Gluten Free - Dairy Free - Refined Sugar Free - Tasty Full
Do you like chocolate? Do you like cherries? Then I have the sweet treat for you! Chocolate Cherry Bites come with all the creaminess that you love in chocolate without the refined sugar, soy or dairy that's found in most store bought chocolate. These are made creamy by using cacao butter and contain maple syrup as a natural sweetener instead of refined sugar.
Coconut oil and cacao butter (the fat from a cocoa bean) are high quality healthy fats that help slow down the absorption of the sugars, so that they don't rush into your blood stream giving you that insulin spike and crash.
Raw cacao powder is a more nutritious option than using cocoa powder. It is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cocoa beans. This leaves you with an end product that contains living enzymes verses cocoa powder that has been heated at high temperatures, reducing/removing nutrient value. Raw cacao contains higher levels of minerals and antioxidants (particularly resveratrol, which protects the nervous system), lowers blood pressure and insulin resistance, and can boost your mood! When you hear or read about research that says chocolate has a great deal of health benefits, this is the stuff they're talking about, not necessarily the chocolate bars purchased at your local grocery store.
Maca, a root grown in the mountains of Peru, is typically found in its powder form. This has been coined the "Peruvian Ginseng," for its variety of health benefits. Maca has a malty flavor and is typically consumed in smoothies, puddings, or raw desserts. The flavor pairs well with cacao, so that's why it can be a great addition to homemade chocolate. Be mindful to only add maca after removing saucepan from heat. If heated too much beneficial nutrients can be lost and we don't want that. Maca is rich in vitamins B, C, and E, and is high in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. Some people use maca to increase energy, relieve premenstrual cramps, support hormone health, and balance mood or anxiety. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, avoid maca, as there isn't any research on possible affects for doing so during these periods of life.
Chocolate Cherry Bites
Prep time: 15 min., Freezer time: 20 min., Total time: 35 min.
Makes: ~24 chocolates
- 1/4 cup extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cacao butter*
- 1/3 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 and 1/4 tsp. maca powder (optional)
- ~24 unsweetened, dried cherries
- Sea salt to taste
- In a double boiler over low heat, melt the coconut oil and cacao butter. Whisk to combine and prevent boiling or burning.
- Once the coconut oil and cacao butter have completely melted, remove the pan from heat. Add maple syrup, cacao, and maca powder. Whisk until smooth. Be mindful that the steam/water does not enter the chocolate mixture at any point during this process or it will ruin your batch by making it gooey/snotty.
- Pour a thin layer of the chocolate into the mold of your choice (or a lined mini muffin tin) just to cover the bottom. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and add one cherry to each mold.
- Pour enough chocolate into each mold until the cherry is covered. Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt. Return to the freezer for a minimum of 20 minutes or until completely frozen.
- Pop the chocolates out of their molds and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Remove a couple of minutes before serving.
*Swap: if you don’t have cacao butter, you can still make the chocolate by replacing with equal parts coconut oil. The cacao butter makes for a creamier, thicker, heat stable chocolate, so be mindful that using solely coconut oil will affect the texture, flavor and make for a melty chocolate on your fingers.
Prep: these can be made days in advance to save yourself time on the day of serving or to have as snacks on hand.
Storage: Because these chocolates are made with coconut oil, they will melt easily if left out on the counter too long. The refrigerator or freezer is your best bet for keeping a nice solid chocolate.
What's your favorite way to enjoy a good piece of chocolate?
Let us know in the comments below.
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