Weeks ago I bought a bag of cacao butter & ever since it has sat in my cupboard doing nothing. So I started to investigate what I could in fact do with it; I found a very complicated raw chocolate cake recipe with about 25 ingredients so surprisingly enough settled on cacao bark instead. I had seen lots of pictures of various versions on Instagram and set about creating my own.
I’m not a big milk chocolate fan, preferring dark chocolate – the more bitter the better. This recipe is so so simple, versatile and can be as sweet or bitter as your taste buds want.
First things first a bit about cacao butter. Cacao butter is the raw edible fat derived from the cacao bean itself. Extraction requires very low temperatures and as such a lot of nutritional value is retained. The bag I bought arrived containing what looked like white chocolate buttons. The butter melts at room temperature, so you can use it on your skin like coconut oil. Taste wise at this point it does not really taste of much and is certainly not sweet.
Unlike many shop bought chocolate bars this recipe does not add lots of sugar or milk, therefore is much more nutritious, kiddy friendly & also vegan.
The only technical bit of this recipe is that it requires a digital thermometer, however you can cheat if you are really careful and use the defrost setting on your microwave. Cacao butter can’t reach a temperature of more than 48 degrees otherwise it essentially burns and the ‘chocolate’ you’re aiming for wont temper correctly. If you don’t have a thermometer you can use the defrost setting on your microwave and check on it every 30 seconds – 1 minute or so,
220g Cacao butter
5-6 tbsp raw cacao powder
3 tbsp rice malt syrup or high grade maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
5-6 tbsp of the following mixture; coconut / coconut flakes / poppy seeds / hemp seeds / dried blueberries or raspberries / almond flakes or pistachios.
1. If using the hob with a thermometer: bring a saucepan of water to the boil ( don’t fill too full, about a third only) Once its reached the boil put the heat down and let it simmer. Place the cacao butter in a heat proof bowl over the top. Stir it frequently and check with your thermometer as it melts. If the butter is nearing 48 degrees then take it off the boil and keep stirring it on a work top until fully melted.
2. Once melted Whisk in the cacao powder, rice malt and vanilla.
3. Line an edged baking tray with grease proof paper & pour the mixture in.
4. Sprinkle all your toppings on, some sink (but they make it all lovely and crunchy inside)
5. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Remove and break up into chunks. Store in an air tight container, if you live in a warm country (not England for example!) you may want to keep it in general fridge to save it melting.