this week i’m participating in tone it up’s “beach week” — a week of scheduled workouts and slim-down meals designed to make the most of the last few days of summer. karena and katrina have teamed up with ZICO to host an exciting contest; the best recipe incorporating chocolate ZICO and perfect fit protein powder wins a 3-month supply of both of those products!
i legitemately use perfect fit almost every day, and ZICO is one of my favorite special treats… so, needless to say, i got really excited about this contest. the result of my frantic brainstorming was these “coco-butter monkey cups” — they are dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. recipe and details below!
one of my favorite things about both of these products is the fact that they taste decadent but are much more healthful than typical sweets.
- perfect fit can be used in baking (i’ve had great success with muffins and cupcakes!) and smoothies, but this was the first time i tried it in a frozen dessert. it worked perfectly (no pun intended), giving a great firm texture to the monkey cups.
- and ZICO, what more can i say? it tastes like a rich man’s yoohoo — that chocolatey flavor you remember from your childhood, in a refreshing (not heavy!) liquid form, with all the health benefits of coconut. also great in smoothies, and freezes nicely to create a creamy frozen non-dairy dessert.
neither product is chalky, and mixed together they are sublime. but these monkey cups take it to the next level!!!
i originally got the idea from one of my favorite vegan dessert blogs, chocolate covered katie — her “peanut butter monkey cups” looked fab and i had been meaning to try them. for the ZICO/perfect fit contest, i wanted to make them more aggressively coconut-y, and i also specifically wanted a frozen dessert. i think katie would approve!
the process of making them involves creating two separate liquid mixtures, which are then distributed evenly into molds (i used little silicone baking cups, but you could also use paper mini-cupcake liners) in two layers and frozen. you want the double-chocolate (darker) layer to be more liquidy, so that it creates a relatively smooth/lump-free top bottom surface for each cup, ensuring that they can sit flat and level rather than wobble around. ready? here goes!
coco-butter monkey cups – makes approx. 22 mini-cups (or 20, if you eat 2 cups’ worth of each batter while you are preparing them, like i did!)
choco-banana-nut layer (this is the lighter-colored layer that you put in the molds first; it’s the top layer once you unmold!)
- 1.5 tbsp. raw coconut butter (i used artisana brand)
- 1/4 cup of raw cashews, soaked in very hot water for 30 min.
- 1.5 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup chocolate zico
- 1 scoop/packet perfect fit protein powder
- 3 tbsp. PB2 (or other brand powdered peanut butter)
- 1/2 large banana
- 10-20 drops of liquid stevia (i used sweet leaf’s vanilla creme flavor)
double-chocolate layer (this is the darker-colored layer that you put in the molds second; it’s the bottom layer once you unmold!)
- 2 tbsp. chocolate coconut butter (i used artisana’s “cacao bliss”)
- 5 medjool dates, pitted and chopped roughly
- 3 tbsp. organic cocoa powder (i used rapunzel brand)
- 1 cup chocolate zico
- 1 scoop/packet perfect fit protein powder
- 4 tbsp. unsweetened carob chips
- 10-20 drops liquid stevia (i used nunaturals alcohol-free version)
- place all ingredients for the choco-banana-nut layer in a food processor or magic bullet and process on high until fully blended. this mixture will be close in color to that of peanut butter, but the peanut flavor is really just a hint in the background — it’s the coconut and banana that dominate. dump the batter into a bowl but don’t bother cleaning the food processor/bullet container — it’s fine for the remnants of this mixture to get blended into the next batter!
- make the second liquid mixture — same deal, all ingredients into the processor of choice, and whiz until smooth. again, you want this top layer batter to be runnier than the first batter — so add water, 2 tbsp. at a time, if it’s too thick.
- place your molds into a large, flat container and clear a space in the freezer that will fit that container. the idea is that you want to be able to move all the molds in and out at one time, without jostling them too much.
- add the bottom layer mixture to the molds one at a time, smoothing out with the back of a spoon as best you can. for the molds i used, this ended up being about 2 teaspoons per mold.
- add the top layer mixture to the molds one at a time. you won’t need to smooth this layer as it will “settle” by itself due to its thinner consistency.
- carefully transfer the container holding your molds into the freezer. freeze for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight… if you can wait that long! serve chilled but not completely frozen (best to thaw partially in the fridge for about 15 minutes).
be sure to check out the other delicious entries by searching #TIUZico on instagram!
and in case you are interested…
nutritional info per 2-cup serving:
- 7.1 g. fat [4.7 g. saturated, 0.1 g. mono]
- 41.3 mg. sodium
- 111.7 mg. potassium
- 15.8 g. carbs [3.3 g. fiber, 10.6 g. sugar]
- 5.2 g. protein — not bad for two tiny cups! thank you, perfect fit!
- 1% daily value of vitamin C, 2.7% of calcium, and 4% of iron
- 140 calories