On Friday night Alex and I decided to have a 'nice' meal in rather than go out. We went a bit lardacious for the main meal itself opting for a beef wellington we'd been lusting after in M&S for a while. I lightened the whole affair a little by making yummy mashed cauliflower instead of potato (So nice, chop cauli, steam, mash with dijon mustard & a sprinkle of parmesan) and I rustled up some green cabbage with chestnuts and bacon. Yum.
But I also fancied a pudding. There were loads of things in M&S that looked lovely, but I didn't fancy the bloaty yukiness they'd bring, especially after the main we'd lined up.
So I decided to make my own!
Ever since making the sweet potato brownies the other week I've been wanting to try something chocolatey and gingery and decided that's what I'd go for. I also wanted to bring in an element of one of Alex's favourites, millionaires chocolate shortbread.
So, I created a nutty biscuit base topped with a creamy caramelly type layer, with a deep rich chocolate layer on top. I was SO happy with the results. Very very tasty, deliciously chocolatey but without any nasties.
And it went like this...Actually before I tell you, a note...I totally made this up as I went along and fiddled and adapted as I went. Don't be afraid to do the same, it won't hurt anybody. Just find what works for you!
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
6 pitted dates
tablespoon pure maple syrup
tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon water
1 tbspoon maple syrup
3 tbspoons raw cacao powder
thumb sized bit ginger
pure maple syrup to taste
greek yog & berries
So, first of all whizz up the nuts in a blender and then add the dates, syrup and nut butter. It should get a bit sticky and hold together slightly so add dates/syrup/nut butter if that doesnt happen...I did fiddle about a bit adding a few more bits until I liked the consistency.
I then pressed this mixture down into the bottom of 2 glasses - I had LOADS left and have been eating it sprinkled on yogurt ever since, it's delicious.
Next, whizz up all the 2nd layer ingredients. Bearing in mind the dates can be quite stubborn in the blender. I added too much water to begin with so be careful, it doesn't want to be runny, it needs to sit on top of the biscuit and then support the chocolate layer that comes next. I added some nuts/nut butter to stiffen up the consistency once I'd already made it too watery but could have avoided that by adding the water a bit at a time. Once you're happy with it, add that ontop of the nutty bottom layer, leaving room for the chocolate bit coming next and then stick it in the freezer so it can set a little bit.
Lastly, to make the chocolate layer I used an avocado for the creaminess and raw cacao powder (you can get it in health food shops or on amazon). I added more cacao as I felt the brownies the other day weren't chocolatey enough and also because i wanted the top layer to be quite deep to counteract the sweetness of the other layers. The result was a very deep rich chocolate mousse but it wasn't sweet enough hence adding the dates and the maple syrup to get it to a taste I was happy with. This took ages as the dates just wouldn't blend but I got there in the end! Then I just kept chopping up little bits of ginger and adding it until I was happy with the strength of the ginger kick.
After about half an hour, I put the chocolate mixture on top of the rest and put in the fridge.
When it came to serving, I then put a blob of creamy greek yogurt on top and finished with a few berries.
Stupidly, I used red glasses so you can't really see the layers but trust me, it was absolutely delicious and I was super proud of myself for making it all up thanks to following some recipes recently that used dates and nuts in this way. Can't wait to see what I come up with next!