How to make healthy choices every day

Ecstatic Raw Chocolate

There are few things as uplifting as making a new friend. But meeting your soul mate? Now that’s ecstatic!
I first started hearing from Elenore Bendel Zahn in the comments section here on my blog. She always seemed to be one of the first people to write some totally encouraging and high-spirited remark that just made me smile. I finally checked out her site, Earthsprout, which to my delight was a treasure trove of exceptional recipes and healthy tips. I gobbled it all up. Her undeniable passion and pure love for spreading the healthy word seemed so in alignment with my own that I decided to reciprocate and contact was made.

The emails began. Silly emails. Gushy, cheesy, over-the-top letters of appreciation and admiration were passed back and forth until we realized that we actually had to meet in person. If you’ve ever had the sensation upon first acquaintance with someone, that you’ve known them in a past life or you were mysteriously separated at birth, well that is what our encounter was like. Pretty magical indeed.

It was just last week Elenore graciously invited me to her home on southern Sweden; a hop, skip, and a train ride from Copenhagen. We spent two days together, cooking and eating lots (of course), frolicking in the abundant nature around her forest abode, and brainstorming all the amazing things we could do together to make this world a much tastier place. One of our collaborations was this raw chocolate, a sweet gift to each other and all of you.

This chocolate is the real deal. It melts in the mouth, it’s rich and satisfying, and has a deep, dark aroma that can only be described as divine. Surprisingly, it only contains three basic ingredients, and is gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan and raw. Yup, you’re welcome.

And although we may share a brain we still think differently, and decided on two different flavours. Inspired by my recent trip to Provence, I created a lavender and vanilla bar, while Elenore combined lemon and sea salt. You can read all about salt over at her blog, here. Of course if you’re not feeling those particular taste sensations, we’ve provided you with a whole list of ideas to inspire your own raw chocolate adventure. The beauty of this chocolate is that the recipe acts as a base, which can be gussied up for any occasion or season. If you’re a purist, leave the chocolate just as it is, sweet and simple.

I’ve made raw chocolate numerous times before, but I had never tried using cocoa butter (duh). I always went the coconut oil route because it was a little less expensive and easier to find. Now I’m a convert, and I also understand how those commercial raw chocolate producers can make such an exceptional product! I suppose it only makes sense that two elements from the same plant would mesh better than two unrelated ones, but sometimes old habits blind you from seeing new possibilities. Thank you Elenore for opening my eyes!

Cocoa Butter, Baby
Cocoa butter, also known as cacao butter, is the creamy fat extracted from the beans of the cacao tree – the same beans that chocolate is made from. That unmistakably smooth, melting quality that chocolate provides, is largely due to its cocoa butter content.
But there are other uses for this amazing plant product, and happily, it involves smearing it on your body.

I’ve said before that I won’t put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat. Although we may have been convinced otherwise by the cosmetic industry, the products we put on our skin most definitely end up in our blood stream and the rest of our system. Would you snack on your lipstick? How about a glass of delicious sunscreen? Obviously that is crazy, but when you consider all the different things that come into contact with our skin, isn’t it important to consider their safety? If you’re conscious about what you eat, you should also be conscious of what your skin is eating.

Cocoa butter is an amazing moisturizer. It has been used for centuries to treat and prevent dry skin, chapped lips, eczema, split ends, and some women claim that it helps prevent stretch marks during pregnancy (although there is no conclusive evidence of this). Because of cocoa butter’s melting point, it is solid at room temperature, but easily melts on warm skin and absorbs beautifully. What’s more is the mild, yet intoxicating chocolate aroma that it exudes. Just be careful who you hang out with after an application, as you will become irresistibly delicious.

Without having to go to the shop and spend hundreds of dollars organic lotion in a fancy package, why not keep things simple and just use cocoa butter? It’s completely natural, smells incredible, and really, really works.  I don’t suggest using cocoa butter as a facial moisturizer, as most people prefer something a little lighter, but anything below the jaw line is well suited. With summer on the way, it is the best post-sun moisturizer and makes your skin positively glow from the inside out.

