Chocolates are a big part of our Christmas diets and really hard to avoid. I sounds like a complete broken record, but many of the usual boxes of chocolates are really just big boxes of artificial colourings, additives and refined sugars all processed together and wrapped in shiny paper. Of course eating one or two isn't the worst thing in the world but the problem is that it's hard to stop at one or two. Since I have cut right back on refined sugars, I find these types of chocolates way too sweet for my liking anyway. If I was having chocolate that I didn't make myself, I would always opt for a good quality dark chocolate. But even better than this is making your own chocolate, which is surprisingly easy to do. You might have already tried my white chocolate fruit and nut bar, which remains one of my favourite sweet recipes (recipe here). I am planning on making a big batch of that for Christmas day.
I also want to have some dark chocolate options and two classic flavours are mint chocolate and chocolate orange. This chocolate is so easy to make, containing just four ingredients for the base chocolate flavour. You can leave it at that if you want plain dark chocolate or if you want to spruce it up with some flavours, divide the mixture in half and add some peppermint extract to one half and some orange zest and juice to another.
3/4 cup of cacao butter
1/4 cup of cashew nut butter
3/4 cup of raw cacao powder
1/4 cup of maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and/or
Zest from an orange and 1 tablespoon of orange juice
1. Melt the cacao butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat.
2. Add the melted cacao butter along with the cashew nut butter, raw cacao powder and maple syrup to a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Divide the chocolate mixture into two bowls. To make the mint chocolate, add a teaspoon of peppermint extract to one of the bowls and mix well with a spoon. To make the chocolate orange, add the zest of an orange and a tablespoon of orange juice to the other bowl and mix well with a spoon.
4. If you have silicone moulds, spoon the chocolate mixtures into the silicone moulds and place in the fridge to set. This takes about an hour. If you don't have moulds, you could use ice cube trays or simply line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the chocolate onto the baking tray. Once the chocolate is set, remove the chocolate from the moulds or ice cube tray and in the case of the lined baking tray, break the chocolate into smaller pieces. Store the chocolate in a tuberware container in the fridge.