You can have your chocolate and eat it too!
Chocolate. Anyone else addicted like me? I love it! We are coming up to the big ‘chocolate’ events of the year – Valentine’s Day and Easter – yay! Although I must admit in this household – eating Chocolate is a regular occurrence. That’s ok though, because the great news is it’s actually good for you! (small portions of course 😉
I’m talking REAL chocolate here though, not the stuff you buy in the supermarket that’s full of sugars, artificial colours and flavours, vegetable oils and soy lecithins.Now, dark chocolate I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. My husband screws up his face at it, as it can be quite bitter, especially the real dark ones that are at least 80% cocoa and don’t have soy lecithins etc in them. So that’s where making your own is great, as you can control the amount of cacao that you use. It’s really good for you! Cacao, (not cocoa) is an antioxidant powerhouse. Cacao is the raw, unprocessed form of the bean. Its antioxidant activity benefits the heart, and is high in magnesium and calcium. Cacao also contains the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin, the chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance and the happy hormones.
There are so many different ways of making your own raw chocolate, and to be honest I tried heaps before I came up with this version that both my husband and I love. I must admit the first piece I ever tried I thought I wouldn’t like it. Each time I’ve made it, I’ve adjusted the cacao and sweetener to taste, and now, we are in love! The thought of processed, vegetable oil and sugar laden chocolate bars turns me off! So give it a go, try adjusting the amount of cacao if you like your chocolate a little darker, and play around with the sweetener. Things you add to your chocolate like sultanas, goji berries, raspberries etc will also add sweetness.
This chocolate does need to be kept in the freezer. You can make raw chocolate that is more stable, but it requires cacao butter which is a little more expensive – so this does for us. You eat it straight from the freezer! (Easy to hide in the freezer too 😉
Additions to add to your raw chocolate include anything at all really in your cupboard – almonds, coconut flakes, sultanas, goji berries, hazlenuts, frozen berries, cranberries, chopped up medjool dates, cashews etc.
Our standard favourite is almonds, sultanas and coconut flakes. I don’t really measure this – just sprinkle over the tray. Around a half a cup of each. It just depends on what I have in the pantry at the time!
So give it a try, and let me know how you go. It’s a bit of trial and error to get the balance of sweetness and cacao just right for you, as it really is a personal choice. Start with the recipe below, and I’m sure you won’t mind having to taste test Chocolate!
- 3/4 cup of a good quality Coconut Oil (I love and use The Wholefood Pantry Coconut Oil from Nutra Organics)
- 1/2 cup Cacao powder (increase this by a Tablespoon if you like your chocolate a bit darker)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons of raw honey, maple syrup or brown rice syrup (You will need at least 2 Tablespoons if you are not adding extra sweetness to it by way of ‘additions’ )
- 1 teaspoon of a good quality Vanilla Extract
- Your choice of ‘additions’ (see note above )
HOW WE DO IT
- Line a baking tray with baking paper, and sprinkle your ‘additions’ – eg. Half a cup of flaked almonds and half a cup of sultanas.
- Clear an empty, flat space in your freezer.
- If your coconut oil is melted, (during the warmer months) this is such an easy process. I just throw the Coconut oil, cacao powder, honey and vanilla into my blender, give it a whirl so the honey gets mixed through properly, then pour into my tray on top of the ‘additions’.
- If your coconut oil is solid, (during the cooler months) slowly melt it in a saucepan, add other ingredients and give it a good whisk. make sure the sweetner has combined with the mixture. Pour into your pre-prepared tray.
- Pop your tray into your freezer, making sure it stays flat.
- In a couple of hours, break into shards and hide it back in the freezer! Enjoy 🙂