If you’d like to enjoy a delicious healthy chocolate bar that’s actually good for you and your family, why not try making healthy chocolate together?
One of the strategies many "experts" (including expert moms, who are the ones with the most expertise and experience, after all!) recommend for getting kids to eat healthful foods is to involve them in the preparation of the food - especially whatever particular healthful food(s) they’re reluctant to eat.
Most kids won’t give you a hard time about eating chocolate! But they may be reluctant to give up the store-bought kind for homemade healthy chocolate.
Why Make Healthy Chocolate Together?
Just think of the benefits of making healthy chocolate together! Here are a few that come to mind:
You’ll be spending time together doing something fun and enjoyable.
You and your kids will be active participants in producing something nourishing and delicious!
You’ll be giving your kids an opportunity to express their creativity. This healthy chocolate recipe lends itself beautifully to any number of additions and changes, so the whole family can exercise their imagination.
You can make the activity into an opportunity to put generosity into practice, because homemade healthy chocolate makes a great gift! It’s a wonderful thing when you can give a loved one a gift you’ve made yourself, and children benefit in a variety of ways when they can do so.
As you’ll see, virgin coconut oil serves as the base of this healthy chocolate bar. That’s one of the reasons it’s so good for you! Coconut oil is the healthiest oil with the most benefits you can use in your kitchen. Coconut oil can even help you lose weight, believe it or not!
This recipe is the latest version of my original healthy chocolate recipe, which you'll find here, along with other chocolate making tips and the little story of why I came up with the recipe in the first place.
This recipe is absolutely the most versatile recipe I’ve ever used! You can use more coconut oil, or less; more cocoa, or less; more sugar, or less… well, you get the idea. I’m now using more coconut oil, less cocoa, and less coconut than when I started experimenting. The proportions I’m currently using are reflected in the recipe below.
You may be wondering what makes this chocolate so good for you. We’ll get to that in a minute. First...
14 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (if it’s in liquid form; if not, see note below)
10 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or raw organic cacao powder
5 tablespoons unsweetened, pure, grated coconut (I prefer finely grated. By pure I mean without additives.)
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar or demerara sugar (If you don’t use dates or raisins you might want to use 2 tablespoons sugar. I do when I omit the fruit.)
Close up of chopped dates and soaked raw almonds.
1 or 2 handfuls chopped dates or whole raisins (We found a place that sells seedless dates at a very good price, so we’re generous with them! They’re a delicious addition and give the chocolate bar a nice consistency.)
1 handful or less of chopped almonds (They cost over twice as much as dates where we live, so we’re a bit skimpier with them.) Please see note on soaking nuts before using them. You could use any nuts you like, I think. However, we don’t recommend peanuts because they are often contaminated with aflatoxins, a carcinogenic mold.
a pinch of salt
Close up of chopped apricots and soaked raw almonds ready to stir into a different batch of chocolate.
3 teaspoons cinnamon (could be more, or less, to taste) This is optional, as is almost everything else in this recipe except the coconut oil and the cocoa! I just made a batch with 5 teaspoons of cinnamon, and it tastes great. Cinnamon helps your body metabolize sugar.
real vanilla extract (If you can't find genuine vanilla extract, it would be better just to omit the vanilla. It tastes fine without it. We don't recommend using any artificial flavorings as they contain chemicals that are bad for your health.)
1. Stir the cocoa powder into the virgin coconut oil until thoroughly blended. (I was amazed the first time I tried this at how well and quickly the cocoa blends with the coconut oil. This kind of cocoa is not instant and doesn’t blend with most liquids unless the liquid is hot.)
All the ingredients are stirred and ready to pour into mold or tray.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
3. Place the mixture in either a mold or a tray approximately 3 inches by 6 inches, though this can vary depending on how thick you want your healthy chocolate bar—and what size tray you have available! Pat it down with the back of a spoon so it’s as even as possible.
