Review: Coracao Confections

Almost too pretty to open. Almost.

Almost too pretty to open. Almost.

It’s not often I will do a product review anymore. I rarely buy packaged goods and ordering treats is…well…a treat. And what a treat I discovered with Coracao Confections. The company is based in Emeryville, California and they source their raw cacao from farmers using sustainable practices. Their confections are free from gluten, dairy, soy, corn, artificial additives, and refined sugar.

I ordered the 22-piece Deluxe Box and a Raspberry Blondie Bar. Ice packs were included in the box because I chose ground shipping (it’s the cheapest and takes about a week). Despite the heat, the chocolates arrived without anything melted. I kept the box on the coffee table and they kept well at room temperature.

The Deluxe Box I received was filled with Almond Coconut Dream, Raw Fudge Truffle, Raspberry Fudge Truffle, Mayan Spice Truffle, Espresso Ganache Truffle, Tangerine Bee-Pollen Truffle, Peppermint Patty, Hazelnut Mousse Truffle, Chai Truffle, Caramel Cups, Rawmond Butter Cup, Live Almond Heart, and a Baby Bar. I was amazed by the creamy texture of the truffles and balance of flavors used so ingredients didn’t overpower each other. My favorites were the Rawmond Butter  and the Chai Truffle. I’m not a caramel lover and I found myself enjoying the Caramel Cups.  The Mayan Spice Truffle was the big surprise for me. Every other chocolate I’ve tried with cayenne was a disaster. Usually the cayenne is front and center and I feel like I just ate straight cayenne powder. Coracao Confections does it right. The cayenne is subtle and balanced well by the raw cacao. It had a surprising after kick for me that I enjoyed.

As we say back home, broke da mouth!

As we say back home, broke da mouth!

I adored the Baby Bar. I ate it all in one sitting, which isn’t hard to do because as the name indicates it is small. It was better than the name brand I keep in my pantry for chocolate fixes and use in baking. Again, the key to it is the balance of ingredients as well as the lack of extraneous ingredients.

The Raspberry Blondie was a little too sweet for me with all the shredded coconut. It did remind me of Raspberry Zingers if they were dipped and drizzled in chocolate. That alone was worth it. If I decide to order it again it will be to eat one bite, one day at a time. And maybe with a side of coffee to help me manage the sweetness.

Take away all my food allergies and put a box of Coracao Confections and a box of Godiva Truffles in front of me, I’ll take the former every time.

Delightful Decadence – April In The Raw: Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

After setting in the fridge for 2 hours

When Brittany asked me to participate in the April In The Raw event.  I happily said yes.  Salad seemed too simple to do.  Smoothies also too easy.  I wanted a challenge.  First, I made a Raw Pina Colada Pie that was pretty good.  Then, Iris challenged me a month ago when we were trading comments with Brittany about gluten-free cake after Iris posted a link to her Gluten-free, Vegan Birthday Cake that she posted last Summer.

I have not had cake since going gluten-free over a year ago.  I am not tempted to buy any kind of gluten-free baking mix, be it brownie, cookie, or cake to make a quick fix.  1) It keeps me from making too many baked goods.  2) It forces me to get used to gluten-free baking from scratch.  3) Baking from scratch always tastes better and you have control over what goes in the goodies.

So, Iris decided not having cake in over a year was not good and that maybe I should make a raw cake.

That did it.  The wheels started turning.  I had already made the Raw Pina Colada Pie and still had some pineapple.  Why not try a pina colada cake?  Turns out it was even better than the filling for the Raw Pina Colada Pie, but didn’t set well.  You can bet I will be trying it again the next time I have pineapple.

Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

The wheels spun more and I started thinking about truffles and Peppermint Mochas.

You can thank PMS for this.  That, and my love for chocolate.  Dark and rich.

After mixing everything together, I needed a taste to make sure I didn’t need to add anything before pouring it into the dish.  I was in love.  No adjusting necessary.  For 2 hours I paced and obsessed.  I wanted a pieced of that cake.  It was mostly set as you can see in the first picture.  Later, that night I took another piece out and took the second picture.  The edges are a bit difficult to get out without tearing it all up but it was set better this time.

Last week, I had a piece with me at work and was eating it in the break room after finishing dinner.  One of our operators came in for her dinner break as I started to eat it and she commented on how good it looked.  I offered her a taste but she turned it down even after I told her it was refined sugar-free and had nutrient dense ingredients.   We started chatting about other stuff and she was trying to tell me something, but the more I ate, the more side-tracked I became.  I focused more on each bite I took both mentally and physically.  Savoring.  I realized all of a sudden that she stopped talking and was quiet.  Oops!  I looked up and apologized immediately.  She told me not to worry and said that I looked like I was enjoying it.  Boy was I!  That my friends, is what chocolate wasted is all about.

