DIY for BAE

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February is here, which means Valentine's Day is right around the corner: a day when flowers, chocolates, and dinner reservations are ridiculously overpriced and extremely hard to come by. So, why not DIY?

Believe it or not, delicious, beautiful chocolates are super simple to make at home. When you make your own, the results are way more meaningful than just dropping $50 on a random box from a local store. Plus, you choose everything from the ingredients (organic, fair-trade, allergen-free) to the flavors (you can keep it simple with the flavors that always sell out at the shops, or get creative with all of your Valentine's favorite flavors*), to the colors, and in how you package them. 
* just wait until you see my Valentine's favorite flavor combination in my next post!

The process is as easy as 1,2,3:

Step 1: Choose your chocolate. If you want to make these sneaky healthy, opt for a dark chocolate that is 70% or more pure cacao or cocoa and not processed with alkali. Additionally, dark chocolate is richer, so you won't need to eat the entire tray to feel satisfied. I went with a dark chocolate that is 85% Cocoa, Organic, Vegan, Fair-Trade, and Non GMO. When melting, I stir in a little coconut oil to thin and to add extra good fats and coconut flavor. This coconut oil is optional, but I find that this easy extra step makes them even better.

Step 2: Choose your filling. You can make this classic and opt for a peanut or almond butter, or get more creative. I went with a coconut butter, goji berry, and strawberry filling to get a Valentine's Day pink color (recipe below) and to sneak in some superfoods. The only thing that you need to ensure is that your filling is substantial, more like a butter than a caramel, so it doesn't ooze all over the place. 

Step 3: Create and give (or eat)! See recipe below (and feel free to interpret in your own way to make these truly yours!).

Oh, and fun fact: I've never done this before. Truly! I considered making them again to be "better," and I have multiple times because #chocolate, but I like to show that it's truly DOABLE, even for first-timers!


Strawberry-Goji Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter Cups

Vegan, Gluten-Free // Makes 12 Chocolates

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Chunks or Chips (10-14oz)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Coconut Manna or Butter*
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Coconut
  • 5-10 Strawberries (add more for a darker color)
  • 2 Tablespoons Goji Berries
  • Optional: Adaptogens mix into melted chocolate really well! My favorites at the moment are Lucuma and Maca. One of my favorite companies, Moon Juice, sells a "Sex Dust" that would be perfect for this: Seriously.

*Store-bought, scraped from the top of a Coconut Milk can, or DIY by adding coconut flakes to a food processor and processing until a butter is formed!

Method:

1. Line a mini-muffin pan with mini-muffin liners. 
2. Warm a saucepan over low heat and add chocolate, stirring constantly, to slowly melt. You want to ensure that you don't burn the chocolate, so melt until almost completely melted and remove from heat, continuing to stir. 
3. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of melted chocolate into each liner, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner. Place in freezer to set for 5-10 minutes.

4. While your chocolate sets, create your filling! To make my version, place all ingredients (coconut manna, coconut flakes, strawberries, and goji berries) into a food processor and process until you have a consistency of a damp butter. To thicken, add more coconut. To thin, add more strawberries and/or a drizzle of coconut oil or milk.

5. Spoon a small dollop of filling into the center of each liner (see above). A heaping teaspoon is the perfect amount!
6. Set in freezer to set for another 5 minutes.
7. Remove from freezer, and top each liner with the remaining melted chocolate. A tip: fill them all the way to the top! I tried all different levels, and the ones filled to the top seemed to look the most like "real" butter cups.
8. Place in freezer to set. These keep well in the refrigerator once set. If you opted to add coconut oil to the melted chocolate, ensure that you have these at room temperatue for a minute or two before biting: you can totally eat them this way (I did!), but if you hold off for just a minute or two, the melt-in-your-mouth consistency is perfect.

Optional: I had extra filling, so I filled a few liners with the strawberry filling, tossed in some cacao nibs, and covered with more melted chocolate. They came out almost like strawberry cheesecake bites! If that's not your style, why not dip a few strawberries in any extra melted chocolate?!

Happy Valentine's Day! Remember: Valentine's Day-style surprises like chocolates, flowers, and fancy dinners shouldn't come just one time a year! Surprise your Valentine year-round; why not make these today when your love is least expecting it?!

If you're in the Philadelphia-area on Valentine's Day, you should absolutely come to my HEARTBEETS DJ RIDE at Flywheel Bryn Mawr! 5:45pm. DJ.ADAM.LINK and I will be tearing it up on the bike! We'd love for you to be our Valentine


Approximate Nutrition Facts for 1 Coconut Butter Cup (Makes 12, used Pascha Organic 85% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips):

180 Calories | 12.5g Fat | 10g Carbs | 2.8g Fiber | 4.5g Sugar | 3.5g Protein | 3mg Sodium