Chocolate is an alchemy and a total mood elevator. Cacao or Theobroma means “Food of the Gods,” in Greek. So...it truly is divine!
These delicious bites are hard to deny. I was gifted some Orange Peel Honey Macadamia Nut Butter from local Venice restaurant Gjelina and I knew it would be the best addition to my nut butter cups. So easy and quick to make! I was looking for a way to make the basic peanut butter cup more exciting using raw ingredients and turns out there really are infinite options. You could create a specific flavored superfood nut or seed butter filling, use Medicine Flowers or culinary essential oils in the chocolate, or even top them with puffed quinoa to add some crunch. These bites are full of the good kind of fat. So get creative!
They are nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy, decadent, activating, nutrient dense, and portionable.
Macadamia nuts are rich in saturated fat, contain selenium, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, natural anti oxidants, and are a good source of dietary fiber. Cacao Butter is the fat extracted from the seeds or pods of the cacao tree. It is high in stearic acid, a type of saturated fatty acid. Why is fat good for us? Dietary fat is necessary for the lubrication of joints, the activation of fat-soluble vitamins, and is an essential component of cell membranes.
I enjoy using cacao butter in raw treats where I need to bind the ingredients as you would coconut oil but it is more shelf stable and has a different flavor than coconut oil. I also use it topically in the body butters I make!
Cacao Powder. Where do I begin? It has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Is high in iron, magnesium, and calcium, and is an instant mood elevator. It promotes blood circulation and is rich in minerals. It is important to buy a fair-traded raw powder vs. any dutch processed or labeled commercial cocoa powder. The processing and chemical treatments are meant to make a less bitter and mellow flavor, but this well over kills over 60% of the antioxidants. I visited the Big Tree Farms headquarters in Bali and it completely opened my eyes to the magic of the cacao pod and the its various by-products - cacao beans, nibs, powder, butter, and then merging them all back together again with a sweetener to make chocolate!
That said, there are many ways to make chocolate.
I used to prefer making chocolate using cacao powder, cacao butter, and coconut nectar but here in Southern California we have so many local farmers who have various kinds of raw honey that I like having this new level of flavor experimentation. It is worth noting that coconut nectar and coconut sugar are lower on the glycemic index than honey. Also raw honey is lower on the GI than processed honey, which you want to avoid since it doesn't offer you the nutrients and minerals. It isn't 100% vegan to do it this way but most vegans I know still take honey. You can also make chocolate using cacao powder, coconut oil, and a sweetener. I know many people who use stevia drops to sweeten. I personally don't like stevia only because my palette doesn't like it not because I think there is anything wrong with it. If you too do not consume any processed sugar in your diet it is OK to use honey or coconut sugar here unless you are on a candida cleanse then modify accordingly.
The ratios are best 60% powder to 40% cacao butter but when shaved, I find that its not a dense packing in a cup, so a 1 cup shaved butter (not melted) to 1 cup powder is perfect.
Also note that the cacao butter does not like chocolate so
1 cup shaved raw cacao butter
1 cup raw cacao powder
2-3 T raw honey
1 cup nut butter blend of choice
Put some water into a sauce pan and place on medium-low heat. On top of the sauce pan, create a double boiler with a heat safe bowl. You want to make sure that you gently melt the cacao butter and do not let it get too hot or beyond that 115 degree F point. While the water is warming, shave the cacao butter until you have about 1 cup. Place the butter into the double boiler and allow it to melt. Then slowly whisk in the 1 cup cacao powder adding it in slowly. Once is has dissolved you can add in the sweetener to taste. Start with 1 T and then add as you see fit. Remember that this chocolate will go into the fridge and cold suppresses sweetness so err on the side of sweet. Personally, I like my chocolate more bitter than the average person and need to consider who I am making the chocolate for when sweetening.
Now you are ready to place directly into a silicon mold or you can line the mold with paper cups first. Pour slowly from the mixing bowl or using a spoon. Fill the mold only about 1/3 of the way up. Then stick the entire mold into the fridge to harden. After about 30 minutes, you may add small dollops of your nut butter. If needed, reheat your chocolate on the double boiler first so you can pour the rest of the chocolates to fill the mold. Place back into the refrigerator. If you'd like to garnish, wait about 10 minutes before adding those last touches so the small rose petals, quinoa, powder, etc doesn't immediately sink into the chocolate. Otherwise, after a few hours these little bites will be ready to go!