You can’t see me right now, but I’m doing a happy dance….
That’s right, it’s Friday and life is good. To make things even better, I’m eating a homemade chocolate bar. Yep, for breakfast. But it’s Friday so it’s OK. Besides, I really needed this chocolate.
This past week has been nuts. Between school, work, getting sick and completely losing my voice for two whole days, and everything else that just so happened to occur all in the same week, I haven’t had any time to really relax–or to eat dessert, which is just a crime.
Then a miraculous thing happened yesterday: while I was typing up a paper between classes, a knock came at the front door and I could hear a “plop” as something was dropped to the ground. Could it be?! My long-awaited package had arrived! I was so happy that I burst through the door, grabbed my package, and hurried inside to tear it open and marvel at my new goodies….
Because I’ve cut out sugar entirely, I ordered Cacao Butter and Carob Powder with the intention of making some uber-delicious, sugar-free treats. If you haven’t used cacao butter before, it’s basically the pure oil of the cacao bean (what white chocolate is made from)–it tastes heavenly, keeps in the pantry for eons, and can be used in countless different ways. I purchased the carob powder because I love cacao powder, but it does crazy things to me: I’ll make a chocolate dessert, then make more and more and keep eating it until I have a belly ache (I’m terrible with moderation), and then I spend the rest of the night twitching and writhing around in my bed because of the caffeine. So, because carob powder tastes like chocolate without the caffeine, I figured it was a win-win situation.
Quite honestly, my ingredients couldn’t have come at a better time–after attending last night’s class and turning in my essay, I finally had time to do something–anything–other than homework. And after a week of eating soup at nearly every meal to soothe my aching throat, I was craving something seriously decadent and sweet. Not to mention, this is my 100th post on Almonds & Avocados, so I wanted to come up with something really good to share
I figured, what better way to use both of my new ingredients than to make homemade chocolate? Honestly, it was the best decision I made all week. Even better than that power nap I took on Tuesday, and that power nap was awesome.
So, I set to work once my classes were done and it took no more than 20 minutes from start to finish to create these beautiful chocolate bars! I can already tell that this is going to be dangerous…I told myself last night that I would only eat a couple of bites and I ended up eating an entire bar. Then I told myself that I would save the other bar for dessert tonight, and here I am eating it for breakfast. What can I say, I was taking pictures for the site this morning…
And once I broke the chocolate bar apart….
I just kept nibbling and breaking off more….
And you get the picture.
I’m telling you, moderation is just not my thing. Fortunately, I don’t have to feel too guilty about my chocolate addiction because at least I know it’s somewhat healthy–cacao butter is packed with flavanols (antioxidants that repair the cells in the body and improve blood flow), coconut oil helps digestion because of its antiviral and antibacterial properties, and carob powder is high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and D. As if I needed a reason to eat chocolate…..
- 2 Tbs. coconut oil
- 2 Tbs. cacao butter (cacao butter is solid at room temperature, so I just chiseled away and guessed at the amount)*
- 5-6 Tbs. carob or cacao powder
- 20-30 drops of liquid stevia (the amount depends on how sweet you want it to be. Also, carob is naturally sweeter than cacao, so if you use cacao powder, you’ll likely want to increase the amount of stevia)
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2 Tbs. roughly chopped almonds
- optional add-ins: a dash of vanilla extract, cinnamon or allspice, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut–any ingredients you like! Feel free to customize with any of your favorites!
- Melt the coconut oil and cacao butter on the stove over Low heat. You can do this using a double boiler, but I don’t have one so I just put the ingredients in a tall glass bowl and set the bowl inside of a saucepan filled with approx. 2 inches of hot water.
- Stir well to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- SLOWLY add the carob/cacao powder and stir as you go. I did this by adding one tablespoon at a time and whisking everything together in between to break up any clumps.
- Add the liquid stevia and a pinch of sea salt, stir, and remove the ingredients from the heat.
- Use a spatula to scrape the chocolate into a pan or muffin tin cups (I used two mini-loaf pans to make the bars), top with the chopped almonds, and gently press the almonds into the chocolate.
- Place the chocolate into the freezer to allow it to harden. Once hard, you can store the chocolate in the fridge (if it lasts that long).