As promised, here are the recipes I used for the Wild and Alive chocolate demo at the 2018 Spokane VegFest.

Fridge Chocolate

1 cup each extra virgin coconut oil and cacao powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

pinch of sea salt, optional

pinch of vanilla, optional

2 cups mixed nuts and dried fruit, chopped

Pour or scoop ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Stir in chopped nuts and dried fruit.

Take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into little balls. You can leave them like that or roll them in a saucer with finely shredded coconut flakes or cacao powder. Another option is to pour it all out onto a silicone sheet or into a glass container and to cut it into bite sized bits. Keep in fridge.

DIY Chocolate, dark

16 oz cacao paste

2 oz cacao butter

1 cup coconut sugar, powdered in blender or coffee grinder

pinch of sea salt, optional

pinch of vanilla, optional

to temper: 8 oz to 12 oz cups of tempered chocolate, grated or chopped into small uniform pieces

By all means, tweak the ratios to your liking! You can even leave out the sugar for a 100% cacao bar (not for the faint of heart!). For milk chocolate, add some cashew butter (keep it under 10% of the whole recipe, so the fat doesn’t interfere with tempering; about 4 oz would be good) and maybe 1 Tbs of lucuma powder and another 8 oz of cacao butter. For ‘white’, leave out the cacao paste and substantially up the cacao butter. You’ll also want to use some sort of powder… lucuma for example. Coconut milk powder would be yummy too (I just don’t like that coconut milk powder has maltodextrin or tapioca added). When tempering milk or white choclates, you need to reduce the tempering temperature by a few degrees!

Melt cacao paste and cacao butter over a warm water bath (careful, don’t let any water get into the chocolate!), in a dehydrator or by blending them in a high-speed blender. Blend with remaining ingredients until well incorporated, but don’t let it get too hot (i.e. over F118).

If you have a stone grinder, grind your chocolate mixture for several hours until you can’t detect any more grit from the sugar or cacao and it develops a beautiful mouthfeel, smell and taste. If you don’t have a stone grinder, don’t fret… your chocolate will be a bit gritty, but still delicious.

Now you can temper your chocolate! If you want to brush up on the ‘why’ of tempering I found a helpful video.

Check that your mixture is between F108 and F118. At this point all chocolate crystals are melted. Now to form those gorgeous Form-V crystals! Remember, this is the structure you want for a glossy, shelf stable chocolate with good snap. We’ll take the easy route and incrementally add our seed chocolate, while stirring. When you reached F90, wait for a couple of minutes and check if your chocolate is in temper: dip a clean spoon into the mixture and set aside until the chocolate has firmed up. This should only take a few minutes. If the chocolate has set up nicely with some gloss and no streaks, your chocolate is good to go. If not, start tempering all over…

Or you can forgo the tempering and keep your chocolate in the fridge ;-).

Tempering store-bought chocolate

Keep about 25%-30% of the chocolate set aside as seed. Melt the rest down and proceed as above.

Now you can play! Enrobe, cover, dip, mold, make shells and/or a ganache, add spices, nuts, dried fruit, have fun.

If you need a refresher, here’s a short and sweet tutorial I found on Youtube for making shells.

Here are a couple of ideas for fillings

Mint Magic

1 cup cashews, soaked

½ c water

½ c cacao butter, melted

½ c coconut syrup

1 packed Tbs of minced mint leaves

1 tsp spirulina or E3 blue majik powder

Blend until smooth. Let cool to around 80F and pipe into your chocolate shells. Or let the mixture firm up in the fridge and then pipe it into your shells. Make sure not to overfill!

Classic Ganache

1 c melted dark chocolate

1 c heavy non-dairy ‘cream’ (I used cashew cream for the demo: ½ c soaked cashews to ½ c water, blended well)

1 Tbs coconut oil

optional: spices and flavorings to your liking

For a classic ganache, one usually pours hot cream over chopped chocolate and then gently stirs them together, taking care not to ‘break’ the ganache. If you use double the amount of chocolate, you can make a tempered firm ganache this way and use it to roll, pipe or cut into truffles. However, let’s keep this simple! Just blend the chocolate and cashew cream in a blender until smooth and let cool to around 80F and pipe into your chocolate shells. Or let the mixture firm up in the fridge and then pipe it into your shells. Make sure not to overfill!