Desert! What a way to start a blog! It's 6:30 in the morning and I'm already thinking about desert! Of course I am, because the desert I'm about to share with you is actually good for you. It's delicious. It feels like a good belly rub of yum!
When I discovered I needed to eat out of the normal. Unprocessed/Un-sugared/un-overly salted/un- high glycemic,.... I wondered how I'd get in my deserts!
So I started substituting ingredients. Making my own foods. Trying new things, failing, smashing it, failing again. As I played, my brain cleared. My health improved, my body felt better- way better! My stress dropped. My joy increased..
Of course, even with all this goodness...apparently I have a short attention span, or I'm being a human. Because when I get to feeling awesome, I forget why I feel awesome. An event happens, someone brings me food, normal cake gets put in front of me... I eat and celebrate! Then my beautiful chatty body gently and not so gently, reminds me go back to healthy eating. Sometimes it takes me a day or two or a week to make the connection. Thankfully my body is insistent, she reminds me over again and over again why "normal" is not my cup of tea.
That's a lot of sharing before I get to the reason for this post. DESERT!!
My latest play with Desert is one of my favorites. My newest discovery is chocolate bark- tempered, with dandelion and chicory. So satisfying. The basic recipe comes out of an amazing- highly recommended, great Christmas gift, cook book!!
Sweet Treats without Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar.
Virpi has created a whole cookbook of yum! Yum that doesn't make me wobbly!!
Below is a recap of her basic chocolate recipe. Virpi has even taught me to temper chocolate!! Her cookbook is one of those cookbooks you want to savor, share, explore, expand.... It has great pictures, easy to follow recipes, there is even a chocolate delight including a potato!! How to make your own licorice...on and on it goes- highly recommended!! I could play with her cookbook for a long, sweet time!
"Basic Chocolate" page 12
"Makes about 1/2 cup (4oz)
1/2 cup grated cacao butter
5 tablespoons cacao powder
1/4 cup honey or coconut syrup
Pinch of sea salt"
"Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil until smooth in the top of a double boiler. Add the cacao powder, honey, and salt and mix. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary. " ... Virpi adds more directions here -ways to use this chocolate
" ...The quality of your ingredients is important so aim to use organic and top-shelf brands. You can taste the quality immediately in chocolate as well as feel it in the consistency. Good-quality cacao products have been manufactured as gently as possible, keeping the nutrients intact."
.... Virpi explains about tempering chocolate and why you want to do this... In her book she actually gives detailed instruction on how to officially temper chocolate. One day I will try the official way. Basically tempering chocolate gives chocolate that smooth rich texture and delightful chocolate snap. It keeps it from melting in your hand but not from melting in your mouth!! So worth it!!
I'm not a detailed cook. Maybe one day I'll temper chocolate like a pro. For now, I have a simple way...that seems to work...most of the time. (see in my modifications below)
If you know me, you will know, I don't ever follow directions without making a new turns and shifts along the way. Start with Virdi's recipe. In her book she gives you a lot of ways to use this basic recipe. It is so good and versatile. And if you want to play and cut off a professional step or two....read on, for how I've played & modified.
Here are my modifications....for easy tempered, chocolate bark with dandelion root and chicory.
I've combine organic cacao powder with dandelion and chicory (Dandy Blend) It reduces it's caffeine and more a rich coffee taste. I've also substituted the cocoa powder for carob. Still yummy. A note about Dandy blend: I use this to substitute using coffee and cocoa when I want to go fully un-caffeinated
I add in a protein- peanut or nut butter...or Collagen powder (hint add this after you have tempered or weird things happen)
I cut the sugar in 1/2 and sometimes 3/4 and sometime fully...and substitute either Monk fruit or Stevia liquid. (It's all about blood sugar love) When I keep a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup in the recipe, it keeps my chocolates tasting like real chocolate...but it's not necessary! A note about Monk Fruit or any sugars/sugar substitutes. By whole, unprocessed. Monk fruit is a fruit...the one I use is 100% monk fruit. If yours looks like sugar..it's got extra stuff in it.
Usually I'll add in a dried fruit. Dried fruit it gives my chocolate a caramelly texture. One of my favorite combos is walnuts and dried cherries. Although, walnuts and dried cranberries are delightful. Next, I'm trying almonds and dried apricots. The possibilities are endless!!!
My tempering process is simple and unconventional. I heat my chocolate on the stove, put it in the freezer until it seems cold enough, then I pull it out and reheat. (so not scientific or candy correct) but it seems to do the trick.
I don't have a double broiler... so I get out a stainless still pan, fill it will a bit of water and put my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup in the water. Using very low heat. This works great.
When I'm done with all my cooking, I put parchment paper in a glass cooking dish. Spread my chocolate around. Put in freezer. When cold enough, I break it apart and make chocolate bark. EASY PEASY
I label and store my chocolate bark in my freezer.
You can by organic cocoa butter- tons of ways to use this raw ingredient- and it holds up well. Verdi's tip on grating cocoa butter is brilliant!!!
Enjoy, Experiment and Eat for your vitality, joy and brain!!
FYI, dark chocolate, with low sugar, & walnuts...is good for skin and brains too.
Happy Travels my friends,