In Costa Rica we got hooked on raw cacao. Unprocessed and in its full superfood power, it basically gets you high. Spiritual cacao ceremonies aren’t for nothing, and the other day, knackered from street food and hankering after something sweet, I decided to have my own London-style one in the kitchen with the remaining bag of raw powder we have left from our good friend Kantu who grows it there.
I have only just emerged.
And while you may notice by now how all I ever seem to make is a new healthy treat with chocolate in there in some form or another, I have never used the raw butter itself, so this was a first – and a pretty good one if rate of consumption is anything to go by.
The cool thing about raw chocolate like this is that is is actually really simple and if you have good quality ingredients they kind of do the work for you. The one crucial moment is making sure the butter doesn’t get too hot and split, but other than that I find you can basically whip it up in a few minutes, pour it onto a tray or into a mould, add whatever is in your cupboard and you’re done in half an hour. Which is pretty sweet when real proper healthy chocolate is at the other end of the creative tunnel.
I hate lengthy blog posts that harp on before the recipe for anything sweet, so I won’t keep you any longer. This is an amalgamation of two I found online and a little bit of my own improvisation – I used coconut palm nectar because of its butterscotchy taste which goes so well with a little sea salt.
100g cacao butter (cocoa butter is different because it’s not raw)
4 tbsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 heaped tbsp unrefined coconut palm sugar (plus more to sprinkle)
A handful of cranberries, pumpkin seeds and coconut (dried fruit / nuts / seeds of your choice – anything works)
In a bain marie, slowly warm the cacao butter making sure it never goes above 48 degrees C. It usually melts before this anyway, the smaller the chunks the faster this happens, and you can use a kitchen thermometer to keep an eye.
Once it is melted, keep it on a very low heat and whisk in your cacao powder, palm sugar and salt until they are all dissolved. This takes longer than you think, so keep going!
Then quickly pour the mixture onto a lined baking tray or into moulds if you prefer, and sprinkle with the dried fruit and / or seeds, some will sink into the mixture and some will float on top and that is perfect.
Put it in the freezer for twenty minutes then move to the fridge and keep cool before cutting into chunks, sprinkling with some coconut palm sugar and serving. Should it hang around you can keep in in an airtight container for three or four days.
You can even try raw fruit if you want to serve it the same day. Next on my list…