Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stephanie Tourles: A Recipe for Raw Chocolate Turtles

The secret ingredient in these no-bake chocolate treats? Pure bliss.

Love is the most wonderful feeling in this world, isn’t it? And the food that most often symbolizes this emotion is chocolate. Now, I’m not talking about the commercially popular Hershey’s Kisses or Lindt Lindor Truffles, but real, raw chocolate, also known as cacao.
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Described as the “food of love” for good reason, cacao contains an abundance of phenylethylamines (PEAs), a class of compounds produced in our bodies when we fall in love. This could be one of the main reasons we have such a deep association with chocolate and the feelings of love.

Additionally, anandamide, a cannabinoid endorphin that the body naturally produces in the brain after exercise, is also found in cacao. It’s known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released while we’re feeling wonderful. This natural neurotransmitter is said to stimulate the energy of the heart chakra, stirring feelings of joy, love, tenderness, affection, and passion. Both PEAs and anandamide are heat- and alkaline-sensitive, thus they are not present in cooked and processed conventional and organic chocolate. You’ve got to eat real, raw cacao to experience their amazing benefits!

This simple recipe, bursting with raw ingredients that contain a plethora of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, simple carbohydrates, healthy fats, protein, and a whole range of therapeutic phytonutrients, is one of my favorite decadent raw confections to make for my handsome partner on this special day. Why not gift someone you love with a batch? I’m sure whomever you share them with will adore these tasty, sweet treats. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Turtles

Chocolate turtles are a classic confection loved by everyone. This raw, melt-in-your-mouth version is a guilt-free treat when eaten with a glass of cold, fresh almond or walnut milk.

Yield: About 16 pieces

½ cup raw almond butter
½ cup raw cocoa (cacao) powder
¼ cup raw agave nectar
16 small or medium raw pecan halves (about ½ cup)

  1. Put the almond butter, cocoa, and agave in a large bowl and slowly stir to blend until a sticky, stiff dough forms.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment or waxed paper.
  3. Pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into balls about 1¼ inches in diameter. Rinse and dry your hands periodically if they get too sticky. Set the balls into the pan so they are not touching.
  4. Gently press a pecan half into the top of each ball. Cover the pan and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours prior to consuming. They’ll become a little bit firmer but will still be pleasantly soft and chewy. I prefer to store and eat them directly out of the freezer, as they become quite firm but still chewy, and the pecan gets crunchy. Whichever method you choose, always store your candies in a tightly sealed container, either in the refrigerator for up to  3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Recipe excerpted from Raw Energy © 2009 by Stephanie Tourles. All rights reserved.

Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She is the author of ten books, including Raw Energy in a Glass, Hands-On Healing Remedies, Organic Body Care Recipes, Raw Energy, Naturally Healthy Skin, 365 Ways to Energize Mind, Body & Soul, and Natural Foot Care. She lives in Orland, Maine.

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