Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
This is it. I have made chocolates in the past. I have made the cocoa flavored coconut bark. This recipe combines both to make the best low carb chocolates ever! You gotta try it if you love chocolate and want a real holiday treat.
Borrowing some inspiration from Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food, I made it three ways this morning. I substituted here and there, and added some wonderful ingredients. I love all the variations and can't wait to try more. First, for the purists, I made plain, dark chocolate. I poured it into my cute Christmas molds, but any container would do. These would be fantastic chocolate chips, as Carolyn's recipe was.
Next, I grabbed some sugarfree peppermints. After making a mess crushing them on the counter, I added them to the chocolate base along with a bit of peppermint extract. Oh my heavens, if you like mint, these are exceptionally wonderful. I must warn you though, that the sugarfree peppermints are harder to break into little chunks than the sugary counterparts. Mine became more like peppermint powder mixed with larger chunks. I had hoped the candy would poke through the chocolate so I could tell them all apart, but it remained hidden to the eye. Totally different story for the taste buds though, and that is a good thing. The flavor really pops. BTW, I buy my sugarfree candy at Dollar Tree. It is what is in my advent calendar for a little treat each day.
Lastly, maybe my favorite, is the coconut almond chocolates. Back when I was little, my sister and I always fought over the coconut cups from the box of Valentine or Christmas chocolates. Remember those that came in the tiny foil cups? I don't know if it was because we liked them best, or if it was because those are ones we knew were not just the yucky fondant filled candies. I never cared for those. Give me some texture and some additional flavor beside sweetness. Those little squares were just too hard to identify. Yes, we did resort to poking them on the bottom to try to determine what was inside. If it was pink, it got put back, hoping no one would take notice.
Now back to today's chocolates. I simply added in some unsweetened dried coconut and some chopped almonds. Wonderful stuff! I spooned it into foiled candy cups, just like in those old boxes. I tried some in the molds. They worked too, but it was a little difficult to get all the shapes completely filled, as this mixture is much thicker.
I popped these in the freezer to firm them up. After they hardened, I removed them from the mold. I am thinking they would do best kept in the fridge. They are, however, sturdier than the regular coconut bark. They would be fine on a party tray, but I wouldn't carry them in my purse or lunchbox on a warm day--at least not unless I really wanted to have them to be finger lickin' good.
For sweetening, I used a combination of Sweetleaf vanilla stevia drops and a new sweetener made with a xylitol blend--Ideal. I used the powdered sugar style. It was good, and didn't have the cooling sensation erythritol has.
Low Carb Chocolates (with variations)
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sweetener (xylitol or erythritol suggested)
20 drops vanilla stevia
Melt chocolate and coconut oil over low heat. Stir in cocoa powder and sweeteners until well combined. Pour into molds or candy cups. Let harden in freezer or refrigerator.
1. Candy cane--add crushed sugarfree candy canes or peppermints and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2. Coconut Almond--add 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut and 1/4 cup chopped almonds
3. Mr. Goodbar -- add 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4. Peanut butter -- add 2 Tablespoons of powdered peanut butter (PB2 brand tested)
Warning for you milk chocolate devotees. This is more of a dark chocolate. I happen to be in the minority that prefers dark chocolate. You might try adding some cream or coconut butter to lighten it up, but I just don't feel the need! This could be easily used to coat nuts, for dipping cookies or strawberries, whatever you would use melted chocolate for. No need to be deprived, or pay the super high prices for sugar free chocolate chips. This is easy and quick. If you have unrefined coconut oil, there will be a slight coconut flavor. If you don't want any of that taste, I used the LouAna brand from Walmart.
Be sure to let me know any new ways you might think of to use this basic recipe. I love to hear from you.