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Blackberry-Lavender-Rose with Pistachios

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! February is the official month for chocolate. Though I eat it day-in-day-out, year-round, my love affair with chocolate isn’t limited to dark cacao; I share an equal affinity with white chocolate. But is white chocolate really chocolate? According to experts, it isn’t considered pure chocolate. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying its creamy vanilla flavor and silky smooth texture. So what exactly is white chocolate? The primary constituents are cacao butter, powdered milk, sugar, and vanilla.

Can you make white chocolate at home?

To that end, I kitchen-tested several internet recipes. Unfortunately, none produced a quality product. That left me to come up with my own, and in my zealousness, I stumbled onto VEGAN white chocolate, using coconut cream! But introducing water-based ingredients into an oil-based product presented its own challenge because chemically, they don’t marry well without an officiant. Enter lecithin.

Lecithin is commonly added to chocolate as an emulsifier to give it its smooth viscosity. Because of it, now I’m able to use the finished product for dipping truffles and cake-banding, something I couldn’t do with the other DIY recipes. Moreover, I’m proud to serve this delicious, creamy smooth, non-dairy, soy-free white chocolate to guests, or wrap as a gift for that special someone. And oh, did I also mention it’s easy and fun to make. Be capricious, add espresso, liqueurs. Layer different chocolate flavors. Texturize with dried fruit, florals, and roasted nuts to create your own private reserve of artisan chocolate.

Recipe notes: Lecithin gel caps are available in most stores made with either soy or sunflower oil; I chose sunflower.

What you will need: ramekins for mixing, a measuring cup, whisk, kitchen scissors, and chocolate/candy molds. The ones pictured are a tray of two. Each mold yields a 3oz bar. I bought two trays click for retail information.

Active prep time for plain white chocolate is 10-minutes. Inactive time for tempering: 1-hr. Difficulty level: Very easy.

For layered petit fours, active prep time is 30-minutes. Inactive time for tempering 1-hr 15 minutes. Difficulty level: Fairly easy. Yields 3-3oz bars per recipe.

Ingredients:

Plain white chocolate base 

Preparation:

  1. Place cacao wafers in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 2-minutes.
  2. In a cup or ramekin, add coconut cream. Note: For best results, do not shake can or carton. Use cream from the top since it contains more fat and less water.
  3. Add sweetener and flavoring to cream and whisk.
  4. Add lecithin to cream 1/4 teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each. If using gel caps, snip ends with kitchen scissors and squeeze to extract oil, whisking well after each gel cap to fully incorporate.
  5. Gradually add emulsified coconut cream to melted cacao while whisking thoroughly
  6. Check for desired flavor and sweetness and adjust to personal taste.
  7. Whisk well one last time before pouring into the mold, and refrigerate to properly temper chocolate: approx. 1-hr.
  8. Unmold chocolate and foil wrap to preserve freshness.
  9. Keep refrigerated.

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Blackberry-Lavender-Rose

All my favorite berry and fruit flavors sandwiched in chocolate. The design reminds me of a Laura Ashley print. The subtle florals of lavender and rose, the chewy texture of dried cranberries, and crunchy pistachios are oh, so yummy. Melt in your mouth delicious!

Prepare each layer separately using the white chocolate recipe as a base for the first two layers, and finish with a thin coat of dark cacao. Yields 3-3oz bars.

First layer

Ingredients:

  • 3-oz (90gr) in weight or 1/2–cup deodorized cacao wafers 
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 3-Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 tsp or 5-gel caps liquid lecithin (sunflower)
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1/4-cup pistachios, toasted, and chopped
  • 1-Tbsp dried cranberries, sliced
  • 1-Tbsp dried culinary-grade rose petals or other dried fruit
  • 1/4-tsp dried lavender (optional)

Preparation

  1. Follow preparation for a plain white chocolate base to build 1st layer.
  2. Randomly arrange dried fruit, florals, and toasted nuts in the mold.IMG_2364
  3. Allow white chocolate to thicken slightly for 5-minutes and whisk before pouring into molds.
  4. Pour just enough for ingredients to adhere, but aren’t totally submerged.
  5. Transfer to the refrigerator and let temper 5-10 minutes

Middle layer

Ingredients:

*The blackberry extract is non-alcohol based, however, I’ve never used it, I used 3/4 cup blackberry infused vodka that I reduce to a tablespoon to achieve a truer blackberry flavor and color.

