There’s nothing better than Darrell Lea rocky road…. That perfect combination of crunchy and salty peanuts, fluffy marshmallow and toasted coconut got me every time. Trying to replicate this perfect model proved impossible, because how can you make or find a vegan marshmallow without refined sugar, gelatine or egg whites? They say when you can’t beat em’ join em’, so I’ve created a version of rocky road not to compete, just as a healthier alternative to the original. Believe me, even without marshmallow it’s pretty damn good.
I seriously love chocolate; can and do eat it everyday. There, I said it. I’m not just eating Cadbury, Nestle or Lindt, but real, raw chocolate made from pure cacao beans that are rich in minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Cocoa, as opposed to raw cacao is produced through a hydraulic press. This form of press uses heat to roast the beans and easily extract and seperate the cocoa powder and butter from the whole bean. Heat destroys the aforementioned minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that raw cacao boasts. To avoid this, raw cacao is cold pressed while its temperature is monitored during the process to enusure it doesn’t exceed 40 degrees celcius.
So why do we need antioxidants?
Because daily life mixes us up a concoction of chemical and environmental pollutants that create free radicals in the body. These free radicals interfere with and bind with our body’s healthy molecules, damage our DNA and encourage the replication of unhealthy cells. Antioxidants bind to and scavenge free radicals, offer stabilty and prevent the growth of diseases like cancer.
Raw cacao is rich in many minerals but perhaps most notably, it’s loaded with Magnesium. Magnesium is needed by the body for all sorts of biochemical reactions, is crucial for bone health, important in maintaining a healthy heart and consistent blood flow and pressure, and is great for combating cramps.
My love and daily craving for raw cacao is justified by its ability to actually enhance mood. Raw cacao contains Phethylamine or PEA, otherwise known as ‘the love drug’; it’s the neurotransmitter linked to feelings of happiness, joy and love– eating cacao really does make you feel good. Raw cacao also contains the endorphin Tryptophan– another neurotransmitter that works to boost our mood and feelings of happiness by producing seratonin.
To emulate the delicious savoury-ness and crunch of peanuts in the classic rocky road, I’ve chosen activated brazil nuts. There are a few brands on the market who soak the nuts in water, apple cider vinegar and celtic sea salt for 24 hours, then drain and dehydrate for 120 hours. The result is delicious, satisfyingly-crunchy, delicate and lightly salty. They’re my favourite, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like regular raw brazil nuts. Activation removes the enzyme inhibitors that live in all raw nuts, ensuring when you eat them, you’re receiving all the important nutrients and benefits they have to offer.
- 100g cacao butter, very finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 heaped tablespoons cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey, rice malt, coconut nectar)
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- generous pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes/shreds
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup brazil nuts (or other nuts of choice)
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- 4 large dried figs
- Pour hot water into the bottom of a double boiler (or just two bowls on top of each other) and combine cacao butter and coconut oil in the top. Melt the two by gently stirring every so often. Using a plate as a lid over the top bowl helps to speed up the process.
- Remove from the heat and stir in maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix well with a fork, or whisk to ensure everything is well combined.
- Add in the cacao powder and mix with a fork or whisk again until incorporated and glossy.
- Add the ‘add-ins’ to the mix, stir well, then pour into a lined loaf baking tin, or tupperware container and place in the freezer to set.
- Wait at least an hour before slicing your rocky road and devouring.