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How to have a DELICIOUS food-intolerance-friendly, dairy-free Easter

dairy-free easter egg bunnies

Food-Intolerance-Friendly Food is MORE joyful than the alternative!

Easter is another one of those days (like birthdays and Christmas) that make ‘free-from’ moms break out into a cold sweat!

You don’t want to deny your child the pleasure of an Easter egg hunt or having delicious hot cross buns for breakfast.

But at the same time you really really don’t want them to eat all that sugar, dairy, preservatives and goodness knows what else!

Having a gluten-free, dairy-free & refined sugar-free Easter IS possible!

And you get to enjoy it without the eczema, constipation, snotty noses and temper tantrums that come from chemical-and-allergen-laden Easter treats.

Enter our saving grace… Raw Cacao!

Raw Cacao nutrient content

What is Raw Cacao?

Raw Cacao is pure chocolate.

The cacao bean from the cacao tree, in its unprocessed, raw state.

It is a superfood – that is, a nutrient-dense food:

  • Exceptionally high levels of antioxidants
  • An excellent source of:
    • iron
    • magnesium
  • A good source of:
    • vitamin C
    • fibre
    • calcium
    • protein
    • potassium
    • phosphorus
    • copper
    • zinc

Best of all, you can use it to make chocolate that is gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free!

Make your own dairy-free Easter eggs!

Making your own chocolate from raw cacao is so EASY and so rewarding!

You can even sneak in some other superfoods for an added nutritional punch!

dairy-free chocolate recipe

Find some Easter themed chocolate moulds, get some brightly coloured tin foil, wait until your little ones are asleep and get busy playing Easter bunny!

dairy-free raw cacao chocolate lollipos for easter

Beyond the Chocolate Easter Egg

Other Easter Treats

Every year I head out to the supermarket to browse the Easter Offerings. I purchase the things with the best packaging or additional functionality. Then I head home empty out the candy or chocolate and fill it with Mila’s favourite treats!

I absolutely love these glow-in-the-dark eggs – but their contents… not so much! Out come the jelly beans, and in go dried cranberries, goji berries and raw cacao balls.

easter bunny

I also buy something that will “last forever”.

This has been one of my coaching tactics when teaching Mila that having food intolerances can be a blessing. You see, the other kids eat all their Easter goodies on Easter Sunday and by Easter Monday they have nothing left.

Mila gets Easter treats that last long after Easter Sunday.


But back to the Chocolate!

Here is the oh-so-easy way to make delicious and nutritious chocolate…

dairy-free chocolate recipe

Dairy-Free Superfood Chocolate Recipe

AvatarCatherine Barnhoorn
The oh-so-easy way to make delicious & nutritious dairy-free chocolate.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Setting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 30 chocolates


  • 1 glass bowl
  • 1 spatula
  • 1 pot
  • 1 Blender
  • chocolate, sweet molds


  • 200 g raw cacao paste
  • 100 g raw cacao butter
  • 60 ml raw honey
  • 1 vanilla pod scraped
  • 1/8 tsp desert or sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp moringa powder, baobab powder, Green Bang*, or mesquite powder

    Green Bang – a mix of barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa leaf, spinach powder, broccoli powder, moringa leaf, spirulina optional


  • Place the cacao paste and cacao butter in a glass bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water.
  • Allow to melt gently while stirring.
  • Pour the mixture into a blender, add the honey, vanilla seeds, salt and superfood of choice and blend on a low speed for 1 minute.
  • Pour the mixture back into the glass bowl.
  • Using a tablespoon, scoop some chocolate from the bowl and pour into the moulds.
  • Place the moulds in the freezer to set the chocolate quickly.
  • Break the chocolates out of the moulds, wrap in foil and store in the fridge.


Keyword adult-friendly, dairy-free, egg-free, festive food, gluten-free, grain-free, kid-friendly, nut-free, refined sugar-free, superfood, vegetarian

And once your kids are old enough to know that YOU are in fact the Easter Bunny, then they can join you in the kitchen to make Easter Chocolate. It really is such fun to do with the kids.


Chocolate tasting

“Advanced” Chocolate Making

For Mila’s second Easter I got more adventurous and made a hollow Easter bunny!

This is fairly time consuming, but well worth it!


dairy-free easter egg bunnies

To make a hollow chocolate egg / bunny


  1. Paint a layer of the melted chocolate mixture onto the chocolate mould and allow it to set in the freezer.
  2. Once frozen, paint another layer onto the first layer.
  3. Return the mould to the freezer.
  4. Continue this process until you have a thick enough layer of chocolate into the mould.
  5. To remove the set chocolate from the mould: Wet a kitchen towel in hot water, squeeze out the excess water and place on the plastic side of the mould.
    This will gently heat the chocolate (without melting it) and all it to fall out of the mould without breaking.
  6. To join two halves of a chocolate shape: place a long knife in boiling water to heat up. Hold the hot knife to the edge of one half of the chocolate shape to melt the chocolate. Press the two halves together and allow to set in the freezer.
homemade raw cacao east egg in freezer

This chocolate does tend to melt quickly at room temperature on a warm day so it is best kept in the fridge until needed.

