Tag Archives: chocolate

Real Chocolate Fondue

chocolate fondue titlesGive your special people some seriously delicious love this Valentine’s Day. This chocolate fondue recipe is simple but sublime – a treat that definitely says “I Love You!”

Fair Trade Slavery-Free Chocolate

Say “I love you” to the farmers and harvesters by using the really good stuff.  Look for fair trade, non-gmo verified dark chocolate. 70% cacao or more means lots of antioxidant power. I’ve tried Endangered Species, Theo and Dagoba brands and like them, but there are plenty of others that are good – just look for the fair trade or slavery-free verification. I really don’t want my chocolate at the expense of someone else’s hardship.  Plus, over the last several years the mainstream chocolate companies have realized they can make more money by fractionizing their chocolate, taking out the cocoa butter to sell as a separate product, and replacing it with an artificial emulsifier called PGPR.  To those who know better cocoa butter is a natural, healthy, tropical fat, and taking it out of chocolate decreases the food value of that chocolate. So read your labels and don’t buy anything with artificial flavors or emulsifiers with capital letters for names.

fair trade chocolate

Try these dipping ideas

Get creative with what you dip into this fabulous fondue! I like to keep it on the healthy side as much as possible so I usually offer big, red, ripe strawberries which are in peak season right now where I live in Florida. Banana slices are good too, as are any tropical fruit like kiwi, pineapple and even orange. Apples or pear slices work too. You can also use homemade shortbread cookies, large walnut halves, little squares of homemade pound cake, or how about homemade marshmallows?!

Real Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients

12 ounces of fair trade dark chocolate (chips or a bar cut into small chunks)

3/4 cup heavy cream (preferably raw but definitely not ultra-pasteurized if possible)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract OR you can make this more grown-up and use 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cherry brandy or orange liqueur. If you like coffee you could also use 2 teaspoons of espresso powder.

Dippers such as fresh fruit, homemade cookies or cake, marshmallows or nuts

Preparation

Place the chocolate and the cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. This doesn’t take long at all. You are not cooking this, simply melting the chocolate and combining it with the delicious cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the flavoring of choice. Transfer this chocolate mixture to a fondue pot or individual small ramekins and serve with your choice of dippers.

Real Chocolate Fondue
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
 
Share the love with this delicious chocolate dessert treat.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces of fair trade chocolate (either chips or a bar cut into small chunks)
  • ¾ cup heavy cream (preferably raw, but not ultra-pasteurized if possible)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or almond extract for a family-friendly version
  • OR 2 Tablespoons of cherry brandy or orange liqueur OR 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • assorted dippers such as fresh fruit, homemade cookies or cake, marshmallows or nuts
Instructions
  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
  2. Watch constantly and do not let this come to a boil or you will scorch the chocolate!
  3. Remove from heat and stir in flavoring of choice.
  4. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a fondue pot or to individual ramekins, and serve with dippers.
  5. Makes about 2 cups.

 Share your favorite dipping ideas with us in the comment section! Be sure to Pin this for later using the Pinterest buttons at the top.

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ALN’s Best of 2014: Best Chocolate Recipes

chocolate collage with titlesAlternative Living Network is a network of Christian natural living bloggers — bringing light and life to the alternative lifestyle. We’ve gathered together to bring you the very best of 2014. In this post you’ll find amazing recipes for chocolately-goodness. There are cookies, brownies, candy, ice cream and even chocolate drinks. Many recipes are suitable for special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free.  Try them all and leave behind a comment – in fact we’d love it if you left a comment here letting everyone know which recipe is your favorite, and leave another comment on the recipe page to share a little love with the person who developed the recipe!

Cookies

Chocolate No-Bake Cookies from A Proverbs 31 Wife

Mud Cookies and Ice Cream Sandwiches (GF) from Well Fed Family

Cacao Stripes (Grain-free/sugar-free) from It Takes Time

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (grain free) from Intoxicated on Life

Healthier, Chocolately Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Whole Intentions

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from Richly Rooted

Brownies

Ultimate Healthier Brownies (GF) from Worth Cooking

Black and White Brownies (grain free) from Intoxicated on Life

Never Fail Brownies from Cultured Palate

Frozen Treats

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream from Virginia George.com

Homemade Fudgesicles (dairy free/sugar free) from Intoxicated on Life

“Chaconut” Ice Cream from A Gypsy Herbal

Triple Mint Cookies and Cream Ice Cream from Nourishing Simplicity

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream (DF) from Katie Mae Stanley via the Nourishing Gourmet

Candy

Easy Homemade Peanutbutter Cups from Imperfect Homemaker

Sugar-free, Dairy-free Cacao Kisses from It Takes Time

Chocolate-Oat Truffles (V/GF/DF) from Jaimie Ramsey.com

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark from Nourishing Simplicity

37 Homemade Candy Recipes from Purposeful Nutrition

Chocolate and…

Double Chocolate Macaroon Tarts (GF/DF) from Back to the Book Nutrition

Chocolate Covered Bacon from Cultured Palate

Glazed Chocolate Stove-top Doughnuts (gluten-free) from This House of Joy

No Nut Nutella from The Pistachio Project

Raw Cacao Smoothie   from A Proverbs 31 Wife

Real Food Chocolate Whipped Cream from Nourishing Simplicity

Chocolate Muffins  from Well Fed Family

Chocolate Beverages

Ultimate Homemade Hot Chocolate from Back to the Book Nutrition

Real Food Salted Caramel Mocha from Nourishing Simplicity

Classic Nourishing Hot Cocoa from Nourishing Simplicity

Simple Make-At-Home Mocha from Nourishing Simplicity

Which of these are your favorites? Leave us a comment telling which one you want to make next! Be sure to check out the rest of the Best of 2014 roundup posts by using the links here.

