Recipe: CHOCOLATE COCONUT ROUGH (paleo, gluten & dairy-free)


Having a sweet treat (“because I’ve been so good / worked so hard…”) each day is one of the most difficult habits to break. The major problem with using sweet food as a treat is that it triggers the reward and pleasure systems in our brains, meaning that we associate sweetness with achievement and success.

To help with sugar cravings the best things you can do is eat proper meals – fill up on good quality whole foods such as vegetables, meats, fish, fats, soaked nuts and seeds and whole fruit. Following this you should choose chocolate/cakes/desserts etc that are sweetened with small amounts of any of the following: fruit, dried fruit, raw honey, good quality maple syrup, stevia, coconut palm sugar, rapadura, xylitol or molasses.

You should absolutely avoid cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, poor quality agave and ALL artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin (yes, even in the form of chewing gum). This latter list can send you on a mood roller coaster, increase anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, can deplete your immune system, upset your gut flora, increase blood pressure and increase body fat (especially around the waist). I wrote more about sugar and other sweeteners here – take a look.

With this in mind, I wanted to show how you can create a healthy version of a classic treat: chocolate coconut rough. Using either raw honey or good quality maple syrup alongside good quality fats such as coconut oil and almonds will mean you won’t be bouncing off the walls then crashing an hour later. With this recipe aim to reduce the amount of sweetener each time you make it – notice how quickly you get used to less sweetness when you reduce how much of it you consume.

… and if you really suffer greatly with binging and craving sugar next time you reach for a sweet sit, breathe and contemplate the following questions: 

  • What am I really hungry and craving for?
  • Where do I get my sweetness in life?
  • Does my desire to feel healthy and energised outweigh the need for sweet foods?

And to help you along your way:

  • Sign up with a friend so you can help support each other come off sugar!
  • Get inspired – there are plenty of people online and in real life (like myself) who are here to help inspire and encourage healthy habits
  • Get baking with healthy ingredients! Enjoy and help assimilate your healthy treat with a smile – nourishing thoughts are just as essential as nourishing foods!


Ingredients (base)

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 3/4 cup soaked sultanas (choose chopped up prunes or figs for a lower sugar option)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder/soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg or 2 small eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa

Ingredients (topping, optional)

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup/ honey / rice malt syrup (omit for a lower sugar option, add 1 another TBSP of coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup coconut


Soak the sultanas / dried fruit in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes – this is optional but does help bring more chewy moisture to the mix

Set aside a 24cm round or 20cm square 4cm deep greased or lined baking dish

Pre-heat your oven at 160 deg C

Directions for the base:

Put a small pot on a low heat, add the coconut oil and honey and slowly melt them down. Add the cocoa and stir until smooth

In a bowl add the dry ingredients. Stir in the egg(s). Then add the wet ingredients and mix well.

Firmly press the mixture down firmly into your baking dish

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes

Directions for the topping:

In your small pot on a low heat melt down the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey. Heat to boiling point and simmer gently for about 1min to thicken.

Add the cocoa, vanilla and desiccated coconut

Stir and spread over the cooked base while still warm. Refrigerate or freeze to set icing.

… and enjoy!

Personal tip: I love keeping this in the freezer and taking a piece out 5 mins before I eat it!

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