Feel-good decadent delights

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied
As Easter approaches, the allure of decadent chocolate treats becomes quite irresistible, especially when walking the supermarket aisles. However, why not indulge in the season's sweetness this year while still nourishing your body? I have a fabulous selection of recipes that cater to your sweet tooth and make you feel good about what you enjoy.

These recipes for bliss balls, chocolatey granola, and a hot, healing cacao drink are all easy to make and are packed with the goodness of raw cacao. Treat yourself and your loved ones to these delightful pleasures and celebrate this Easter with a sweetness that makes you feel fabulous.

Photo: Steph Pierce
Photo: Steph Pierce

Cacao tahini balls

These bite-sized delights are packed with wholesome ingredients that satisfy your chocolate cravings and provide a nutrient-rich boost.

They take just minutes to prepare, and if you want to make them extra special, dip them in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with chopped nuts or freeze-dried berries for a decadent dessert or Easter egg swap.

Makes 12

Gluten-free, dairy-free

1 cup coconut

½ cup cashews

½ cup pumpkin seeds

2 Tbsp, heaped, cacao or cocoa powder

10 dried pitted dates

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp, heaped, hulled tahini paste


Blitz coconut, cashews, pumpkin seeds, cacao and dates to an extra fine crumb in a NutriBullet or high-powered food processor. Transfer to a medium-size mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in all wet ingredients.

Mix with a wooden spoon until well combined; add 1-2 tablespoons of warm water if your mixture is slightly dry. Roll into small balls and transfer them to the refrigerator to set for 2 hours.

Store balls in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days or in the freezer for three months.

Photo: Steph Pierce
Photo: Steph Pierce

Hot healing cacao

Replace your regular hot beverages with a soul-soothing, hot, healing cacao drink. This comforting concoction not only feels like a hug in a mug but also makes for a filling morning or afternoon pick-me-up to tide you over to your next meal, thanks to the good fats. Made with healing ingredients, this drink is a perfect alternative to satisfy your sweet cravings without the sugar crash.

Serves 1

Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free

I enjoy this comforting and revitalising cacao blend many times each week, soaking up its nourishing, satiating, and indulgent qualities. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, this beverage offers a more substantial alternative than my usual cups of tea, which I also appreciate. Once blended, a velvety, decadent crema sits at the top of your mug. This concoction is a satisfying substitute for dessert or a sugary treat, minus the excessive sugar content. It can be enjoyed any time of the day.

15-18g cacao paste — buttons or block

1-2 tsp pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp coconut cream

200ml boiling water, plus extra for heating mug

Optional extras

Pinch of each: ground cinnamon and cardamom

1 tsp medicinal mushrooms of choice

1 tsp natural gelatin


Grab your drinking mug and fill it with boiling water to preheat. This will keep your cacao hot for longer.

Add all ingredients to the cup of a Nutribullet or high-powered blender and blend for 10-30 seconds until cacao is thoroughly combined and velvety smooth.

Tip the hot water out of your mug, fill it with your hot cacao and enjoy.

Healing benefits

Cacao: Loaded with antioxidants, it contains theobromine, a natural, mild stimulant similar to caffeine, to boost energy, enhance mood, aid liver detoxification, and provide many more benefits.

Cinnamon and cardamom: Can aid in digestion, balance blood sugars, and anti-inflammatory.

Mushrooms: Depending on the type of mushrooms you use or a blend, they can have many medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, mood enhancing, anti-viral, and stress reduction.

Gelatin: Provides collagen protein with amino acids for tissue building, repair and gut wellbeing, as well as aiding in joint health and skin health.

Photo: Steph Pierce
Photo: Steph Pierce

Cacao, coconut and hazelnut granola

Start your mornings with a burst of chocolatey goodness in the form of granola. This chocolatey granola recipe uses wholefood ingredients to kick-start your day with energy while treating yourself to the rich taste of cacao. It is perfect paired with yoghurt and roasted stone fruits for the ultimate Easter weekend brunch.

Gluten-free, dairy-free

300g coconut chips

100g coconut thread

150g sunflower seeds

60g toasted hazelnuts, skins removed

150g honey

75g coconut oil

35g cacao powder

Pinch sea salt

1 tsp vanilla bean extract

100g goji berries or dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 150°C fan-bake; line two large baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

Mix coconut chips, coconut thread, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts in a large bowl.

Add honey, coconut oil, cacao powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, and 4 tablespoons of water to a small pot. Place on medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the coconut oil is completely melted and you have a rich, silky liquid.

Pour the cacao mixture into the coconut mixture and thoroughly mix with a large spoon.

Scatter the granola evenly between two trays and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping it after 10 minutes to cook it evenly. If the mixture seems too wet, cook for 5 minutes longer (it will crisp up once cooled), then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool on the trays.

Mix through goji berries or cranberries. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Notes: We want the mixture to dry out and lightly toast the coconut. Coconut toasts very quickly, so it pays to keep an eye on it — you will smell it if it's starting to overcook.


Vegan: Swap honey for maple syrup

Nut/seed allergy: Swap nuts and seeds for any that you can have/can eat.