I used to hate mint as a kid.
When I say hate I don’t mean it in the same way kids hate vegetables I mean I used to HATE it. I couldn’t tolerate Extra chewing gum and I refused to have mint sauce on my roast lamb; I even had raspberry-flavoured toothpaste because I couldn’t stand the regular stuff. Does mint not make anyone else’s mouth feel like it’s burning? No? I’m just special I guess. While I’ve since outgrown this aversion to toothpaste and chewing gum it’s taken me a while to really embrace choc-mint. I saw mint as an unnecessary distraction from the joy that is chocolate. My husband loves choc-mint and I just assumed, like usual, that he was wrong. Boy was I mistaken. (this time)
Somewhere in one of the many hours I’ve spent scrolling through Pinterest I saw a picture of grasshopper brownies – a chocolate fudge brownie topped with a layer of green, mint-flavoured cheesecake finished with a rich chocolate ganache. At the time I really didn’t think much of it but over the last few months that image has kept creeping back into my mind, to the point where I decided there HAD to be a way that I could reinterpret the dish to suit my own nutritional philosophy.
The base is raw chocolate brownie; a simple mix of almonds, coconut, dates and raw cacao powder. I then made a raw ‘cheesecake’ from cashews and coconut that was flavoured with natural mint extract and coloured using spirulina powder (no nasty artificial green food colouring here). The final layer is a ganache made of organic dark chocolate and coconut cream. No processed sugar, no processed flour, no artificial colours or flavours, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan. It IS high in fat and should still be treated as an indulgence, but it’s a way of indulging without filling your body with crap it doesn’t need or want.
I talked about the benefits of raw cacao powder in this post for Choc-Crunch Granola, but mint is good for aiding digestion and almonds are a rich source of calcium, for healthy bones and regulating muscle contractions.
I tested this one out on family to rave reviews, even this choc-mint skeptic was won over. I’m going to try it again using an actual cream cheese filling (because unlike my friend Hugh I believe everything is made better by the addition of cheese) but if you need something special for a vegan or gluten-intolerant friend – THIS. IS. IT.
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dates, soaked in water and blended into a paste
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined. Press into a 6inch x 9 inch tin and chill.
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
2 tbsp. coconut oil
200ml coconut cream
2 tbsp. maple syrup (or other sweetener)
1 tsp spirulina powder
4-5 drops natural peppermint extract (or more/less to taste)
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour over brownie base and chill in the freezer until set.
200g chocolate of choice (I use and organic dark chocolate)
200ml coconut cream
Heat the coconut cream and pour over the chocolate, stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Pour over cheesecake layer and refrigerate until set.
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