My vegan girls group recently had a chocolate exchange. It’s a super fun idea around Valentine’s Day! We each made a few different kinds of chocolate, brought them all to my place and made cute little assorted chocolate boxes out of them. The chocolates were all vegan and for the most part were raw, gluten-free and free of refined sugar. And extremely delicious =)
It was a fantastic idea, I’m so glad someone suggested it as we all walked away with two boxes full of assorted treats (9 flavours total) and we had some to “test” during our afternoon together.
I made the coconut almond-butter cups, the chocolate coconut mounds & the chocolate sea salted caramels. This was my first attempt at making chocolates and they turned out pretty well. They aren’t quite as pretty as they could be, but I’m pleased with the results for my first try.
These are the chocolates I made on the white plates (top leftt = coconut mounds, top right = caramels and bottom = coconut almond butter cups). Here are some of the other chocolates my friends made:
It turned out to be a lot of fun making the chocolates (despite some frustration with not knowing some tricks of the chocolate making trade ahead of time! Live and learn) and getting together to make the boxes… and eat chocolate.
I had been wanting to buy cacao butter for quite some time, but it is very pricy and I wasn’t sure how to use it. So I finally broke down and bought some for this occasion. I must say, it was totally worth it! I loved making my own chocolate as I could make it however I wanted, with whatever flavours I wanted and especially, decide how much to sweeten it. I made the coconut mounds and cups from recipes that can be found here:
http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2012/4/18/vanilla-bean-coconut-butter-cups-with-chocolate-peanut-butte.html (with almond butter in place of pb)
And I came up with my own recipe for the caramels.
Chocolate Sea Salted Caramels
1 cup of cacao butter (melted at extremely low temperatures, use a dehydrator if you’d like it to be completely raw)
3/4 cup unsweetened and raw cacao powder
4 tbsp maple syrup
For the caramel filling:
6 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water for a bit
1 tbsp soft coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional as the dates are sweet enough)
1 tsp lacuma powder
a sprinkle of sea salt
Start melting the cacao butter and once melted, add the cacao powder & maple syrup. Add the caramel filling ingredients to a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms, it can be thick – thick is good. If it’s too chunky, just add a bit of water.
In a candy mold (or an ice cube tray!), add about a teaspoon of chocolate to the bottom of the mold or tray and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. Remove from the freezer and add 1/2 tsp of the caramel filling, then cover it with more of the chocolate mixture. Add a sprinkle of sea salt to the tops and put it in the freezer to set for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer (best made ahead).
I bought a heart-shaped mold from Michael’s – totally worth it! These are really tasty – make sure you have someone to share them with, otherwise you will run the risk of eating too many chocolates in one sitting ;p
(last picture courtesy of my friend Vanessa)