Chocolate buttons, chocolate fingers, chocolate biscuits, truffles, bars, Easter eggs, mini eggs, crème eggs, croissants, pain au chocolat, chocolat chaud – you name it, I love it. I’m a self-confessed chocaholic to the core and to say I have a sweet tooth is like saying David Attenborough knows a thing or two about nature. An understatement!
I have read Chocolat in childlike glee and watched the film a hundred times. There is something about couverture that captivates me.
A little research later and a nudge from a super beautiful and talented friend of mine and we have lift off into the land of Raw Chocolate. The Cacao bean itself (from which cocoa solids are derived) is a super food. Packed with more than 300 health benefiting compounds including protein, good fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, the Cacao bean contains the highest level of antioxidants of any whole food the world!
Some of the key health benefits include:
- Anti-aging – helps with bodily repair
- Increases alertness and energy
- Improves mood by releasing feel-good hormones
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Improves the condition of hair and nails and promotes BEAUTIFUL SKIN from its rich sulphur content
The problem we face with this is that in your average chocolate bar the cacao has not only been heated above 42 degrees, destroying a lot of the nutritional value, but refined sugar, dairy products and vegetable fat are also added – none of which are particularly good for us, hence why the consumption of chocolate has become an ‘unhealthy’ pursuit.
So – where can we buy raw chocolate? Generally it is available in good health food stores including wholefoods, but it can be pricey! Personally, it was the chance to awaken the chocolatier in me and so with a little research, guidance and experimentation I have formulated my favourite recipe for very simple raw chocolates which take 20 minutes maximum to make. In the picture below I have made Simple Chocolate Hearts and Nutty Rounds.
All you need for Simple Chocolate Hearts is:
- 100g raw Organic cacao powder
- 100g raw Organic cacao butter
- Some agave nectar, date syrup or stevia to sweeten
- A pinch of pink Himalayan salt
- A chocolate mould or ice cube tray
Additional ingredients for Nutty Rounds:
- Nuts of your choice
- A round mould or rubber muffin tray
Melt the cacao butter down by double boiling over a hob, ensuring that the mixture does not get too hot, so as to destroy the nutritional properties. Once the butter is fully melted, sieve and stir the cacao powder into the mixture until it is all mixed in. Add the sweetener of your choice and a pinch of salt to your tasting. Pour into heart shaped moulds. Leave to set in the fridge for two hours.
For the nutty rounds: Simply place a small handful of nuts in each mould and pour the mixture over. Leave to set in the fridge for two hours.
Of course this is a very simple recipe so add nuts, berries – whatever you like to mix it up a bit. And most of all…enjoy in the knowledge that this pleasure is no longer a guilty one!