Not Your Average Chocolate Bar. - Places & Spaces
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Not Your Average Chocolate Bar.

One night after some wine and dine, laughs over guys and talks about food, my friend asked me if I wanted some of the batch of cocoa butter that she had ordered. Yes, of course I wanted some. I heard a lot about it, but I couldn’t find it in my favorite health store. I was Happy that she bought a batch and that she wanted to share it with me.

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Photos by Ivar de Jong

On Valentine’s Day, she came over for dinner and handed me a few small blocks of cocoa butter (ironic, Valentine’s Day and some ‘chocolate’ that isn’t even chocolate yet). When I opened up the package it surprised me! It was quite solid, it rich, creamy, and had that chocolaty fragrance. I imagined it would be a lot softer because it’s suitable to smear it on your body. So, I slapped some of that rich goodness on my arm to try it out. It made my skin buttery soft and I smelled like chocolate. Awesome, now I smelled like a chocolate bar and my friend wanted to eat me. Just kidding. It smelled like chocolate, so I was convinced it should taste like chocolate. I took a little bite of it. Weirdest experience of my life. It had that texture and smell of a white chocolate bar, but minus the sweetness.

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Cocoa butter is the creamy fat that is extracted after pressing cocoa beans. Yes the same beans where cocoa powder and chocolate is made from. After the extraction, you have a thick creamy, easy melting butter that is suitable for your body, skin and, yes, totally suitable for making raw chocolate bars! It has a long shelf life of about 2-5 years due to a high amount of antioxidants. So don’t worry if you thought that you have to use it all in once. Unless you want to smell like a chocolate bar for the good couple of months.

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This bar is not your average chocolate bar full of granulated sugars and other kind of things you don’t want to let your body consume. Instead of sugar I added dates to give the bar more body and of course flavor. Dates are sweet by nature and packed with list of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are required for normal growth, development and overall well-being. I love to eat them as a snack. Although they taste very sweet but they contain simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. When eaten, they will give your body an instant energy boost. So instead of eating regular candy you may wanna try this little buggers. Dates are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin A, anti-oxidants, iron, and potassium. They are also rich in minerals like, copper, zinc and magnesium which the body needs to for the production of red blood cells, bone growth and healthy bones and teeth. If possible, buy good quality Medjool dates. They are in general bigger, softer and they taste a little bit like caramel. To make things a little bit more awesome, I added some cocoa nibs and cranberries.

So, who said that chocolate is not good for ya?

Not your average chocolate bar.
2 small bars

Basic bar:
1/2 cup melted cocoa butter
3 tbsp Raw cocoa powder (or Carob powder)
5 big Medjool Dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

Flavors:
2 tbsp Cocoa Nibs
2 tbsp cranberries
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Start with melting the cocoa butter au bain marie with the coconut oil on a low heat. It will melt in seconds due to the low melting point of both ingredients. Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and cocoa powder when melted. If you want to make a caffeine free bar, add carob powder instead. Remove from heat and let it cool down.

In meantime, remove the pits from the dates. Mash the dates up with a fork or a food processor. You may want to remove the skin first if it’s a little bit tough. Add the chocolate mixture to the dates and fold to combine (it can get a bit messy). When combined, let it cool down until you can form a ball with your hands. Divide it in to two parts. Grab a piece of parchment paper and put one half of the chocolate ball on it. Fold other piece over and flatten the ball and make a rectangle shape. Repeat with second ball. Put it in the fridge for an hour to make sure it hardens up. Store it away in a cool and dry place.

This is just one of the combinations you can make. Just avoid adding fresh fruits, because when chocolate and water meet, the chocolate will harden in a second.

Enjoy!

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