That's not to say you can't have too much of a good thing - as I definitely did this Easter. A whole day spent making ice-cream and my very own handmade raw chocolate left me feeling more than slightly wired and feeling like I needed to escape from the grips of the kitchen. Dark chocolate in general is stimulating due to its caffeine content but it seems that raw cocao may be even more stimulating because all its natural chemicals are presented to us in raw form. This is the main difference between refined and raw chocolate. Whereas refined chocolate has undergone a heat treatment, which destroys many of the naturally occurring and health beneficial antioxidants and minerals, raw cocao undergoes processing using lower temperatures, which keeps its goodness intact. However, raw or refined, chocolate still has a powerful affect on the body and should be consumed wisely and in small quantities. As I write this last sentence I realise just how much I need to listen well to my own advice as I dole it out to others!
And now back to the ice-cream. It is an oozing mass of raw, vegan deliciousness that should not go untried. There's no need for an ice-cream maker or any fancy equipment (other than a food processor), so I suggest you take some time to get (not much needed) to give this recipe a go!
Raw Chocolate and Berry Ice-cream
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup mixed berries (defrost if using frozen)
1/2 cup raw cocao
1 tbsp raw cocao nibs (optional)
2 tbsp coconut butter
Method: Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for at least 2 hours. Drain and place in the food processor or blender with all the other ingredients except the raw cocao. Whizz until the mixture is very smooth. Once its as smooth as possible, take out half and place in a plastic container ready to go on the freezer. Add the raw cocao to the other half and whizz again to mix through. Taste, adding a little more raw cocao and/or maple syrup as you desire. Finally add the raw cocao nibs if using and remove the mixture to another plastic container. Place both in the freezer for 1 hour before either mixing through well with a spoon or placing once again in the food processor. This helps create a smoother consistency. Allow to defrost for at least 15-20 mins before serving as its nicer soft, rather than straight from the freezer.