MAKE: Healthy Homemade Chocolate
My grandmother had a drawer in her bedroom dresser filled with chocolate candy bars. My sister and I made a quick bee line to it whenever we visited. The only rule I remember was that we could only take one thing at a time. I do remember gorging on chocolate bars one weekend and coming home with an upset stomach, and my mother mumbling about her mother-in-law’s failure to supervise. As I grew older, I stopped eating candy except if I happened upon a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses.
I spent many years working for restaurants and hotels and our break rooms often had leftovers from banquet events or buffets so there was no need to bring in additional foods. When I switched careers to academic advising and teaching, the break rooms brought out the worst of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Donuts, pastries, cookies, muffins, and chips were randomly deposited on the table. I avoided the break room on most days because the temptation was too much.
Except when there was chocolate to be had. Chocolate replaced coffee as the afternoon stimulant and around 3pm on most afternoons, there was a quiet stream of employees in and out of the break room in search of chocolate. Easter and Halloween were the best times for massive amounts of leftover chocolate but if no free chocolate was available we could cruise over the college bookstore and stand with others looking at the chocolate bar display. I wish now that I had taken photos of these different experiences.
Now with a lot more knowledge about the ingredients and production of commercially made chocolate bars, and the health benefits of cacao, I have learned to make my own chocolate. Strictly for medicinal purposes of course...
RECIPE: Homemade Chocolate
1 cup cocoa butter*
1 cup raw organic (unprocessed) cocoa powder
½ cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla, almond or orange extract
Optional: spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne
Melt cocoa butter over low heat. Add cocoa, honey, honey and vanilla. Pour into silicone candy trays. Harden in fridge. Pop out of the silicone trays and store in covered container.
I like to add some extras: chopped nuts, seeds (sunflower, hemp), coconut flakes, and dried fruits all make great additions.
*You can use ½ cup of cocoa butter and ½ cup of coconut oil but the chocolate pieces should probably be refrigerated because coconut oil melts at 76°