In case you haven’t heard, chocolate in its unadulterated form is not just food of the Gods, but is a true superfood of the Goddess – Thank you Mama Earth!
Unprocessed chocolate, also known as raw cacao, is bursting with life-supporting nutrition; Magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese, flavonoids, antioxidants, healthy fats that the body loves and needs – That’s before we even consider all the brain chemistry and mood enhancing compounds that make us LOVE it so much.
Using raw cacao butter and powder in a recipe will give you more nutritional punch than using standard cocoa products, as the raw versions are not roasted or overly processed, thus retaining their nutrients, antioxidant flavonoids and enzymes.
The same goes for when you buy ready-made chocolate bars from the shops, the amount of actual health-giving chocolate that is left in the bar is minimal, with the bulk of the chocolate bar being filled with unhealthy fats and a ridiculous amount of the worst kinds of sugars to sweeten it. This is where chocolate gets its bad reputation from when in fact the actual chocolate is not the culprit at all.
This recipe is one of many chocolate themed creations that I will be sharing with you. I picked this mix first as it is usually the one that I already have the ingredients for in the cupboard. It is also one of the easiest to throw together, you can even change the added ingredients and flavourings depending on what you have to hand – just stick with the coconut oil, cacao butter & cacao powder part of the recipe then experiment with the rest of the ingredients – You could switch the tahini for peanut butter or even not add any at all. You can change the types of nuts or berries or don’t add any at all, just sweetening it a little with an unrefined sugar to make a healthy plain chocolate bar.
If you are not yet familiar with, or in the habit of using raw cacao products, I invite you to step away from the dark side of chocolate and indulge in a guilt-free, divine & health boosting act of self-love.
- 2 tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
- 100g raw cacao butter
- 1 – 2 tbsp maple syrup (or another liquid unrefined sweetener)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 orange or 1 – 2 tsp orange extract/oil
- 3 tbsp tahini or nut butter such as peanut or almond
- Pinch of sea salt
- 6 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 40g coconut chips/flakes
- 40g flaked almonds
- 40g dried berries such as goji, blueberries or cranberries
- Fill a saucepan with a small amount of water, roughly an inch deep, and bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Chop the cacao butter into smaller pieces with a sharp knife then place the cacao butter and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over the saucepan of water (Bain Marie), stirring occasionally until the butter is melted – make sure the heat is maintained at a low level, you don’t want the cacao mixture to get too hot – slow and steady wins the race here!
- Once the butter has melted stir in the maple syrup, vanilla extract, orange zest or extract, salt & tahini. Use a small whisk to make sure the wet ingredients are well combined.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, but not much longer as you don’t want it to set before the dry ingredients are added. If dry ingredients are added too early they may get softened by the heat, causing the bars to lose their crunchy texture, so make sure the mixture is cool enough before adding dry ingredients.
- This next stage is optional depending on how fully raw you want the end result to be, it is not essential to do this and you could simply stir the dry ingredients into the chocolate mix once it is cool enough. This stage makes the bars more crunchy as well as release some of the flavour of the ingredients, giving it a toasted taste; While the chocolate mixture is cooling, heat a cast iron pan or frying pan without any oil; add the almond flakes and stir continuously to avoid burning, until the flakes are a nice light brown colour and are releasing their aroma; Remove from the pan immediately and set aside to cool.
- (Optional stage) Add the coconut chips/flakes to the dry pan and repeat the same as you did with the almonds, being careful not to burn them by staying with them and stirring constantly.
- Once everything is cooled, stir the almonds, coconut & berries into the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into silicone moulds or a Tupperware type container – I save those plastic takeaway containers for this purpose and find them to be a perfect size for a big sized chocolate bar, I usually use 2 for this recipe, or 1 and some silicone moulds as shown in the photos.
- Place a lid on the container, or put the moulds inside a container with a lid on and carefully place in the fridge, keeping them flat & level. Chill for at least an hour before checking them but likely will be 2 hours or more before they are fully set. Alternatively, place them level in the freezer if you want them to set quicker.
- Pop the set chocolate out of the moulds/container and store in an airtight container in the fridge – the chocolates become softer at room temperature. If using a Tupperware container to make a big bar/block you can slice the chocolate into thin wedges before storing it in the fridge.