Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

This recipe is not yet gluten-free.

I’m totally in love with my freeze-dried raspberry powder. It’s proving to be an indispensible ingredient in my larder and I’m learning more about the different ways I can use it all the time. I’ve already used it for making the most amazing homemade lip balm to add colour and flavour, in my Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars and now I have just used it for the purpose that I actually bought it for – raspberry buttercream.

raspberry powder

If I’m making fruit flavoured buttercream like lemon or strawberry then usually I would use natural extract but although the buttercream has always turned out delicious there is an almost undetectable aftertaste. Using fresh fruit doesn’t quite work for me as it can sometimes be a bit lumpy, I’m not a big fan of picking lemon zest out of my teeth and fruit puree can be a bit wet.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

These freeze-dried powders though are brilliant. Just a little dab of the raspberry powder tastes of pure zingy unadulterated fruit, I just used a tablespoon of it in a bog-standard butter and icing sugar buttercream and it livened it up immeasurably. Not to mention it paired like a dream with these intensely cocoa packed biscuits.

In fact these biscuits turned out even better than expected. They didn’t quite have the polished look I was aiming for but all was forgiven as soon as I ate one, then another, then another and I didn’t even make them for me so it’s just as well I made a whole bunch.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

The chocolate biscuits were an easy-to-come-together mix just chucked into my Kitchenaid for it to do all the heavy lifting. I added a bit of cornflour to the mix so that the finished biscuit was softer and not too crisp so they melted wondrously into the filling of buttercream sandwiching the two biscuits together.

I had two different heart shaped cutters and cut out an even number of large hearts, then for half of the hearts I cut out a mini heart from the inside. The biscuits only took just under five minutes in the oven as I had rolled out the dough super thin. Then once the biscuits were cooled, which again hardly took any time at all, I smeared a thin layer of buttercream on the whole hearts then stuck the holey hearts on top so the buttercream could peek through.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

By all means make these for your Valentine, they will love you even more. However, it is an equally good idea to just make these for yourself, after all I think we all need to love ourselves a little bit more from time to time.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits
Makes about 26 biscuits

175g butter
175g caster sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g plain flour
25g cornflour
50g cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt

For the buttercream:
225g butter
225g icing sugar
1 tablespoon freeze-dried raspberry powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light but don’t overmix otherwise it will make the biscuits too crumbly.
  2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornflour, cocoa powder and salt then add to the rest of the mixture and mix until it all comes together into a dough.
  4. Wrap in greaseproof paper and rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  6. Roll the dough out to about a 3-5mm thickness then cut out an even number of hearts, re-rolling and cutting out more hearts until all the dough has been used up.
  7. Then for half of the hearts cut out a mini heart shape from the inside.
  8. Bake the biscuits in batches on non-stick baking trays for 4-5 minutes, then once removed from the oven leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray. Remove from the tray and finish cooling on racks.
  9. Meanwhile prepare the buttercream by creaming together the butter and icing sugar for 5-10 minutes until incredibly light and fluffy.
  10. Add the raspberry powder, vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined.
  11. Once the biscuits have cooled smear some buttercream evenly on the top of the whole hearts then place the holey hearts on top to create sandwiches. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

The instructions in this recipe were updated in 2019 to make the method a little clearer

I make no bones about it, these energy bars have been shamelessly ripped from the Nakd bar. I was completely reliant on Nakd bars when I worked as a TV Producer. I was either too busy to have breakfast so I grabbed one of these, maybe I had edits that ran over lunch so I kept going by pulling one of these out of my bag, or I was working late which meant that dinner was pushed until I got home at some heinous hour and my Nakd bars would once again save the day. I always had heaps of them crammed into my desk drawer, handbag and coat pockets.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Since I’ve been working from home, I haven’t found the need to rely so much on shop bought snacks, there is usually cake around or I’m recipe testing so I can munch on a bit of whatever I’m cooking or baking. Can you tell I was a bit more diet conscious when I wasn’t slouching around in tracky bums, baggy t-shirts and slippers all day.

Well, I’m upping the health factor in my life at the moment, making sure I achieve my 5-a-day, consume my 700mg of calcium and perhaps not rely on chocolate to fill the spare five minutes I have whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. With healthy eating comes healthy snacking so although I won’t rely on these bars like I used to it’s incredibly handy having something in that I can have if I need a sugar or protein hit. If I’m going for a long walk with Billy Buddy then I find that one of these is absolutely perfect for my dipping energy if I’m getting pulled around by an excitable little dog.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Having exhausted all the flavours of Nakd bars during my obsession with them I always wanted to give them a go myself, after all there is only about four ingredients listed on the back of the packets. I should have carved out time to do this years ago, as they were one of the easiest things to prepare. If you own a food mixer then that’s all you need to whizz up the ingredients before you press into a tin, refrigerate and then cut into bars.

When I set about making these I didn’t have any particular plan in mind other than I wanted to use up some of my dried cranberries; I severely overestimated how many I would need over Christmas and my larder is overrun with them. I love cranberry and macadamia together and then found buried in the back the remains of a packet of macadamias which hadn’t gone out of date yet – score! There weren’t quite enough nuts so I amped up the quantity by substituting almonds. I also added dates which are the main ingredient in any Nakd bar to bind the bars together, I used plump sticky medjool dates to add juiciness and deeper flavour. There are more dates than cranberries in this recipe but the dates add the background note whilst the overriding zingy flavour is of the cranberries. I couldn’t resist adding a tablespoon of freeze dried raspberry powder either for more berry flavour.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

They worked out better than expected. The raspberry powder lifts the whole bar so it tastes fresher somehow. You can get raspberry powder from Father Christmas when he puts it in your stocking to open on Christmas morning or if you weren’t quite as lucky as I was then it’s easy enough to buy online.

These bars should keep for about a week in the fridge but you could also double the quantity I’ve suggested here and stick them in the freezer so you have lots to keep you going. I made mine in a smaller quantity of eight so I can move onto another flavour when these are done.

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars

Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Full of protein and bursting with fruity flavour.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Servings: 8 bars
Calories: 195kcal

Ingredients

  • 180 g medjool dates pitted
  • 75 g dried cranberries
  • 75 g macadamia nuts
  • 50 g blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberry powder

Instructions

  • Line and grease a 5 x 5 x 3 inch* square baking tin with two long pieces of baking parchment so they cross in the middle and come up and over the sides of the tin.
  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor and combine for 3-5 minutes until all the components have broken down and come together into a sticky ball.
  • Tip the mixture into the baking tin, press down on top so the surface is even.
  • Place in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up then carefully remove from the tin, using the long ends of the baking parchment as leverage and cut into 12 bars.
  • Store the bars in the fridge in between snacking for about a week.

Notes

*I originally used a different baking tin for the bars made in the photos. This tin will make slightly wider shaped bars.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.8mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

The raspberry powder I used in this recipe was Freeze Dried Raspberry Powder 150g. It’s a lovely product and I find freeze-dried raspberry powder useful in so many recipes, from buttercreams to sponge cakes and also in homemade beauty products like lip balm – basically anytime I need a hit of raspberry without using fresh fruit which isn’t always appropriate.

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

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