The other week I had to order some catering for a media training session and the request was for hot scones. A popular choice is the humble scone and for good reason. However, given that scones aren't the best choice for someone like me eating a gluten-free diet I set about finding something equally delicious but slightly more nutritious at a local deli which produces the most amazing food. In all honesty, I could probably just stay there all day mesmerised by the colourful salads and delicious baking on offer. I would have normally baked something myself but in this instance I simply ran out of time. Anyway, I’m glad I did because I found a gluten-free chocolatey slice in the deli which looked highly scrumptious. I bought a piece and then set out to make my own version at home because I loved it so much!
I’m a bit frugal and hate the idea of waste, so I’m always trying to come up with ideas to use the last half of my pot of espresso coffee. We have a stove-top Italian espresso ‘machine’ (i.e. pot!) that we bought home from Italy with us. Admittedly, it is meant to make six espressos so you can imagine that it makes a powerful cup of coffee! Normally my husband and I share it but on the days when he doesn’t have the other half I have a delicious half pot of espresso to make use of. This delectable coffee, date and chocolate slice is the result of experimenting with that half cup.
This slice has a moist flavourful base filled with nuts and dried fruit topped off with a crunchy chocolatey topping that makes it the perfect after dinner treat or small indulgent snack in between meals. I like to cut mine into small squares and then keep it in a container in the freezer. That way, I can simply take a small piece out when I feel like something delicious and also means it lasts longer. Frugal thinking. The good news is you can eat it straight away without waiting for it to defrost!
As an aside, I’m reading the most amazing book at the moment called Frugavore by Arabella Forge, and it has instantly struck a chord with me. Hence, the use of the word frugal a few times in this post! I currently have a lemon & ginger cake in the oven from Frugavore that I hope to share with you soon. But in the meantime, if you have leftover coffee and a few nuts and dried fruit in your cupboard, you can easily whip up this coffee, date and chocolate slice to enjoy over the long weekend. I bet the Queen would even enjoy it.
Coffee, Date & Chocolate Slice
Makes ~20 squares
½ cup espresso or strong black coffee
½ cup cashews
4 dried figs, chopped
4 Medjool dates, pips removed and chopped
1 Tbspn melted coconut oil
1 Tbspn cacao powder or good quality cocoa powder
1 Tbspn coconut flour
1 Tbspn cacao nibs (optional)
2 Tbspn coconut oil
1/3 cup cacao powder or good quality cocoa powder
2 Tbspn pure maple syrup
Line a small cake tin or similar with baking paper.
Place the nuts and espresso into a blender or Nutribullet (I’m still obsessed with this machine!) and pulse until the nuts are roughly chopped and you have a chunky mixture.
Add the figs, dates, melted coconut oil, cacao or cocoa power and coconut flour and blend until everything is combined and you have a smooth-ish mixture.
Place the mixture in the baking paper lined tin and spread out evenly. Sprinkle over the cacao nibs and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
To make the topping, melt the coconut oil over a pot of simmering water. Once melted, whisk in the cacao powder and maple syrup until you have a smooth mixture.
Take the base out of the freezer and pour over the topping and spread it out evenly over the base.
Place the slice back in the fridge for the topping to set.
Once the topping has set cut the slice into small pieces and keep in an air-tight container in the freezer.