Inspiration comes at the weirdest times: In the shower (probably the best thinking location, anywhere, ever), while swimming/running/cycling or other solo fitness activity, and, for me, while walking the dog.
This particular idea came from a dog walk when I: 1) Wanted chocolate, 2) Had no chocolate, and 3) It was too hot to drive to go get chocolate.
We take our pooch most places, except in the summer when it is just too hot to be safe, even with the windows all the way down. And, being that we are officially DINKS, the dog is spoiled and rarely spends a moment alone. 2Chili was off riding his bike on a 3+ hour ride, so, I was tied to the house with the dog. Not really – I would of course leave her home alone if there was some sort of emergency, but wanting chocolate doesn’t seem like a legit emergency.
What’s an overly-protective dog mom that wants a chocolate treat to do?
Clearly, make her own chocolate. And, that’s just what I did.
On the aforementioned walk, I realized if I combined melted coconut oil and mixed in cacao powder and sweetener, I could probably produce a chocolate bar. Whaddya know? It worked! It was then, and only then, did I research if other people thought this was feasible. Turns out, they do.
The only thing about DIY chocolate of this manner is that it both melts in your hands and in your mouth. Coconut oil is liquid at body temperature, so, this is not a chocolate you would pack and take with you somewhere, unless you want a literal mess on your hands.
But, if you can keep it in the cool sanctuary of your fridge, it’s a home run. You can make this recipe and form it into bars, or, as I will demonstrate, put it in a silicone mold with some sort of goodie in the center.
Recommended goodies: Nut butter, candied ginger, dried fruit, nuts, or, anything you think would be good in the center. Don’t put fresh fruit in the middle as it will make the chocolate way too watery. A sprinkle of coarse salt on top is good, too.
I am particularly fond of dark chocolate and ginger, and almonds/coconut, so that’s what I went with for this recipe. The beauty of a silicone mold is you can put different things in each little slot – variety is the spice of life!
This project is simple and infinitely customizable to your tastes. My framework is guidance, but, the sky is the limit and you can make this pretty much any way you want based on the template below.
Good dark chocolate is expensive. Do yourself a favor and make your own. You’ll get what you want, save money, and have some fun in the process!
DIY Healthier Dark Chocolate
Warning: This project can be a little on the messy side, and chocolate can stain clothes and some wooden spoons. Use items you don’t mind staining!
Makes: Varies depending on form factor – this made 30 “peanut butter cup” sized bonbons for me
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (I buy mine at Trader Joe’s, or from Nutiva)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder (I used cacao powder; this is the cacao powder I like)
- Sweetener to taste – Recommend 2-4 tablespoons honey, or 2-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or 2-3 packets of Stevia in the Raw – this is a personal preference
- Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional “goodies” to put in the middle of your bonbon treats if making
- Optional: Coarse salt to sprinkle on top
- Have silicone mold or cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment ready to go
- Heat a small pan over very low heat and add coconut oil, gently stirring until melted (low heat is best – don’t rush)
- If using honey or maple syrup, stir in (also stir in vanilla here, if using)
- Mix in cocoa or cacao powder and stir until smooth
- If using Stevia in the Raw, stir in until smooth
- Carefully taste to see if the mixture is sweet enough for your taste. Cacao powder is exceptionally bitter, so you may need more sweetener
- Note:Even if you think the mix looks too thin, do not add more cacao powder – as it will just make it more bitter. The end result should be fairly thin and pourable before it hardens.
- If making bonbons, spoon a little bit of chocolate into each mold to cover the bottom, then add your goodies and cover with chocolate
- If making a chocolate bar, pour onto prepared cookie sheet or tray
- Sprinkle with salt, if using
- Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up before eating; If making a chocolate bar, remove after 15 minutes and score fore easier breaking, and then put back in the fridge
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 5 days (though it won’t last that long!)
Combine ingredients over low heat. The chocolate mixture should be fairly thin and pourable.
If making into bite-sized bonbons, put a dab of chocolate on the bottom, add whatever you fancy (but not fresh fruit – it’ll be too watery), and then cover with chocolate. The mold may get messy, but, that is all part of it!
Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden, and, enjoy!
Based on 30 bite-sized bonbon servings with no add-ins and made with 2 tablespoons maple syrup.