“Coconut bad boys” is a bit of a misnomer because these chocolates are really not that bad for you at all! But I couldn’t think of an apt name so coconut bad boys it is for the time being.
Raw cacao is a superfood. During the production process, the cacao beans are never heated above something like 38C, so all the valuable enzymes and antioxidants remain intact – which means chocolate made from raw cacao is actually good for you. Imagine that! Chocolate you can eat without feeling even slightly guilty – maybe there *is* a god after all! Apparently raw cacao contains several times more antioxidants than blueberries (can’t remember where I read that, but it’s out there somewhere) – I find this really amazing, and having been a chocaholic all my life, it’s the perfect excuse for me to eat raw chocolate whenever I feel like it
A lot of people don’t like the intensity and bitterness of dark raw chocolate. This chocolate recipe is more like a milk chocolate (not as creamy as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, but much less intense than a lot of raw chocolate recipes you’ll come across), and is inspired by Ombar’s probiotic coconut bar, which was the first raw chocolate I ever tasted. Ombar probiotic coconut raw chocolate bars are utterly divine – but expensive. It leaves me feeling so beautifully buzzing, I couldn’t get enough of it; I was eating so much of it that it was starting to cost a fortune. So I looked at the ingredients and worked out a way to make something similar myself.
Now of course I don’t know the quantities of the ingredients used in a commercial bar of chocolate, so it was pure guesswork and there’s been lots of experimenting. But I’ve got this recipe to a point that I’m happy with, so it’s ready to ‘go live’ so to speak. While it’s not exactly like the Ombar version (that was never going to happen anyway), it’s utterly delicious and gets the thumbs up of my friend Gail, who is an amazing cook and knows a thing or two about food, so it must be OK!
First off, a few quick notes about the ingredients.
The coconut sugar I use is organic but it isn’t raw. You can buy raw coconut crystals (which are much dearer, unfortunately) at Raw Living. Coconut sugar has a much lower GI than normal sugar, and is beautifully sweet – so you’ll get your sweetness fix without all the badness when you make these chocolates. I will invest in some of the coconut crystals and try out the recipe using them, at some point, and report back.
I tried using proper raw coconut butter instead of the more readily available non-raw creamed coconut, but it made a very greasy chocolate when used in the quantities I give in this recipe: the butter rose to the top of the moulds and the sugar dropped to the bottom, which had a detrimental effect on the taste and texture, so I think a bit more experimenting with quantities is in order there; meanwhile, I’ll stick with creamed coconut.
Finally, I love the raw Madagasgan vanilla pods from Raw Living, but at nearly £6 a pack (a quid per pod) they’re not exactly cheap, so now I save those for ‘best’ and use a good quality vanilla extract instead – much cheaper.
50g raw cacao liquor (also known as cacao mass or cacao solids, depending on where you buy it – it’s all the same thing)
50g raw cacao butter
50g creamed coconut (organic is best but if you can’t get hold of that, Pataks or similar will do)
50g organic coconut palm sugar
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla essence, to taste
Make a ‘bain marie’ by standing a glass mixing bowl in a pan of just-boiled water. It’s really, really important that you’re not tempted to speed things up by reheating the water during the mixing process; if you do this, the cacao will cook instead of melting, and you’ll destroy much of the goodness. Just be patient – the ingredients will melt eventually!
Put all the ingredients into the bain marie, and stir occasionally to encourage larger pieces towards the warm edges of the bowl where they’ll melt quicker. Work the sugar into the mixture using the back of a spoon (note though that it won’t fully dissolve, but that’s good because when set, your chocolates will have a lovely crunchy crystallised texture which personally I really love).
When everything’s completely melted and you have a gorgeous chocolatey liquid, pour it into silicone chocolate moulds and stick these on a chopping board or baking sheet in the fridge for a couple of hours. Once set, pop the chocs out of the moulds and savour every mouthful.
Some people find raw chocolate delivers too much of a hit of bliss for their brains to be able to cope with (I’m not joking, this is actually true!) – if that happens to you, it’s worth looking for recipes that substitute raw carob for the raw cacao, so you’ll still get a chocolatey flavour but without the high.