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Happy Easter!!

Wow, can’t believe how fast this year is going, seems like we only just got over Christmas!

I’ve been ‘cleaning’ up my diet a bit over the last few years. Not that it needed a great deal of work, but I’m always mindful of making better choices when there is opportunity to, such as making things from scratch at home where possible instead of buying prepared packaged foods. One of the things I’ve started doing recently is making my own chocolate. I love chocolate, but often find when I eat it from a packet that my belly doesn’t agree with my taste buds. I’ve spent years berating myself for not being able to eat and drink and use products on my skin the way other people do. I seem to have a very reactive constitution. The more mindful I am of my choices and how I feel, the more I’ve realised that when I stick to simple foods and simple skin care, the better I feel and look. Why am I only realising this at 32? Perhaps my reactive constitution is a blessing in disguise, preventing me from getting away with filling and covering my body in chemicals willy nilly that may cause problems to other people down the track who tolerate them well now.

So, back to the chocolate!

I’ve experimented with a number of ‘raw’ chocolate recipes that are about in the cyber world and have settled on my adaptation from what I’ve found, it goes a little something like this!

 

Raw Chocolate with Goji Berries and Roasted Almond

80-100g Raw Cacao Butter

4 Tbsp Raw Cacao Powder

2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup – to taste

1/4 Cup Goji Berries

1/4 Cup Roasted Almonds

With a large knife on a chopping board, roughly measure out 100g Cacao Butter. Chop up as though slicing, this eliminates the need for grating and is quite easy to do, it comes away quite flaky with a sharp knife, like in the picture below.

 

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Organic Raw Cacao Butter – flaked with a knife

Pop this into a small pot, I find a non stick variety works best and is easier to clean. Add to this the Cacao Powder and Maple Syrup to taste. I find 2 Tbsp gives a dark chocolate taste with slight bitterness, 3 Tbsp is a bit sweeter. You can use Rice Malt Syrup for this but I prefer the flavour of the Maple Syrup personally. Stir over a low heat until heated and dissolved then turn off the heat, don’t allow to boil. This won’t ruin the taste, but my instinct tells me it would likely destroy some of the nutrients that in the ingredients.

You can use a mould or ice cube tray and make separate chocolates with this recipe or you can line a plate or container with baking paper and make a solid piece that can be cut or broken up like a bark, please yourself. If using moulds, place 3-4 Goji Berries in the base of each mould or a whole Roasted Almond (or both if you’re really keen!) then evenly distribute chocolate between holes. I find this 3/4 fills holes in whole ice cube tray or one mould with 15 holes. With any left over when using a mould, I pour it into paper cup cake moulds for a quick treat later. If pouring onto a plate or container, line with the baking paper then pour away to make a bark.

 

Organic Goji Berries

Organic Goji Berries

When doing the latter, I add the Berries and Almonds after pouring, its more aesthetically pleasing that way. When making a bark, I roughly chop the almonds first so you aren’t getting big chunks of nuts, but again please yourself.

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Roasting Almonds in a hot pan

Place in fridge for 1/2 to 1 hour to set or if room in freezer that is flat, will take about 15-20mins to be solid. If using a mould, I find it best to leave a couple of hours to be sure, otherwise they are trickier to get out and can break apart. If you are making this for a STAT chocolate fix, I advise making the bark, its a much quicker result that you can just break or cut into chunks and serve on a nice plate.

This has been winner with the family this easter. I made some in pretty moulds and my mum asked where I had bought the exquisite delights from, I smiled a little on the inside when I could tell her I made them all by myself!

Some notes. I’ve experimented with recipes that include Coconut Oil, but I don’t find that they set as well. They tend to need storing in the fridge otherwise they melt very easily. As wonderful as Coconut Oil is for our health, I don’t actually like the texture or taste of it in chocolate myself, but again this is personal preference. If you are wanting to increase the health benefits of this recipe, you could most certainly add some in. I’d recommend approximately 1/4 cup or a couple of tablespoons but experiment for yourself.

Once you’ve worked out how the ingredients work together, you can add anything you like really. One recipe I read called for a tablespoon of Maca Powder, another for a tablespoon of Chia Seeds. The possibilities are endless really. I find when making it for others though, its best to stick to basics, especially if they aren’t yet a superfood convert. But if just for yourself, go crazy! The above is a recipe that tastes akin to the packaged variety of quality tasting dark chocolate so will be pleasing to even the fussiest dark chocolate lover, without any of the funky stuff added. Keep it simple. These ingredients aren’t particularly cheap, especially if you buy them organic, but the taste is well worth it and knowing that there are additional health benefits is well worth it to me.

Once you find the method you are comfortable with when using this recipe, the preparation seriously takes less than 5 mins for a pretty quick and delicious result. Enjoy!!

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This is another one I made, I added some shredded coconut which is lovely also.

Here are some links to ingredients in case you have trouble finding them where you live.

Cacao Butter and Raw Cacao Powder

Goji Berries

I’ve used this company before as I live in the country and the delivery was pretty fast. I don’t receive any payment or endorsement for recommending this brand, I use them and recommend them because they are wonderful quality.

Recipe originally inspired by this one:

http://www.sarahwilson.com/2012/04/my-sugar-free-raspberry-ripe-2/ 

and this one: 

http://thewholedaily.com.au/recipes/chocolate-easter-bunnys-3-super-food-ingredients-crap/