I wasn’t joking about nutrient dense.  Almond meal, raw cacao, coconut oil, and coconut cream concentrate.  Tons of protein, good for you flavonoids, healthy oils, and anti-inflammatory.  Plus, this will keep well in the fridge for a while, so you don’t feel like you have to eat it all at once, even if you have the desire to after that first bite.  I still have 2 pieces.

Raw Peppermint Mocha Truffle Cake

2 cups almond meal

1 cup raw cacao powder (I used Navitas Naturals)

2 tablespoons ground espresso (I used decaf, you can use regular if you want a real good buzz.  bzzz bzzz bzzz)

1/4 cup coconut cream concentrate

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 cup water or coconut milk (unsweetened)

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Whisk together dry ingredients (almond meal, raw cacao powder, and ground espresso) in a large mixing bowl.  Mix together remaining ingredients in another bowl until well combined.  Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry while mixing together and the same time with a large spoon.  Mix until well combined.  It should look like shiny cake batter that is a little thin.  Pour into an 8×8 baking dish and chill at least 6 hours.   You can garnish pieces with some raw cacao nibs and mint leaves.

You can use this to make truffles, too.  After chilling 2 hours you can remove the batter, scoop it out, roll into balls and coat with your choice of ingredients.  My choice would be raw cacao nibs.  You can also pour the batter into ramekins or muffin a muffin tin with liners to make individual servings if you are making this for a dinner party.

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and at April In The Raw at Real Sustenance.

Raw Experimenting

This isn’t quite the post I was planning on for today.  What I planned was sharing about was being a stand-in parent.  One of the boys I used to work with was supposed to come up with his girlfriend to visit me to today. Of course he’s not really a boy anymore.  He’s almost 25 and since I don’t work with him anymore, he tends to call me Mom.  So, I’ll save that for another day.

The last month or so, I’ve been messing around with raw recipes in preparation for next month’s blog event, April In The Raw, hosted by Brittany of Real Sustenance.

I started off by working on a vision Chaz had after I made a raw pie last year and created a raw coconut crust to go with the filling recipe by Carrie at Ginger Lemon Girl.  He wanted a pineapple filling using agar agar to thicken the filling.  Well, I did some research and high acidic fruits like pineapple need to be cooked when using agar agar.  So that was out of the question.  Instead I used coconut cream concentrate.  I liked it, but it wasn’t sweet enough for Chaz and he felt the crust was missing something, even though it was the same crust I made before.

Then, Iris (The Daily Dietribe) and Brittany got raw cake into my head after discussing with them on Facebook that I haven’t had cake in over a year.  Gluten-free cake is not new to me at all.  In fact, I found a recipe for a Chocolate Chinchilla years ago that I’ve made a few times for a friend with Celiac.  He loves it.  I turned the raw cake idea  over and over and over again in the noggin before trying it.   My macadamia nut cream turned out a little runny so the cake didn’t set well, but it had a great flavor.  I will have to get more pineapple and macadamia nuts to try it again.

I attempted a mango coconut ice cream the other day.  I loved the flavor of it before I put it in the freezer.  I didn’t add anything to sweeten it, so of course it wasn’t sweet enough for Chaz, again.  While it was in the freezer, I had ideas of cutting into the other mango I had for garnish and soaking it in mango rum or spiced rum and then topping the ice cream with it.  By the time I got home from work the next day, the ice cream was rock solid.  If I had popsicle molds they would have been perfect.  Almost.  From what I could chip off to get a taste, some of the natural sweetness was gone.

Today, I went round two with the ice cream and cake.  The ice cream is still mango coconut, just changed it up a little.  The cake is a Peppermint Mocha Truffle.  Truffle might be stretching it a bit, but that was my initial inspiration.  The batter for the cake was amazingly like real cake batter and I figure if it doesn’t set right, I can always bake it and give you a flourless cake recipe!

That’s not all though.  I still have other things running amok in my head.  Like gluten-free poke, marinated raw fish, a favorite back home.   I can’t find the seaweed I need either in town or online to ship so I’ll be winging it  and hoping for the best.

*looks at the fridge wistfully, waiting for the raw desserts to be ready*  Best thing about the desserts?  I used raw local honey in the ice cream and pure maple syrup in the cake.