The Easter Bunny tends to leave Mila’s chocolate in the freezer, not the garden 🙂

Raw chocolate will last for up to 3 weeks in the fridge/freezer (but will probably all be eaten much sooner than that!)

Easter without Hot Cross Buns? No ways!

gluten-free hot cross buns

I first made gluten-free Hot Cross Buns back in 2013 for Mila’s first edible Easter (she was only 2 months old for her first Easter).

But those hot cross buns were – well, yuck!

I did not attempt them again until years later – and I am so glad I did!

My kitchen skills and ingredient knowledge had grown, and it showed in this new gluten-free hot cross bun recipe!


And soft, and spongy just like the gluten-full ones!

(Dr. Helen Muir, Integrative Oncologist and one of my biggest fans raves about this recipe!

She sent her husband back to the shops TWICE to buy more ingredients because she kept eating them as they came out the oven!)


making gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free hot cross buns

Gluten-Free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Gluten-Free, Dairy-free, refined sugar-free Hot Cross Buns Recipe

AvatarCatherine Barnhoorn
Nothing says Easter more than delicious, spongy, spicy Hot Cross Buns! This is a great recipe to make with the kids and the buns will be a delicious and nutritious addition to their lunchboxes long after the Easter holidays have passed!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Snack
Servings 15 buns


  • 1 baking tray
  • parchment paper
  • 3 small mixing bowls
  • 1 Whisk
  • 1 medium size mixing bowl
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 electric beater with dough hooks
  • 1 Saucepan
  • 1 pastry brush


  • boiling water
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 100 g ghee, butter or coconut oil
  • 3 eggs, extra large beaten
  • 3 cups cassava flour
  • 1/2 tsp desert or sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground All Spice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
  • 2 tsp aluminium-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 orange, zest only or zest of 2 naartjies
  • 1 cup warm water

For the egg wash

  • 1 egg beaten

For the crosses

  • 4 Tbsp cassava flour
  • 1 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 Tbsp erythritol powder, or ground xylitol
  • 35 ml warm water
  • squeeze lemon juice

For the glaze

  • 1 orange or 2 naartjies juiced
  • 1 Tbsp erythritol


  • You will need a warm, draught-free place for the Hot Cross Buns to proof / rise. You can use your oven – turn it on to a low setting, or turn the oven light on.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment / baking paper.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the yeast, honey and warm water. Whisk to combine, and set aside to activate.
  • In another small mixing bowl, cover the raisins with some hot water. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the guar gum, psyllium husk and hot water. Stir to combine and prevent lumps from forming. Cut the ghee / butter / coconut oil into small lumps and add to this mixture. Gently stir in the 3 beaten eggs. Set this bowl aside.
  • (If you have turned your oven on to create a warm space for proofing, you should turn it off now – keep the door closed to keep it warm.)
  • Now for the dry ingredients. Grab a large mixing bowl. Add the cassava flour, salt, all spice, vanilla powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, lemon and orange zest. Stir gently to mix (cassava flour is a very ‘dusty flour’, so stir slowly and gently to prevent a dust cloud!)
  • Pour the yeast mixture, psyllium husk mixture and 1 cup warm water over the dry ingredients. Using an electric beater fitted with the dough hooks and on low speed – combine the dry ingredients with the wet.
  • Drain the raisins from the soak water, add them to the dough and stir to mix in..
  • Turn your dough onto a surface dusted with cassava flour. Dust your hands with cassava flour to prevent the dough from sticking to them.
  • Roll the dough into baguette-shaped ball. Cut of small handfuls of dough, roll into a bun shape and place on the baking tray. Leave some space (but not too much) between each dough ball to as they will ‘grow’ when they are proofing. You don’t want to leave to much space though as otherwise your buns will end up being a bit wide and flat!
  • Place the baking tray in the warm oven with a small bowl of steaming hot water alongside it.
  • Leave to rise for 20 minutes.
  • While they are proofing, make the mixture for the crosses and the glaze.
  • For the crosses: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl (cassava flour, tapioca flour, erythritol and water).
  • For the Glaze: Place the orange juice and erythritol in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer for a couple of minutes and set aside to cool.
  • Remove the proofed buns from the warm place.
  • Turn your oven on to 175°C (350°F).
  • Brush the buns with beaten egg (egg wash).
  • Transfer the cross mixture to a piping bag and pipe crosses onto the buns.
  • Place the buns in the oven, and get your plate ready!
  • Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven, brush with the orange glaze, step back and marvel at your brilliance – then eat them while still warm!
  • You can store the leftovers (if there are any) in the freezer. Defrost overnight, slice in half and pop into the toaster to ‘refresh’ them (or in a warm oven for a couple of minutes).


There are a few processes happening simultaneously in this recipe – so the ingredients have been divided accordingly. I would tick each one off as you have added it so you know you have not missed anything!
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, lunch box, refined sugar-free, vegetarian

This is another great recipe to makes with the kids!


Learning how to cook is a life skill! It’s also quality time with your children and it’s a fun school holiday activity!

making gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free hot cross buns
making gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free hot cross buns
Gluten-Free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.


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