Fearne Cotton’s spiced chocolate & Cashew Squares

Makes:20

Ingredients

For the base
100g blanched hazelnuts
100g oat cakes
150g unsulphured dried apricots
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Pinch of sea salt

For the middle layer
350g cashew butter, plus more to drizzle
2 tsp mixed spice
7 tbsp maple syrup
90g coconut oil

For the top layer
200g vegan dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, broken into small pieces
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Method

1. Line a 20 x 26cm cake tin with baking parchment. Add all the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz until the mixture is completely ground down and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Transfer to the lined tin and press very firmly down to form an even and smooth base. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.

2. For the middle layer, put all the ingredients into a pan and set over a low heat. Stir until the coconut oil has melted and everything has come together. Pour over the chilled base, smooth out and return to the freezer for 20 minutes to set.

3. For the top layer, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Pour the mixture over the middle layer and smooth out. Drizzle over a few teaspoons of cashew nut butter, scatter over a pinch of sea salt and return to the freezer. 

4. After 10 minutes, when the chocolate is barely set, score the chocolate with a sharp knife into 20 equal squares, so that the chocolate does not break into shards when you come to cut it later. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve.

5. To serve, cut into squares along the lines you scored earlier. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or for up to 3 months in the freezer.

Recipe by Fearne Cotton from her book Happy Vegan, published by Seven Dials.

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