A Snowy Day in Bath & Raw Chocolate Making

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend!

Lil’ L was very excited when it started to snow on Saturday !  It came down thick and fast for a few hours, and we had a beautiful walk with friends along the Kennet and Avon Canal into Bath.

The snow arrived Saturday pm and the canal was completely frozen. 24 hours later, the snow had disappeared and the canal had thawed! Talk about rapid transformation!

From the canal, we cut through Sidney Gardens and stopped in the Holburne Museum’s Cafe to warm up with coffees and hot chocolates, along with brownies, millionaire shortbread, apricot & orange cake, apple and walnut cake and rocky road!  It was all super delicious and I’d love to have a try at making healthy, dairy-free versions of those treats.  Does such a thing as healthy rocky road exist?  I need to find out!

Today, I’ve been making heart chocolates for my sister’s birthday and for a certain person’s valentines gift ;).  As you probably know by now, I’m a huge fan of raw chocolate.  Not only does it taste incredible (if you’re into dark chocolate), but it’s also super good for you!  What a bonus!

People have been asking me how I make my home-made raw chocolates, so I thought that I’d post some step-by-step instructions.

As far as I can tell, there are no hard and fast rules on ingredients and quantities, but here’s what I use:

– 65g / 2 1/3 oz / 1/2 cup cacao butter, very finely chopped
– 50g / 1¾ oz / 1/2 cup & 1 TBSP cacao powder
– 2 1/2 – 3 tbsp Sweet Freedom natural sweetener (this is low GI and suitable for diabetics.  Agave syrup can be used as an alternative)

You can then add natural extracts, nuts and dried fruits, as you so wish.

In my heart chocolates, I add a mix of finely chopped almonds and dried goji berries.

Here are the steps I take…

1. First, finely chop the nuts and goji berries (I use my Kenwood mini chopper for this job).

2. If, like me, you don’t have a ‘double boiler’, simply add a small amount of water to a saucepan and place a heat-proof bowl on top.

It is really important to make sure that no water gets into the bowl and that all the utensils and moulds are completely dry, as water and chocolate don’t mix!

3. Gently heat the water. Throughout the chocolate making process, make sure that the water stays on a very low heat. This is really important! If you have a gas hob, once the water is boiling turn off the heat and just give it a quick blast every so often if necessary.

4. Measure out the raw cacao butter.  Finely chop or grate it, and place it in the heat-proof bowl.

5. Once the cacao butter has melted, whisk in the raw cacao powder.  Add the liquid sweetener, to taste (I tend to use 2½T of Sweet Freedom fruit sweetener or syrup.  Agave syrup is sweeter, so 2T should be enough).

6. I now mix the goji berries and nuts into one half of the melted chocolate.

Once mixed together, it looks like this:

7. The chocolate then gets poured into the mould.  I use 2 teaspoons so that I can direct the liquid chocolate more accurately and avoid too much spillage.  I begin by pouring a little of the plain chocolate into the mould so that the chocolates have a smooth top, then back-fill with some of the chocolatey nut & fruit mixture.

8. I allow the chocolates to cool before placing them in the fridge. (I find this helps to prevent condensation forming on the chocolates).

9. When they’re set, pop the chocolates out of the mould and enjoy!

Chocolate Goji Almond Hearts 3 - 500

 

Home-made chocs make a great Valentine’s, Birthday, Christmas or ‘Thank You’ gift for loved ones.   I also love sharing them over coffee with friends and family, or as an after-dinner treat. 🙂

Where to buy raw chocolate ingredients
Finally, another question I’m often asked is where to buy raw chocolate ingredients.  If you live in or near Bath, the ingredients can be bought at the Harvest Health Food Shop on Walcot Street.  Otherwise, they can be bought online.  Elements for Life not only sell the individual ingredients, but they also have these fantastic raw chocolate making starter kits.

Goji berries and Sweet Freedom are also available in major supermarkets and health food stores.