Whether you’re purchasing cocoa butter for eating, moisturizing, or both, look for it at health food stores and specialty grocers. It should be in solid form, have a light yellow tint and smell rich (if you can open the package). Luckily cocoa butter has an extremely long shelf life (2-5 years) due to its high antioxidant content. As you only need a little for this batch of chocolate, don’t be worried about it spoiling. I am confident you will make plenty of chocolate, or use it up as a moisturizer well before it expires.

Ecstatic Raw Chocolate
Makes 2 large chocolate bars

30 g / 1oz raw cacao powder
100 g / 3.5 oz very soft, pitted dates
85 g / 3 oz cacao butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional, but delicious)
pinch of flaky sea salt (optional, but delicious)

1. Lavender & Vanilla: a couple pinches dried lavender + 1 extra vanilla bean, scraped
2. Lemon & Sea Salt: zest of one lemon + an extra pinch sea salt
3. Smoky Spice: a couple pinches ground cinnamon + chipotle.
4. Ginger & Coconut: a couple pinches ground ginger + a sprinkling of shredded coconut
5. Lime & Cardamom: zest of one lime + a couple pinches cardamom
6. Spicy Orange: zest of 1 organic lemon+ a pinch of chili powder
7. Rose love: a few drops of rose essential oil + dried rose petals for decoration
8. Crunchy Mint: a few drops of mint essential oil + 1 Tbsp. unhulled hemp seeds

1. Begin by pitting the dates and mashing them with a fork, or food processor. You may want to remove the skins first if they are tough. Do not soak dates, as the water will cause the chocolate to seize up.
2. In a double boiler (or a glass bowl over water) over low-medium heat, melt the cacao butter slowly until completely smooth. Add the cacao powder, vanilla, salt, and lavender, and stir to thoroughly combine. Remove from heat.
3. Add the dates and fold to combine. You may need to let the mixture cool a little before this is possible, so put the pot or bowl in the fridge until the chocolate firms up a bit. Taste for sweetness and flavouring.
4. Once the chocolate is cool and you can form a rough ball with it, divide the  chocolate in half and place one section on a piece of parchment paper. Fold the parchment paper over the chocolate once and use your hands to mash it down into a thin piece. At this point you can fold the remaining sides up around the chocolate to create a bar and press the chocolate into the corners. Alternatively, you can press the chocolate into a mold or chocolate form. Place in the fridge or a cool place to firm up. Repeat with the other half. Store chocolate in a cool, dry place away from direct light.

I hope this chocolate lands in your universe with all the love and joy that it did for Elenore and I. While we were in the kitchen measuring out ingredients, mashing dates, and moisturizing, we couldn’t help but laugh at how predestined our meeting was, and feel the excitement for the foodie adventures that lay ahead of us that we will of course share with you. That is why we were brought together. To make chocolate. To share dreams. To be ecstatic.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at

115 thoughts on “Ecstatic Raw Chocolate”

  • Dear Sarah,
    I make raw chocholate on the regular basis and am very suttisfied with taste. I ussualu make it in pralina shape.
    There is one problem I have not solved so far; the problem is that when I take it out from the fridge (it is firmed and cooled) there is a white layer on the top of it. The obvious is that it comes from cocoa butter and I scrape it with small spoon, but I would like not to have it at all. Just to mentione, white layer does not influence the taste.
    Do you maybe have an idea about the reasons?
    Thank you in advance,

    • Jelena,
      The fat separates from the solids sometimes and they “sink” a bit down. This is why most chocolates you buy have lecithin that prevents this from happening. You can get a powdered one and use a bit. If not for me it works to keep steering the mix every now and then until it cools down cool it down and only then shape it and put it in the cooler.

  • yum, yum yum. I chose to use scraping from a gorgeous tahitian vanilla bean I ordered from and it gave a nice fuity undertone. Love this wonderful recipe, thank you.

  • I love this recipe! My only problem is, I can’t sleep at night when eating this after dinner. I wonder if this is caused by the cacao butter, because I don’t have this problem when making for example date truffles with cacao nibs and cacao powder. Do you know if this effect is less when using coconut oil instead? Thank you for all the inspiration and sharing your knowledge! X

  • hi,

    I am a French culinary blogger ( so excuse my English a little awkward ) and I came to see What did our friends across the Atlantic .

    I am delighted by your blog , beautiful pictures and beautiful recipes.

