Monday, March 22, 2010

Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Clusters

In preparing for Easter, I decided to make my own sugar-free candy (healthy treats) this year. The kids usually get a variety of raw nuts and dried fruits hiding inside those little plastic Easter eggs. That Easter bunny is just too darn healthy! Sometimes he leaves jelly beans and a lollipop too. Since chocolate can strongly affect some children, I'd recommend wrapping only one of these chocolate clusters up in a small square of parchment paper, tied up with a pretty ribbon, for your child. I have no doubt that the adults in the house will munch the rest.

We have just returned from Hawaii - our Vitamin D prescription for the winter (if you are following us on Facebook, you'd already know all about our trip!)! Our family enjoyed the sun and all of the fresh produce the islands have to offer. One of our favorite treats is, of course, the macadamia nut. We bought the roasted, salted variety while there but they weren't nearly as tasty as the crisp, raw unsalted type we found. Hence, macadamia nuts inspired many recipes. Don't worry if you aren't a fan of nuts, I have a number of fresh recipes AND an uncooking video to share soon!

The recipe I am about to share is a new one, in fact, I created it today! I have had the idea whirling around in my mind for a while. You know how ideas are. Sometimes they take their time to come 'round. I took a glance last night at Kim's lovely Affair's of Living Blog after a comment she left here on my Teff Sandwich Bread. She has many fabulous recipes posted, including one for Choco-Coco Nests. Once I saw her photo, the recipe began to take shape. I fiddled with it today and on the third try I got it.

Folks, this is a recipe to make YOUR OWN CHOCOLATE! Not melt chocolate. It is very easy, let's get to it! :)

Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Clusters

This is a recipe to make your own sugar-free chocolate. The options are endless. Replace the macadamia nuts with chopped raw almonds or sunflower seeds. Use chopped dried fruit in place of the shredded coconut. Add vanilla and nothing else. Pour the liquid chocolate into candy molds. Chill. Homemade chocolate for your sweetheart. However, if you would like to make this recipe without going to the trouble of finding cocoa butter, simply melt approximately 2 cups (12 ounces) of Dagoba Choco Drops over very, very low heat then add the remaining ingredients (except cocoa butter and cocoa powder). Note that Dagoba Choco drops do contain cane sugar. Please visit the post we did on the Links to Products We Use to help identify and find ingredients in this recipe. Raw macadamia nuts can be found at most natural health food stores and co-ops here on the mainland.

6 ounces cocoa butter
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
20 drops liquid stevia (or more to taste)
pinch sea salt
1 1/2 cups chopped raw macadamia nuts
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Place a piece of parchment paper over a large cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer to chill.

Raw Cocoa Butter chunks

Place the cocoa butter chunks into a 2-quart saucepan. Heat over low heat until melted. Whisk in cocoa powder. Then add maple syrup, stevia, and salt; whisk well.

Turn off heat and stir in macadamia nuts and shredded coconut. Let mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Then drop by the heaping tablespoonful onto the chilled cookie sheet. Place into the freezer for 30 minutes to set.

Since this chocolate is not tempered it does slightly melt in your hand. Store the clusters in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Freeze for a month or more. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

If you are interested in seeing a version of a cookie recipe in our cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, then check out Alisa's version of my Cashew Cookie on her blog, One Frugal Foodie! She also posted my Collard Hummus Roll-Ups.

I thought I might share a family photo taken a few days ago in Hawaii......and I have a question for you...

We packed food with us like grains, beans, nuts, and seeds but....What is the ONE spice we packed with us? Please leave a comment below (if you leave an anonymous comment then please sign your initials!) Those that have the correct guess with be entered to win a FREE copy of our cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook! If you already own a copy then you could enter to win one for a friend. Contest is open until Thursday, March 25th, 9pm PST.
Aloha!


Update: The Contest is now CLOSED. Thanks everyone for your guesses!

The ONE spice we brought with us was CUMIN! I didn't consider Herbamare a spice. It is a salt/seasoning in my book, but we did bring it with us. Since so many of you guessed this and I didn't clarify, we chose a name from the Herbamare guesses too.

WINNERS:
For the Cumin group: Chaos and Love
For the Herbamare Group: Shanda

Could you both please email me at with your shipping addresses? Thanks! :)


92 comments:

  1. cumin? (Raelene C)

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  2. i would have to guess cinnamon too?

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  3. Aww...that picture is so cute! You must have had such a wonderful vacation!

