Vegan Dark Chocolate Tart

This tart is all about the silky smooth, velvety dark chocolate filling. It’s a no frills/fuss recipe, and thats one of the reasons I love it so much. Everybody needs an array of classics they can depend on, and this is one of those recipes that I’m sure you will use time and time again.

Another thing I love about this recipe is how fast and simple it is to make, making it perfect for those last minute dinner parties or even midnight cravings 😉

The tart shell just so happens to be gluten free and is a lot healthier than most. I have kept it basic with just a few ingredients: Desiccated coconut, almonds, pecans, salt and sugar – whizz it all up in your blender and mix in the melted margarine, presto she’s ready for the oven!

Now, for the star of the show, the chocolate ganache filling! All we do here is melt loads of decadent dark chocolate over a bain marie with some almond milk, sugar and coconut oil. As I said before, we all need those classic, timeless recipes so I wanted to keep the flavours clean. The fun part is that you can dress it up any way you want, I love pairing mine with seasonal berries for brightness and a burst of freshness, but a bit of whipped coconut cream and a drizzle of caramel would be just as divine!

Vegan Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

Tart shell:

  • 100 g desiccated coconut
  • 50g almonds
  • 50g pecans
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g melted vegan margarine

Dark chocolate ganache:

  • 300 g dark chocolate ( I use Afrikoa 70%)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Tart shell:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease tart tin.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the margarine to a food processor and blend until fine, but not oily. Add melted margarine and mix in until well combined.
  3. Press the mixture into the prepared tart tin and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until slightely browned (keep an eye on it towards the end so it doesn’t burn) Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Dark chocolate ganache:

  1. Prepare a bain marie, and add all the ganache ingredients to the top bowl. Stir until you have a smooth, completely melted mixture.
  2. Pour the ganache into the cooled tart shell and chill for 4 hours to set.
  3. Decorate with berries, caramel or a sprinkling of nuts, it’s totally up to you!

*Notes: When serving, always use a hot sharp knife to cut your slices, this will give you the best presentation!

Salted Praline Nice Cream

I love this recipe, because you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker, and you can use the base and flavour it any way you want! The base consists of coconut cream, vanilla and frozen bananas, and as if thats not delicious already, we’ll fold in some pecan and almond praline paste right at the end.

So thats toasty caramelised nuts scattered with sea salt, creamy coconut, banana, and vanilla.. sounding pretty good right? I love these flavours together, it’s a real match made in heaven and I’m sure you will love it too. Because we’re not using an ice cream maker, you have to get the mixture out of the freezer and give it a good stir every now and then, but this only takes a few minutes. I’ve included a few notes below before you get started.

Delicious caramelised pecans and almonds, ready to be blended into a paste, and folded into our nice cream

So before you decide to make this recipe, you’ll need to do a little bit of prep. I ALWAYS have a few cans of coconut cream in the fridge, as well as some sliced bananas in the freezer, but if you don’t, this is the first step. Place your cans of coconut cream in the fridge overnight, this is so the creamy part and the clear, watery part separate. We will only be scooping out the thick, creamy layer for this recipe, I like to pour the watery layer into ice trays and then use them for smoothies later.

Next on the prep list is to slice the bananas and freeze them, the finer you slice the banana into coins, the easier it is to blend. I don’t have the strongest of blenders and I tell you know now, theres a huge difference in throwing in a whole banana and chopping it into fine coins, that extra effort at the start will save you plenty of time screaming at your blender later 😛

That’s the prep work done, now you can get nice cream making!

Salted Praline Nice Cream

Nice cream base:

  • 2 cans coconut cream (creamy part only)
  • 3 medium  frozen bananas (diced into thin coins)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp almond milk

Praline paste:

  • 100 g almonds
  • 100 g pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • Sprinkle of sea salt
  • ½ vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Nice cream base:

  1. Add frozen bananas, coconut cream and vanilla to a blender and blend for 2-4 minutes until smooth and silky. If you are having trouble getting a smooth consistency, add the almond milk to help it along.
  2. Once nice and creamy , pour into a freezer safe container/bread tin.  In the meantime, start your praline, just remember to give the mixture a good stir with a fork after 30 mins, repeat this process twice.

