This recipe was one I devised for a sugar-free cook book that’s just been released in France (it might be published in English one day, who knows. Any takers?) – and thought it would be good for an Easter blog post. These chocolatey, raisiny bites are absolutely delicious – the fact they contain no added sugar is just a bonus as far as I’m concerned, as Easter isn’t a great time for abstemiousness. But it is tricky for people trying to avoid certain things in their diet – like added sugar or dairy.
Things have certainly improved since I was a kid. My mother was a little bit of a hippy on the food front and gave us carob Easter eggs for a while. As far as I recall, they were gritty, vile things that didn’t remotely taste like chocolate. So I’m pleased there are now some lovely options for people with dietary restrictions. I received some fabulous samples during the week from Doisy & Dam, who make a gorgeous range of quality vegan and gluten-free chocolates with lots of tasty “super food” ingredients like chia seeds and goji berries. I’m not sure how “super” these foods are for you when they come enveloped in a hunk of chocolate, but I can confirm they are extremely delicious.
I’m also a big fan of Dorset chocolatier Kerry Witt, founder of Chocolate By Miss Witt. A Michelin trained pastry chef, she uses ganache made with spring water, not cream. You might think the absence of dairy would make these inferior specimens, but no, no, no. You can actually taste the chocolate – she only uses the best and sources it from all over the world – and carefully pairs it with lots of amazing flavours, including delicious fillings from the New Forest-based Naked Jam. She also does a range suitable for vegans.
These chocolate raisins are incredibly simple to throw together and would be a nice present if you’re into making edible gifts. They don’t contain added sugar, although of course they’re not strictly sugar free, being full of juicy raisins. However, you do benefit from the nutrients and fibre in the fruit, which you don’t in chocolate loaded with the white stuff (read empty calories) or other sweeteners like honey, agave or maple syrup – which are of course, just sugar. But don’t get me started on that.
You can use other dried fruit, and I have made this with nuts and seeds as well, but raisins are the perfect size. Smaller fruits don’t work quite so well.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Addictive chocolate raisins
Makes about 350g
- 100g dark chocolate made from 100% cocoa solids, grated
- 80g coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons double cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 200g raisins
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until melted together.
Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in the cream and vanilla, then the raisins. Set aside for a few minutes for the mixture to thicken slightly. Pour onto the prepared baking sheet, ensuring the raisins are in a single layer.
Chill in the fridge for 2 hours, or until the chocolate has hardened. Break into pieces to serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge