February 6, 2012 · 6:55 pm

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend!

Lil’ L was very excited when it started to snow on Saturday !  It came down thick and fast for a few hours, and we had a beautiful walk with friends along the K&A Canal into Bath.  

The snow arrived Saturday pm and the canal was completely frozen. 24 hours later, the snow had disappeared and the canal had thawed! Talk about rapid transformation!

From the canal, we cut through Sidney Gardens and stopped in the Holburne Museum’s Cafe to warm up with coffees and hot chocolates, along with brownies, millionaire shortbread, apricot & orange cake, apple and walnut cake and rocky road!  It was all super delicious and I’d love to have a try at making healthy, dairy-free versions of those treats.  Does such a thing as healthy rocky road exist?  I need to find out! 

Today, I’ve been making heart chocolates for my sister’s birthday and for a certain person’s valentines gift ;) .  As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of raw chocolate.  Not only does it taste incredible (if you’re into dark chocolate), but it’s also super good for you!  What a bonus!

People have been asking me how I make my home-made raw chocolates, so I thought that I’d post some step-by-step instructions.

As far as I can tell, there are no hard and fast rules on ingredients and quantities, but here’s what I use:

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60g raw cocao (cocoa) butter
50g raw cacao (cocoa) powder
2-3 tbsp Sweet Freedom natural sweetener (this is low GI and suitable for diabetics.  Agave syrup can be used as an alternative)

You can then add natural extracts, nuts and dried fruits, should you so wish.

In my heart shape chocolates, I add 1 tsp vanilla extract and a mix of finely chopped raw almonds, brazil nuts and dried goji berries.

In my orange chocolates, I add a couple of drops of orange extract and the mix of finely chopped almonds, brazils and gojis.  I did buy an expensive bottle of orange extract from Lakeland, but when I got it home I discovered that one of the ingredients was water.  I don’t know if the quantity of water would affect the chocolate making, but I didn’t want to risk it.  Instead, I now use a cheap bottle of orange extract from Asda, which contains a mix of orange oil and vegetable oil.

Here are the steps I take:

1. First, finely chop the nuts and goji berries (I use my Kenwood mini chopper).

2. Prepare a ‘bain marie’, which is basically a saucepan with a small amount of water in the bottom, on top of which rests a bowl (is this called a ‘double broiler’ in the US?) 

It is really important to make sure that no water gets into the bowl and that all the utensils and moulds are completely dry, as water and chocolate don’t mix! 

3. Gently heat the water. Throughout the chocolate making process, make sure that the water stays on a very low heat. You don’t want the water to be boiling rapidly and for steam to be escaping out the sides of the saucepan!

4. Measure out the raw cacao butter.  Finely chop or grate it, and place it in the bain marie bowl. 

5. Once the cacao butter has melted, whisk in the raw cacao powder.  Add the vanilla/orange extract and liquid sweetener, to taste (I tend to use 3T of Sweet Freedom fruit sweetener or syrup.  Agave syrup is sweeter, so 2T should be enough).

6. I now mix the goji berries and nuts into one half of the melted chocolate.

Once mixed together, it looks like this:

 

7. The chocolate then gets poured into the mould.  I use 2 teaspoons so that I can direct the liquid chocolate more accurately and avoid too much spillage!  I begin by pour a little of the plain chocolate into the mould so that the chocolates have a smooth top, then back-fill with some of the chocolatey nut & fruit mixture.

8. I allow the chocolates to cool before placing them in the fridge or freezer (I find this helps to prevent condensation forming on the chocolates). 

9. When they’re set, pop the chocolates out of the mould and enjoy!

 

Home-made chocs make a great Valentine’s or birthday gift for loved ones.  I also love sharing them over coffee with friends and family, or as an after-dinner treat. :)

Where to buy raw chocolate ingredients
Finally, another question I’m often asked is where to buy raw chocolate ingredients.  If you live in or near Bath, the ingredients can be bought at the Harvest Health Food Shop on Walcot Street.  Otherwise, they can be bought online.  Elements for Life not only sell the individual ingredients, but they also have these fantastic raw chocolate making kits. I love buying these as birthday and house-warming gifts for my dark chocolate loving friends!  

Raw chocolate making ingredients are also available from Shazzie’s Detox Your World.  I love Shazzie’s products, but they’re a little out of my price range now that I don’t have an income :(

Goji berries can also be bought from Harvest in Bath, or from Waitrose, who stock the Forest Feast Gorgeous Goji Berries.

Making home-made chocolates is so simple, and I find it to be a really relaxing, therapeutic experience :)   If you haven’t done so already, you must give it a try!

Next week, I’ll give instructions on how to make my chocolate coconut cups.  Another super simple, but truly scrumptious recipe :)

Have you tried making your own chocolates?  If so, I’d love to hear what your favourite home made chocs are (and please send links to recipes!)

Have a wonderful week everybody! xx

 

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