Last night I had some friends over for dinner, dessert and great conversation. I love having people over and I love making them food that they enjoy. Seeing everyone smiling, laughing, and enjoying each others company is wonderful. I made a raw, vegan, gluten free, orange chocolate caramel tart sprinkled with sea salt and orange zest. It was divine! The orange chocolate was my favorite. After mixing it together, I tasted a little and almost passed out. It was THAT good! I managed to pull myself together and tasted it again, then again, and again, and again. Mmmmmmm… Have you ever tasted something so good, it made time stop? You close your eyes, slowly letting the taste travel all over your taste buds, putting your lips together and all you can say is a slow Mmmmmmm….? That is what happens when you taste the orange chocolate. Time stops, I ended up slowly spinning in circles, flinging the chocolate everywhere, throwing my arms in the air and singing. Birds and squirrels came in from outside and surrounded me. The birds perched on my arms and swayed back and forth and the squirrels were sitting on my head and hanging onto my pant legs singing. It became a magical moment. Okay, now I’m cracking up. If anyone reads that, they are probably going to think I was on drugs and crazy. What can I say, I’m a chocolate addict with a little secret ingredient, lol. And sometimes I tend to make a crazy, ridiculous chocolate face (or I was terrified there were squirrels and birds in my house crawling on me). No, it was the chocolate… Oh. My. Goodness…
But in all seriousness this raw tart is DAMN GOOD! Damn good, I say! I took a lot of pictures, because I enjoyed it so much. Just talking about it, is making me really excited, my stomach is getting that excited feeling and I can’t stop smiling. It almost gives you that feeling of being in love. I just want to get up and knock things over I’m so excited. How can a dessert make you feel so happy? I don’t know, but this one sure can!
Okay, so I was curious about chocolate and getting “high” off of it. So I just looked it up. Here is what I found:
“One of the more unique neurotransmitters released by chocolate is phenylethylamine. This so called “chocolate amphetamine” causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels leading to feelings of excitement and alertness. It works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but it does not result in the same tolerance or addiction. Phenylethylamine is also called the “love drug” because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when someone is in love.
Another interesting compound found in chocolate is the lipid anandamide. Anandamide is unique due to its resemblance to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical found in marijuana. Both activate the same receptor which causes the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which leads to feelings of well being that people associate with a high. Anandamide, found naturally in the brain, breaks down very rapidly. Besides adding to the levels of anandamide, chocolate also contains two other chemicals which work to slow the breakdown of the anandamide, thus extending the feelings of well-being. Even though the anandamide in chocolate helps to create feelings of elation, the effect is not the same as the THC in marijuana. THC reacts with receptors more widely dispersed in the brain and is present in much larger amounts. It would take twenty-five pounds of chocolate to achieve a similar high to that of marijuana.”
So, I guess me seeing birds and squirrels in my house is a normal thing! Whew, good thing I was worried. You are probably getting anxious about this recipe, so i’ll stop talking about addiction and how delicious this tart is. It’s time for you to experience the wonderful taste of it.
For the Crust:
1 cup organic raw almonds (sprouted is best)
1 cup organic raw pecans (sprouted is best)
3/4 cup organic dates
2 Tablespoons organic pure maple syrup
For the Caramel:
1 cup organic dates
1 1/2 cup water (use as much or little as needed to get a thin caramel consistency)
2 tablespoons organic chia seeds
2 tablespoons organic raw coconut nectar
1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
Organic pure maple syrup for drizzling
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
For the Chocolate:
3/4 cup organic raw cacao
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup melted organic unrefined coconut oil
juice and zest of 2 organic oranges
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1) The make the crust, pulse the nuts in your food processor until crumb-sized. Then add the dates and syrup and pulse until everything sticks together. Press into the bottom of a tart tin and put in the freezer. (I didn’t have a tart tin so I used a cake springform pan. It just doesn’t form it into a tart shape).
2) To make the caramel, blend all the ingredients in a vita mix until smooth. I first tried blending it in the food processor but it doesn’t allow it become an even smooth consistency. A blender works a lot better. Spoon the caramel into the bottom on the crust, drizzle on maple syrup and put back in the freezer.
3) To make the chocolate (oh gosh), blend all the ingredients until smooth (again a vita mix works better). When the caramel in your crust is solid, spread the chocolate on top and put back in the freezer. Let it stay in there overnight. take it out about 10 min before serving and garnish with sea salt and orange zest. Keep stored in the freezer. I don’t think I need to tell you to enjoy it, because you will. But I’ll say it anyway, ENJOY! 🙂