Raw chocolate recipe: Cabana bar bites

Raw Cabana chocolate bites

Raw Cabana chocolate bar bites


As a child in the early 80s one of my favourite chocolate bars was Cabana – similar to a Bounty but with pieces of cherry mixed into the coconut centre, and with a layer of caramel on top of that, then covered in chocolate.

It wasn’t a long-lived product – apparently it was only on sale for four years before being withdrawn – but I’ve often yearned for a bite of that delicious sweet treat.

Since giving up ‘commercial’ chocolate and switching to raw, that craving for a Cabana bar hasn’t gone away; if anything, it’s become stronger, particularly in recent months after reminiscing with my friend Lesley about how delicious Cabana bars were (she was a fan, too). I swore I’d come up with a raw version, and here it is. It may not taste exactly like the original Rowntrees version, but it is both delicious and healthy, and definitely satisfies my Cabana bar cravings.

This recipe makes 24 bite-sized pieces. A quick tip: if you don’t have a food processor, use a heaped cup of desiccated coconut instead of coconut chips, and chop the cherries into small pieces with a sharp knife. You can mix the ingredients for the coconut layer together with a spoon, though if your honey isn’t quite runny enough you’ll have a bit of a workout in the process!

For the coconut layer

Break the coconut chips down in the food processor until they’re in tiny pieces. Remove from the food processor and put to one side.

Break the dried cherries down in the food processor until they’re in tiny pieces. Add the coconut and remaining ingredients back into the food processor with the cherries, and process until the mixture sticks together like a dough.

Press the mixture into the bottom of a 1lb loaf tin. Press down really firmly – you want the mixture to hold together well once it’s been cut.

Put the loaf tin to one side and start making the caramel layer.

For the caramel layer:

Blend or process the ingredients together until smooth.

Spread the mixture over the coconut mixture in the loaf tin, and freeze for one hour or until solid.

For the chocolate coating:

Melt the cacao butter and coconut butter in a bain Marie (a glass bowl sitting in a pan of just-boiled water).

Stir in the remaining ingredients. The coconut sugar lends a slightly crunchy texture to the chocolate; if you’re not keen on a slightly crunchy texture, you can blend the ingredients in a blender instead.

To assemble:

Turn the loaf tin upside down and tap it on a chopping board or work surface to remove the contents.

Keeping the caramel layer on top and the coconut layer on the bottom, cut the slab into four strips lengthways, and cut each of those strips into six equally sized pieces (24 pieces in total).

Line a chopping board or baking sheet with greaseproof paper/baking parchment.  Using a fork, dip each Cabana bar bite  into the raw chocolate mixture, ensuring it’s fully coated (it helps to keep the bowl of raw chocolate mixture warm between dippings – keep it in the pan of water so the chocolate doesn’t set too soon). Put each chocolate-coated Cabana bar bite onto the lined board/baking sheet, keeping the caramel side uppermost.

When each piece  has been fully coated and the chocolate is starting to set, spoon a little of the remaining chocolate mixture onto the top of each Cabana bite, ensuring the caramel layer is coated with a double or triple-thickness layer of chocolate (not absolutely essential but I like it that way).

Place the tray/baking sheet in the fridge, until the chocolate coating on each piece has fully set.

My verdict: Not identical to the original Rowntrees Cabana Bar, but still absolutely gorgeous. The flavours of the cherries and honey combined with the coconut and slightly salty caramel, with the dark, rich raw chocolate, are divine. These bars are satisfying and energising, and utterly delicious. Interestingly, my husband (who doesn’t like chocolate very much – he’d rather have a Milky Bar) described them as ‘bloody lovely’. And who am I to argue? :)




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2 Responses to “Raw chocolate recipe: Cabana bar bites”

  1. Sam Bilton May 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply

    I loved Cabana bars too! What a great idea to recreate the flavours. I also miss toffee mallow eggs. Any ideas on how to recreate those?!

    • Oh blimey Sam, no idea! Marshmallow is so sticky and gooey, I can’t imagine what you’d use to make a raw version! Well that’s got me thinking, anyway! :)

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