Delicious chocolatey treats that feel so naughty, yet are packed with wholesome and satisfying ingredients. What’s not to love about Paradise Squares?!
Sometimes, another green smoothie or vegetable-heavy stir fry is just not ticking the munchies box and we yearn for a naughty comfort treat. That’s normal (even for very healthy eaters) you just need to ensure that you have nutritious alternatives for when the munchies strike!
All the ingredients are wholesome and raw, full of nutrients and nut-free. Many of the healthy alternative treats currently doing the rounds on social media are made with dates and nuts, so this makes a refreshing change and of course, it looks and tastes like the well-known chocolate bar, yet so much better for you!
Paradise Squares are Free-From:
GLUTEN-FREE (GF), DAIRY-FREE (DF), NUT-FREE (NF), VEGETARIAN* (V), VEGAN* (VV). However, do check the contents of the coconut cream and chocolate you are using!
Coconut – contains lauric acid and capric acid which are anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic & anti-fungal. Also supports heart health in its raw form; coconut and their oils do not deserve their outdated reputation as a bad fat (beware hydrogenated versions of any oils which are now proven to contribute to heart disease). Coconut’s medium-chain fatty acids are easily used as an energy source rather than stored as body fat which may help speed up metabolism and may promote weight loss.
Raw honey – this retains all of the healthful benefits of honey as it has not been pasteurised, filtered or clarified like commercial honey has. Benefits of raw honey include increased anti-oxidant effects, energy, wound healing, and it is believed to have anti-cancer properties. Honey is tolerated well by some people with digestive problems as being a single sugar molecule (monosaccharide) it is more easily absorbed than the popular alternatives such as sorbitol and xylitol.
Chocolate – rich in flavonoid antioxidants helpful for a healthy heart, reducing blood clotting and managing cholesterol levels. Chocolate contains substances believed to give feelings of love and euphoria – hence why many people feel better after eating chocolate. However, make your choice a wise one – the higher the cocoa content, the higher the love! Choose 70%+ cocoa content and buy raw cacao when you can.
N.B. Coconut contains small amounts of oxalate, avoid or limit consumption if you have a history of oxalate containing kidney stones. Chocolate contains the amino acid arginine, so is best limited by those with active or frequently-occurring cold sores.
Ingredients (makes approx. 20 Paradise Squares)
200g bar of creamed coconut
6 tbsp. coconut oil
3 tbsp. raw honey
1½ tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of sea salt
150g desiccated coconut
200g (70-85% cocoa solids) dark chocolate to your liking
1 Line a 20 cm square tin or two small loaf tins with baking parchment. Place the unopened packet of creamed coconut in a bowl of warm water to melt it through (you can massage the packet to help it along). In warm weather, the creamed coconut may already be fluid enough.
2 When it’s soft all the way through, pour into a bowl and mix in the coconut oil (it will melt if it’s hard), raw honey, vanilla, salt and 2–4 tablespoons filtered water if you like a softer centre.
3 Stir in the desiccated coconut evenly to create a doughy consistency.
4 Pour the dough into the prepared tin. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon to make it level and set in the fridge for 15 minutes until hard.
5 Turn the tin of coconut mixture out onto a chopping board and slice into bars or squares. Place them onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and keep in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate.
6 Melt the chocolate slowly in a glass or metal bowl over a pan of warm water – make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and do not allow the water to boil or simmer – you may have to keep removing from the heat. Scorching the chocolate can spoil the flavour.
7 When just over half the chocolate has melted, take the bowl off the heat and place on a tea towel to avoid slipping. The rest of the chocolate will melt in a few minutes. Leave it to cool as much as possible without it hardening to give a thicker coating to the paradise bars. Stir regularly.
8 Dip the squares into the chocolate and cover all over. Leave to harden on baking paper.
9 Eat from the fridge for hard centres and at room temperature for soft centres.
Jane’s top tip
These make a great after-dinner treat, whenever I take them to a dinner party, there are never any leftover!
Recipe attribution: Hemsley & Hemsley
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my blog, please comment below…
What makes these bars super-powered is the quality of the chocolate. Read my blog A Nutritionist’s Guide To Choosing Chocolate to help you choose ethical, quality chocolate that aids not only your health but supports cocoa-growing communities too.
Jane Barrett is a registered nutritionist and expert in digestive health helping women & children with digestive issues take control of their health through food. She offers support through meal plans, online courses & personalised 1:1 programmes on Zoom.