Regardless of your beliefs regarding oversized bunnies delivering baskets today, chocolate is in the air this weekend. It’s just everywhere in sight. And while chocolate is by far my favorite treat, there are better alternatives than the products on most grocery store shelves. These are usually laden with high-fructose corn syrup and other processed, unpronounceable ingredients I’d rather avoid. I’ve got something simple and much healthier in mind here. And it’s bunny rabbit approved.
Cacao butter, a main ingredient in this recipe, is produced from the cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean and is high in omega-6 fatty acids and magnesium. Cacao powder, another main ingredient, is what remains after the cacao butter has been extracted from the cacao beans. Cacao powder is a rich source of flavanol antioxidants and is deliciously reunited with the butter during the chocolate making process. The difference between cacao and cocoa is that cacao is generally used to reference the raw form of the cacao bean. It is not roasted and contains no added sugars or butter. Cocoa, on the other hand, is roasted and has usually been mixed with sweeteners and other additives. For that reason I’ve chosen to use cacao products for my chocolate-making adventures.
This recipe contains only five ingredients and you can make it with or without the filling. The creme is a decadent cashew base and dairy-free. If you’re not a fan of lavender and lemon, you can flavor the filling with anything that makes your inner bunny rabbit hop.
Yield: 12 -14 small chocolates (dependent on the size of the mold)
1/2 c cashews
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp dried lavender flowers, finely chopped
1. In a double boiler over low heat, melt the cacao butter and coconut oil until they are completely melted and well combined. To make a double boiler, place a large pot on the stove and fill it about halfway with water. Place a smaller pot inside the large pot, and fill it with the ingredients. This allows the ingredients to be gently heated by the surrounding water instead of the direct flame. Then, scrape this mixture with a spatula into a blender or Vitamix, along with the cacao powder, sweetener and sea salt. Blend until well mixed.
2. Pour boiling water over the cashews to cover them by about 1 inch. Allow to sit for 15 -20 minutes.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture into a silicone mold, filling each mold space about halfway full. Tilt the mold from side to side to coat the sides of the mold with chocolate. I used my square mold, but you could use any shape. Place the mold in the freezer for a few minutes until the chocolates are solid. While you wait, make the cashew creme.
4. Place the soaked cashews, cashew soaking liquid, honey, sea salt, lemon juice, lemon zest and lavender in a blender or Vitamix and blend until thoroughly combined. Adjust seasonings to taste.
5. When the bottom half of the chocolates has set, place a dollop of the cashew creme in each chocolate mold, being careful to stay away from the edges. Then, place the chocolates back in the freezer until the creme has set ~ 15 minutes. Once the creme has set, remove from the freezer and carefully fill the rest of each mold with chocolate and place back in the freezer until it sets. Keep these chocolates in the fridge or freezer until ready to eat, then place in your basket and hop around delivering to all your friends.
Soundtrack: Dance Dance Dance by Lykke Li