For a girl who is decidedly not into Valentine’s Day, I bet you’re already confused. Well, me too. Let’s blame my overflowing sentimentality these days – I’ve realized motherhood can do a real number on your sappy side – but one of the few times I’ve been out of the house alone in the last few months I found a heart-shaped chocolate mold at the dollar store and didn’t even think twice about it. Nope.
I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Rolos. No wait, rawlos. A major childhood throwback made over into the healthiest chocolates I could possibly invent. I had done the nut buttercup thing, but hadn’t tackled caramel before, so this seemed as good a time as any. Coincidentally, it’s almost Valentine’s Day. Not that I care.
If you haven’t ventured into raw chocolate making before, you are going to want to marry me (I’m taken). It’s so easy and so versatile, plus actually healthy. Healing fats, nutritious sweeteners and antioxidant-rich cacao are all that these little chocolate-caramel bombs are made of. No schwaggy unpronounceables. No weird waxes or emulsifiers or artificial flavours and colours. If you really care about your valentine, this year make them something that will love them as much as you do!
Like I said, I was aiming for a Rolo thing and I am very happy with the results. The chocolate of course, is out of this world. Dark and rich and so intense. The caramel inside was the question mark, but it turned out perfectly: creamy and sweet and just runny enough. I added some salt to the caramel to make these a little more to my taste, but you can leave it out if you like. I almost feel embarrassed calling this a recipe because it really is that simple, but you’re into that eh?
If you can’t get your hands on cacao butter, just use coconut oil in its place. They won’t have the exact same melt-in-your-mouth quality, but it will certainly work in a pinch. And please make sure that your coconut oil is flavour-neutral (i.e. that is does not taste like coconut), otherwise you’re going to end up with some very tropical-tasting candies, my friend.
Makes 15, 8ml chocolates
¼ cup / 60ml coconut oil, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. / 20g cacao butter, melted
2 ½ Tbsp. raw honey (or maple syrup)
4 ½ Tbsp. / 30g raw cacao powder
1/8 tsp. sea salt
¼ cup / 55g pitted dates (soak dates in warm water if they are firm, then drain)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
sea salt to taste
1. In a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, melt cacao butter and coconut oil. Remove from heat and whisk in honey until incorporated. Sift in cacao powder and salt (to avoid lumps) and whisk to combine until smooth.
2. In each chocolate mold, spoon in some of the liquid chocolate. Tilt the mold so that it coats the sides. Place in the freezer to set for about 10 minutes.
3. In a food processor blend dates and maple syrup until smooth. Add as much salt as desired, blend and taste.
4. Remove the chocolates from the freezer. Spoon a little of the caramel into each mold on top of the set chocolate. Spoon remaining liquid chocolate over top, covering the caramel completely. Place back it the freezer to set. Wait until the chocolate is totally firm before taking it out of the mold, at least 1 hour. Remove from mold and place chocolates in a tightly sealed container in the freezer for one month (or store them in the mold and remove just before serving). Do not store chocolates at room temperature for more than 1 hour.
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day or not this year, I hope you give yourself the chance to make these treats for yourself or someone you love.