back my chocolate intake by quite a bit, that is until I figured out I could make amazing chocolate at home from scratch with only a few ingredients.  Making homemade chocolates is a lot of fun since you can play around with flavours and sweetness, but it means there are a lot of bowls to be licked clean once you're done!

This Easter I decided to make nut butter eggs after having a heated debate with someone about Reese's peanut butter cups.  I personally don't eat peanut butter anymore, but when I did, I still hated Reese's. Something about the filling was off to me so I would always try and pawn them off on my brother after we finished our Easter egg hunt or after trick or treating on Halloween.

If you're like me and agree that the Reese's egg isn't all that it's cracked up to be (sorry about the egg pun), then give these bad boys a try.  They're like Reese's older cousin who is just a little more sophisticated, slightly more accomplished and secretly the favourite in the family.

Happy Easter!

*Note: I was inspired to make a healthy version of The Brown Eyed Baker's recipe available here:

Cashew-Almond Chocolate Easter Eggs

To make Cashew-Almond butter:

1/2 cup cashews, lightly toasted
1/4 cup almond meal
1-2 tbs honey, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 vanilla
1 tbs coconut oil

To make filling:

1/2 cup homemade cashew-almond butter
4 tbs grass fed butter
5 tbs coconut palm sugar
4 tbs arrowroot powder

To make chocolate:

(You can also make from scratch using cacao powder, cacao butter and some sugar, but this works just as well)

75g 100% Organic Fair Trade Soy Free chocolate (I used Camino)
1-2 Tbs Raw Cacao Butter
1 tsp honey
1 tsp coconut palm sugar

In a food processor, combine almond flour and cashews until a paste forms. 3-5 min.  Add in oil.  You may need to add a bit more if your mix is crumbly and doesn't take on a smooth consistency.  Add honey salt and vanilla and blend 1 more minute. Store additional nut butter or eat immediately!

In a saucepan combine nut butter, butter and sugar.  Melt until a creamy mixture has formed.  Remove from heat and add in arrowroot powder.  Form into ball and place in fridge until set.

Once set, prepare your dipping chocolate by placing chocolate and cacao butter in a glass oven-proof bowl.

If you are using a mould to create your chocolates, skip to the next step. If you're like me and left this to the last minute only to find out that Michaels was sold out of chocolate egg moulds, simply roll the chilled filling into egg shapes and place on parchment. (Apparently I am no artist when it comes to rolling eggs so I don't have a photo of the end result.  Plus they somehow disappeared too quickly for me to take a good photo)

Set chocolate mixture over a pot of simmering water and melt.  Add in sugars until desired sweetness level is achieved (remember the filling is quite sweet).  Remove from heat and "temper" by stirring and letting the chocolate run off the spoon from a high height back into the bowl. This allows the mixture to cool down and creates a better "cracking" when you bite into your chocolate.

After a few minutes you can line the moulds with a small amount of chocolate and spread to cover the mould with a small pastry brush. Place in fridge for a minute or two then drop and spread a small amount of the filling in the egg and cover with chocolate to seal. Let set.  Or for us rogues who don't use moulds, dip your little eggs in the chocolate and place on a piece of parchment to dry.  Let rest until set and hard.  Store in the fridge.

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