IMG_2363Preparation:

  1. Place cacao wafers in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 2-minutes.
  2. In a cup or ramekin, add coconut cream.
  3. Add sweetener and flavoring to cream and whisk.
  4. Taste for flavoring and sweetness and adjust if needed.
  5. Add lecithin to cream 1/4 teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each. If using gel caps, snip ends with kitchen scissors and squeeze to extract oil, whisking well after each gel cap to fully incorporate.
  6. Gradually add emulsified coconut cream to melted cacao while whisking thoroughly
  7. Check for desired flavor and sweetness and adjust to personal taste.
  8. Allow chocolate to thicken for 5-minutes, whisking occasionally.
  9. Remove mold from refrigerator and pour the middle layer leaving enough room for a thin layer of dark chocolate. Transfer to refrigerator and temper 20-30 minutes.

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Dark Chocolate 

Ingredients:

  • 2-ounces or 1/4-cup organic deodorized cacao butter chopped
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  • 1/2- cup organic cacao powder
  • 1-Tbsp honey
  • 1/4-tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of Himalayan or sea salt

Preparation:

  1. In a glass measuring cup, melt cacao butter in the microwave
  2. Whisk in the cacao powder until smooth, add honey, vanilla, and salt and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Check for desired flavor and sweetness and adjust to personal taste.
  4. Pour the final layer and refrigerate 1-hr.
  5. Unmold and foil wrap to preserve freshness. Keep refrigerated

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Cappuccino Royale

A natural pairing of coffee, toasted almonds, dark chocolate, and a hint of orange layered with cream—utterly sublime and audaciously bold.

Prepare each layer separately using the white chocolate recipe as a base for the first two layers, and finish with a thin coat of dark cacao. Yields 3-3oz bars.

Ingredients:

Cappuccino layer:

  • 3-oz (90gr) in weight or 1/2–cup deodorized cacao wafers 
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 3-Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1-Tbsp instant espresso
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1/2-tsp Kahlua or coffee extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4-tsp or 5-gel caps liquid lecithin
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts toasted
  • 2-Tbsp-dried apricots thinly sliced

Preparation:

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  1. Place cacao wafers in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 2-minutes.
  2. Pour coconut cream into a cup or ramekin.
  3. To effectively blend espresso, sprinkle 1-tsp on top of coconut cream and allow to bloom before whisking. Repeat process with remaining teaspoons. The cream will be a dark cappuccino color but will lighten when tempered
  4. Add sweetener and flavoring to cream and whisk.
  5. Taste for flavoring and sweetness and adjust if needed.
  6. Add lecithin to cream 1/4 teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each. If using gel caps, snip ends with kitchen scissors and squeeze to extract oil, whisking well after each gel cap to fully incorporate.
  7. Gradually add emulsified coconut cream to melted cacao while whisking thoroughly
  8. Randomly arrange dried fruit and toasted nuts in the mold.
  9. Once the chocolate is completely emulsified, allow to thicken at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and whisk before pouring into molds.
  10. Pour just enough chocolate for ingredients to adhere, but aren’t totally submerged.
  11. Transfer to the refrigerator and let temper 5-10 minutes.

Middle Layer

Ingredients:

  • 3-oz (90gr) in weight or 1/2–cup deodorized cacao wafers 
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 3-Tbsp coconut cream
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-tsp Grand Marnier or orange extract
  • 1-1/4 tsp or 5-gel caps liquid lecithin (sunflower)

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  1. Place cacao wafers in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 2-minutes.
  2. In a cup or ramekin, add coconut cream.
  3. Add sweetener and flavoring to cream and whisk.
  4. Taste and adjust flavor and sweetness if needed.
  5. Add lecithin to cream 1/4 teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each. If using gel caps, snip ends with kitchen scissors and squeeze to extract oil, whisking well after each gel cap to fully incorporate.
  6. Gradually add emulsified coconut cream to melted cacao while whisking thoroughly
  7. Allow chocolate to thicken for 5-minutes, whisking occasionally
  8. Remove mold from refrigerator and pour the middle layer leaving enough room for a thin layer of dark chocolate.
  9. Transfer to refrigerator and temper 20-30 minutes
  10. Prepare dark cacao chocolate and pour the final layer. Refrigerate 1-hr.
  11. Unmold and foil wrap to preserve freshness. Keep refrigerated.

To order molds for heart-shaped dessert boxes, click.

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