  • Sarah,

    AH, celebrating the first day of Spring in Bermuda with beautiful sunny skies and raw chocolate – total bliss!

    Sarah W

  • Hi Sarah!

    I only just discovered your blog & have already pinned numerous recipes. I was wondering if you could recommend something other than dates to use? I live in Ireland, so fresh dates are hard to come by.

    Thanks a million!

  • The recipe sounds amazing. I have seen many recipes like that before, but they all use coconut oil. I just thought of something: instead of putting together cocoa powder and cocoa butter, wouldn’t it be better — from a natural/raw food point of view — to use raw cacao beans and use those to make this chocolate, or any other similar products? Why use 2 components of the bean and put them together when the bean itself is available. Of course, I have no clue how it would turn out texture and taste wise, but it would definitely be truly raw.

  • Hi there! I am re-discovering your website recently and am so pleased to have found this recipe just in time for solstice gifts!
    Wondering though, is there a trick to getting the dates mashed up faster and in larger quantities? I’d love to use my VitaMix, but without water, I’m sure it’ll just get stuck. And my fingers are so sore from mashing the last batch, which I couldn’t get quite soft enough.

  • Unbelievable! these are just fantastic! They make a great gift for loved ones. I just can’t stop eating them..

  • This chocolate is so delicious! I grated orange zest into it and blitzed the warm choccy date mixture in the blender to make it super smooth. A real winner, thank you x

  • This is the most divine chocolate!!! In fact all of your recipes are divine and I love that I know that each one has been thoughtfully concocted to be both delicious and nourishing. You are a genius. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Hi sarah
    Thank you for this blog first,i love to cooking and im trying to combine health and big appetite (breastfeeding)!!!!
    i have a question about this chocolate : is it possible to make it less dark? Like much less affraid if i put less cocoa powder or add almond milk it will change consistence..thank you for your tip. And sorry fo my bad english..

  • I just made and tried this chocolate recipe… uh.. AMazinggg!! I made it with peppermint oil and toasted coconut chips. Delicious!! Thanks Sarah B for your amazing recipes!

  • I just made this chocolate today. It was so delicious! I love the taste and chewiness of the dates.
    I made mine mint and coconut flavoured, but I think next time I might give the dates a miss and use agave so I can add in some chopped up nuts.

    Yum! Thank you!

  • It should be no surprise then that when chocolate consumption was spreading through Europe via the clergy, it was used as a fasting aid. While also chocolate drinks were given to sickly aristocratic patients to speed their recovery in the Spanish royal court.

  • Hi Sarah
    How long will this keep in my cupboard? I’m wanting to make it as a Christmas gift and want to know how long in advance I can make it 🙂

  • Oh boy, I just made these (one bar just plain chocolate, the other with cashews & cacao nibs) and they truly are beyond perfection. But that’s not really a surprise – I didn’t expect anything else from the two goddesses that you are 🙂 love everything you do! Thanks for all the magic,

  • Sarah, I’m wondering if “6. Spicy Orange: zest of 1 organic lemon+ a pinch of chili powder” has a typo? Shouldn’t it be zest of 1 organic orange? or will the lemon taste like orange? I’ve gotten all the ingredients, but haven’t gotten around to making this yet as we’re too busy eating your “Raw Brownies”! We love them! I leave out the almonds (son’s girlfriend is allergic) and add raw cacao nibs (love the crunch!) and chopped walnuts. The other day I used unsweetened shredded coconut instead of walnuts and it was even better.

    I love your blog and recommend it to so many people. Keep up the great work.

    Merci beaucoup!

    Lesley in Halifax

  • It’s so awesome to hear about another person joining the raw chocolate club. I love your pictures, and the details you’ve given about your trip to meet your friend. It sounds like you’ve had an amazing experience shared with a great person. I’ll be following you as you discover more about raw cacao.

  • Would it be possible to use dried figs instead of dates to make this chocolate, or would they be too hard?


  • I am having a very hard time combining the dates and cacao mixture. i tried putting it in the fridge and it stiffened up too quick, so i melted it down a bit more and it keeps going from solid to liquid. It won’t mix at all! The chocolate has not seized either. What is going on?!

  • Oh my goodness! I can’t wait to try this! Great idea on using the cocoa butter on your skin, too.

