You know it’s summer when you have to think twice about starting up the oven, dreading the excess heat it’s sure to pump out into the already sweltering kitchen. Although the temperature is still generally manageable here, it’s only a matter of time before legs start sticking to chairs and AC becomes mandatory. Anticipating this inevitable progression of the season, I’ve begun to prepare, finding treats and other eats that require little to no cooking, lest I risk making everyone in the house miserable and inspire an all-out cooking ban. Heck, I’d banish myself if I continued to roast and broil like usual when thermometers start pushing 100!
Reasonably, raw foods become a promising source of inspiration, as I naturally gravitate towards simpler and fresher foods as they become available. There’s a big difference, however, between a perfect peach plucked right from the tree and eaten straight away, and preparing elaborate raw desserts. Luckily, both can be very tasty, but the latter definitely requires a bit more patience.
Wasting no time in working on my arsenal of comfort foods, classic chocolate chip cookies sounded like the perfect place to start. One could very easily use cacao nibs for the chips, but craving a richer, more familiar chocolate chunk, the project begins by whipping up a glossy, luscious raw chocolate bar.
Lacking that satisfying “snap” but still smoothly melting over the tongue, no chocoholic would be able to turn this treat down. A fine confection by itself, but there was still cookie dough to make! Happily, I ended up with far more chocolate than could reasonably fit into my batch of cookies, so I considered the extra bar as a bonus for the cook. Just doing my job in cleaning up, right?
Based on a number of similar recipes, this concept is certainly nothing new, but the excessive amount of almond meal sitting in my pantry practically cried out to be included, so my main modifications were made in order to use up a good deal of it.
Sadly, these seemingly fool-proof uncooked sweets were a bit of a disappointment. So soft that I had to store them in the freezer to hold their shapes, the texture is mostly what left a lot to be desired. They won’t be replacing my baked CCC’s any time soon, and are more akin to a Larabar than any cookie I know, but the flavor is still quite enjoyable in its own right. The raw chocolate is still a highly successful imitation though, and will work nicely in a pinch when my stockpile of chocolate chips suddenly turns up missing.
Raw Chocolate Bars
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted
1/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
Simply whisk together all of the ingredients until completely smooth- It may take a bit of patience, as the cocoa powder is prone to clumping. Once entirely lump-free, pour the liquid cocoa into 2 chocolate bar molds, or a lightly greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pan. Carefully stash the molds in your freezer until set, at least 2 hours. Though it will be stable at room temperature, this chocolate does have different melting properties than the traditional version, and may behave differently if baked. If it’s getting hot where you live as well, I would highly recommend storing these bars in at least in the fridge in a zip-top baggie, if not in the freezer for prolonged freshness.