Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla - pana chocolate style recipe

 

If you’re a raw chocolate lover you’ll most likely have heard of Pana Chocolate. For anyone who hasn’t, Pana Chocolate is an Australian based chocolate maker that produces one of the best tasting, raw, organic chocolate’s available. If you’re luckily enough to live near one of their Australian outlets you might have also tried their amazing raw desserts. For anyone who wants to see what I’m talking about, check out their popular Instagram page here. I have yet to sample Pana Chocolate’s raw desserts, but I have tried their chocolate and it’s pretty damn good as far as raw, dairy-free chocolate goes!

My eating chocolate of choice used to be milk chocolate hands down. The creaminess and melt-in-the-mouth quality of a good milk chocolate was by far my preference over a rich, dark block any day. Dark chocolate obviously has a lot more cocoa solids in it, so tends to be a lot harder with much less of the melt-in-the-mouth quality. The higher the quality of dark chocolate, the less milk products and sugar it generally has too. These days there are a lot more quality dark chocolate varieties available, including some with less cocoa solids making them not quite so hard or rich, however, they still don’t possess the same melt-in-the-mouth quality.

So I was pretty excited when I discovered Pana Chocolate as not only does it contain no refined sugar, gluten, dairy or soy, it also has a rich fudgey texture and literally melts in your mouth! It’s also organic and completely raw which means all the antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals present in the chocolate are fully intact and readily absorbed by your body. The only downside about this amazing chocolate is that it’s usually in high demand so you can’t always find it in store, and almost never find the flavour you’re after, plus it’s pretty expensive too.

Naturally this led me to try and replicate this chocolate, how hard could it be?! Obviously they’ve spent many years perfecting their recipe and method and they source specific raw cacao and cacao butter to create their unique flavour. But it’s not as hard as you may think to create a simple, fudgey, pana style chocolate that you can then add all sorts of flavourings to.

Because I love the qualities of milk chocolate I’ve created this recipe to reflect that with just 40% cacao, and combined it with sour cherries and vanilla. If you like a darker chocolate then by all means add more cacao and decrease the coconut oil quantity.

Have fun with this raw chocolate recipe, play around with the cacao percentage and try adding whatever flavourings or additions of your choosing. Nuts are great, swapping the cherries for freeze dried raspberries, or adding another flavouring such as orange all work really well. And even though the ingredients for this recipe can be a little pricey, you do end up with a lot more raw chocolate than if you were to buy a ready made bar! Enjoy x

 

Have you tried to make your own raw chocolate before? Any hints or tips or questions about this recipe – leave a comment in the section below!

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

1 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup pure maple syrup or rice syrup
1/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla pod, scraped
3/4 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup (150g) dried sour cherries

Note: the steps below ensure that you measure the coconut oil and cacao butter quantities in their melted form. If you measure them in their dry form you will be short. The reason I haven’t given the measurements for their dry forms (even though this would be easier!) is because it’s much harder to accurately fit solid raw cacao into a cup.

Line a small tray approximately 20 x 20cm or smaller with a double layer of cling film.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then turn off the heat. Place a heat proof bowl on top of the pan and add 1 cup of coconut oil plus a bit extra, and stir until melted. Measure 1 cup of the melted coconut oil and pour this into a second bowl. Any extra just pour back into the coconut oil jar. Repeat this step for the cacao butter (about 3/4 – 1 cup dry cacao butter = 1/2 cup melted).

When you have the melted coconut oil and cacao butter together in the second bowl add the maple syrup and stir well using a whisk. Add the scraped vanilla seeds, salt, cinnamon and raw cacao powder and give it a good stir with the whisk until everything is well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture through a fine sieve to break up any cacao powder lumps and remove any vanilla pod remnants. Add the sour cherries and stir to combine.

Pour the sour cherry chocolate into the prepared tray and spread evenly. Place the tray in the fridge or freeze to set (depending on how fast you want it!). When set, lift the chocolate out of the tray using the cling film edges. Peel back the cling film and cut into squares. Store the chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month or freeze for 3 months.

 

Raw Chocolate with Sour Cherries & Vanilla

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

My all time favourite easter treat used to be the mini caramel filled eggs. I LOVED the combination of the milk chocolate and flowing, slightly salty, caramel. However, as they are made almost entirely from milk, refined sugar and additives, unfortunately they are not something I choose to eat anymore.

I was also given an article in the paper recently that equated various types of easter eggs to slices of bread. One mini caramel egg is equal to 1.1 slices of bread. That would mean a packet, which (lets face it) is pretty easy to demolish in one sitting, equals 11 slices of bread!! That’s pretty horrifying and even more incentive to try and find something a little healthier to indulge in over the easter holiday.

So with the mini caramel egg flavours in mind, this is my recipe for raw chocolate salted caramel cups. The raw chocolate in the recipe has an intense chocolate flavour and the salted caramel layer is pretty amazing considering it’s made entirely without refined sugar! They are also completely dairy and gluten free, and being raw means all the inherent nutrients in the ingredients are still intact meaning these salted caramel cups are rich in antioxidants (from the the cacao) minerals and fibre (from the dates).

They are pretty easy to make too. For the chocolate it’s just a case of gently melting the ingredients and stirring them together. The salted caramel layer is simply made by blending dates, almond butter and pure maple syrup. Then it’s just a case of spooning the layers into the paper cups and waiting for them to set.

I hope you give these little raw chocolate salted caramel cups a try. They are super delicious, especially the salted caramel layer, and definitely won’t send your blood sugar levels crazy like regular easter treats. Enjoy!

Did you like this post? Any questions or comments about the recipe? Leave me a comment in the section below – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups

 

Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups
(makes 12 mini cups)

1/2 cup (70g) raw cacao butter
1/4 cup (60g) cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil
pinch himalayan pink rock salt
1/2 cup (85g) pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
1/2 cup (65g) raw cacao powder

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then take it off the heat. Place the cacao butter, coconut oil and salt in a heat proof bowl and place on top of the pan of steaming water, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Melting the ingredients using this method ensures the temperature of the ingredients doesn’t go above 47ºC thereby keeping the nutrients in them intact. Once melted remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.

Salted Caramel Filling

8 fresh medjool dates, pitted
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup, rice syrup or coconut nectar
pinch of himalayan pink salt

sea salt flakes to decorate (optional)

Ensure you have removed the pits from the dates, then place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have a smooth caramel. This makes quite a sticky caramel but if you prefer it more runny feel free to add another tablespoon of maple syrup or filtered water.

To assemble:

Line a mini muffin tin with paper cases (or use silicone moulds if you have them). Drop a spoonful of the raw chocolate into the bottom of each case and then place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. When firm to touch, remove from the freezer and drop a teaspoonful of salted caramel into each cup, smoothing down where needed. Lastly spoon or pour the remaining raw chocolate into each cup, ensuring the caramel is covered. Sprinkle a few sea salt flakes into the centre of each cup and return to the fridge to set.

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Raw Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups