May 20 2017

Vegan Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Almonds

vegan chocolate bark
Vegan chocolate bark is one of my favourite quick and easy recipes to make. This version with cranberries and almonds is delicious and bursting with goodness. My daughter likes to make chocolate bark too but I have to admit we don’t always opt for such wholesome additions. Chopped up chocolate bars and sweets such as jelly beans and vegan marshmallows often feature in our other vegan choacolate bark recipes. But hey, there’s no harm having tasty vegan friendly in sweet treats sometimes!

 

In recent times more and more people are opting for a vegan or more plant based diet. This is often based on health concerns or may be due to a changing views on animal rights and enviromental concerns. When it is well chosen and balanced, a diet containing no animalproducts can provide all the nutrition the body needs. Following a vegan diet can reduce the risks of many medical conditions including cancer, diabetes and heart disease and can be helpful if you wish to lose weight. Eliminating animal products from your diet also means that many unhealthy and highly processed foods are no longer suitable to eat and so can cut down significantly on the amount of sugar, refined flours and saturated fats you are consuming.

Despite eliminating many common foods a vegan diet does not need to be boring or limited. There are many, many foods that are naturally vegan and a huge range of vegan cookbooks and recipe websites for inspiration. Health food shops and some supermarkets stock delicious vegan treats such as cakes, chocolate and ice creams or you can opt for making your own. Many recipes are simple and quick to make and by making your own you can tailor the finished items to your own tastes and know exactly what went into making them.

This recipe for vegan chocolate bark is quick and simple, requiring only three ingredients. Any vegan chocolate can be used and a combination of vegan milk and dark chocolate is particually nice. This is a great recipe to make and give as gifts. Once the chocolate has completely set, the bark can be wrapped in tissue paper and placed in gift boxes or bags. The vegan chocolate bark can also be packaged in cellophane bags and sealed with ribbon.

 

Cranberries

vegan chcolate bark
Cranberries are a fruit that is often overlooked in favour of other varieties. These red berries are a delicious and health choice that can be eaten in a variety of ways.

Cranberries have a quite a tart taste and so are often used cooked as sauces, jams and jellies or in cakes. They can also be juiced and drunk alone or mixed with other fruits. Cranberries can be eaten fresh if you can tolerate their tartness. To help lessen this they can be mixed with sweet fruits in a fresh fruit salad or tossed with a little sugar shortly before eating. Raw cranberries retain more of their phytochemicals and antioxidant properties than when they have been cooked in any way.

Cranberries have long been known to be a very effective treatment for urinary tract infections. It can be a helpful treatment if you wish to avoid using or cut down on use of antibiotics . They may also be successful in cases where prescription medications have failed to clear uo the issue. Some research studies have also shown that cranberries may help protect against the arteries hardening and narrowing and so reduce the risks of heart attack and stroke. Cranberries are also believed to be able to inhibit the development of breast and colon cancers due to being a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin. Eating this tart fuit may also decrease the production of the bacteria responsible for cavities and plaque in your mouth.

 

Almonds

Almond vegan chocolate bark

Almonds are a very versatile nut that can be eaten as they are or used in cooking a range of recipes As well as being available as whole peeled or unpeeled nuts, almonds can be bought chopped, flaked, ground and as a flour. These nuts are believed to reduce the risk of heart attack and to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Almonds contain riboflavin and L-carnitine which boost brain activity. According to Ayurveda principles they nourish the nervous system and help to increase intellect and longevity.

 

Dark Chocolate

vegan chocolate bark

Chocolate is an incredibly popular food that is enjoyed all over the world. Despite this many people do not know that by switching to eating dark chocolate they can also reap many health benefits. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants to protect the body from aging and damage cause by free radicals. This can help to protect against heart disease and help to lower blood pressure.

Dark chocolate also contains the vitamins and minerals potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. These help protect the body against strokes, cardiovascular ailments, anaemia and high blood pressure.

