Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolicious Delights

In deference to my older sister who gently chides me for occasionally overdoing the chocolate experimentation, I have deliberately been withholding some of my recent chocolate epiphanies.  However, I now send her a very respectful raspberry as I finally get to share my totally rocking raw chocolate recipe!  I do believe I stole this off a Thermomix website, but it works just as well in my Vitamix and it is the closest I've tasted, to normal chocolate.  Bear in mind, though, that I've been eating 70% dark chocolate for quite a while now so it still may not be as heavenly to you as to me.

Why make your own chocolate?  Ummm ..... because you can!  And of course, this recipe is actually full of ingredients that are actually great for your health, so can be eaten with a lot less guilt than normal crappy chocolate that is full of refined sugar, feral fats, detrimental soy derivatives and heavily processed milk (if you're lucky ;-)).  All the ingredients needed in this recipe will not normally be found in your pantry but are readily available in most health food shops, and once in your pantry - will absolutely, positively be used - and not just for cooking:

Raw Cacao Butter - this is just the natural fat of the chocolate bean, cold-pressed so as to retain all it's goodness.  It's high in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids - all very good for your body.   It is not just good to "cook" with but it is the most amazingly nourishing moisturiser to use on your body.  Read more about it here.  It's not cheap, but you will use all of it and how nice is it to smear on a natural lip balm that actually smells like chocolate!

Raw Cacao Powder - this is what is left of the chocolate bean, once the cacao butter is extracted.  It is nothing like cocoa as this is processed to the point of tasting like dust and having no nutritional value whatsoever.  Raw cacao however is considered a Super Food as it is sky-high in antioxidants, amino acids, feel-good (phyto) chemicals & minerals, especially magnesium which is well know for it's muscle-relaxing and stress relieving properties ...... need I say more????  Yes, it does contain caffeine - only a minute amount in relation to tea or coffee, but enough to still be aware of giving your kids gobs & gobs of it, and of course to maybe not imbibe in masses of it before bedtime.

Raw Agave Syrup - this is a natural sweetener extracted from the Agave cactus at low temps.  It has a lower GI than cane sugar but is sweeter, so you can use less of it.  Read labels carefully as Agave Syrup that is not raw, can be overly processed and have little or no nutritional value.

Vanilla Bean - Did you know that Vanilla Extract contains preservatives that aren't great for you?  I do now make my own Vanilla Extract with just vanilla beans and Bourbon for baking, but it ain't so good for plonking in the raw stuff (that you're not cooking) and handing it round to the kiddies.  So, I always have a stash of whole organic vanilla beans so that I can just scrape out when necessary.  For this recipe I actually just grind up half of the whole bean (not just scrape it) with sea salt till very fine - no waste!

High Quality Sea Salt - Himalayan, Celtic - you must have a salt that is extremely high in essential minerals as this is necessary for your bodily functions.  You can't live without salt, however, normal table salt is B.A.D. for you.  It is soooo processed that your poor body doesn't know how to deal with it.

OK, so now that you have some beautiful ingredients, extract the maximum benefit out of them, and keep them raw!  Cacao butter comes in a solid state so to get it liquid for this recipe, shave off and weigh out the amount you need, place into a bowl, and then place this bowl into a larger bowl of hot water.  It will take about 10 mins to become liquid.

 Be very careful not to get any water in with the cacao butter!  And then you are ready to start.

100g raw cacao butter, liquified (see above)
35g raw cacao powder
45g raw agave syrup
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch of whole ground vanilla bean

Pour cacao butter into a blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix) and add cacao powder to it.   Blend this on the gentlest speed available for 10 - 15 minutes.  This is incredibly important to get the high quality smoothness you want.

Add agave, salt and vanilla & blend well again. Taste, add more sweetener if you want.  Line a small tray with baking paper or grease a mould and pour mixture onto it, and refrigerate.  Feel free to add any further flavours to your chocolate before you set it.  I have only added roasted whole almonds so far - and that is to die for.

And my other great achievement is coming up with a "healthy" chocolate spread for my kids:  Coconutella!  I doubt they'll spread this on bread but it is fantastic drizzled over Cocolicious Icecream or  to dip your strawberries into.  Me:  I was just slurping it up in spoonfuls.

1 cup softened Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil (you don't want this in liquid form as you want to be able to beat it up like butter)

2 cups sifted Raw Organic Cacao Powder (you need the chocolateyness to take away any chance of it being too overwhelmingly coconutty)
1/3 cup raw agave syrup (that's all the sweetness I needed, but you can add more if you want)
Pinch of sea salt (this just enhances the flavour)

Put it all together and whip it up!  I chose not to use my Vitamix because I find it hard to scrape every last bit of goodness out of it, and I wasn't wasting any of this.  I actually just used a hand-held beater, but any stand mixer or food processor would be fine.  Store in a very clean glass jar in the cupboard.  Just like coconut oil, it will harden when cool, and soften when warmed.  I prefer it drippy like chocolate sauce so will often warm it before use.


For normal people, this Coconutella should last you a couple of months.  However, for us, I'm hoping it lasts the week.  Enjoy :-)

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