Christmas is my favorite season of the year. Memories of everyone squeezing into my grandmother's kitchen to bake cookies, marinate salmon, and beat the potato dough for German dumplings come to mind. Those childhood Christmases are long gone with my family’s headquarter now being in New Zealand, where we all get together to celebrate the holidays. This means sunshine, beach, and BBQs instead of the heartier, heavier German fare. However, we all still squeeze into the kitchen, and bake a lot of cookies!
In my never ending quest to make special occasions and general meals healthier, I have tried to come up with a Christmas inspired raw chocolate to satisfy sweet Christmas cravings. Orange zest, cinnamon, and cranberries give these little chocolate coins the Christmas taste you expect with the added bonus of healthy goodness inside!
This recipe is super easy to make if you own a Thermomix, since you can just melt the cacao butter in the Thermomix, and then add all the rest of the ingredients. If you don’t have a Thermomix, don’t despair! You can still make this recipe using a hot water bath. I will walk you through the steps.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooling time: at least 4 hours
For 20 chocolate coins:
For the chocolate:
½ cup raw cacao butter
½ cup raw cacao powder
4 Tbsp maple syrup (not raw, you can use other favorite liquid sweetener)
1 tsp cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
vanilla beans scraped out of 1 vanilla pod
For the topping:
¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
Other things you need:
a baking tray
wax or parchment paper
First, you have to melt your cacao butter. To do this, use a wide pan and cover the bottom with water (about 2 cm/1 inch).
Use a heat proof bowl such as stainless steel or heat-proof glass and place the cacao butter inside. Place this bowl in the middle of the water filled pan.
Now turn up the heat until the water begins to simmer (you don’t want it to cook with huge bubbles). As soon as the water starts to simmer, turn the stove off, and just let the heat of the water melt the cacao butter. Make sure none of the water splashes into your melting cacao butter, this will ruin your chocolates later!
Once the cacao butter is melted, whisk in the rest of the chocolate ingredients: cacao powder, maple syrup, cinnamon, orange zest, and vanilla beans.
Cover the baking tray with the wax or parchment paper.
One Tbsp at a time, place the chocolate mixture on the prepared baking tray. Use the back of the spoon to make the chocolate coins nice and round.
Sprinkle with the chopped cranberries and slivered almonds. If it is winter time, you can leave the tray outside and the chocolate will harden by itself. If your kitchen is too warm, you may need to place the tray in the fridge for 1 hour to set the chocolate. After it has hardened, you can carefully take the chocolate coins off the wax or parchment paper, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Bonus note: If you don't know how to scrape out a vanilla pod, keep reading! Take the pod, use a small knife, and run it along the "seam", the side of the pod from top to bottom. You can cut all the way through to create two halves. Now lie the pod halves down so you can see all the vanilla beans oozing out from the inside. Use the edge of your knife to scrape the pod from top to bottom. All the vanilla beans should now stick to your knife and you can add them to your chocolate mixture.