Praline paste:

  1. Preheat oven to 160c and spread nuts out on a baking tray. Roast for 10-15 mins and let cool down.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Give the pan a swirl every now and then, it should take around 7 minutes to reach an amber colour. Once it has reached this stage, add the nuts and stir them all in.
  3. The mixture will harder up very quickly so work fast here, pour mixture out onto a baking tray, try spread it out so the nuts are lying in a single layer. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool down completely.
  4. Once cooled, break the praline into pieces and throw into blender with vanilla pod. Give the mixture a few pulses and set aside half of the praline to stir into the nice cream later (we want  these chunkier pieces for texture)
  5. Continue to blend the remaining half of the mixture, first you will obtain a powder, then crushed nuts, and finely it will turn into a paste, if you are having trouble, add the vegetable oil to help form a paste.
  6. Fold paste and slightly chunky pieces into the nice cream mix and return to freezer to chill. Cover with clingfilm and freeze at least 3 hours.

*Notes: Since this nice cream does contain frozen bananas, it takes a while to thaw to a scoop-able consistency, so take it out about 25 minutes before serving time.

Vegan double chocolate mousse cakes

Before I started following  a plant based diet, I had a recipe for these chocolate mousse cakes that would be my showstopper dessert at every dinner party. I would be requested to make these for all the family events we would go to, and everyone that ever tasted it would ask me for the recipe. So needless to say, I simply had to “veganize” this dessert!

Nutty chocolate base, two layers of mousse, topped off with ganache AND chocolate crumble!

It consists of a raw chocolate base, and then you can choose to keep the white mousse layer as coconut and vanilla, or if you have a sweet tooth like me, amp it up with some white chocolate. The dark chocolate mousse layer as well as the ganache, helps keep this dessert balanced as they offer more bitter notes. I usually have some crumb left over from the base, so I like to make a crumble and scatter it over for a nice crunch, but you can totally use coconut flakes or garnish with whatever your heart desires!

 I like to use little ring moulds to make individual cakes, but if you don’t have at home,  I have also used a spring form cake tin which works perfectly fine. In theory you could also line a bread tin with clingfilm hanging over the sides, and just lift the cake out then slice, however I have not tried this method.

I always have a few tins of coconut cream standing upside down in my fridge for when I need it. For the mousse layer, you’ll be scooping out the thicker creamy part and using that for this recipe. Reserve the rest of the liquid for smoothies by freezing it in an ice cube tray.

Vegan Double Chocolate Mousse Cakes (makes 8)

Base:

  • 200 g pecans
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 7 medjool dates (if you cant find fresh, soak in boiling water for 25 mins)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp coco powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (cold state)

Mousse:

  • 120 ml aquafaba (chilled liquid from tin of chickpeas)
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tins coconut cream (only use the thick solid creamy part)
  • 100 g dark chocolate (I use Afrikoa 70%)
  • 100 g white chocolate (optional)

Ganache:

  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 130 g chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Base:

  1. Add pecans to a food processor and blend well. Add all the remaining ingredients and blend until everything is well combined. It should clump together when pressed, if its too dry add another date.
  2. Transfer mixture to lined springform tin or ring moulds, pressing firmly to form a solid base. Reserve leftover crumbs for topping.

Mousse:

  1. Whip the aquafaba on high speed until foamy, add cream of tartar and gradually add in sugar. Continue to whip until stiff peaks have formed. Transfer to a new mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Whip coconut cream with vanilla until soft peak stage,  fold this mixture in with the aquafaba from the previous step.
  3. Divide the mixture into 2’s.

White Mousse Layer:

For plain coconut flavour, use mousse as is. For white chocolate option: In a heatproof bowl, Microwave white chocolate in 20 sec increments until melted, and fold into half of the mousse mix. Spread onto base and freeze for at least 30 mins.

Dark Chocolate Layer:

Repeat above process with dark chocolate and spread over white mousse layer, freeze at least 30 mins.

Ganache:

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl and melt over a bain-marie until smooth. Allow to cool down slightly and pour over mousse. Return to freezer at least 1 hour.

Crumble:

If you have base mixture left over, Preheat oven to 170C and spread out so you have a crumble. Bake for 30 mins and allow to cool down before you garnish. Alternatively decorate with chocolate shavings or toasted coconut flakes.

To serve:

1. Remove from the freezer. With warm hands or heated cloth, heat up moulds slightly and loosen springform tin/press out from bottom of ring moulds using your hands (like a push-pop)

2. Move cake to refrigerator to thaw and and to carry on setting for at least 4 hours before serving, use a warm hot knife to cut slices.

