When I was recently asked by Organic Times to develop a recipe, I jumped at the opportunity to use their chocolate as my primary ingredient (you can read more about why below). But what to make ?!!! So I went to you, my readers on Instagram and Facebook and overwhelmingly the request was for a SIMPLE, EASY AND QUICK TO MAKE, NOURISHING, MIGHTY GOOD, CHOC DROP SOMETHING for school lunches, afternoon tea and something an adult might love as well, please Jude !!!! I’m thrilled with the end result. Whilst the adult and child version are slightly different, they have enough common DNA allowing for them to made together, and it’s super easy and quick to do. Both last brilliantly in an airtight container for up to - well, I was still eating samples after 2 weeks (but obviously they are at their best within 7 days).
What’s so good about Organic Times cacao/cocoa / chocolate?
Chocolate, as we know it, is the result of a long process. Seeds from the cacao tree are firstly scooped out of the large pods and left to ferment and then spread out to dry. At this stage, the beans are considered to be raw — the full flavour that is chocolate, is yet to be realised. The seeds are then roasted and shelled to become what we call nibs, which can be left whole or broken into pieces. During roasting the flavour of cocoa is developed. Within the Raw Food movement, a view is held that raw cocoa/ cacao (both names are correct, and either can be used) nibs and (and thus all chocolate products that come from them) are more nutritious and preferable but this is highly contentious and not at all necessarily true, as that desirable mineral and nutrient bounty is only made bio available during the fermentation process. Whilst the raw product does have higher levels of phytonutrients they also have higher levels of antinutrients such as phytic acid (and indeed are along with coffee, one of the high phytic acid seeds) which makes very little bio available. Fermentation plays a primary role in breaking these anti nutrients down, where high temperatures are reached during this process and this is the traditional wisdom of cacao.
The nibs are then ground to form a thick paste — this is known as cocoa liquor, made up of fat (which we call cocoa butter) and cocoa solids (which we call cocoa | cacao powder) — do you remember the movie Chocolat (yes with the gorgeous Johnny Depp) – where she would grind the nibs into the liquor on the old stone ? – and in some cases vanilla and sugar is also added at this stage. The cocoa liquor can then pressed to remove most of the fat (cocoa butter), and the remaining solids are ground to what we know as cocoa |cacao powder. Cocoa is a lot like coffee, quite acidic — this varies with the variety of bean, and is also increased when the fat is removed. Organic Times chocolate products are grown and processed to the highest traditional standards, and because they are not raw you are assured of a delicious, health supportive and nourishing end result.
Natural cocoa powder and dutched cocoa powder
Most natural cocoa powders are tart and acidic, especially if they are not of high quality. One of the methods devised to reduce this problem was that of alkalising the cocoa powder by soaking the nibs in an alkaline solution, commonly potassium carbonate, which neutralises the acid and softens the flavour (by a Dutchman, hence the term Dutching or Dutched cacao/cocoa). This process also changes the colour of the cocoa to a deep chocolatey red. I do love using Dutched cocoa powder, with Organic Times as my first choice. In baking, you must know which type of cocoa powder you are dealing with, as the acidity of a natural or undutched cocoa will interact with whatever leavening you are using.
Organic Times Dark Choc Drops
Dark chocolate set in bars or as drops, is a mixture of varying % of cocoa liquor, sweetening, flavouring (such as vanilla), and an emulsifier, commonly soya lecithin. The proportions determine the mouthfeel, flavour and use of the end result . Most organic brands use raw sugar, but Organic Times uses rapadura sugar, and it makes for a beautifully wholesome, sweetened chocolate.
If you would like to read further about the lowdown of the Organic Times Cacao | Cocoa | Chocolate go HERE, it’s well worth the read.
I’d love to hear how you go, and how you like them… I do hope you enjoy both recipes…. x Jude
Recipes ©Jude Blereau and Organic Times 2017
MIGHTY CHOC DROP AND BANANA BAR OR BISCUIT/COOKIE
Spelt | Oat | Egg Free | Dairy Free Option
These are just delicious and so easy to make, grab one of these for exceptional slow release nourishment. My preference is for the biscuit, where they become deliciously caramelised along the edges and just a bit chewy. In summer, ensure you store these in a cool, and dark place as they could otherwise become a bit mouldy thanks to the fruit they contain.
- It’s critical that the rolled oats, and wet mix are both cool, otherwise the choc drops will melt.
