It was a busy weekend here dedicated pretty much exclusively to one little person in my life, my little sister. She was celebrating her 7th birthday and in typical family fashion we'd laid on a pretty good spread which apparently is now becoming a bit legendary with the other parents! I think that's partly due to the fact we serve prosecco, can't believe this isn't more widely practiced at children's parties?!
I added to the table with these dairy free 'chocolate' dipped fruit and also lollies in a selection of flavours which you can make out in the photo below. I think my lolly making skills need a bit of work still! Some were definitely more successful than others (I tried various fruit combinations, COYO and coconut water options - any successful recipes will follow on the blog!) and getting them out of the moulds is a bit of a mission. Does anyone have tips?!
Anyway, back to these. Made with coconut oil, cacao and honey for sweetness, I added crushed pistachio as they started to set and in the second batch I added desiccated coconut. However lessons learned for a children's party: 1) There's always one kid with a nut allergy (pistachios immediately banished!) and 2) Kids aren't massive fans of coconut. That's me told. You can tell I don't have kids!
Getting the consistency right is key to these little guys. Without the sugary-milky consistency of dairy chocolate the mixture doesn't seem to quite have the sticking power of its added sugar containing counterpart.
The first batch I made was pretty runny and so it trickled off the fruit quite easily, meaning I needed to 're-apply' after they'd been chilling for a while. The second batch was much thicker which I found much easier to handle, though the density meant it didn't stick so well to kiwi weirdly! So that was dolloped onto pieces laid flat instead.
Oh and if you're admiring the AMAZING birthday cake on the table, then hop on over to my incredible baking sister's website Ella Rose Cakes to see more of her creations. This cake was egg and nut free to suit the requirements of the young guests!
SERVES: 8-10 as snacks
PREP TIME: 50 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes (to chill)
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
80g cacao powder
3-4 tbsp honey (or sweetener of choice) to taste
Fruits of choice. I used: fresh figs, strawberries, clementines and kiwis. This mixture should be enough to cover 3 x clementines, 3 x kiwis and c. 24 strawberries.
Desiccated coconut and crushed pistachio (optional extras)
1. In a bowl mix together the melted coconut oil (try not to heat it up too much, considering you'll be sticking it in the fridge to solidify it again), cacao and honey. Adjust the cacao and honey to suit your taste. It should be a pretty runny mixture at this point.
2. Pop the mixture in the fridge (or freezer if you're in a hurry) to solidify. It will take about half an hour in the fridge to get back to a workable consistency.
3. Whilst chilling, prepare your fruit - peeling and slicing kiwis, peeling and de-pithing clementine segments etc. Lay out your fruit on trays lined with grease-proof paper. You definitely need the paper, trust me. Otherwise it just sticks to plates!
4. After about 30 mins remove your cacao mixture from the fridge and give it a good stir. This should combine the bits around the edge that are solid with the slightly runnier bits in the middle. It should now be a pretty stiff mixture.
5. Dip your fruit into the mixture, piece by piece and lay onto the grease-proof paper when done.
6. If you are decorating, the desiccated coconut can be added straight away - I sprinkled mine on rather than dunking. The pistachios, because of being ground so fine, sank into the runny cacao mixture so add this later after partly chilling, so it sits on top and keeps colour and texture.
7. Put the trays in the fridge to chill. Because the base is coconut oil it should firm up quite quickly. Allow 20-30 mins minimum, particularly if they will be left out on the side when served.
8. Once chilled and the mixture is firm, serve up!