Vegan blueberry crumble muffins

This muffin batter consists of an easy one bowl recipe, and it’s impossible to mess it up. These muffins are airy, light and filled with delicious blueberries. They provide the perfect balance between being tart and sweet, while the crumble on top gives them a nice crispy crunch as well as adding a bit of extra sweetness to finish.

Now, here’s a little trick to help the blueberries stay evenly distributed throughout the muffin: You put them in a small bowl with some flour,  give it a few shakes to make sure they are all coated and then place them in a sieve to get rid of any excess flour. This helps the blueberries cling to the batter, and makes sure they don’t all go sinking down to the bottom of your muffins, your welcome 😉

Vegan Blueberry Muffins (makes 8)

Batter:

  • 1 ½ cups flour + extra 2 tbsp for dusting blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 full mounting cup fresh blueberries

Crumble:

  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp demerara /brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (in its solid state)

Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a muffin tin/ spray with cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.
  3. Add the almond milk, vanilla essence and oil, and whisk until just combined (don’t over work the batter)
  4. Toss the blueberries and extra flour together in a bowl until they are completely coated, pour into sieve to get rid of any extra flour.
  5. Gently Fold the blueberries into the batter with a spatula.
  6. Pour batter into lined/prepared muffin tin and start on the crumble.

Crumble:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix together using your finger tips until you have what resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Sprinkle the crumble over the muffins and place into oven to bake for 30-35 mins, check with skewer for doneness.
  3. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the tin.

*Notes: These muffins freeze well, so I often make a double batch and keep the extra one stored in the freezer in and airtight container.

Vegan seedy peanut butter squares

These squares were inspired by one of my favourite snacks, loads of good old peanut butter on a piece of toasted seed loaf bread! I had so much fun creating these, and after a few failed attempts I finally nailed it. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do, I’m sure once you’ve tried them, they will become one of your go to snacks too!

Crunchy seeds, creamy dreamy peanut butter AND silky chocolate, whats not to love?

I chose a mixture of seeds that I enjoy, however the recipe will work just as well with whatever you have in your pantry as a substitute.  These are pretty rich, so when you are making your slices, just bear that in mind, a little goes a long way here. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Vegan Seedy Peanut Butter Squares

Seed layer:

  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup heaped pitted dates (if dried, soak for 25 mins in boiling water then drain)
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/8 cup peanut/almond butter
  • 1/8 cup maple (use honey if your not vegan)

Peanut butter layer:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup (honey)
  • ½ cup coconut flour

Chocolate layer:

  • 120 g chocolate ( I use Afrikoa 55%)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Seed layer:

  1. Heat up a pan over medium heat and toast the oats until golden, then set aside in a medium mixing bowl. Next add all the seeds to the pan and toast until fragrant (keep an eye on them, they can burn easily) Add to the bowl and allow to cool.
  2. In a blender, process the dates until it’s all chopped up, transfer to the bowl with oats and seeds.
  3. Pour maple syrup and peanut butter into a heatproof mug, and microwave in 20 sec increments, stirring until smooth.
  4. Add the peanut butter mix to the oats, seeds and dates, and mix until it’s all incorporated and deliciously sticky.
  5. Pour the mixture into a prepared baking tray ( with parchment paper going all the way up and over the sides, I used a large bread loaf tin) and smooth with a wet spatula. Make sure to get it nice and tightly packed, you want the base to hold together well.
  6. Chill in freezer for at least 30 mins to harden while preparing next layer.

Peanut butter layer:

  1. Add the peanut butter, coconut flour and maple syrup to a bowl. Fold with spatula until you have a very thick mixture that clumps together (it should almost resemble a sturdy cookie dough)
  2. Once the mixture is combined, spread onto the seed layer with a spatula, and once again press down well.
  3. Place back in the freezer while you make your last layer. Almost there!

Chocolate layer:

  1. Chop up the chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl with the coconut milk and coconut oil. Microwave in 20 sec increments, stirring until melted and combined (don’t microwave it for longer stretches, because the mixture could split)
  2. Pour over the peanut butter layer and garnish with chopped peanuts and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt if desired. Leave in refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours.
  3. Lift out the parchment paper, and slice into squares or slices using a dry hot knife. Enjoy!

*Notes: Once set, you can keep these in the fridge, or store in an airtight container in a cool dry place.