I usually do a variety of cookies for gifting to family and friends at Christmas, but this year I wanted to try making my own chocolate bark with raw cacao and cocoa butter. Not only does chocolate have a longer shelf life than cookies (which by now most people are probably sick of so they may not eat them right away anyway), but also… who doesn’t love chocolate?
I’ve made my own chocolate bark before using melted baking chips and adding crushed candy cane, nuts and dried fruit, but it kind of felt like cheating. I wanted to try using raw cocoa butter, the stuff real chocolate is made of.
Cocoa butter wasn’t easy to find nor cheap. I couldn’t find it at a regular grocery store, but found a bag at a local health food store for $20. There was enough for two small baking sheets of chocolate in the bag, so since I needed to make more than that I decided to make half with coconut butter and half with cocoa butter.
Both turned out really good, but the cocoa butter is definitely the way to go if you want the chocolate to harden completely. I found the first batch of coconut butter chocolate to be a bit soft (since most of what I scraped out of the jar was the top layer of coconut oil), and the last batch to be too hard (which is why I had to roll them into balls). Everything still tasted amazing, though.
For the flavours, I did Earl Grey tea and vanilla with cashews, crushed walnuts and smoked maple sea salt; coconut and walnuts, and a sugar-free smoked maple sea salt and cashews using Stevia.
This chocolate recipe is super easy and versatile. You can either pour it in a baking pan and break it when it’s hard to make chocolate bark, pour it into little paper muffin cups for individual chocolates, or pour it in a smaller shallow pan and cut it into piece before it sets completely for something a little tidier.
- 1 cup raw cocoa butter, coconut oil or coconut butter
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or 1/2 cup Stevia for a diabetic-friendly chocolate)
- 1 Tsp. vanilla
- Choice of topping (nuts, dried fruit, sea salt, etc. If using Earl Grey tea, added two packets to the choclate while still on the stove and mix in completely.)
- Heat a medium-sized pan on the stove set to low heat, or use a double boiler
- Add the raw cocoa butter or coconut oil/butter and stir it around until it’s completely melted
- Add the raw cacao powder and mix in until combined
- Add the maple syrup slowly and mix in completely
- Once chocolate mixture is smooth, remove pan from stove and pour into a parchment paper-lined baking pan.
- Top with nuts, dried fruit, sea salt, etc.
- Store overnight in the freezer
- Once completely hard, break chocolate into pieces for gifting! I like to keep mine in mason jars in the fridge until Christmas.
Have you made chocolate before using cocoa butter? What toppings would you add?
P.S. As Christmas is only a few days away and I need a little break, this will be my only blog post this week 🙂 Wishing my readers and fellow Sweat Pink, FitFluential, Girls Gone Sporty and IDEA Inspired Bloggers a very Merry Christmas or Happy Chanukah! I hope all of you get to spend time with those you love doing what you love to do. XOXO