All day yesterday I eagerly awaited for the Grand Masterchef Finale. I’m not a particularly avid follower, except for the fact that I watched every single episode (ooops), but there’s just something about that final cook off, the pressure, the challenge and the techniques involved. And thus, together with other million other souls, I eagerly and not so patiently waited to find out what the big challenge was. What masterpiece of a dish would they have to recreate?
When my eyes landed on Peter Gilmore’s Chocolate Ethereal dessert, within seconds my heart went from ‘aaaahhh’ to ‘uuhh’. When they described its sugar loaded components, my heart sunk completely. While I can appreciate the skills and techniques involved in creating such an impressive dish, the little voice in the back of my mind kept whispering ‘too much sugar, heart disease, sugar, diabetes, sugar, obesity, way too much sugar, child obesity’. There’s so many (preventable) diseases associated with too much sugar in our diets (and overall with bad eating habits). Country wide, there is a problem. No, scratch that, world wide we consume too much sugar and the wrong type of sugar to boot. In our desserts, in our drinks, in our meals, in our cereals, in our dairy and even in our bread. We put way too much emphasis on sugar. Way too much, everysingleday. And when the eyes of the nation are upon you, Masterchef, when the eyes of thousands of children, thousands of young adults, millions of mums and dads are upon you, what do you do? You make white, refined sugar the star of the show, the highlight of the evening. You marvel at what it can do, you moan at its taste, you dress it to impress. You make everyone crave it. You make everyone want to recreate it at home. Nts nts nts.
For months and months, you have the attention of the nation, albeit for a couple of hours a night. You have the power to showcase healthy ingredients and healthy cooking methods. You have the ability to present masterfully created healthy dishes and show the world that healthy can and is absolutely ‘god smacking’ (as you’d say) delicious. You have the power to educate. The power to make change happen. The power to make healthy eating attractive, desirable and part of everyday life. That is a privilege I wholeheartedly and not so secretly wish you’d rise up to. Teach me at least one healthy alternative to sugar. Or better yet, take away the sugar altogether and teach me how to make artful desserts sweetened only with fresh fruit? Now that’s a challenge I’d like to see in the upcoming 2015 series.
Now let’s move on from dessert to dessert, as that seems to be the theme of the evening (and of life in general). Here’s mine. These salted peanut butter cups require only 5 ingredients and no refined sugars, no white flours and overall not a single highly processed ingredient. And I can promise you they’re absolutely mind blowing. When you take the first bite, those gorgeous juicy berries pop and release the most wonderful, zesty flavours. The rich and dense salted peanut butter taste follows the freshness of the berries and blends and melts with the chocolate. And this will make you smile. And it will make you moan.
- 1 cup raw peanuts
- 1 cup sesame
- 4-6 TBSP liquid sweetener of choice (raw honey, pure maple syrup)
- good pinch of sea salt flakes
- 8 squares of raw chocolate (or 1/4 cup of melted homemade chocolate, recipe here)
- handful of frozen berries
- You can use the peanuts raw or you can slightly dry toast them. I’d recommend the latter as it makes for a much tastier mini tart.
- To dry toast them, add the peanuts to a small pan on low to medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, making sure to stir them often and not let them burn.
- Remove peanuts from pan and allow them to cool.
- Remove skin and add peanuts to the blender with a good pinch of sea salt. Process for a minute until you make peanut butter. Scoop into a bowl.
- Add sesame seeds to the blender and process until you get a thick sesame paste. Scoop it on top of the peanut butter.
- Add sweetener to the peanut butter and sesame paste and mix it all together.
- Make 7-8 small balls and press them into mini muffin cups. Place in the fridge.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl, atop a pot of how water.
- Take the peanut butter cups out of the mini muffin tin and place them on a flat plate.
- Scoop 1-2 TBSP of melted chocolate onto the chilled peanut butter cups and press few frozen berries on top of each.
- Place them in the fridge for at least 5 minutes.