I’m officially well into my new life of “funemployment,” and the first recipe I’m going to share is nothing short of a celebration. That’s right folks, it’s chocolate time. You may have noticed an increase in references to #sibo on the old IG account lately, but in case you haven’t, I’ve had a recent, unfortunate diagnosis of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which has rendered my food choices quite limited as of late. (I could use this space to rant about the medical insurance racket and how insanely long it’s taking me to get the antibiotic I need, but I’ll spare you the details.) One of the interesting things about the SIBO diet is that you can have raw honey and certain fruits, but no other sugar whatsoever. I’ll get more into SIBO in a separate post, but I just couldn’t wait to share this recipe.
Because I am absolutely addicted to chocolate, and because most store-bought chocolates are not sweetened with honey, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Join me for the next few minutes on my chocolate making adventure, and then venture out on your own chocolate journey and let me know how it goes!
I’ve tried a few different things so far, but the one I’m most excited to share is the Almond Butter Cups. Like most things on CWB, this is simply a chocolate roadmap with one example of how it could end. You have the power to make your chocolate dreams come true — I’m just here to help. 🙂
Recipe Lab: Refrigerator Chocolate
You might recall that I experimented with some freezer chocolate back at Christmastime. (Side note, I just realized this was TWO Christmases ago — 2016 was the fastest year of my life, by FAR. Anyone else feel me on this?) Anyway, in the spirit of homemade holiday gifts and attempting to include some healthy sweets in our holiday celebrations, I made Paleo-ish Peppermint Bark. The main ingredients were coconut oil, raw cacao powder, and maple syrup. It turned out great, but it absolutely HAD to stay in the freezer or it would become a big melty mess. And since I can’t include my favorite sweetener for the time being (maple syrup), I’m moving forward from here with raw honey.
To avoid the melty mess this time, I decided to experiment with raw cacao butter to achieve a more stable finished product. And guess what … it was the right choice. I have successfully upgraded my chocolate-making skills from freezer chocolate to refrigerator chocolate!
Is this chocolate raw?
The ingredients in my refrigerator chocolate are raw, but I did melt everything on the stove. I read a bit about raw chocolate and learned that the hottest temps allowable for raw chocolate to remain raw are between 118 and 120F. I didn’t use a double boiler or check the temperature, but I’d imagine that if you did those things and kept the temps in range, you could make exactly what I made and be able to call it raw chocolate.
The Chocolate Journey
Since my main chocolate-making experience was in making the peppermint bark for the holidays, I decided to stick to that in round one of my chocolatey adventure. More bark. But instead of going for the peppermint variety, I kept it simple, sprinkling raw cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds on top and calling it a day. It turned out pretty great actually.
Round 2: Almond Butter Cups
In round 2, I decided to get more creative. I’d bought a few silicone molds a while back, and most of them had just been collecting dust in my cabinet. The only ones I’d used were these adorable little hearts when I experimented with homemade lotion bars (I think it was also that crafty Christmas back in 2015). So I pulled out the mold that looked like peanut butter cups and went to work on my version of almond butter cups. This was a delicious decision and turned out to be the inspiration for today’s post.
The Almond Butter Cup Filling
The filling consists of equal parts raw almond butter to raw honey, stirred aggressively with a fork. Very simple and delicious. In my first attempt at almond butter cups, I used about a dime-sized ball of filling, which made for a high chocolate-to-filling ratio. They were delicious, but I knew I wanted more almond butter in every bite. I went to work again, this time using these really cute flower molds that were much deeper (so they could fit more filling).
I love how these turned out, but as you might see from the pictures, some of the filling snuck out of the sides, so they aren’t quite perfect to look at. Considering that they taste amazing, and that I’m a novice at this whole chocolate-making endeavor, I’m still giving myself an A for effort and believe that I’ve earned bragging rights as a wannabe chocolatier. (I’m sure real chocolatiers are rolling their eyes at this simpleton, but I do what I want.)
What will I come up with next?
Also featured in one of these pictures are my first attempts at a “peppermint patty.” I didn’t love how they turned out, so I’m going to go back to the drawing board before I share that recipe with you. I already have an idea of how I’ll improve these for the next round. I’m also going to try my hand at an “Almond Joy”-style bite-size morsel. So stay tuned for both of those. And if you decide that you want to beat me to the punch in figuring those two out, please be my guest and let me know about it! I’d be happy to share your version with everyone!
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup raw cacao butter (or 5 cubes of the Big Tree Farms brand)
- 3/4 cup raw raw cacao powder
- 2 tbs raw honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- OPTIONAL: raw maca powder
- OPTIONAL: raw cacao nibs and coarse sea salt for topping
- FOR THE FILLING: If using shallow, buttercup-like molds, 2 tbs raw honey + 2 tbs raw almond butter. If using deeper molds, 3 tbs raw honey + 3 tbs raw almond butter (I used creamy)
- in a small saucepan, melt the raw cacao butter on very low heat (optional to use a double boiler to avoid scorching)
- once it starts to become liquid, add in the coconut oil
- turn off the fire when both oils are fully liquified
- whisk in raw cacao powder, raw honey, vanilla, salt, and maca until the chocolate liquid is completely uniform
- place your mold onto a rigid surface (like a cutting board or cookie sheet) for easy transport
- pour a thin layer of chocolate into the bottom of each mold
- freeze for 10 minutes
- immediately thoroughly mix the honey and almond butter in a small mixing bowl and freeze for the remaining few minutes until it's time to take out the chocolate
- remove the molds and filling from the freezer
- using a small spoon and clean fingers, form a ball of filling to place inside each mold (for shallower molds, you want a dime-size ball. For the deeper molds, about a silver dollar-size ball.)
- once you've distributed the filling, give the remaining chocolate a good stir with the whisk before spooning out the rest of it to fill the molds
- If your filling is visible, use a spoon to gently press it down and hide it under the chocolate
- (Optional to sprinkle the nib and sea salt toppings at this time)
- freeze for another 20 minutes (or overnight)
- pop your chocolates out of their molds and store in a non-porous covered container in the refrigerator
- You can use this same chocolate recipe without the filling to make chocolate bark, chocolate bars, or even dipping chocolate.
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