4. Now put your homemade, natural, healthy chocolate in the refrigerator. If you are making a bar, after it’s been in the fridge for about 20 or 30 minutes, you may want to score it. This will make it possible to serve it in nice little symmetrical bite-sized pieces once it's hardened.
Leave the chocolate in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it if room temperature is over 24-25°C (76°F), since this is virgin coconut oil's melting point. If it is cold where you are and the room temperature is cooler than this, refrigeration is not necessary (unless you want to keep it out of sight to make it last longer!)
* If room temperature is below 25°C (76°F), your virgin coconut oil will most likely be solidified. In order to get it into its liquid form, just gently heat the amount you’re going to use. If your oil is in a glass jar, you can safely set the jar in a container of warm, not hot, water until the oil liquefies. There's no need to boil the jar and oil or use very hot water. If your oil is in plastic, transfer what you are going to heat up into a glass or ceramic bowl or cup.
* At in-between temperatures, when it’s neither liquid nor hard, coconut oil takes on a lovely creamy consistency, which is easy to work with, like butter left out at room temperature for a few hours. When it’s like this, it’s not necessary to heat it. However, I use fewer tablespoons when it’s semi-solid like this, as I’ve found that it just naturally sort of heaps up on the spoon, which it doesn’t do when it’s liquid. (If any of you really good cooks reading this are appalled at my unscientific approach, I apologize, and welcome your input.)
* The sugar I use for this natural healthy chocolate bar is either organic demerara sugar or muscovado (raw or unrefined sugar, obtained from sugar cane juice by evaporating and draining off the molasses). If you use demerara sugar, which is rather crunchy, blending it into a powder before adding it to the chocolate/coconut oil mixture will produce a smoother chocolate bar. Muscovado does well without being blended.
* If you are going to use nuts in your healthy chocolate bar or bonbons, I recommend soaking the nuts before using them. We usually soak them overnight, but 6 hours is fine too. Soaking removes unwanted enzyme inhibitors and improves the nutritional value of the nuts. The enzyme inhibitors protect the nuts and/or seeds until they have what they need to grow, i.e., sunlight, water, soil, and warmth. But the same inhibitors also inhibit enzymes in your stomach, something you don't really want to do!
* My original purpose for including grated coconut in the recipe was to “stretch”—in a healthy, delicious, chocolate-compatible, yet frugal way—the rather more expensive (at least where we live) main ingredients, cocoa and coconut oil. One of these days I’ll try making the chocolate bar without grated coconut, which I’m sure would work, and probably be just as delicious! I’ll just need to use either a smaller container to “mold” the bar in, or more cocoa and/or coconut oil, or other ingredients.
* Depending on your taste buds, you might want to use a bit more sugar if you omit the grated coconut, as even the unsweetened variety of grated coconut, which I use, is naturally sweet. Again, it’s a matter of experimenting and seeing how you and your family like it best.
Do you have a healthy chocolate recipe? Use the form at the bottom of this page to send us your recipe or comments!
Besides the health benefits we’ve recently been told come from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate (and this chocolate is very dark), this scrumptious healthy chocolate is good for you for several other reasons. Some of its health benefits come from the wholesome ingredients it does have, and some are due to the unhealthy ingredients and additives it does not have, which most commercially made chocolate does have. Whew! Was that confusing? I hope not. But to make it simpler…
The chocolate made from this healthy chocolate recipe stars virgin coconut oil, which has many health benefits, as one of its main ingredients.
It has no milk, which many people prefer to avoid unless it’s certified raw milk. It also has none of the following unhealthful ingredients found in many commercial chocolate bars:
white sugar or other unhealthful sweeteners, whether low-calorie artificial ones or others (Sugar is the number one ingredient in many commercial chocolate bars, even semi-sweet bars.)
soy lecithin (Found in a very wide range of processed food, soy lecithin is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides, derived from sludge left over after crude soy oil goes through a "degumming" process.)
unhealthy fats, which include many seed oils and trans fats
If you like chocolate, avoiding those unhealthy ingredients while adding healthy coconut oil to your diet in such a delicious form is worth a try, don't you think?