 

Recipe for Vegan Chocolate Bark with Cranberries and Almonds

 

Yields: An approximately A4 sized slab of chocolate bark

200g dark or vegan chocolate
50g dried cranberries
50g sliced almonds

 

  1. Line a baking tray with cling film or greaseproof paper.
  2. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl. Melt the chocolate in short bursts in a microwave oven or over a pan of boiling water.
  3. Once the chocolate has melted stir in about one-third of the cranberries and almond slices.
  4. Spread the chocolate mixture thinly over the covered baking tray. It should be only a few millimetres thick. Sprinkle the remaining cranberries and almonds over the top.
  5. Leave the chocolate to cool and harden and then snap into pieces.

 

vegan chocolate bark

Photo Sources
Cranberries – Namiwoo (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Almonds – Caduser2003 at ml.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Dark chocolate – John Loo (Flickr: Chocolate) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Share Button
April 15 2017

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake (Dairy Free No Bake Cake)

No bake cakes are quick and easy to make and this vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake is no exception. These are good activity for young children as they do not require an oven to be used. Fridge cakes can be varied in many ways to suit your individual or family’s taste. Other items such as dried fruits, vegan marshmallows, chopped or whole nuts and flavourings such as mint or orange essence could be added to the mixture.

The finished vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake can also be decorated in a variety of ways: for example with fresh or dried fruits, nuts, piped icing (made using icing sugar and water), grated vegan chocolate, vegan chocolate buttons or with any commercially available cake decorations that are vegan and gluten free such as sprinkles or edible glitter.

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

  • 200g (7oz) vegan and gluten free biscuits
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup or agave nectar
  • pinch salt
  • 100g (3.5oz) vegan dark chocolate, (or vegan milk chocolate if preferred)
  • Strawberries, halved, to decorate

 

  1. Line a container with foil or cling film.
  2. Put the biscuits into a mixing bowl and break into small pieces using the end of a rolling pin.
  3. Melt the margarine, syrup or agave and chocolate over a low heat, stirring.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the biscuits pieces and mix well so that they are all coated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the lined container and press down firmly. Place the halved strawberries on top.
  6. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours (or overnight is fine).
  7. When you are ready to serve, remove the container and foil/cling film and cut the cake into squares with a sharp knife.

If you have made my vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake it would be great to hear what you think or what variations you have given a try. I really like the cake made using mint dark chocolate as I am a big mint fan. My son loves marshmallows so is always happy when we have some to add. Honeycomb is also a really nice addition and makes the cake extra crunchy!

 

Ingredients Profiles For Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Fridge Cake

Cocoa

Cocoa is the substance that is left after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans and is also known as cocoa powder, cacao or cocoa solids. This brown powder contains several minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc as well as being rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are believed to be helpful in preventing illness such as heart disease and stroke. Cocoa contains phenethylamine which acts as a mood lifer and natural anti-depressant. Cocoa may also have the ability to boost endorphin and serotonin levels which both increase feelings of happiness.

The flavonoids in cocoa are part of a group of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are particularly high in minimally processed and raw cocoa powder as they have bitter taste and so are removed in some products. An article in Science Daily stated that drinking cocoa can help to fight cancer and heart disease. Cocoa may also be useful in lowering LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of blood clots, lower high blood pressure and in boosting cognitive performance.

In contrast to all its potential health benefits cocoa does contain caffeine which can have a negative effect on the health of many people. Caffeine can cause insomnia, increase heart rate and blood sugar levels and can result in a physical dependence if used regularly, especially in sensitive individuals.

 

Dark Chocolate

When eaten in moderation dark chocolate has a number of health benefits. Studies have shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate 2-3 times a week can help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and help to prevent the formation of blood clots. It may also help to protect against hardening of the arteries. The phenethylamine content of dark chocolate encourages your brain to release endorphins which increase feelings of happiness.

Dark chocolate has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and so may aid cognitive functions. It does contain caffeine; however it is much less than is found in coffee. 1.5oz of dark chocolate contains approximately 27mg of caffeine compared to the 200mg of caffeine contained in an 8oz cup of coffee.

The mild stimulant, theobromine is found in dark chocolate and has been shown to lower the risk of dental cavities (as long as good dental hygiene is followed) as it hardens tooth enamel.

Dark chocolate contains several vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health. These include potassium, copper, magnesium and iron. Iron helps to prevent anaemia, magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and copper and potassium are known to protect against stroke and heart ailments.

 

Strawberries

Strawberries are a commonly used and loved fruit, popular with children and adults alike. They are rich in vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium, manganese, fibre, magnesium and vitamin C as well as antioxidants.

