I am from a big extended family of foodies, we all love food. Two of my half-sisters are in the food business, one runs a great little café in England called Pleasant Stores and another is a trained chef and has set up numerous successful businesses and even has a cookbook published. One of her businesses, Manna From Heaven, was where she made delicious cakes, cookies, desserts, pies, all sorts and her treats are amazing.
My absolute favourite thing she makes is her chocolate crunch, and until her cookbook came out I was the only other person (except all the staff in her kitchen) that had the recipe. She lives in Australia and whenever we would visit she would know she needed the place stocked with chocolate crunch. She makes delicious other things but I would only have eyes for the chocolate crunch. I cannot describe this crunch well enough to do it justice, but I will try. The chocolate is fudgy and completely melts in your mouth, it is sweet but due to the dark chocolate it has got a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. The shortbread is that buttery and crunchy shortbread that you just cannot beat, and these two delectable things are combined. The end result is a treat that has the perfect opposing textures… the crunch, the fudgyness, the melt in your mouth, the chewiness and then the flavour of chocolate, sweetness, vanilla butteryness. Basically, you get my gist that they are awesome. These are the treats that swung my husband round to liking dark chocolate. He also adores them, and we would normally always have some in the freezer. Yes, they freeze really well and you only need to get them out and wait around 10 minutes and they’re perfect to eat.
So, again I keep saying this line, but when I became ill chocolate crunch like so many other things was something I sorely missed. I have been working on a vegan gluten-free version of my sister’s chocolate crunch and yeyeyey, I am thrilled to say that day has arrived…I have made it! Not only does it do all of the yummy things I needed it to, it’s also far far healthier – minus the golden syrup, butter and chocolate and gluten.
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- 2 tbs canola oil
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp pysillum husk
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tbs tapioca flour
- ½ cup coconut oil (just under half a cup)
- ¾ cup cacao powder
- ⅔ cup tinned coconut milk (just under ⅔ cup) – use the creamy parts not the water
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbs brown rice syrup
- 1 tbs tahini (you can omit this if you can’t have or don’t want it)
- * I use a dry cup measurer for all my measuring (liquid and dry)
- Grease an 8 x 8in tin (at least 1 ½ in deep) and preheat your oven to 150 degrees.
- Mix the wet ingredients together and when the mixture is well combined add /sift in the flours and add the remaining dry ingredients. You can do this by hand or in the electric mixer, mixing until the mixture comes together.
- The mixture will be sticky to touch still, not as smooth and elastic as normal shortbread dough.
- Put the mixture in a greased 8 x 8in tin, you will need to push the mixture into the tin and spread the surface with the back of a spoon until it is even. It will be around 2cm thick.
- Prick the shortbread all over with a fork. Keep the dough filled tin in the fridge until your oven is ready. When your oven is hot enough place the tin in the middle of the oven.
- After 30 minutes keep checking your shortbread. It will take between 35-45 minutes depending on your oven.
- It is done when the shortbread will be just coming away from the edges and the surface is firm to touch and with a just turning golden color.
- Remove from the oven but leave in the tin for at least 10 minutes. Then cut into slices in the tin and carefully remove to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Place all the ingredients in a pot and simmer while gently whisking for 2 minutes until all the ingredients are combined and melted.
- Put to one side to cool.
- Now cut all of the shortbread into smaller pieces 2-3cm cubes and add to the chocolate mixture.
- Using a spoon, fold the mixture together, it is ok to break the shortbread up more in this process, it adds a few smaller chunks throughout, which you want. All the shortbread should be covered by the chocolate mixture.
- Then line the 8 x 8 tin with cling film and pour the mixture into the tin. Using a palate knife or the back of a spoon smooth the mixture out, this will involve some wiggling and crushing of shortbread to make the top flat. Once you are happy with the level of the mixture layer, place another piece of cling film over the top and pop it in the freezer.
- It is then ready to cut into pieces of whatever size you desire after 1 hour.
- I then keep it in the freezer permanently, just taking out pieces 5 minutes before I want to eat them.