It all started when someone gave me a “how to make chocolate” kit for my birthday. “What a cute idea,” I thought. But I really wasn’t so sure about it.
The thing is, I am quite the chocolate snob. I buy the darkest chocolate available and often times spend an embarrassing amount on a small bar from the store. It’s not that I think sinking tons of money into an artisan item is in itself a cool thing, but rather that high quality chocolate is part of my health insurance plan!
Exquisite dark chocolate is not just simply a little treat. It’s the food of the gods!
I’ve already written a lot about the history and the amazing health benefits of chocolate in a truffle recipe we posted a few years back.
In summary, dark chocolate and cacao products are a powerful superfood. It’s extremely high in antioxidants, which have been proven to strongly support heart health. It also elevates your mood and is high in minerals.
Oh yeah, and it tastes good!
Knowing the powerful health benefits of chocolate allows me to indulge in the best chocolate on the market, guilt free!
Back to my “cute” birthday gift. I obligingly made chocolate from this kit and was absolutely amazed at how incredible this homemade chocolate tasted! Without a doubt, it was better than the best artisan bars I’ve ever bought. Even better is that I can omit ingredients like soy lecithin (which many chocolate bars contain) and control the amount of sugar that goes into the mix as well.
You can bet it didn’t take me long before I realized I could add herbs to my new chocolate-making obsession as well.
The Herbs in This Recipe
For this recipe I used maca powder and cinnamon powder.
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a root that comes from South America. It’s essentially a turnip or a nutrient-dense root. It’s heavily marketed in the natural health industry for its aphrodisiac qualities and its ability to promote fertility. Honestly, to get the most benefit from maca, you would take it in much higher dosages. However, its sweet taste works well in this recipe.
Chocolate and cinnamon just beg to be combined. I could go on and on about the health benefits of cinnamon, but forget that and just savor the complex combination of the sweet spicy taste of cinnamon against the rich slightly bitter taste of cacao. Yum!
But really, the herbal possibilities are endless and I’ve only just begun to explore them. Rose petal powder, orange powder, hawthorn powder, mint, little bits of lavender… I’ve also minced up nuts and goji berries for this mix as well. Yummy!
What’s in a Name? Cacao or Cocoa?
From what I can tell, cacao and cocoa are interchangeable words for products that come from the Theobroma cacao tree. In my mind, cacao seems like a more specific word to discuss pure cacao products, as opposed to cocoa, which reminds me of those awful powdered hot cocoa blends marketed to kids and contain lots of sugar and other unhealthy additives.
You know, I should share my incredible hot chocolate recipe with you all this holiday season. Stay tuned!
Ethical Use of Chocolate
Before we get to the recipe itself I really want to encourage you to buy organic chocolate that has been harvested and made in ethical and sustainable ways. You may have seen this on the news, but large chocolate manufacturers have been found guilty of using child slavery in the harvest and production of their chocolate.
How to Make Chocolate
What you’ll need…
- 130 grams cacao butter
- 70 grams raw cacao powder
- 15 grams maca root powder
- 5 grams cinnamon powder
- Honey to taste (I use a dollop from a tablespoon)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
- Silicone molds (ice cube trays may also work)
- Begin by placing a small amount of cacao nibs (roasted) in the molds
- Cut the cacao butter into small chunks.
- Melt the cacao butter over a double boiler.
- Once the cacao butter has melted entirely, add the cacao powder and herbal powders. Stir well.
- Add the honey. Stir well.
- Pour into molds that have been sprinkled with cacao nibs and let harden. This takes a few hours at room temperature.
This recipe makes a great holiday gift. Be sure to experiment with lots of different recipes in your own kitchen before handing them out to friends.
I thought by sharing this with you now, you’d have plenty of time to experiment with making homemade chocolate before the December holidays.
You know, to be sure you get it just right.