Okay, so here’s the deal. I’m not a food blogger. For two reasons. #1: I don’t even own a decent camera. Heck–I don’t even have a smartphone. And a good camera is just not in the budget. And #2: I don’t measure. I cook very inventively and measure by guestimates. And with 6 kids, I can’t really take the time to measure anyway!
Nonetheless, I come up with some recipes that I really know some of you would enjoy, like these nourishing homemade chocolates!
I mean, whoever said chocolate has to be bad for you?! If you make it right, it can be quite nourishing, healthy, and still delicious!
But I will warn you that it doesn’t come as cheap as unhealthy chocolate! But it’s not like we’re going to eat it all the time anyway, right?!
You know all those health benefits that are associated with chocolate? Well those benefits are not found in processed cocoa, especially when there’s refined sugar in it that actually removes nutrients from our body!
Raw cacao, on the other hand, is where all those benefits can be found! Raw cacao surpasses dark chocolate in health benefits! Some of the benefits include:
- High in magnesium–Cacao is one of the best dietary sources of magnesium, an essential mineral that most American women are deficient in. It’s important to note that refined sugar causes our body to be depleted of magnesium so consuming chocolates with refined sugar negates the amount of magnesium in the chocolate.
- Iron: Iron, which is necessary for red blood cell production, is found in cacao nibs. An ounce of the raw nibs has six per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.
- Antioxidants: Cacao contains antioxidants which are of course infamous for helping absorb those nasty free radicals that cause aging and disease.
We decided to make homemade chocolates for Christmas gifts this year. It’s a good thing they are healthy because after leaving the living room for 5 minutes, my 3-year old had eaten half the box of chocolates we were going to give to my brother!
Those of you who follow my health page on Facebook know that consumption of refined sugar basically shuts down the immune system for up to 5 hours after consumption, which is why many people get sick after holidays centered around treats–Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, etc.
So for this recipe, we used good, wholesome ingredients including natural sweeteners!
I purchased my organic raw cacao from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Healthworks-Certified-Organic-Cacao-Powder/dp/B00EKLPLU4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387574092&sr=8-1&keywords=raw+cacao
I used coconut butter for this recipe because I have tried making homemade chocolate with virgin coconut oil and while it still works out, cocoa butter allows the chocolate to harden better and stay solid at room temperature, something coconut oil cannot offer. Here’s the cocoa butter I purchased:
And to get the fun little shapes, I used this chocolate/candy mold:
This mold worked amazingly well–the chocolate (that I made with cocoa butter) came out so easily and perfectly! (I will note that chocolate made with coconut oil does not come out as easily.) Amazon also has other molds, including ones that are specifically for peanut butter cups!
So there are the main things you need to get started (in addition to your choice of sweetener). Here’s the recipe for the chocolates. *If you are going to make various fillings to go into the chocolates like we did, I recommend having those done before you make the chocolate.*
1 cup cocoa butter (I chopped it up into small pieces to measure it accurately before it was melted)
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup raw honey*
1 tsp vanilla extract
*Organic liquid stevia extract could be used but I haven’t done it with this yet so I don’t know the amount, although I will update it when I do!
Put the cocoa butter and raw honey if it is somewhat solid into the top of a double boiler. Cook on low, making sure the water in the bottom of the double boiler does not get hot enough to steam much as the steam will ruin the chocolate. When it is melted, pour it into a medium-size bowl and whisk in the cacao powder and vanilla. Whisk until it is smooth.
At this point, you can use as is and pour into the mold or you can use with your fillings (recipes below). We used a medicine dropper sucky thing (can’t think of what they are called!) to accurately and precisely get the chocolate into the molds. First, I recommend putting the mold onto a cookie sheet!!
For those with fillings, put some chocolate into the bottom of the mold, add the filling, and then cover with a little more chocolate until it is level with the top of the mold.
Here are the fillings that we did:
Nut butter Filling
1/2 cup nut butter (almond butter, p.b., cashew butter, etc.–just make sure it doesn’t have sugar or hydrogenated oils!)
1-2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup of course!)
1 Tbsp of coconut flour
Combine all three ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well blended. Form into a small ball/square and place on top of a small amount of the liquid chocolate, then add more chocolate to fill the mold.
1 cup raw heavy cream (I skim it off the top of our raw milk)
1 cup raw honey
Place the raw cream in a small saucepan fitted with the candy thermometer and warm on medium heat just until bubbles form around the side of the cream against the pan. Add the honey and stir continuously, keeping it at a temperature so that it simmers (low-medium), and cook until it reaches 240*F or soft ball stage. This will take around 15 minutes or so. As soon as it reaches soft ball stage, place the bottom of the pan in a sink or bowl full of cold water and stir. This will stop the cooking process and prevent it from reaching hard ball stage where it gets tacky.
To make the caramel chocolates, fill the molds halfway with chocolate. Then place a dollop of caramel in it and cover with chocolate. It works best to get the chocolates out of the mold if you can try and make sure that no caramel touches the mold itself, so try and make sure the caramel sits inside of the chocolate.
Optional: You can even add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt onto the top of the caramel chocolates!
Some of the other fillings we did:
- Crushed up almonds (Place in mold with chocolate, then cover with more chocolate.)
- Cherries (Cut frozen cherries in half and placed the cut side down into a mold filled halfway with chocolate, then added more chocolate into the top)
For mint chocolate:
For a full batch of the above recipe of chocolate, add 4 drops of therapeutic-grade* peppermint essential oil. (For half a batch, add 2 drops.)
So there you have it–delicious homemade chocolates that you can make for your family and make as gifts without worrying about the negative health consequences!
Blessings of good health,