I’ve been making a very basic raw chocolate with coconut oil for a while now. I find it cures my craving for chocolate and its bitter flavour means I don’t go crazy on the stuff.
Recently however I’ve developed a thing for Pana chocolate. It’s hand made, tastes delicious and is velvety smooth. I’ve been experimenting with recipes to see if I could make something similar and I think I’ve landed pretty close.
RICE MALT SYRUP
I was hoping I could get the flavour right with rice malt syrup (I use Pure Harvest organic rice malt syrup which is made from brown rice, is fructose free and low in glucose and maltose). According to Sarah Wilson in her book I Quit Sugar for Life, rice malt syrup is a “relatively slow-releasing sweetener so it doesn’t dump on the liver as much as pure glucose does.”
It worked out ok in this recipe (I happily ate a whole batch) but the texture of the chocolate wasn’t quite as velvety smooth as I was looking for.
Next I tried making a batch with some honey made right here in Bondi by a good friend. The flavour was delicious but I found that the honey didn’t mix through evenly meaning that when I poured the chocolate into the moulds there was a disproportionate amount of honey concentrated in a few squares which rendered them sickly sweet. Also, I found I could taste the flavour of the honey in the chocolate which whilst good was not what I was looking for.
Maple syrup worked quite well – thanks to its runny texture it mixed through the chocolate really well and the flavour was good too.
Coconut nectar was the clear winner. Although not as runny as maple syrup it mixed through the chocolate really well and imparted a delicious smooth flavour. The first time I added 2 tablespoons but this was a little sweet for my liking so the second time I used 1.5 tablespoons and that worked better for me – particularly because I added small pieces of dried sour cherries as filling which lent extra sweetness.
I didn’t try agave but because this is runny it should also work well. I can see that Pana Chocolate uses agave in some of their varieties.
- 50g/1.75oz cocoa butter
- 30g/1oz good quality cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons of coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave (see notes above, alternatively you can use honey. If using rice malt syrup you’ll probably need to add extra as it’s not as sweet as coconut nectar, maple syrup or agave)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon of good quality cinnamon powder
- 2 drops natural vanilla essence
- pinch of good quality salt (I use Himalayan crystal)
- Around 7 dried sour cherries, cut into small pieces OR
- Around 6-8 activated or roasted almonds, finely chopped OR
- 1 medjool date cut into small pieces OR
- Any other filling of your choice
Note: you will need chocolate moulds for this recipe. If you don’t have them, try my basic raw chocolate recipe.
If you’re using a filling, make sure whatever you’re using is cut into very small pieces and sprinkle throughout the chocolate mould(s).
Place the cocoa butter in a glass or heat-proof bowl and place the bowl over a pot of hot water on a very gentle heat and allow to melt slowly. Separately, melt the coconut oil the same way until it’s runny but not overly hot.
Once both the cocoa butter and coconut oil are melted, mix them together then add the coconut nectar (or other sweetener) and vanilla essence and mix through well.
Sift in the cocoa powder and cinnamon into the wet mixture and mix through well again.
Pour the mixture into the chocolate moulds then place in the fridge. Allow to set for 15-30 minutes.
Makes approximately 150g or 5.25 oz of raw chocolate (including filling). Will keep in the fridge for at least 6 weeks.