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chocolate chocolate chip muffins 3

Chocolate Muffins

chocolate chocolate chip muffins 2Chocolate for breakfast!     Now that I have your attention… :)

When we got rid of boxed cold breakfast cereals at our house it could have been a really big change with lots of drama and complaining. But it ended up not being that big of a deal.  I chose breakfast to be the first meal to commit to preparing with real, whole foods when we started our journey to healthy eating.  My kids enjoyed having a different kind of muffin each morning and they never really noticed the lack of Peanutbutter Bumpers until several weeks later, and by then they had gotten out of the habit of cold cereal.

These chocolate muffins are a delicious homemade alternative to those white boxes of junk-filled pastries lining tables near grocery store checkout lines. Start the batter the night before. It will help to save time in the morning plus you will get a nutritional boost from the overnight soak which helps eliminate anti-nutrients in the wheat.  Use the best quality chocolate chip you can find. Try to find one with chocolate instead of sugar as the first ingredient, and always avoid anything made with hydrogenated oils or corn syrup. I like to use mini chips because they distribute better throughout the muffin. I only use 1/2 cup of the minis.

Chocolate Muffins
 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 cup buttermilk OR kefir OR yogurt thinned with water
  • ⅔ cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 2 eggs (preferably from pastured hens)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted or very soft butter
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • ½ to ¾ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. The night before you plan to bake combine the whole wheat pastry flour and the buttermilk to form a sticky dough.
  2. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let it sit out on the counter overnight or at least 7 hours.
  3. Measure out the rest of the dry ingredients (keep the soda, powder and salt in a separate bowl) to save extra time in the morning.
  4. The next morning preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Butter a standard muffin pan or line with muffin papers.
  6. Then transfer the soaked dough to the bowl of a food processor or electric mixer.
  7. Add the cocoa, sucanat, vanilla, melted butter and melted coconut oil. (You can use all butter or all coconut oil but I like the flavor of the combination.)
  8. Pulse the mixture a few times (or mix on the lowest speed taking care not to splash) until the ball of soaked dough begins to smooth out and the ingredients begin to incorporate.
  9. Add the eggs, processing in between each one, and mix until the dough becomes more of a batter consistency.
  10. Combine the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and then add to the batter.
  11. Process until combined. The batter will begin to puff up as the leavening starts working.
  12. Quickly add in the chocolate chips and pulse just to get them mixed in but not chopped up.
  13. Scoop the batter equally into the twelve muffin cups. They will be fairly full. Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  14. Remove from the oven and let them sit in the tins for about 3 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.
  15. If you have used muffin papers you will want to let them cool an additional 15 minutes before peeling off the paper.

chocolate chocolate chip muffins 1

These muffins are chocolatey and tender and delicious just as they are. But if you want to gild the lily you can split them and smear on a little butter or homemade raspberry jam.
If you find yourself in need of cupcakes to take to a church party or school activity you can make these muffins and top them with homemade butter frosting for a much better alternative to the store bought bakery cupcakes.

To learn more about baking all kinds of breads made more nutritiously with soaking the flour check out Well Fed Family’s Breads DVD!
chocolate chocolate chip muffins 3

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This blog was shared on Wellness Wednesdays.

Chocolate Illustrated

history of chocolate tourYesterday I took my kids on a fun first-week-back-to-homeschool field trip. We went with a bunch of friends to Chocolate Kingdom. Yes, there is such a place.  We live in Central Florida – there’s a theme park for pretty much anything.

Chocolate Kingdom had a lot of education interwoven with the fun and games, so we learned a lot about chocolate and its history.  For most of the tour I just enjoyed listening to the docent, watching the kids interact, and trying all the little tastes of various kinds of chocolate along the way. In the last room, however, my hidden teacher sprang into action. Lined up along the front of the counter where the custom chocolate bars were made sat this great visual aide! Layered like sand art in tall cork-stoppered bottles was an explanation of just what it means to have dark, milk or white chocolate. And also what the various percentages mean with dark chocolate. Take a look….

dark chocolate properties dark chocolates properties milk chocolate properties white chocolate

The top left jar labeled 100% dark chocolate is simply cocoa powder and cocoa butter. This is what you get when you buy unsweetened chocolate for baking.  This one has the highest content of antioxidants and good tropical fats. Next, in the top right photo, you see two more kinds of dark chocolate.  72% and 58% are their labels. The only additional ingredient is sugar. This is what you get when you buy semi-sweet chocolate. But as you can see when the percentage of chocolate goes down it is the percentage of sugar that goes up. You can feel pretty virtuous and still enjoy the 72% dark. It still has 36% cocoa powder and 36% cocoa butter to get that 72% rating. With the 58% however, you are now almost half and half chocolate and sugar. By the time you get to the milk chocolate 62% of it is not chocolate. One surprising thing to note is the milk chocolate has less actual sugar than the 58% dark. Finally the white chocolate is 69% sugar, no cocoa powder and just 31% cocoa butter. Many chocolate purists say white chocolate ISN’T chocolate. The folks at Chocolate Kingdom say it is since it contains cocoa butter. But they give a big thumbs down to the fake white chocolate made with hydrogenated oils instead of cocoa butter agreeing it is nothing like chocolate when it’s made that way.

So, bottom line is if you’re looking to justify that chocolate bar be sure to reach for the 72% dark ormajor chocolate producing countries higher so you can avoid as much added sugar as possible. And be sure, as always, to read the labels and always avoid anything with hydrogenated fats of any kind. Lastly, although very little was said about it during our tour, please try to choose fair trade certified chocolate whenever possible. There is a lot of horrible stuff still going on in the bu$ine$$ of chocolate, and fair trade certification helps to reduce the likelihood of people being taken advantage of.

major chocolate producing countries->