I have been wanting to play with chocolate a bit since finding a recipe for chocolate on a blog that I follow. I saw a recipe for peanut butter cups and thought it would be just as easy to use almond butter. Then, it looked like Megan at Healthy Hoggin' (a blog that I love, FYI) had the same thought process and she looked like she had a pretty easy time. I would wait no longer to try my hand at making chocolate.
Chocolate???? What? Isn't this website supposed to feature stuff that is good for you? Well, my friends, chocolate can be beneficial...if you eat the right stuff (if you are interested, you can read a couple of articles here and here). I don't recommend you consume mass quantities of chocolate, in spite of the health benefits. Moderation is key.
Many of you have asked me for the recipe for the almond butter cups that I made last week. They were super easy and delicious. I made my own chocolate, but I am sure that you could use chocolate chips or baking squares (organic and at least 70% cacao) and that would make this even easier. So, first the chocolate recipe. Here is what you will need:
Raw Vegan Chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil (for those of you who think that coconut oil is a no-no, see here and here)
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder
1. Put the coconut oil and agave into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds to soften.
2. Thoroughly combine coconut oil and agave until mixture is purely liquid.
3. Add vanilla and cacao powder (you could also use cocoa powder, but it's not as good for you).
4. Whisk until completely incorporated.
Your chocolate should look something like this:
That's it! You will need two batches of this recipe for your almond butter cups. This recipe came from Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga. Have I mentioned that I love her blog? :)
So, now onto the almond butter cup assembly. First, you will need a mold...or you might be able to make it work by just using the paper cups. I found the white paper candy cups at the craft store for around $2. The mold wasn't expensive either and makes my life a little easier. Also, you may be able to use just the mold, but I have read a couple experiences where the chocolate gets stuck in the mold and then falls apart. I didn't want that problem, so I used both.
Start by placing a paper cup in each cup mold. Then, spread a thin layer of your homemade chocolate into each cup, like so:
Once you have successfully (yet very messily...I need to work on being neater with this process) filled the bottom of each cup, you should put the mold in the refrigerator for a few minutes. This time I only had to leave them in the fridge for 10 minutes before they were firm and lost their sheen:
Now, for the almond butter (or peanut butter, if you feel like). You want to put a generous amount of almond butter in each cup. Maybe a heaping 1/4 tsp-ish? Try not to let the almond butter migrate all the way to the edges...this is the tough part. If you do, it's not the end of the world, but you will end up with dark chocolate almond butter sandwiches, as opposed to cups.
Once each cup has a sufficient layer of almond butter, then pour a thin layer of (another batch) of dark chocolate on top. When you have each cup with its successful three layers, now the cups are ready for the freezer! I pop the cups into the freezer for a couple of hours (you can take them out earlier, the almond butter will just still be a little oozy). This is what the final product looks like:
I am still trying to figure out how much chocolate to put in the bottom and top layers to make a nice sized almond butter cup. When I made these the first time, I made six cups. The chocolate layers were awfully thick making only six. This time I tried twelve...some of them I thought the chocolate layer was too thin. So, next time, I think I will make nine. :)