With Valentine’s Day just a week away I’m sure chocolate is on everyone’s mind. So I thought I’d show you that it doesn’t have to be unhealthy or “fattening.” Chocoholics round the world rejoiced when the experts started saying “chocolate is good for you.” But some of you may have been confused by this statement… after all, chocolate is full of sugar, right? So how do you get all those amazing benefits of raw cacao without the toxins of refined sugar, dairy and other additives such as emulsifiers and thickeners? Raw chocolate!
This was one of my favourite discoveries when I started this lifestyle… and it really is simple to make. By omitting all the bad stuff, and keeping the raw cacao at low temperatures so that you don’t destroy the nutrients, you’re giving your body one of nature’s most nutrient dense foods. Raw cacao is rich in anti-oxidants, is good for cardiovascular health and fights cancer. It also contains phenylethylamine, which is a mood enhancer. That explains the “feel good” effect of chocolate! 🙂
What is the difference between cacao and cocoa? Cocoa is what you probably grew up with… it is made from cacao beans but has gone through processing which means a loss of nutrients. To get the full benefits of the cacao bean, and a high-quality chocolate, make sure you only buy organic raw cacao products.
My chocolate recipe uses raw cacao paste as well as cacao butter. If these are not available to you, or you first want to see what this is all about before spending money on those products, you can make raw chocolate using coconut oil and raw cacao powder.
Maca is a root grown in Peru, which comes from the radish family. It has been revered for over 2000 years for its ability to provide stamina, mental clarity and aid fertility. It is believed to be an excellent aphrodisiac, particularly when paired with raw cacao. It has a bit of an odd taste (I must admit at first I didn’t like it!) but adding it to my raw caramel is a good way to start… the result is heavenly!
1 x Raw Caramel recipe
2 tbsp maca powder
Chocolate recipe #1:
75g raw cacao paste
25g raw cacao butter
30ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (alternatively, use 60ml honey or maple)
pinch of himalayan salt
Chocolate recipe #2:
90ml coconut oil
90ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
125ml raw cacao powder
Add the maca powder to the caramel ingredients when blending. Set aside.
For chocolate recipe #1, place all the ingredients in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. The trick with chocolate is to only ever use gentle heat, and to heat all the ingredients together. If you try to melt the cacao over direct heat, or add cold honey to it once it’s been melted, it will seize. Use a whisk to stir the chocolate until everything is melted, well combined and glossy.
For chocolate recipe #2, place the coconut oil and honey or maple in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. Gently melt the oil and honey, using a whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and add the cacao powder, using the whisk to combine well.
Fill your heart mould with chocolate one third of the way. If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to drop some caramel onto the set chocolate, trying to avoid the sides of the mould.
Place in the freezer again for a few minutes to harden, so that pouring more chocolate over the caramel doesn’t melt it. If your chocolate is no longer pouring consistency, heat it gently again over the simmering water. Fill the moulds with chocolate so that it pours around the caramel, and covers it. Place in the freezer again until set. These chocolates do need to be kept in the fridge as they can melt at room temperature, especially if you’ve made the coconut oil version. I keep mine in a glass jar, and they can last up to a month (at least, that’s the longest mine have ever lasted before being eaten!)
I hope these will put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day!
Health & happiness.