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Healthy, Beautifying, Decadent Dessert

Posted Oct 16 2008 7:58pm

Baking is my passion. In fact, at every holiday party for friends or family, I am the designated baker. I began baking as a child when my grandma taught me how to bake peanut butter cookies, chocolate pudding, and rhubarb pies. Then, five years ago I ditched the sugar habit and was still required to show up at every party with dessert. So to reconcile my love for baking and my need for healthier desserts, I began experimenting with naturally sweetened recipes.

When it comes to yummy taste and healthy ingredients, I found the right balance for a new dessert recipe I concocted for my family's Father's Day party over the past weekend (we celebrate every holiday with a big party). I came up with a delicious torte full of antioxidants from
dark chocolateand raw almonds. It also uses coconut cream concentrate, which contains mostlycoconut oil (see yesterday's post on this amazing healthy fat), containing immunity-boosting lauric acid.

People who are on a dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free diet will even be able to eat it. It's naturally sweetened with agave nectar. And no one at the party could tell it was a "healthy" dessert until I told them. The lightly-sweetened, fudgey torte got rave reviews. Even my husband, who doesn't like coconut and is a huge food critic, enjoyed it.

I'm calling it an Almond Joy Torte because of the three main ingredients. Here's the recipe:


10 oz unsweetened chocolate (chopped)
3/4 cup
coconut cream concentrate*
1 cup
agave nectar
5 eggs (separated)
1-1/4 cup ground raw almonds (or use almond meal)
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

2 tbsp coconut cream concentrate*
2 tbsp agave nectar

2 tbsp toasted raw coconut
2 tbsp toasted slivered almonds

*The only company I know of that makes coconut cream concentrate (which is 70% coconut oil) is
Tropical Traditions. However, it's much easier to find coconut oil at the health food store so if you decide to replace the coconut cream concentrate with regular coconut oil, you may want to increase the agave nectar because the coconut cream concentrate is slightly sweet.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and grease the sides of a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. When the chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and leave it over the hot water to cool slowly.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, beat the coconut cream concentrate with 3/4 cup of the agave nectar until creamed together. Add egg yolks and beat for 1 minute. Add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat another minute. Then, beat in the melted chocolate. Once combined, mix in the ground almonds, beat about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, place the egg whites and beat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually pour in the remaining 1/4 cup of agave nectar and beat until it's a thick, creamy marshmallow-like consistency. Fold about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it. Quickly fold in the rest of the whites and mix only until incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out covered with a thick, moist, crumb coating. Allow torte to cool for 30 minutes in the pan. While the torte is cooling, make the glaze. Warm the coconut cream concentrate in a very small sauce pan and mix with the agave nectar. Then, loosen the torte edges with a knife and carefully turn the cake out onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper. Smooth the glaze over the torte and then garnish with toasted slivered almonds and raw coconut. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Refrigerating the torte over night gives it a nice fudgey consistency.

Save on Agave Nectar - Low-Glycemic, Natural Sweetner

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