    Just today I was thinking about what kind of oil I could use to replace my lotion. I’ve tried coconut oil, but my husband can’t stand the smell. I think cocoa butter may be just the goodness I’m looking for!

    Thanks so much!

  • I forgot something in my first comment:-) the first time I did purchase some cocoa butter I did bought it to help myself stop scratching my terrible mosquitos bites (i was in the French Caribbean)…so I have a box of “beurre du cacao” which indeed smells like heaven, is a great medicine for all skin irritation…and now I know a great recipe to use it fo a chocolate too–UUUpie:-))

  • I am Doris used every single spell worker on the internet, spent untold amounts of money and discovered they are all fakes…i was the fool though; doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. In the end, I decided that I wanted a tarot reading to know what my future held for me; I contacted a woman who lives locally to me and she told me about a man named (priests meruja); he does not advertise on the internet, has another job for income, has no set prices, makes no false promises and refuses to help anyone that cannot be helped and even helps
    for free sometimes, he will give you proof before taking money. He is a wonderful man and he was the only person who actually gave me real results. I really hope he doesn’t mind me advertising his contact on the internet but I’m sure any help/ extra work will benefit him as He travel marriage,finance, job promotion ,lottery Voodoo,poker voodoo,golf Voodoo,Law & Court case Spells,money voodoo,weigh loss voodoo,any sicknesses voodoo,Trouble in marriage,it’s all he does Hope this helps everyone that is in a desperate situation as I once was; I know how it feels to hold onto something and never have a chance to move on because of the false promises and then to feel trapped in wanting something

  • Hi Sarah,
    I tried this yesterday ! It works!
    My family like the ecstatic raw chocolate so much! Thank you for making me look like a professional cooker. 🙂
    Hey, do you mind submitting your photos to to make others hungry?
    You know it’s fun to do that. LOL. Hey, probably they would do this recipe too. 🙂

  • Yesterday afternoon, I made raw and extatic chocolate following your recipe. Mine was vanilla and slivered almonds. And it was easy to make, and the result was delicious! Everybody at home loved it. I almost want to invest in a chocolate mold, since it looks like I am going to make chocolate more often from now on! Yummy, and thank you!

  • In just about a week I learned about your blog, fell in love with it, shared with all my friends, learned about Elenore’s blog, fell in love with it and shared with all my friends.

    This is all very much awesome. Thank you both for inspiring people to have healthier, more fullfilling lives (and take better pictures… lol).

    Much love for both!

  • Hi Sarah!
    I am so excited to make chocolate! I don’t have a scale though, do you have approximate cup/spoon measurements?
    Thank you!

  • Sarah B, this post has me grinning ear to ear. I’ve been a reader for a while, but this is my first comment! I’ve already made your granola, tacos, brownie, and a bunch of other savories… I heart this nook of the internet and your sweet spirit.

    Thank you both for sharing this chocolate with us!! I immediately see cute gifts for all occasions. Also, I am incredibly lucky to have Mountain Rose Herbs here in town. They are a bulk supplier of oils, butters, powders, herbs, etc. Love!

  • Hi gorgeous friends! Your words mean so much to me, and I am glad you could handle the gush-fest that this post was! Ha.

    To answer questions:
    @karina – yes! I take all my own pics, but this post Elenore and I both took them 🙂 We shared it all!

    @amygdala – I still stick to my Badger brand sunscreen. Look for the post in the search.

    @karina – I buy cacao butter online here:

    @Anon – I would make sure it’s food-grade. Check here:

    @Hanna – I use this only:

    @compassionatecuisine : Yes, of course you can use coconut oil, but like I said it won’t be as good (still delicious though!)

    Sarah B

  • Was so inspired by your post that I picked up ingredients before driving 2hrs back to my family home in the city and am currently enjoying the delicious chocolate and a cup of tea with my darling mama – bliss!! Delicious recipe and gorgeous post.

  • Wow. You two are adorable. A match made in heaven!! Can’t wait to try this recipe, raw chocolate with no added sugar!? Sign me up!!

