What this slice lacks in refined sugar, it makes up for in its infinite potential for hashtags: #dairyfree, #paleo, #vegan, #raw, #glutenfree, #cleaneating etc. The only food trend – gluten free – is one I follow by force, not fashion. That being said, I secretly love health food crazes as they encourage trying new things with food. I’m not about to activate an almond or anything, but I genuinely enjoyed the added challenge of making something in a novel way. I especially enjoy how mint leaves themselves lended their colour to the green layer!
I have never been the hugest fan of vegan treats, let alone raw ones, but the Pana Chocolate cafe in Melbourne successfully swayed me to believe that such alternatives could be better than the real thing. One taste of their chocolate mint slice had me happily handing over $8 to indulge in a full piece. It was worth every penny, and I have thought about how amazingly decadent, rich and smooth it was on a regular basis since. All I needed at home to recreate it practically perfectly was patience and a reasonably powerful food processor. The ingredients themselves are not too hard to come by in most supermarkets, however they are more expensive than their standard, sugary counterparts. The batch ensuing is gigantic, however, and best stored frozen. Compared to how much a single piece costs at any hipster cafe, making this is almost economical when it comes to cravings.
For the base:
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 18 medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
For the mint layers:
- 330g cashews, raw and soaked overnight (or at least 4 hours)
- 220g virgin coconut oil
- 220g rice malt syrup
- 6 drops peppermint oil
- 100ml coconut cream
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 large handful fresh mint leaves
For the chocolate topping:
- 125ml maple syrup
- 120g extra virgin coconut oil
- 60g cacao powder
- Line a baking tin with nonstick baking paper.
- In a food processor, pulse the buckwheat through a few times to make a rough flour, with some of the groats still intact/in pieces for crunch. Add the rest of the base ingredients (walnuts, coconut oil, dates, cacao powder, salt) and blend until the dates combine through to make a sticky, crumbly mess. Press the base mixture into the bottom of the baking tray and place in the freezer to set for 30 minutes-1 hour.
- Make the cream-colour layer of the slice by combining half of each of the filling ingredients except for the mint leaves in a food processor and blending until smooth and creamy (taste and add more peppermint essence at this point depending on your tastes). Pour on top of the base and pop back in the freezer to set again for another hour
- Make the green colour by blending the handful of mint leaves with the remaining 50ml of coconut cream at high speed. Add the remaining half of the filling ingredients and blend once again until creamy. Pour the green on top of the cream, spreading out evenly and freeze once again to set.
- When the filling is set, make the topping by combining the maple syrup with the coconut oil (ideally in liquid form – if your current climate is not so warm as to yield this itself, it will melt easily when warmed in a bowl of warm water so it maintains its “raw” state) and cocoa. Pour on top of the slice and make the top even with an offset spatula. If the slice is already frozen this will set in about half an hour.
- When set, remove slice from freezer and cut into small pieces with a sharp knife. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
Makes around 40-50 pieces, depending on size.