Strawberries contain flavonoids, phenolic phytochemicals and elagic acid, all of which help to ensure good eye health and help prevent eye damage and problems caused by harmful oxidants. The potassium found in these berries can also help to correct any issues relating to the pressure within the eyes.

The vitamin C in strawberries is a great boost to the immune system and is a well-known cure for common coughs and colds as well as having a role in the healing of infections. Vitamin C helps the body to neutralise free radicals and prevent healthy cells from becoming diseased or cancerous. The flavonoids present in strawberries have excellent antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties.

Strawberries are a rich source of potassium and magnesium which are both good at lowering high blood pressure. Potassium eases the flow of blood around the body by relaxing the arteries and so helps to keep cells oxygenated and working to their full potential.

 

vegan and gluten free chocolate fridge cake
Photo source – AgelessVisionsPhoto, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 


 

Share Button
September 13 2015

Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Crispy Squares

These dairy and gluten free chocolate crispy squares are suitable for vegetarians and vegans and make a delicious treat at any time. the mini marshmallows melt easier but if you have trouble finding these, normal marshmallows can be cut into small pieces using scissors.

To vary the recipe different types of chocolate could be used including those that contain nuts or dried fruits, These dairy and gluten free chocolate crispy squares are great made using a milk dark chocolate.

Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Crispy Squares (Vegan/Vegetarian)

Ingredients

Crispy Cakes

3 cups of rice crispy cereal
5oz (140g) mini marshmallows
¼ cup dairy free spread
½ cup dairy free chocolate or chocolate nut spread
Chocolate Topping

1 cup dairy free chocolate or chocolate nut spread
1 ½ cups dark chocolate (or dairy free milk chocolate)

  1. Measure out the cereal into a bowl ready to use. Line a 15cm baking dish or pan with greaseproof paper or clingflim.
  2. Place the mini marshmallows and butter into a pan and heat gently. Keep the heat low so that they do not burn and stir often until almost completely melted.
  3. Keep the heat turned down low and add the chocolate spread to the marshmallow and butter mix. Stir well to combine.
  4. Stir in the crispy cereal and mix well so that they are all coated with the chocolate marshmallow mixture. At first it may seem like there isn’t enough but as you continue to stir it will cover the cereal fine.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and allow to cool slightly. Press the mix down to firm up the crispy cakes.
  6. Put the chocolate topping ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring until melted and smooth.
  7. Pour the topping over the crispy cakes and spread with the back of a spoon. Allow to harden before cutting into pieces with a sharp knife to serve.

 

Super Easy Homemade Dairy and Gluten Free Chocolate Nut Spread
Ingredients

300g dark chocolate (or other dairy free chocolate)
454g jar of peanut butter

You will also need a lidded container large enough to hold approximately twice the amount of peanut butter.

  1. Empty the peanut butter into a large bowl.
  2. Break up the chocolate into small pieces and melt it, either slowly in a microwave or in a suitable dish over a pan of boiling water. Stir the chocolate every so often.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth pour it onto the peanut butter. Begin stirring the mixture straight away to combine the two.
  4. The spread can be used straight away but can sometimes be a little soft and even runny. Do not    worry about this as it will return to a soft peanut butter like texture.
Share Button
May 1 2015

Delicious Banana and Chocolate Wrap

This delicious and quick to prepare wrap is great for adults and children alike using simple ingredients. Many health food shops and supermarkets now sell gluten free wraps that can be used. Some of these are also suitable for vegans.

banana and chocolate wrap

To keep this recipe vegan you will need to chose a chocolate spread that is free of animal and dairy products. There are also several varieties of these available online, in health shop and supermarkets now. Instead of the chocolate spread you could also use a nut butter or a chocolate nut spread. There are several of these that can be bought including those made from almonds, cashew, peanuts and hazelnuts.

 Delicious Banana and Chocolate Wrap

1 wrap
1 small banana, sliced thinly
Chocolate spread
1 tbsp of rice crispy cereal

1. Spread the wrap with chocolate spread. You can use as little or as much as you wish.

2. Place the banana is the centre of the wrap and sprinkle the crispies over the top.

3. Fold over the bottom of the wrap and roll it up.

Share Button