Easter is almost here and the shops are awash with chocolate eggs and bunnies. There has been much talk of the health benefits of chocolate in recent years and there is no doubt that cocoa and its raw form cacao are good sources of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. They also contain some useful antioxidants too; more so in the less processed raw cacao. Recent studies have found that native Panamanians who drink a lot of cocoa have very low blood pressure. Other early results from studies examining the cardiovascular health benefits of cocoa also show promise. However, there is a very big caveat that should be considered when contemplating the health benefits of chocolate and that is that it is nearly always served with sugar. The dangers of excessive sugar consumption are becoming more widely accepted.
The problem, however, is that chocolate without sugar is very bitter. This is why milk and sugar are such great additions to it and why we love milk chocolate so much. This recipe overcomes the bitterness through the addition of coconut cream, vanilla powder and Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute made from birch bark. There have been a number of scare stories about sugar substitutes of late but none of these studies apply to Xylitol. There have actually been studies suggesting that it may actually increase your body’s production of collagen, which is great news if you want to avoid wrinkles and maintain youthful looking skin.
- 140g of cacao powder or paste
- 220g coconut oil
- 80g coconut cream
- 4 tbs xylitol
- 2tsp vanilla powder
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- In a pyrex bowl, over a pan of boiling water, gently melt your coconut oil adding your cacao, coconut cream, vanilla and salt.
- Once thoroughly melted and mixed, allow to cool mixing in your xylitol as it thickens. Your xylitol will not caramelise and melt like conventional sugar so it is necessary to thoroughly mix the xylitol through your chocolate as it begins to cool.
- If you’re not using shaped moulds a good way to ensure the xylitol is evenly distributed is to use a flat tray to produce a bar of chocolate. The xylitol can be evenly mixed throughout the chocolate mix on the tray.
- Allow your chocolate shapes or bar to completely solidify in the fridge. Indulge at your leisure.