Do you celebrate Valentine's Day? I remember what a big deal it was at school to give cards, and to receive a card that you had nooooo idea who it was from!
I haven't bought a card or a gift for many years now but I do like to celebrate with food and a bit of pampering. But that shouldn't really come as a shock now should it!
All holidays, no matter what they are, are an excuse for me to think of food
It's my Danish upbringing. That's my excuse anyway. The Danes love food. On a visit there when I was a child, we (well the parents) were arranging a trip to the summer house for a few days. Before the logistics of who was going in what car or where everyone would sleep, the time of departure had been chosen so that it fell after breakfast but allowed for a stopover for lunch and ensured we arrived in plenty of time to make dinner. That's me in a nutshell!
So as Valentine's Day approaches, I start the debate in my head of strawberries or chocolate.
This year I've done both. Two very different desserts, the Raw Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake created for Raw Galore's in store Valentine's Day treat and this, even as I write it I still can't come up with a name for it! A call out to my girls resulted in Cacao'n You Get a Load of This, Cacaon't You Feel the Love Tonight, Caramel Gimme Some Love'n, Dessert in the Garden of Eden. Hopefully by the time I finishing writing the recipe up I will have decided on a name!
And the beauty of this dessert is you can serve it any way you like. Pile it up layer upon layer like a Sarah Lee danish pastry, or lay it out all pretty and let your imagination run wild. The individual components can be made a day or two in advance but if you're making it in a jar, I would suggest to layer it close to serving time. You will have more than enough caramel sauce, but it lasts for ages and let's be honest, can you even have too much? The chocolate crumb I used here is actually leftovers from the Raw Nutella Cheesecake base and I added in some wattleseed (because I always have some in the cupboard). It lasts ages, so I usually make extra and leave it in a sealed jar in the cupboard. The Chocolate Soil recipe from Nourishing Treats also is perfect for this dessert, and again it's very handy to keep a jar of it in the cupboard.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Mousse
Serves 4 (because you will want leftovers!)
1/3 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew - I used almond)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened milk* (your choice, I used Pure Harvest Almond Coconut Milk)
2 tsp mesquite
1 tsp celtic salt
*you may need more milk depending on how soft the dates and nut butter is
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
1 1/2 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup cup milk
1/4 cup cacao
Generous pinch salt
1 tin of coconut milk chilled in the fridge for 8 hours
- Add all ingredients to the food processor. Blend until smooth
- Add more milk if necessary to thin it out. It will thicken as it sits so you don't want it too thick
- Pour into a squeeze bottle or into a jar
- This will last for weeks in the fridge and is delicious on well, just about everything! Ice cream, granola, smoothie bowl, use it on your Banoffee Pie Cheesecake from Nourishing Treats book, drizzle over brownies. Yep, as I said, just about everything!
- Blend base ingredients in your food processor except the dates and cacao nibs.
- Once the mix is a rough crumb, add the dates and process until the mix sticks together. Then blitz through the cacao nibs so that they don't lose all their texture. Some dates are softer and more moist than others. I tend to soak my dates in warm water for 10 minutes first to get the most out of them and so I can use less.
- When you reach a sticky consistency, pour into a bowl
Note: The cacao nibs will retain a little texture to provide a lovely little crunch
- Add all ingredients to your food processor or blender and process until smooth
- Taste for sweetness and saltiness and adjust to your tastes. You may need to add a dash of maple syrup or whatever sweetener you prefer.
- I always have 1 or 2 tins of coconut milk in the fridge so they are ready for a spontaneous cheesecake or a whipped cream topping.
- Scoop out the thick part of the milk, leaving behind the water. This can be used in smoothies or added to curries
- Whip with your balloon whisk until thick and fluffy
Just layer it up!
In a jar:
- put some caramel down first, then crumb followed by mousse. Then more crumb, then more caramel
- Top with a layer of the whipped coconut milk
- drizzle more caramel and sprinkle with some textures. Here I have used some more of the crumb and freeze dried blueberries
On a plate:
- Lay out the mousse
- Surround it with the chocolate crumb
- Place both the caramel and whipped coconut milk into squeezy bottles (use old tomato sauce bottles?) and dot around the mousse
- Decorate with fresh and freeze dried berries
Eating well is a form of self respect