The dark chocolate and hazelnut bites are a huge hit each time I make them. I chose to create small chunks of rich, velvety, crunchy deliciousness, however, of course you can cut them into larger portions. I am always inspired by Laura Wright. This recipe is my take on her Fudgy Nut and Seed Butter Brownies which appears in her brilliant book The First Mess.
Sweet apples and almond butter are the base for the recipe, with cardamom adding a little spice beneath the rich chocolate flavour. As always, I use my trusty Microplane on the orange to create the perfect finely grated zest. For those of you on a gluten free diet, feel free to replace the spelt flour with flour of your choice.
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 18 x 28 cms tray, plenty of bites!
Preheat oven: 350°F, 180°C
Line a rectangular tray, 18 x 28 cms, with baking paper
2½ Pink Lady or Braeburn apples, peeled and cored
1 orange, zest and juice
175 grams almond butter
85 grams maple syrup or agave syrup
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
40 grams cacao
35 grams spelt flour, or gluten free flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
100 grams 70% chocolate, divided
45 grams hazelnuts, roughly chopped
What to do
1. Place the apples in the goblet of a blender with the orange juice.
2. Blitz until the apples and orange juice are a chunky puree then tip into a mixing bowl. You will need 200 grams of this puree.
3. Add the almond butter, maple syrup, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Using a whisk, mix well until everything is combined.
4. Put half of the chocolate into a small heat-proof jug and place this in a pan of warm to hot water until the chocolate has melted.
5. Meanwhile sieve the cacao, spelt flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt into the bowl. Once again stir to combine.
7. Pour over the chocolate and stir to blend into the mixture.
8. Roughly chop the remaining chocolate.
9. Spread the mixture in the baking tray and top with the chocolate and hazelnuts.
10. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, turning once. The dark chocolate and hazelnut bites are ready when they are coming away very slightly from the side of the tray.
11. Leave to cool completely before lifting from the tray using the paper. Cut into bite sized pieces using a sharp, clean knife.
Whole Food Plant Based Tip: Cacao contains theobromine, a mild cardiovascular stimulant which increases heart function and may enhance blood circulation. It also contains anandamide known as the bliss chemical as well as PEA the so called love chemical! Add to that its high magnesium content making these rich chocolate bites a treat that tastes good and does you good!