Recipe Creamy Vegan Salted Dark Chocolate Slices

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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Every time I go into the city with my husband, we stop off at the café below his work place. Whilst the soya latte leaves something to be desired, they happen to sell the most delicious raw vegan salted caramel slices. So given the current CookingBites recipe challenge is chocolate, I thought I would make my own and I was doing really well right up until the point where I couldn't find the ingredients for making my own chocolate. That wasn't good. The news went downhill from there because vegan chocolate (or even just dark chocolate without dairy in it) is very hard to come by and quite expensive and getting the nice stuff.... well if you sell your car, mortgage your house and cash in your pension.... you get the idea. But at the back of the cupboard I did find some Lindt Dessert Chocolate. It is dairy free, but it has added sugar and vanilla extract amongst other ingredients. But it was all I had, so I will have to work with it.

Ingredients
Crust

  • 150g porridge oats
  • 200g almond meal
  • ½-1 tsp sea salt
  • 50-60g (3-3½ tbsp.) soft brown sugar
  • 110g coconut oil, melted
Filling
  • 125g (1 cup) cashew nuts
  • 250g (1 small tin) coconut cream (100% coconut kernel extract), I use the brand Ayam
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) arrowroot
  • 50g Maple Syrup (optional)
  • ½ tsp sea salt (fine- medium crystals)
  • 50g (white/pale) tahini (optional)
  • 125g melted dark dessert chocolate (or just dark chocolate – add vanilla extract if using)
Method
  1. Soak the cashew nuts overnight to soften, then drain. It's important that they are soft all the way through so that you don't have a bitty chocolate topping.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C, Gas 3) and line an 10x8 inch baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Add the porridge oats, almond meal, sea salt and soft brown sugar to a food processor and process on high until a fine crumble has been achieved.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add 100g of the melted coconut oil. Now mix well (by hand or food mixer) and adding more melted coconut oil until the base crumble holds together when pressed between your fingers.. It should pack down to something akin to a pastry dough or an oily crumble topping.
  5. Transfer mixture to baking tray and spread evenly. Pack it down well.
  6. Add the soaked cashew nuts to a high speed blender along with coconut cream, arrowroot, maple syrup, tahini (if using) and sea salt. Process until very creamy, totally smooth and its rather thin.
  7. Melt the chocolate in a microwave (careful to not burn) or in a double boiler, and add to the cashew nut & coconut oil mixture. Blend until totally smooth. Taste and add salt or maple syrup as needed to suit your tastes.
  8. Quickly pour the filling over the crust and tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles. You are working against time here with the mixture setting.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or the middle is not liquid. Mine actually took 25 mins at Gas 3 before it was set in the middle. Ideally it should not be set in the very centre because it will continue to cook and set as it cools.
  10. Allow to cool uncovered, then transfer to fridge ideally overnight (best of luck on this one!). It will set further if you allow it to!
  11. Cut into 16 - 20 squares and sprinkle with a touch of cocoa or cacao powder. They should keep for 2-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container and they also freeze well.
As always my pictures will follow, but I am writing this up after cooking it, so they should be up by Friday!

Now as always, some of my ingredient lists might look a trifle daunting.... if you can't get almond meal, just use ground almonds. You might need less coconut oil. I had planned to use cacao butter instead of coconut oil, but didn't have any... that would reduce the slight coconut flavour in mine because I used virgin coconut oil, but if you use refined coconut oil you won't get that slight hint of coconut. What else? Tahini - its optional (as is the maple syrup). I love tahini and wanted something slightly more than the Creamy Vegan Lemon Slice that I made previously. So I added a touch of tahini - you want a pale or white tahini, that is one made from sesame seeds that don't have their skins on. Anything with a skin on will give too much sesame flavour. And as before, its optional so if you don't have it or don't want to add it, don't. It won't make a huge difference the slice.
 
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SatNavSaysStraightOn

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So what do they look like - well after a night in the fridge they sliced much more easily (something I have seen with both the creamy vegan lemon slice and with this one)
I think the need more chocolate personally. It would have been nice to have made the chocolate from scratch but I can't win them all.
We can taste the salt, just.
They are not sweet!

IMG_9225.JPG
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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And the pictures taken whilst making them.

IMG_9196b.JPG

So the base.

IMG_9200b.JPG

Followed by the uncooked chocolate/coconut layer

IMG_9208b.JPG

Then the cooked slices.

IMG_9215b.JPG

And an example of what happens if you try to cut it before it has rested overnight in the fridge <cough>.
 
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