Welcome back to No Shoes Nutrition!
It's been a busy week! On Thursday night of last week, I was privileged to speak at the Telus Spark Adults Only Night. It was a session about food and chemistry! FUN!! I did a meditative talk on the differences in our body between commercial candy chocolate and homemade raw chocolate. There was a great response from the crowd and I have had a HUGE demand for more information and for the raw chocolate recipe.
First off, it's important to note that most commercial chocolate found on the shelves of the big box stores is candy. The first ingredient in these chocolates is either SUGAR or HYDROGENATED fat of some type. These ingredients don't feed your body in the same way that the raw cocoa and cocoa butter will feed you. Raw cocoa is an excellent source of antioxidants and the butter is a fantastic source of healthy saturated fat. Our brains are made up of 60% fat and we need fat to maintain mental health.
Another important point to mention is that commercial chocolate must have stabilizers to keep the candy shelf safe in the store. There are additives and preservatives that have names I can't pronounce and a fair number also add artificial flavour. These sugary candy chocolates stimulate energy in the body, using important nutrients.
When we make and eat raw chocolate it actually helps create energy in the body. We get to control what is in the chocolate and what we put into our body. Raw chocolate contains only a few basic ingredients. The first is free trade cocoa butter, followed by free trade cocoa powder (made from cocoa beans that have not been roasted). I choose to sweeten my homemade raw chocolate with honey but there are other choices that will work just as well. Coconut palm sugar, stevia, and maple syrup are all fantastic choices. I add a splash of vanilla and a sprinkle of sea salt, but other options for additions are: chopped ginger, almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts or dried super fruits like goji berries. Some more adventurous and harder to find ingredients include lacuma powder, chaga mushroom, raw cocoa nibs, chili peppers, pumpkin seeds, or berry powders. The options are endless!!
Okay, so to get started you'll need to find these ingredients and that's not going to happen at your local grocery store. I suggest looking into health food stores or specialty stores in your area. In Calgary, where I live, there is a specialty store called The Light Cellar. It not only has the ingredients you need, but also offers chocolate making classes!! FYI!! It also has a variety of additional ingredients you can experiment with!
I hope you all enjoy trying your own version of raw chocolate and come to feel the benefits of the switch to raw cocoa. It may take some time to work yourself up to dark chocolate and raw chocolate, as they are definitely a more intense taste. If that is the case, or simply, you are not capable at this time of committing to making your own chocolate delights, there are steps you can take to work yourself up to raw dark chocolate. First, I suggest you start by ditching the candy chocolate. Look for free trade dark chocolate bars in your local health food stores. Start with 55-60% cocoa and slowly increase to 90-92%. If you can tolerate 100% you are a chocolate SUPERSTAR!!
Here is the recipe you have all been waiting for! Be sure to test it out and report back with your favorite additions and include pictures if you can! I am so pleased that everyone at Telus Spark had such fantastic feedback! I hope you stay tuned for future talks and workshops! Enjoy!!
Raw Dark Chocolate
- 1 cup of cocoa butter (if you can't find this right away coconut oil can work)
- 1 1/2 cups of cocoa powder (cocoa paste can also work)
- 1/4 cup of sweetener of choice (see options above or use one of your own choice)
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean
- Addition of choice—sea salt, nuts, seeds, etc...
- In a double boiler, allow cocoa butter to melt but DO NOT boil.
- Slowly mix in honey or sweetener and let it dissolve/melt into cocoa butter.
- Mix in vanilla.
- Add cocoa powder, slowly stirring into mixture a couple of spoonfuls at a time. Be sure that the mixture doesn't become too thick or grainy.
- Finally, add extra ingredients such as nuts, berries or seeds. If you add extra powders you may need to add a little less cocoa powder or a little more cocoa butter.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour raw chocolate onto the cookie sheet to make chocolate bark (about 1/4 inch thick). Put the cookie sheet into the fridge or freezer to harden (it takes only a few minutes).
- Remove hardened raw chocolate, break bark into smaller pieces (one inch by one inch squares) and store in airtight glass container in refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy daily!!