Paradise Raw Bars (with macadamia nut cacao fudge and raspberry mint drizzle).
This is by far the most crowd-pleasing dessert in my collection. I love it because it’s so rich in antioxidant nutrients that it can even be eaten as a snack. Just because it’s chocolatey, doesn’t mean it must function as a dessert but it surely is a great special treat at the end of a meal.
Here’s why this recipe not only tastes amazing but is so good for you:
Cacao: Raw cacao powder contains tons of phytochemicals and antioxidants. In fact, it’s the most antioxidant-rich super food available. (Be aware that Dutch or alkalized cocoa has been processed and by the time you eat it, 90% of the antioxidants are gone.) Cacao contains flavonoid type antioxidants, including anthocyanidin. Flavonoids play a major role in the prevention of free radical damage and help boost collagen production. Flavonoids also can block the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol, which ultimately improves cardiovascular health, improves circulation and minimizes the risk of heart disease. Not only is cacao an anti-cancer food, it also provides us with many skin and anti-aging benefits. There are over 300 important compounds, including protein, fat, B-vitamins and minerals such as calcium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper.
As an extra benefit, cacao also contains natural mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and phenylethylamine, making it a good food for people suffering from low vibrational states such as anxiety, sadness and depression. (Note: processed chocolate, even dark, lacks the mood boosting compounds and is more of a “comfort food” due to the refined sugar content.)
Macadamia Nuts: Many of the health benefits of macadamia nuts mirror those of cacao but here’s a few highlights:
-Promotes heart health by keeping arteries clear and in good condition
-Fights disease due to the high count of Flavonoids, which prevent cellular damage and block free radicals.
-Contains palmitoleic acid, which increases fat metabolism, ultimately reducing fat storage.
-Supports your gut by helping you feel full, removing toxins and promoting good digestion.
-Supports bone and teeth health due to the rich content of phosphorous, manganese and magnesium.
-Reduces inflammation and arthritis
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: At this point, we’re nearly all aware of the incredible benefits of coconut oil but just to name a few:
-It’s a fantastic immune booster and disease healer with anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
-Reduces inflammation and arthritis
-Helps convert bad LDL cholesterol to good cholesterol
-Improves digestions, helps heal leaky gut and stomach ulcers
One cup of nutrient rich strawberries or raspberries has more vitamin C than a medium orange. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, folate, phosphorus, selenium and potassium. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked strawberries third out of more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich foods. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the nervous system and blood vessels. Other studies have shown that raspberries and strawberries can help protect against several types of cancer including breast, colon, esophageal, liver and leukemia. Strawberries and raspberries can help decrease inflammation and control type 2 diabetes and raspberries contain quercetin, which has been found to help slow cancer growth.
Paradise Raw Bars
Serves: 15-20 dessert portions (make and store for several days of treats)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Set Time: 2 hours+
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Bottom Layer Ingredients:
-1 cup nuts of your choice (I recommend walnuts or pecans typically or a mix of both)
-1 ½ cups pitted organic medjool dates
Middle Layer Fudge Ingredients:
-1 ½ cups organic extra virgin coconut oil
-3/4 cup raw cacao powder
-1 ½ cups organic almond butter
-3/4 cup organic 100% maple syrup (Substitutes: coconut sugar or rice malt syrup)
-1 Tbs. organic vanilla extract
-1/2 cup crushed macadamia nuts
Top Layer Ingredients:
-1 cup fresh strawberries
-1 cup fresh raspberries
1. In a food processor combine nuts and dates and pulse until fully blended together. (Nuts will look crushed within the date mixture)
2. Transfer date/nut mixture to an ungreased 9”x13” glass baking dish and press so it fully covers the entire bottom. Set aside.
3. In a small sauce pot, combine all middle layer ingredients and heat on low, stirring regularly, until the mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
4. Pour middle layer ingredients over the date/nut mixture so the mixture is fully covered with fudge. Place dish in freezer for approximately one hour or until the fudge has thickened.
5. In a food processor, blend strawberries and raspberries to a jelly like consistency. Refrigerate the mixture while 9”x13” dish is freezing.
6. After freezing, remove 9”x13” dish from freezer and carefully spread the fruit mixture over the fudge layer. (Note: the fruit mixture will remain jelly-like when recipe is complete.)
7. Place dish in refrigerator for one hour to finish hardening. (You can use the freezer if you need to accelerate the process.)
8. Remove from refrigerator, slice into individual squares and garnish each piece with crushed macadamia nuts, mint leaf and a raspberry. (Tip: You may need to run your knife under warm water to help cleanly slice. Also note that you may need to clean your knife in between some of the slices as the raspberry mixture will still be soft.)