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  4. I was going to say cinnamon too lol

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  5. love your new recipe...my mind has been swirling around trying to figure out what to put in those eggs. Thanks for this idea.

    My guess is ginger.

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  6. Is Garlic considered a spice? If so that is my guess due to its medicinal quality. If not, can I guess again b/c I would love a copy of your book.

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  7. I can only imagine the mess it would make if it spilled in the suitcase, but I'll go out on a limb and say turmeric.

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  8. Sea salt- would that be considered a spice? :)

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  9. cinnamon sounded good, but with all the fresh produce I'm going to be different and say: chile powder (tastes yummy sprinkled on fruit).

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  10. I will also guess cinnamon. That's the one spice I take with me on my travels. I have already purchased your cookbook and am enjoying making the recipes. I hope to win one to share with my boyfriend! :) LAM

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  11. I'd guess cinnamon as well. (Lisa S.)

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  12. If sea salt is considered a spice, then that would be my first guess. If not, I would definitely say cinnamon.

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  13. cinnamon....wouldn't leave without it...

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  14. I'd guess cumin, only because it's one of those spices that seems to turn up in a lot of your recipes consistently.

    I was really happy to find the coco nests at Affairs of Living, and these chocolate-macadamia nut clusters look divine too. It's really good to build up a repertoire of healthy ideas for those Easter baskets!

    My gut feeling is to not give a 2.5 year old chocolate of any kind yet, but I can't seem to find a good guide on when younger kids can handle small amounts of chocolate.

    I love the picture of your family!

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  15. I would guess Herbamare. I found out about it on your website and have been using it like crazy, thanks for the recommendation!! (Julie Rauhut)

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  16. Cinnamon was the first one to come to my mind because I put it on everything =)

    You guys are beautiful! XOXO

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  17. Salt? Love you pic! :)

    Jody

    JBran879@aol.com

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  18. Your recipes are beautiful and look delicious! I am a Bastyr student and we recommend your book to people all of the time! I just need a copy for myself now! Hopefully I'll get lucky with cinnamon as my guess!

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  19. Herbamare.
    Stephanie Car

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  20. Hmmm...I'm guessing either Curry Powder, Herbamare, or Sea Salt :-) Looks like you all had fun in Hawaii, makes me want to go there!

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  21. I would say herbamere or real salt, dont know if you use real salt but i take it everywhere

    andrea smith

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  22. Welcome home! what a great family picture. I would choose Cinnamon, but then, I am planning for 5 months of "gone". Top on my list to take are cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla extract and almond extract.

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  23. I am not a light packer. I would have found some way to squeeze in a few more spices! My guess is Herbamare.
    I am going to look where to find cocoa butter to make the recipe. I have not been able to find any before.

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  24. No need to enter me into the drawing (I'm lucky enough to have the cookbook already!), but I just wanted to say that those clusters looks delicious! Growing up my mom used to make something similar but with regular chocolate, cereal, and dried fruit. We called them "bear claws." Now that we're all gluten-free and sugar-free, I'll have to give this recipe a whirl--a new take on bear claws for us!

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  25. My guess would be herbamare.....I haven't traveled without it since I started making recipes from your site.

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  26. Cinnamon :)
    Kara Haney

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  27. You took Herbamare?

    Bellshroomer

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  28. Cinnamon is what came to mind first. We take it along on trips too.

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  29. My guess is Thyme or Oregano?
    Megan Robinson

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  30. cinnamon comes to mind first...but maybe tumeric?

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  31. Herbamare!

    I can't go any where without it since your blog turned me onto it!

    Great picture - I hope you guys enjoyed Hawaii!

    Megs

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  32. Welcome back Ali! I would have to say cinnamon as well. Thanks for the inspiration to make chocolate from scratch - what fun!

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  33. Maybe ginger. (S.Brooks)

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  34. The clusters look amazing! And how wonderful to get to go to Hawaii--one place I've always wished I could visit! :)

    My initial guess would have to be cinnamon, but since so many others have already mentioned it, I'll say cumin. Goes well with beans, grains, AND veggies!

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  35. My first thought is turmeric, so I guess that's what I'll go with! Welcome home!

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  36. You all look really healthy and happy in the picture! I would love to visit Hawaii some time! I am going to guess cinnamon as the spice. Wendy P-J

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  37. Herbamare is my guess. Thanks for all your recipes and advice Ali. I haven't replied before. I too have twin boys, they are almost 5. Have a wonderful day.

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  38. Its gotta be garlic--I'd hate to live without it and Hawaii doesn't have the winter season to support growing it!

