coconut manna mousse bites

Don’t let all the talk about “healthy” this and “good-for-you” that fool you: this one is pure, velvety, deep, dense chocolate richness bliss. 

Dairy free, gluten free (check your vanilla too), egg free. Fat free? Not even close! Yes, coconut is full of saturated fats, but their saturated fats are special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are digested, absorbed, burned, and stored differently than other saturated fats. They burn more efficiently, which means energy for endurance athletes. MCTs may also give more energy to people with fat malabsorption syndromes (gallbladder, liver, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome).

While MCTs burn more efficiently, unless you are doing a ketogenic diet (a high-fat, adequate-protein, low carb diet which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbs), you’re adding calories. In this case, substitute coconut fat for other fats and you’ll be fine. A side note: studies show eating regular vegetable oils raises blood triglycerides; MCTs do not. So much for “artery-clogging” saturated coconut fat!

Makes 108 one-inch” bite pieces (they keep forever in the refrigerator or freezer)
Use a quarter sheet pan or a 9×12 shallow cookie pan

1 15-oz jar Nutiva coconut manna 2 C raw cacao powder
14 oz dry creamed coconut  2¼ C pure maple syrup
¼ C cacao nibs  3½ Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions from Nathan, another one of our bakers:

1. Heat your jar of coconut manna in a 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes (you can use a microwave for this; I’m not into microwaves, so I opt for the more dangerous way), carefully remove manna jar from the oven using potholders, stir with a table knife. Allow jar to cool a bit while you do the next step.

2. Using a knife or bench scraper, chop creamed coconut into ¼”-size pieces; pulse in a food processor to blend this into a paste (about one minute)

3. Add coconut manna to food processor and blend until smooth (about one minute)

4. Add cocoa powder. Blend until incorporated (about 20 seconds)

5. Add vanilla and maple syrup. Blend until mousse is glossy (30 seconds). Your food processor will be suffering at this point.

6. Pour mixture into a quarter sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper and greased with coconut oil. Press mixture into the pan using greased hands. It should level out, fill the whole pan and have a great sheen. Sprinkle the top with cacao nibs.

7. Place in freezer for an hour. (We’ve frozen bites for much longer than an hour, but you must then allow them to warm up a bit longer before cutting, or they will crack and crumble along the edges.)

8. Turn pan over onto cutting board. Allow it to sit for about ten minutes before banging on pan so fudgy mousse falls out onto cutting board. Using a knife, cut into 1×1-inch squares.