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Raw Chocolate For Easter

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I want to share with you what you need to make amazing, healthy chocolate right at home; Including the basic instructions, one of my favorite simple recipes, the reasons why raw chocolate is important as well as where to get the right ingredients. The recipe is at the bottom of this post, so you can skip to it right away but I think it's important to explain the backstory on this unique superfood called "chocolate". 

It might seem like chocolate has a special, addictive power that seems to draw you in and undress countless candy wrappers in lightning speed like magic, then somehow jump into your mouth like a cat after a mouse. And after a quick (sometimes anticlimactic) taste and a chew or two it's devoured and hastily replaced with another. Then repeat. repeat and repeat - then the feeling comes...GUILT. Am I right? After eating all that sugar laced "chocolate" it's pretty easy to feel bad about it. But hold on a minute, before we give all of that credit or should I say blame and frustration to Chocolate - lets first look at the word "Chocolate". As you'll see - it's not the REAL CHOCOLATE to blame. This is a wake up call.

The word Chocolate may give you warm fuzzies, feelings of comfort, happiness or even uncontrollable desire. It can consume your thoughts like you're hypnotized. It might make you angry or even guilty because of the control it seems to possess when in your presence or merely on your mind. Chocolate is generally the word used for a mixture of several ingredients, which contains a small amount of a special bean call Cacao (Ka Kao). If you look at the label of a chocolate bar you'll often find that the bulk of ingredients are things like; refined sugar, GMO vegetable oil, additives, flavours, preservatives, processed milk powders, artificial colorings and even wheat. Interestingly the distinct "chocolate" flavour is one of the only flavours in nature that has not been successfully imitated artificially in a lab using chemicals. Otherwise the candy companies would surely find a cheap replacement like they have with artificial vanilla, cherry, orange, raspberry...the list goes on. So rather than using artificial replacements for the chocolate flavour these big candy companies use cheap, over processed, denatured and preserved "COCOA POWDER" instead of RAW COCAO POWDER.

This powerful bean (cacao bean) from the fruit of the Theobroma Tree is grown in tropical and subtropical parts of the world, usually in very poor countries and often under very questionable working environments. After being harvested and taken out of the fruit pods, it is fermented, dried, then bagged and shipped to big corporate candy factories where it is ground up into a very fine powder before it's used as an ingredient in manufacturing "Chocolate Products". 

The vast majority off all Cacao production (farming) around the world is controlled by two mega corporations; Cargill and Callebaut. They purchase over 65% of worlds cacao bean production, thus controlling the price that farmers receive. Which is why there is a movement for FairTrade production which helps farmers get a fair price. These two large corporations then sell the beans to massive fake food manufacturing corporations like Hershey, Mars, Mondelez, and Ferrero. You've probably heard of them.

These giant multi-billion dollar candy making giants use plenty of actual cacao beans in their "Chocolate Products" but there is another ingredient that is used much much more! And has far more environmental destruction and negative human health impact associated to it. It's called refined sugar. It's the real culprit in these chocolate products.

Over the past sixty years or so - the large corporate “chocolate makers” decided to add some less desirable ingredients to raw chocolate powder (like dried milk powder, artificial flavours and refined sugar – just to name a few) to add shelf life and ease of mass production qualities. They also proceeded to heat the once-raw cacao powder (the primary ingredient) to high temperatures, thus destroying the delicate beneficial enzymes and many valuable nutrients. Modern processing methods and “fake” ingredients has indeed led to increased consumption and sales of chocolate products all over the world, however the health related risks and dangerous addictions due to increased consumption have increased as well. So unfortunately, most of today’s modern chocolate products found in grocery stores, markets and convenience stores are addictive and unhealthy, yet consumed in high quantities.

Well, after the grim back story on what happened to chocolate I do actually have some fantastic news for you! I’m here to teach you how to love and appreciate truly healthy chocolate again! And show you that you don't need to feel guilty for eating chocolate. Well, at least if it's actually REAL CHOCOLATE that hasn't been denatured and combined with toxic, addictive ingredients. Real, raw chocolate can be made quickly and easily at home in your kitchen and the result is a delectable, mouthwatering morsel of greatness that you can truly savor and enjoy...without those hard emotional feelings. Oh and raw chocolate is full of health benefits.

