Homemade Dark Chocolate

Here’s a simple and easy recipe to make your own vegan/organic chocolate at home, with little-to-no equipment!

My love for chocolate is probably first on my list of things to satisfy on a daily basis (terrible habit, I know). But I thought I’d nourish my cravings in a cheaper and healthier way by using ingredients straight out of my pantry (no extra costs) and by knowing that the ingredients going into the making of this chocolate are pure,  sugar-free and my cocoa essentials are even locally sourced from the Dominican Republic.

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I had no idea that chocolate could be made from simply mixing cocoa butter and cocoa powder. All it takes is to heat up the butter, whisk in the powder, and freeze it to achieve a solid consistency. Now, some recipes I read substitute the cocoa butter with coconut oil which is more affordable and easily found at any grocery store. But I chose to make my chocolate as chocolate-y as possible by jam packing everything cocoa I had. And doing half/half cocoa butter and coconut oil.

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The process took a little longer to evenly whisk the honey and the cocoa powder to ensure that the sweetness level was equal throughout and that the chocolate didn’t have a grainy texture. I would suggest using a sweetener in liquid form to facilitate the mixing process. Perhaps Drizzle Honey will be next on my list to use in my chocolate making?

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You’ll know that your chocolate mix is ready for pouring when it looks like this: not too liquid and not to viscous. Add more powder if it’s too runny or add more oil or sweetener if the mixture is too thick. Then give it a taste to see if it meets your expectations. The worst thing to have happen is to completely finish a batch of goodies and realize that it tastes awful . There’s no rush to pouring the chocolate so take your time and add whatever else you need to make it taste fantastic.

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Total time: 2-3 hours
Makes 20-25 small chocolates

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup honey (can use any sweetener of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil over low heat.
  2. Once the oils are fully melted, add the honey and vanilla extract and start whisking.
  3. Slowly add the cocoa powder (two tablespoons at a time) and continue whisking the mixture.
  4. Once all the cocoa powder is in the mix, sprinkle the sea salt and finish stirring.
  5. The consistency should be pourable but not too runny. Grab a small spoon and start pouring the mixture into your preferred molds. (You can find the ones I used on Amazon.)
  6. Place your filled molds in the freezer for at least an hour. You can check the solidity of your chocolates by feel.
  7. Keep them refrigerated so they don’t melt!

 

Cocoa Date Energy Bites

When you have a ton of ingredients that might soon reach their best-before dates, what better way to use them in some energy bites?

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This is one of my favourite recipes that I’ve ever created as all the sweetness comes directly from the dates, and the cocoa powder gives an extraordinary chocolate taste but the bitterness is not overpowering at all. This is also my first batch using my collagen powder from Neocell which is a top-rated collagen brand and that I personally love.

_MG_1569If you don’t know what hydrolyzed collagen is, it is produced from the collagen found in the skin, bones and connective tissues of animals in the meat industry. Collagen in our own bodies is the main structural protein that keeps our skin elastic, our nails and hair from breaking, and our bones, tendons and ligaments strong. Supplemental collagen absorption is said to boost and maintain the health of all of these tissues, especially as we age and our bodies start to decrease the production of collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen also serves as a protein source.

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Total time: 15-30 minutes
Makes 20-25 bites

Ingredients:

  • 23-¾ cup homemade date purée
  • 13 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ¼ cup milled flaxseed
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 2 scoops Neocell Super collagen
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp maca powder

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl with a spoon or fork.
  2. Continue mixing with your hands to ensure consistency is achieved and then start rolling your bite-sized balls!

Notes:

  1. If the consistency is too liquid, add more flaxseed and coconut. If the consistency is too dry, add more almond butter or date purée depending on preference.
  2. Note that collagen isn’t vegan as it is an animal by-product. To maintain a plant-based recipe, forego the collagen.

Maca-Coco Chia Energy Bites

It doesn’t get easier than this: a snack that packs in all things healthy and delicious, and that literally takes 20 minutes to make. No baking needed! All you need is the right set of ingredients perfect for you. But if you don’t know where to start, here’s a recipe that combines all my favourite pantry goods and that will not disappoint your fellow taste testers!

Although I’ve made my own twist to this recipe, the original recipe belongs to Reclaiming Yesterday’s blog which I stumbled upon when looking for ways to properly portion the ingredients I had on hand. If you would like to see the original recipe, please click here! Alyson – author of Reclaiming Yesterday – also sweetly describes the benefits of maca powder, a core ingredient to these little bites, which include increasing energy, and improving hormone balance and overall good health. The rest of the added ingredients are mostly healthy fats rich in antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium.

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These are the ultimate alternative to your daily unhealthy snacks, if you have terrible snacking habits like I do. Especially during this time of the year when the chocolate goodies and gingerbread cookies make their way into your kitchen.

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Total time: 15-30 minutes
Makes 15-20 bites

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup dried coconut
  • ¼ cup (organic) almond butter
  • ¼ cup (organic) peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, molasses or agave nectar for the vegan friends!)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • splash of salt (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl with a spoon or fork.
  2. Continue mixing with your hands to ensure consistency is achieved and then start forming your bite-sized balls!

Notes:

  1. If you want to add a bit of a caffeine kick, roll your bites in some espresso powder, or green tea matcha powder if that’s your jam.
  2. Any ingredients can be added if you don’t have the ones I used in your kitchen, or if you just don’t like them (if it’s the latter, we can’t be friends). But try to aim for one part nut butter and liquid ingredients, two parts solid ingredients. This will guarantee that they stick well together and not crumble.

Bon appétit!

Kombucha: True Büch

I first came across Kombucha this summer at the Raw Eatery & Market in Kensington. Having never heard of Kombucha, Megan (one of the owners at Raw) informed me and my friend that it was a fermented black or green tea drink that promotes certain health benefits such as gut health. Thanks to my Asian roots, I’ve known many teas to be quite beneficial for your health, but fermented tea? Now that was interesting. Raw had a variety of flavours on tap that sounded much too amazing for me to pass on, so I tried my very first Kombucha drink and it tasted delicious – I wish I could tell you which flavour it was!

*Kombucha fact: Kombucha is not a recent healthy food concept; in fact, it originated in Northeastern Asia over 2,000 years ago. (I guess I was just late in finding this out.)

T_MG_0717.jpghe brand of Kombucha that I tried at Raw was a local producer: True Büch. I wanted to try more of their flavours so I proceeded to look them up and found out that they’re local! The fact that this husband-and-wife team brew their Kombucha locally made me love the product even more. I then found that a ton of local stores, shops, and yoga studios were selling their bottled drinks – in particular LIV, my now yoga studio. So when I had the chance, I made a Kombucha run and bought all three flavours that LIV had in store: the ginger (a classic), the blueberry rooibos (which is so far my fave), and the vanilla chai (Jason’s fave).

These natural, carbonated and sweet drinks are a great alternative to a hot tea drink when you want something more refreshing. On top of that, they are complete with enzymes and probiotics to boost your health and immune system. If you would like to try True Büch’s amazing Kombucha flavours, check out their many locations here! You won’t be disappointed.

In-text Photo Credit: Jason Meng Visuals.

Disclaimer: This post is not at all sponsored.