Chocolate Haystacks – a quick and easy crowd pleaser for the holidays

This recipe was inspired by our dear friend Elaina Love of Pure Joy Planet.

It’s one of those things you make once and then just keep doing until they become so familiar that you don’t even require the recipe. After a while you replace the thread coconut with soaked, dehydrated and coarsely ground pecans, add some cocoa nibs and cinnamon to the mixture… you know how it goes 😉

At the Wise Cicada Café we produce them in big batches on over-sized baking trays, pressed firmly, chilled…

Chocolate haystacks/-sticks before cutting…and then cut into 128 individual pieces. Our guests just love them with their coffee or tea. What you see here is only half a tray (cutting board too small :-))

the final result: chocolate "biscotti"And here we go:

Chocolate Haystacks

Makes about 30 piece

  • 3 c or 250g thread coconut (or soaked, dehydrated and then coarsely ground pecan nuts)
  • ¾ c organic virgin coconut oil, liquefied
  • ½ c organic cocoa powder (Equagold is offering great stuff too – non-organic though)
  • ¾ c Rapadura® dehydrated cane juice or organic raw sugar
    or ½ c agave nectar/maple syrup (the latter goes well with pecans!)
  • Zest from 1 organic orange or a few drops of high-quality organic essential citrus oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • ¼ t lemon juice
  • 2 T Cocoa nibs, optional
  • 1/2 t organic cinnamon, ground, optional
Method
  1. If you are using organic raw sugar or Rapadura, blend it in a dry blender jar into a powder.
  2. In a bowl whisk all the ingredients except the thread coconut together until the batter emulsifies.
  3. Now, with a spatula or your hand, mix the batter in with the shredded coconut.
  4. With a teaspoon and the fingers of your other hand shape into small haystacks and place on a tray.
  5. Place the tray in the refrigerator or freezer to cool down and solidify the haystacks. They will become soft at temperatures over 26°C so serve them cold!

a true crowd pleaserVoila! Enjoy and happy holidays!

Lydia and I will be in the Cocomandel – ah Coromandel 🙂 catering the raw dessert side of the Prana Festival. We might see you there!

René

🙂

 

Juicy raw apple cake fresh from Santa’s kitchen

Here is a treat you might want to spoil your loved ones with on Christmas. The recipe – originally inspired by my dear friend Chad Sarno – tolerates a lot of alteration, as long as you keep the amounts the same. You can substitute the cranberries with dried apples or dried pineapple pieces. Should you have run out of organic currants use sultanas. The raisin paste can happily turn into date paste. Oh! Before I forget it, you can replace the apples completely or just in part with grated carrots.

Remember though, what holds this cake together is the proper balance between wet and dry ingredients, so stick to the ratios and make sure you let the cake rest for at least two hours before serving – overnight is even better.

The topping/icing of the cake can either be cashew cream – see below – or a bit more liquid coconut cream (less coconut oil) as used in our wedding cake (see there).

Enjoy the bake-free preparation and the happily fed family! Careful, this cake is very filling!

Sample of Raw Apple CakeRaw Apple Cake

Serves 6

¨        2 c apple, grated, fresh (approx. 4 small apples)

¨        1 ½ c organic dried cranberries

¨        2 c pecans or walnuts, soaked, dehydrated and ground into flour. .

¨        ¼ c currants

¨        1 c raisins, soaked 2-4 hours and blended into a paste

¨        1 T cinnamon

¨        ½ T orange zest, grated (optional)

¨        2 T carob powder or mesquite flour

¨        pinch of nutmeg

¨        1-2cm grated ginger (optional)

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and handmix gently, yet thoroughly, set aside.
  2. Using a 6-inch spring form pan, line the bottom with plastic wrap. If you happen to use a pie dish, line the whole dish with plastic wrap (see picture)
    filled cake form before turning it over
  3. Press ’cake’ into pan firmly.
  4. Turn over on a serving platter and remove spring form pan and plastic wrap. Cut into individual pieces now, if you prefer to serve as such.
  5. Frost or garnish with cashew cream.
  6. Chill before serving.

Note with extra cake, form into bars and dehydrate for 10-12 hours for a great snack on the trail.

Cashew Cream

Makes 2 cups

  • 2 ½ c cashews, soaked over night
  • enough filtered water to just cover the cashews in blender jar
  • 1 T organic maple juice
  • 1 t lime juice
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  1. Blend all ingredients in high speed blender into a smooth cream.
  2. Fill into garnishing bag and garnish cake or use as icing.

individual raw apple cake bitesHappy Holidays!

René

🙂

Prana New Year Festival 2012 – see you over New Year on the Coromandel!

Yes, take your darling and the kids and join us at the Prana New Year Festival 2012 from December 30th, 2011 to January 3rd, 2012!

Just go to: http://prana.co.nz and check it out!

We will be part of the residential kitchen crew at “The Barn” and René will be the chef in charge of the daily dessert selection and raw chocolate creations. Should you have missed us at the 2006 Fresh Festival in the UK – here is your chance to enjoy some seriously yummy raw festival desserts right near you (if you live in NZ).

Divine dessertsTo top it all off you camp in one of New Zealand’s most scenic areas, have some top notch artists and entertainers perform and an amazing beach just steps away. Only a few weeks ago we happened to be on the Coromandel and stopped by to say ‘Hello!’ to Maya and Dan at Prana. We were blown away by the setting of the festival land – an old-grown coastal pine forest right behind the most serene beach. Heaven!

All right, at the festival we will share that beach with about 1500 other attendants – trusting they won’t show up all at the same time when we go swimming 😉

Here is a little teaser from Cathedral Cove, further North on the Peninsula.

Cathredal Cove BeachSo we are looking forward to seeing you at Prana over New Year!

René
🙂

Psst! René’s cakes and desserts are available for sale at the Wise Cicada Café in Newmarket too.