- I used a generic rolled oats that are readily available throughout Australia - the Macro brand from Woolworths in Australia
- It is worth noting that I used a high quality brown rice syrup such as Spiral. Using a cheaper, inferior (more lightly coloured) will increase the sugars, and affect how it bakes.
- This recipe uses butter, and gives it a superior flavour and texture. You can replace the butter with coconut oil, but please note - whilst they will be lovely when warm, the texture will become denser as they cool.
- I baked in a fan forced oven
- You can make this as biscuits (as per the pictures), or as a bar. When making as a biscuit I prefer to bake these on a lightly butter greased baking tray rather than lining the tray with baking paper. If making as a bar, line the base of a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper, and lightly grease the sides.
- Don’t bake the bar in silicone - you need the metal sides to add the type of heat needed for a good bar.
Pre heat oven to 180c or 150c if fan forced. Place the oats on a baking tray, spread evenly and bake until lightly toasted - about 5 - 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the butter, sugar and brown rice syrup in a small pot over a gentle heat. As the butter begins to melt, stir the mix through, and leave until the butter is fully melted and the mix is ever so gently bubbling. Stir through and set aside to cool.
While these are happening, prepare your trays (you will likely need 2 for biscuits), or tin as discussed in the baking notes.
When the oats and liquid mix is cool:
Add the dry ingredients, including the cooled oats to a bowl. Whisk through to evenly distribute the ingredients.
Mash the banana and add to the cooled butter mix, along with the vanilla and stir through. Add this mix to the dry ingredients, mixing well.
If making as a biscuit:
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of mixture onto the greased baking tray and don’t flatten. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. I find these have 2 obvious stages - the first where the edges are golden, but the centre is not quite. It’s tempting to think they are ready at this stage… keep going, until the entire biscuit is golden, and it is likely the edges will be quite dark. This is when they are done, and deliciously caramelised. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. Don’t let them cool down completely on the baking tray, as they could well stick.
If making as a bar:
Place the mix in the baking tin and spread out evenly pressing down a little to make a smooth, even top. Cook for 30 - 35 minutes - or until it is beginning to look evenly golden. It is very likely that the outside edges may look overdone, they will be fine. Allow to cool a little before gently running a butter knife to loosen the edges - then leave to cool fully before inverting the bake onto a board for cutting.
A DELICIOUS ADULT VERSION - SALTED SESAME, DARK CHOCOLATE, TAHINI AND DATE
Oat | Egg Free | Low Gluten
These are some of favourite flavour combinations, and this is a delicious, nutrient dense bar. As adults, we can happily have a lovely topping of chocolate, knowing it won’t melt in our lunchboxes ! I have found this bar to still be just fine 2 weeks after making.
Make sure that you give the tahini a really good stir so the oil is fully incorporated before using it. I find the handle of a wooden spoon great for this job.
Pre heat oven to 170c, or 140c if fan forced ***please note this cooks at a lower temperature than the Mighty Choc Drop and Banana mix.
Line the base of a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper, and lightly grease the sides.
Place the oats on a baking tray, spread evenly and bake until lightly toasted - about 5 - 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place the butter, sugar and brown rice syrup in a small pot over a gentle heat. As the butter begins to melt, stir the mix through, and leave until the butter is fully melted and the mix is ever so gently bubbling. Stir through, add the tahini and vanilla, and set aside to cool a little.
Add the dry ingredients, including the cooled oats to a bowl. Whisk through to evenly distribute the ingredients, especially ensuring that the dates are not stuck together.
Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients, mixing well.
Place the mix in the baking tin and spread out evenly pressing down a little to make a smooth, even top. Cook for 30 minutes - or until it is evenly golden. It is very likely that the outside edges may look overdone, indeed this is how it should look and they will be fine. Allow to cool a little before gently running a butter knife to loosen the edges - then leave to cool fully before inverting the bake onto a board for cutting.
Don’t start to make the topping until the bar is absolutely cool. To make the topping, add the choc drops and tahini to a small pot and place over a very gentle heat. You do not need a lot of heat to melt the choc drops. Ensure also that no water (at all, no drops) touch the chocolate or else it will seize. When the chocolate is beginning to look soft, mix it through the tahini until it is one. Add a generous pinch of salt, leave to cool just a little before frosting the bar, leave to cool completely before cutting.
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