    HeidiK

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  39. I'm going to guess Herbamare. Your trip sounds wonderful and what a beautiful family photo!!

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  40. I'm going to guess cinnamon too. Because I'm packing food along for a trip we're taking in a few days, and that's the one spice I'm taking! LOL These clusters look heavenly. I love macadamia nuts.

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  41. How fitting, since the UPS man dropped off my order of cocoa butter less than ten minutes ago!

    I would guess sea salt, if that can be considered a spice. :)

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  42. I say ginger since it is great as an anti-emetic among it's other great qualities.

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  43. cinnamon. cinnamon always masks any "greenness" in smoothies with too much kale!!!

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  44. Is it one spice or a containerful? Because my guess would have to be Herbamare. Aloha!

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  45. herbamare, since it's in so many of your recipes. based on how highly reviewed it is, i may buy some myself...kk

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  46. Guessing Herbamere.

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  47. Herbamare :)

    Sue V

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  48. Cayenne Pepper. My husband and I use it for medicinal purposes. Beautiful family!

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  49. Cayenne Pepper. This is my second try at guessing (entering) because I'm not sure I signed in correctly the first time.

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  50. My guess is also Herbamare, since you love to use it in so many recipes, Alli!

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  51. My guess is Fennel (or anise seed).

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  52. i'd imagine it would be a spice that wasn't as readily available: herbamare.

    i enjoy your blog and fb postings. the book would be a nice push toward trying the elimination diet.

    take care!

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  53. I cannot imagine you leaving home without your favorite - Herbamare!
    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

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  54. looks like everyone else thinks like i do - Cinnamon. My son packs this in his lunchbox and my husband travels with it too, so add me to the list for "cinnamon".
    Great picture by the way!

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  55. I woke up thinking about the question, "What spice". Herbamare is likely more herb than spice. Unfortunately I do not have any to look at the label. I am changing my answer to cumin. Hope you are right, Jennifer L.!)
    I was surprised at how light the cocoa butter is. I thought that it would be brown.

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  56. Tumeric!

    Sarah S.

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  57. Cumin is the first spice that comes to mind when thinking of you :) It's cumin or herbamare, but as someone mentioned, it's not really a spice so I go with cumin.

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  58. Love your blog and recipes. My guess is herbamare :-)

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  59. Herbamare.
    that is my guess, love it on just about everything
    Karen K

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  60. ***Sri Lankan*** cinnamon.
    Barb

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  61. herbamare is my guess! you are the first that introduced me to it and we LOVE it on everything!

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  62. What a great family photo. Wish I was there with you. I love Hawaii.
    I'm guessing you took that Herbamare that you love to use on almost anything. Bring some with you to San Fran this fall. I've never been able to find it.

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  63. I also think its cinnamon
    jenn w

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  64. Herbamare...it's so multi-functional!

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  65. I guess cinnamon also. Wish I had hours to sit and go through your whole blog! Love it and have shared it with many friends.

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  66. Herbamare seems to be your go to spice. Interested in knowing which spice it ended up being.

    :) Christina C.

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  67. Not sure if it counts as a spice, but since I am positive that you must have taken the Herbamare, I'll go with that!

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  68. I dunno - cinnamon? :) It tastes great in any treat. :)

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  69. I think you packed Herbamare since it is in so many of your recipes! I have yet to find it out my way yet though!

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  70. I learned about Herbamare through your cookbook and now I use it all the time. That is my guess!

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  71. Hmmm.....I guess Herbamare...it's one of my favorites too! KK

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  72. The Contest is now CLOSED. Thanks everyone for your guesses!

    The ONE spice we brought with us was CUMIN! I didn't consider Herbamare a spice. It is a salt/seasoning in my book, but we did bring it with us. Since so many of you guessed this and I didn't clarify, we will choose a name from the Herbamare guesses too.

    Yep - 2 books will be given a way...stay tuned. :)

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  73. WINNERS:

    For the Cumin group: Chaos and Love

    For the Herbamare Group: Shanda

    Could you both please email me at with your shipping addresses? Thanks! :)

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  74. Congratulations to all the winners! I know you'll enjoy the cookbook :) LAM

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  75. Such a terrific recipe, Ali! Love the family photo in front of the banyan tree!

    I had no idea which spice you took, but I love cumin. I just used it in chili on Sunday. :-)

    Congrats to the winners!

    Shirley

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Thanks, and as always, Happy Cooking! Ali & Tom