  • After reading this post you really made me want to say something … I’ve been following your blog since, I don’t know, maybe 10 months and I visit 4 or 5 times a week, sometimes even more to see if there’s something new and delicious… And it’s funny because I only commented once on one of your posts.
    Anyway, I loved to read this post because sometimes I miss not having someone to share my silly adventures in kitchen. So you are two really lucky girls for having met each other and for having someone to share the same interest, of spreading “the healthy word” 🙂

    Now, just one question, I probably won’t be able to find cacao butter where I live 🙁 Is it possible to replace the butter with coconut oil?

    xoxo , Márcia Gonçalves

  • Dear all,dear Sarah,
    Any suggestions for a natural face moisturizer?
    I am familiar with cocoa and shea butter but find them a tidbit too greasy . Would love to hear your suggestions 🙂
    Amazing post for a chocoholic like me! Will try this!

  • Ah, the convergence of 2 of my favorite food and wellness lovers/writers/eaters/creators – watch out world!

    I love that, while you’re on the same wavelength, each of your brings your you-ness to this project. Excited to see more of your creations. You guys were meant SO for each other 🙂

  • I was ecstatic to read this post. Honestly, my smile got so big not just about the chocolate (I will always be ecstatic over chocolate), but also because you reunited me with Elenore! I came upon her blog a few weeks ago and fell in love, but I was in a rush and didn’t mark the site. I knew the title had the word sprout in it so I’ve been using this to search periodically for a while now with no luck.

    Then last night I visited your blog (a true favorite that I discovered not long ago as well) and was so pleasantly surprised to find you both! How cool that two blogs (and people) that I admire and appreciate have come together. I am so happy for the both of you. You know how you come across something, a blog in this case, and it just feels so you? There are so many food and wellness blogs out there, but few resonate completely with my views, taste, and aesthetic. You two do.

    Thanks so much for everything. I promise to try this raw chocolate recipe soon. Like you, I’ve used coconut butter in the past and can’t wait to taste the difference with cocoa butter.

    Going to check out your recipes now for dinner tonight and then spend a little time at Earthsprout.

  • I can’t wait to try this, but where can I find food-grade cocoa butter? Is the stuff you use on your body okay to eat, too? Help!

  • I am so in love with this post. What a beautiful friendship you and Elenore have! It’s such an incredible feeling to meet someone you feel you’ve known all your life. Oh, and the chocolate looks AMAZING too! Seriously can’t wait to make some. 🙂

  • And a question! Since you live in Denmark, and your friend in Sweden; any suggestion for what brand to choose when it comes to dates and cacao butter? I’m unable to find any good medjool dates that’s organic here in Norway and I have to order my cacao butter from the US as I can’t find it in health stores in larger quantities. Any suggestions?

  • such a great post! besides the lovely lovely recipe (chocolate is my best friend), the story was wonderful! it is so nice to connect with our soulmates, whoever they happen to be 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  • SO wonderful 🙂

    I love your pictures!! Will have to try to locate cocao butter…although might just risk it with coconut oil in the interim 🙂 I like your philosophies about cosmetic products…one HUGE question: I’ve been scaling up the quality/price and scaling down the number of products I use over the years, however as a fair skinned outdoor addict sunscreen has always been a massive stumbling block for me….i cringe just thinking about zinc oxide (which although appears in candy still doesn’t constitute as edible…)
    My one venture into organic/natural left me burnt to a crisp (despite a giant hat and shades!)

    Not really a food question Ms. B, but any leads??

    Thank you for your wonderful wonderful blog! Can’t wait to check out Elenore’s 🙂 Such lovely people <3!

  • Hum…
    I follow your blog in silence since one month or two.
    I never posted a comment, but today, I feel like it.

    I discovered Eleonore’s blog thank to an interview I read on Keimling’s blog, a few days ago.

    I smiled when I read that you met each other : your 2 energy were so meant to be together 🙂

    I understand perfectly the connection you made with the things you put on your body & in your mouth, as I am making my own cosmetics since 2 years (I use a lot the cacao butter :-)).

    Strangely, I am not a huge fan of chocolate.
    In fact, I do not like it… That was until I discover the raw quality with Öm bars (a friend of mine offer me some from England).
    It is SO different from all the chocolate I could taste !
    But, I didn’t try to make my own (although I am used to make my own white vegan raw chocolate for my pastries.

