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.
Enter our saving grace… Raw Cacao!
Raw Cacao is pure chocolate – the cacao bean from the cacao tree, in its unprocessed, raw state. It has been shown to have the highest levels of antioxidants of any food on earth; is an excellent source of iron and magnesium and a good source of vitamin C, fibre, calcium, protein potassium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. Best of all, you can use it to make chocolate that is gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free!
Making your own chocolate from raw cacao is a simple and thoroughly enjoyable process and your little one can feast on Easter eggs that are not only delicious but nutritious too! You can even sneak in some Superfoods for added nutritional punch!
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!
Chocolate making equipment!
A raw chocolate Easter basket – raw chocolates on a bed of dehydrated kale 🙂
I am particularly proud of this one! [sorry for the dark photo’s – the Easter Bunny works at night :)]
Look what the Easter Bunny left in our freezer!
Mila is a big fan of lollipops!
Mila’s first Easter, March 2013 (technically her second Easter, but Mama got to eat all the chocolate on her first Easter day)
Other Easter treats:
I buy some of the Easter products from the shops, 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.
But back to the Chocolate!
Here is the oh-so-easy way to make delicious and nutritious chocolate…
Easter “Eggs” Recipe
(gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free)
*This recipe is not in my book ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics‘, but it will be in the second book 🙂
*Green Bang – a mix of barley grass, wheatgrass, alfalfa leaf, spinach powder, broccoli powder, moringa leaf, spirulina
- Place the cacao paste and cacao butter in a glass bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water.
- Allow to melt gently.
- 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.
“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! To make a hollow chocolate, you need to paint a layer of the melted chocolate mixture onto the chocolate mould and allow it to set in the freezer. Once frozen, paint another layer onto the first layer. Return the mould to the freezer. Continue this process until you have a thick enough layer of chocolate into the mould.
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.
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.
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!)
UPDATE: EASTER 2017
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 this year – and I am so glad I did! My culinary knowledge has grown, and it shows in this new recipe! These are DELICIOUS! And soft, and spongy just like the gluten-full ones! This recipe also appears in on my recipe page.
Hot Cross Buns Recipe
(gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free)
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!
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!
Key: gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, paleo, vegetarian, for adults too
Makes 15 buns
(t. = teaspoon; T. = tablespoon, C. = cup)
- Kettle of boiling water
- 2 t. Instant Yeast
- 1 T. Honey
- ½ C. warm Water
- 1 1/3 C Raisins (if your little one is very little – I would chop these into smaller pieces)
- 1 t. Guar Gum
- ¼ C. Psyllium Husk
- 1 C. hot Water
- 100g Ghee, Grass-fed butter or Coconut Oil
- 3 extra-large organic Eggs, beaten
- 3 C. Cassava Flour
- ½ t. Salt (Himalayan, Sea Salt or Oryx Desert Salt)
- 1 t. ground All Spice
- ½ t. Vanilla Powder
- ½ t. ground Nutmeg
- 2 t. ground Cinnamon
- ½ t. ground Cardamom seeds
- 2 t. aluminum-free Baking Powder
- 1 t. Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Zest of 1 Orange (or 2 Naartjies)
- 1 C. Warm Water
FOR THE EGG WASH
- 1 Organic Egg, beaten
FOR THE CROSSES
FOR THE GLAZE
- Juice of 1 orange, or 2 Naartjies
- 1 T. 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).
Wishing you all a blessed Easter.