Chocolate. Oh, how we all love it! Dark chocolate, raw chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, nut or fruit filled chocolate, there is usually an option to satisfy everyone’s specific taste buds. There are people who buy it daily as the cravings come in, or specifically for after a meal, and those have exercised will power to the extent of being able to keep large amounts in their homes, and just taking it as they crave it. Whether or not you have this level of will power, making your own chocolate rather than buying it makes sense for a lot of different reasons.
You know what’s in it: many commercial brands of chocolate have more ingredients than you can count or even pronounce, with sugar and/or sweeteners being the main one. When you make your own chocolate, you are using your own ingredients and therefore are making sure there are no hidden surprises. You can also this way accommodate any allergies, intolerances or dietary restrictions you or others may have.
You can adjust the recipe to cater to your specific tastes: do you like cinnamon in your chocolate? How about some sea salt? What about dates as a sweetener rather than sugar? When you make your own chocolate, you can experiment with options you enjoy and make personalized bars catered to you, without relying on someone else to do that!
See also: Homemade Banana Ice Cream Recipe
You can make it a healthier option: love chocolate on a daily basis but worried about the unhealthy ingredients? When you make your own chocolate, you can add some power house ingredients full of nutrients that help make your dessert or treat a healthier one! You can add flax seed fibre to increase the fibre and Essential Fatty Acid content, or maca root powder to include an adaptogen that help you deal with stress.
Better on your wallet: remember, the cheaper the ingredients, the cheaper the final product. So while a $1.99 chocolate bar may seem appealing in the short term, if you spend more on the initial first time to buy good quality ingredients, it will actually save you more in the long run. There are a few basic ingredients to make chocolate, and you can make large amounts and store it, or simply keep the ingredients on hand to make chocolate as your cravings hit (also a better option for those who lack the will power mentioned above!).
So, what are the three basic ingredients you need in order to make a chocolate base? Cacao powder, coconut oil, and a sweetener of your choice! That’s all that is required for delicious chocolate you can make at home, and you probably have one if not more of these ingredients in your kitchen already. Of course there will be many options for ‘add-ons’ to customize it and make it right for you.
Coconut oil serves as the base and the ‘glue’ that forms the chocolate and keeps it together. Remember, since coconut oil will change consistency from liquid to a solid based on temperature, it is best to keep the end result in the fridge to keep it as a solid. As coconut oil is mostly a medium chain fatty acid and contains healthy fats such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. It has been researched for its antiviral and antibacterial components, and is considered to be a fat that is also good (inside and out) for the skin. The taste is also desirable in any dessert or chocolate based recipes and is preferred over different types of bases or oils.
Cacao powder is of course where the chocolate flavour comes from, and the unsweetened version is what we are looking for in this recipe, for two reasons. First, we will be sweetening the chocolate ourselves, and second, we do not want any of those added sugars or unnecessary ingredients the sweetened version may contain. Cacao is full of antioxidants as well as nutrients such as magnesium, that when processed, can be stripped of those nutrients, or have them canceled out. Powder form is idea for this recipe and you can add cacao nibs as an extra add-on for crunch.
A sweetener is going to take this dark and bitter chocolate (which many may actually prefer already) to the next level, and the best part is, you can adjust according to what level of sweetness you want in your chocolate. The best examples of sweeteners for this recipe include maple syrup, honey, or pitted, chopped, and soaked dates. All three work well in any chocolate recipe, so just pick the one you prefer—either in terms of taste or what you already have in your kitchen, and you can get started!
The first step is to simply warm the coconut oil. You can do this in the summer by simply leaving it out, or double boiling an amount until it becomes a liquid. Then you would simply pour that into a bowl, tray, or pan (also depends on what shape you prefer), mix in the cacao powder until it becomes a thicker paste, and add the sweetener to your liking. If you are going with dates, before beginning, simply pit and chop them up, and pour a little bit of hot water over them so they disintegrate and cover them until you are ready to make your recipe. Although even when made thicker it can still seem too ‘soft’ compared to the chocolate you are used to, once you put the mixture in the fridge, it will become harder without being brittle, creamy but still solid. You can cut the shapes or squares you like before putting it into the fridge, and snack on this delicious home made chocolate once it has been set!
Add-ons in this case only better the initial recipe and personalize it for you. Change the toppings every time you make it to discover new recipes and matches! Some popular options include vanilla extract, toasted seeds or nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries, sea salt, cinnamon, cardamom powder, and/or dried fruits! In order to keep it even healthier, you can add flax seed powder for its high soluble fibre content and EFAs, a bit of spirulina for its rich minerals and B-vitamins, or maca root powder for long-term adrenal support!
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