Making home-made chocolates is so simple, and I find it to be a really relaxing, therapeutic experience.   If you haven’t done so already, you must give it a try!

Next week, I’ll give instructions on how to make my chocolate coconut cups.  Another super simple, but truly scrumptious recipe 🙂

Have you tried making your own chocolates?  If so, I’d love to hear what your favourite home-made chocs are (and please send links to recipes!)

Have a wonderful week everybody! xx

 

10 thoughts on “A Snowy Day in Bath & Raw Chocolate Making

  1. Sharon you have been holding out on this chocolate making. The heart chocolates are divine (personal experience says :)) I am so glad that you shared the instructions as I have been meaning to read how to do it (just too lazy to actually google a recipe).
    I cannot wait for the coconut cups they look so very fantastic.
    And as a side note I must say that I am loving goji berries.
    I had never heard much about them until you started writing about them in various oats and what not just a delicious little super food.
    So glad that Lil’ L had some snow to enjoy. We have yet to have more than a flurry and no actual accumulation on the ground (not that I really want it as I am desperate for warmer weather).

    1. You must have a try at making the raw chocolates. It’s so easy! Far easier than baking (which I struggle with)!
      So glad that you’ve got into the goji berries 🙂 They’re good aren’t they?
      I’m hoping to make some more chocolate coconut cups later today or tomorrow. It’s half term here, so I may have to involve a certain little boy in the chocolate making. His favourite part, by far, is licking the bowl out. Don’t we all love that part 😉
      Have a great week xx

  2. Thanks for the mention Sharon and great write up on how easy it is to make raw chocolates. Just goes to show there’s no excuses for not giving it a go. I also like sound of your ground mix of nuts and gojis, will have to give them a try. Do you fancy writing up your recipe for a guest blog and/or recipe on our website?

    Our tip back for you is that using proper food grade essential oils rather than extracts will give your raw chocs even more ooomph without oil or water, just pure strong essence. Our faves are orange and rose.

    Lastly, we’re delighted to say our local outlets of ingredients is growing and you can now find them at Dick Willow’s Cider & Farm Shop at Batheaston and newly at The Healthy Life in Devizes. http://www.elementsforlife.co.uk/where-to-buy for full details 😉

    1. Thanks Dan, that’s a really kind offer! 🙂 I’ll be in touch soon.
      I remember looking for the food grade orange essential oil last year, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Do you sell it yourselves?
      Rose sounds absolutely delicious! I must give it a try!

  3. The snow looks so pretty. It was very thick in Cambridge and there’s still some on the ground in Leeds. It’s mainly just very icy now, which isn’t so much fun!

    I can certainly testify that your raw chocolates are delicious! It sounds like they are fairly easy to make, so it’s definitely something that I could try out because I think that I could be addicted 🙂

    1. You must give the raw chocolate making a try! They’re so quick and easy to make. Is it bad to be addicted to something that’s so good for you? I better the doctors will be prescribing raw chocolate remedies soon 😉

  4. I am so happy that Lil’ L got his snow! Hopefully it was enough for him to try out his sleds?
    I have been intrigued by your raw chocolate making, and think they are just beautiful! I would love to give it a try, so thank you for sharing the recipe and how-to. It will be a perfect little Valentine gift–to myself!

    1. So yesterday I made some raw chocolates using your recipe! They turned out great, but I was wondering–since I’ve never had raw cacao powder before, does it typically have a smoky flavor to it? It was good, especially with almonds and sea salt, but it was much different tasting than I was expecting. Wasn’t sure if it was just the brand, or if it always tastes that way? Thanks for the inspiration and instructions!

      1. I wouldn’t describe the taste as ‘smoky’. If anything, to me, they taste a bit like a liqueur chocolate, even though they haven’t got any alcohol in them.
        If you email your postal address, I’ll send some of my chocs so that you can compare the taste. I’ve got a few spare from my chocolate making session last week and I’d rather send them to you than eat them all myself 😉

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