Easy (and delicious) raw chocolate recipe
Thank you so much to plant-based chef and wellness expert @liorabels for sharing this recipe for homemade dark chocolate - possibly the ultimate stress-busting comfort food. It requires a few more unusual ingredients than we normally highlight, but the experience of making it is meditative - and eating it is so much more satisfying for it.
Why is raw chocolate good for my brain?
Raw cacao is really high in polyphenols - the kind of antioxidants also found in blueberries that make them such a powerful brain food. These help to protect you from oxidative stress and inflammation, which contributes to neurodegeneration and cancer.
As well as its antioxidant prowess, cacao also contains magnesium, which is important for energy production and can help with migraines; iron, which is essential for the transport of oxygen around the body; and zinc, which can help with spatial memory and attention.
It’s not only a melt-in-your-mouth experience - dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants and is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health.
For the chocolate:
250g cold pressed cacao butter
150g raw cacao powder
100-150ml pure raw coconut nectar, pure maple syrup or any liquid sweetener
1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
pinch of sea salt
For the toppings:
roasted almonds and/or almond butter
unsweetened shredded coconut
goji berries and hemp seeds
dried lavender flowers
roasted pumpkin seeds
Before making the chocolate note that it is very important that all the bowls and utensils you use are completely dry.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a non-stick baking sheet. Bring some water to simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Place the cacao butter in a heatproof bowl and set it on the saucepan over the simmering water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until melted.
In a second bowl, combine the cacao powder, coconut nectar, vanilla powder, and salt. Add the melted cacao butter and whisk all the ingredients until smooth. Add more sweetener to taste. Pour immediately onto the baking sheet, smooth evenly, and sprinkle with your choice of toppings before the chocolate is solid.
Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm, and for another 10 minutes in the freezer. Break or cut the chocolate into pieces and transfer to an airtight container. Keep the chocolate refrigerated.
Note: Using a sweetener that complements the chocolate flavour and experience is a matter of personal taste - so feel free to experiment with the different sweeteners recommended, according to what feels best for you. As with all sweeteners, use within reason.