    Hum… I do not know which chocolate I would choose : yours or Eleonore’s…
    Maybe I would have a mix of them with some vanilla, some lemon 🙂

    Sorry if my english is not really good… I’m from France 🙂

  • I’m so happy for you guys! It’s completely mind-blowing when one meets a soul mate and when two awesome minds think together the results can be nothing but amazing. Your chocolate looks sooo good and I can’t wait to make me a batch to nurish me and the baby in my belly. 🙂

  • Oh gosh, reading this first thing in the morning before leaving for work? Kind of disturbing, I know I have to try this one this weekend or next.

    And a question: do you take all your photos yourself? I mean, they’re gorgeous.

  • Lovely photos and post! Can’t wait to try making this, I’ve always wanted to make chocolate…really good chocolate that is!
    Thanks to you both.

  • How can a girl POSSIBLY go past a post called ‘ecstatic raw chocolate’??

    I’ve been meaning to try cocoa butter in making my own choc bars, so this is great inspiration. I’ve been using it in beauty products and LOVE it. Can’t wait to try out these different combinations!

    I wrote a little about it recently, here – (just ignore the bit at the bottom about the markets!)

    🙂 A xx

  • Gorgeous pics, and on a great subject too! I’ve been dying for some sugar-free chocolate for some time now. Is there anyway you could include US measurements for the recipe – my conversion skills aren’t too great…

    And yes, cocoa butter really is great for the skin. I make a cocoa butter/coconut oil balm (with a drop of vanilla) and call it “coco cream”. Everyone I’ve made it for just adores it.

  • I’m so happy for your collaboration!! I have been a subscriber to My New Roots for a while (I love everything about it!) and I stumbled upon Earthsprout just a couple of days ago and fell in love with this site, too! How fortuitous that you two found each other! I look forward to many more wonderful collaborations 🙂

  • This is wonderful. The chocolate, the story, the whole thing – makes me want to hop on over from NZ and become friends with you (two) too! You guys are great.

  • sweeeeet, heartwarming and sooo happy-making: your blog, your recipes and this story! cant write enough thanks for all these good-mood and smily vibes you send us,tons of sunny smiles back from tulipland!

    vanilla+lavendel sounds just perfect for my next choco-break;-)))…btw…I did manage to get to dried cacao beans from my two fresh cacao pods (my presie in Reunino island);

  • this looks amazing, and i can not wait to try it! i have been happily trying out several of your recipes over the past couple months and have been throughly enjoying each and everyone of them!

    i even made the raw brownies for my extended family. several are on fairly strict diets for health reasons and this was the perfect dessert. those afraid of health food weren’t let in on the secret until they had tried all of it’s delicious goodness!

    i loved reading this story so much i had to comment! off to check off Elenore’s blog now too!

  • Looks delicious, can’t wait to try it out!
    And thanks for posting it in gr too – I do not understand anything about oz, cups et c… Or the fahrenheit vs celsuis…

  • holy chocolate goodness!

    i read this post after eating your roasted white asparagus and caper berries for dinner and snacking on some green and black chocolate with orange zest and spices for dessert. and now you tell me that i can make my own chocolate!

    you two lovely ladies keep changing my life for the better. thank you. and what a beautiful photo of you both!

  • Love, love, love! Two of my favourite people + chocolate, thank you , thank you!! Very sweet post, and I know the feeling when you meet someone and it’s that ‘you are such a great person, no you are, no you are’ moment, very special indeed! xTotally destined for each other I’m sure!! xx

  • I always say: I love when people I love love each other! SO great to see my two favorite bloggeuses (it’s the French word for female blogger “une bloggeuse” isn’t it fabulous?) joining forces and especially for chocolate and even more especially for HEALTHY chocolate – it’s too good to be true! Still waiting for both of you to come to Paris and shower me with ecstatic raw chocolate and other My New Earthrootsprout delights. Keep up the positive, happy and delicious vibes and recipes, bisous girls!

  • hello sarah,
    is there any way to make white choclate yourself? it’s the one thing i miss most since going vegan..
    and do you have any tips for organic & natural beaty products like deodorant, soap, etc?
    judith 🙂

  • This story is the sweetest! I just recently started paying attention to the contents of the beauty products that I use. It’s been nothing short of frightening. I really love what you said about not putting anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat. I’m going to keep this in mind!

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