As you can see - the so called chocolates that so many people are used to eating are actually toxic, environmentally destroying, health compromising fake foods. But when we peel back the modern corporate production and sales motives like preservatives, cheap artificial ingredients, highly addictive sugar and unethical cacao powder - we actually have something that not only tantilizes our taste buds, but makes us feel great about ourselves. I like that!

Let me explain how to make truly amazing raw chocolate the guilt-free, healthy way. By the way - our wonderful local health food store Health Street Wellness carries all the fair trade chocolate ingredients such as raw cacao powder, nibs, cacao butter, raw local honey, virgin coconut oil and Himalayan salt. We have everything you need to make chocolate and we can assure you it won't negatively affect your conscience. Now, if you aren't in Alberta you can call us and we can ship it to you, but you can usually find these high quality ingredients at your local health food store because they actually care about the health of people in their community. I can assure you that you won't find these ingredients at the corporate candy stores, which some people call Super Markets or Grocery Stores. They are just glorified junk food stores supporting the giant fake food industry, which has massive negative implications on food quality, poor treatment of land and the loss of small local farms because everything is bought from out of country factory farms who could care less about the health of people shopping there. Well, its true! If you want to know where to get local food direct from farmers visit www.foodgenie.ca

Anyway, back to chocolate.

I've been teaching raw chocolate making classes for seven years now and it never gets old. The reward you get from sharing a piece of home made raw chocolate that tastes so delicious that it seems to stop time is a wonderful feeling. Chocolate can be simple, and simple is almost always better when it comes to desserts. Below you'll find the basics of making healthy, raw chocolate and I've also included a recipe so you can get started right away.

Raw Chocolate Basics

You’ll want these ingredients to make your base for most chocolate recipes:

  • Raw Cacao Powder
  • Raw Cacao Butter
  • Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Unpasteurized Local Honey
  • Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt

Make sure you have some of these simple, healthy additions handy for your chocolate:

  • Cranberries
  • Hemp Hearts
  • Almonds
  • Cacao Nibs
  • Peppermint essential oil
  • Goji Berries
  • Peanuts and peanut butter
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts

Directions:

Melt the cacao butter and/or virgin coconut oil over very low heat (a double boiler works well) or in your slow cooker on low until liquefied. Then whisk to combine the cacao powder until completely blended. Next, blend in the honey (or Maple Syrup or whatever you are using for sweetening) with a fork or whisk for a about 3 or 4 minutes to ensure it is blended properly. Add Salt.

Finally, blend in any additional ingredients.

Making Bark: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture out over the paper to create a bark, sprinkle on cranberries, hemp seeds, nuts, etc. then freeze for min. 20 minutes. Cut the bark with a knife into squares or break into pieces and enjoy!

Making Moulds: Alternatively, you can pour mixture into moulds and freeze (20 minutes), then gently pop out of moulds and enjoy! You can purchase silicon moulds at most kitchen supply stores.

Storage: Store in an airtight container/bag in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Cranberry Maple Walnut Chocolate Bark Recipe

Raw, dairy free and gluten free

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Raw Cacao powder
  • 1 cup Raw Cacao butter
  • 6 tbsp Local, Unpasteurized Honey
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tbsp Unroasted Walnuts, Chopped (or Almonds)
  • 2 tbsp Unsulfured Cranberries, Chopped
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt

Directions

  • Melt the cacao butter over very low heat in your crock pot, slow cooker or double boiler (do not bring to a boil).
  • When cacao butter is liquefied - add the cacao powder and whisk thoroughly.
  • When butter and powder mixture is smooth then add the honey and maple syrup & mix until smooth using a whisk or fork.
  • Then add vanilla and mix in a pinch of salt, stir in completely

Making Bark: Pour mixture over parchment paper on a cookie sheet or baking pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts and cranberries over top. Add another sprinkle of salt over top. Place in Freezer for at least 20-30 minutes and when hard break up the bark into small pieces.

Storage: Store in an airtight container/bag in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.


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