With The Food Blog nearing its seventh year, it’s almost impossible to believe that I have never written a post about chocolate. Having deprived you guys from chocolate recipes, I’m amazed I have a readership at all. I hope this might make up for it, but excuse the health-oriented take on chocolate. Most of you know that I have been off sugar for well over a year now, in an attempt to regain my health. With abstinence from sugar, chocolate consumption declines drastically. I’ve looked for sugar-free/insulin-friendly chocolates, but most of them are made with aspartame (or some other artificial sweetener) or maltitol and emulsified with soy lecithin, and I try to stay away from these things. Of course, there are agave-sweetened chocolates, but health-wise, that stuff is the worst sweetener ever. Agave is higher in fructose than high-fructose corn syrup, and if you want to see why too much fructose is bad, do yourself a favour and listen to this.
My sweetener of choice is xylitol, but when it comes to home-made chocolate, xylitol doesn’t do the trick since it is not fat-soluble (does not dissolve in fat). I’ve found that the best sweetener to use is yacon. Yacon is a sweetener derived from a south-American tuber. The syrup is a sweet-tasting fructooligosaccharide, which is a prebiotic fermentable fiber and seems to have little/no effect on blood sugar (my blood sugars went from 4.3 to 4.8 on one of the tests I did to see if yacon affects me, which is pretty okay). It has a rich, caramel flavour and a buttery mouthfeel, and it also works wonders in chocolate. Now, yacon isn’t cheap (340ml for $22.40AUD from iherb.com), but for special occasions, it’s worth it. I’m a huge fan of hazelnuts and chocolate, and macadamia is by far my favourite nut, so to make my home-made chocolate a bit more of a treat, a few handfuls of roasted hazelnuts and Australian macadamias are perfect. One last thing. I recently bought a Thermomix and have used it to make the chocolate at home. The recipe below is a Thermomix recipe based on Quirky Cooking’s recipe (thanks Jo) but can easily be adapted if you don’t have a Thermomix. My guess is that you can melt the cacoa butter in a bain-marie, making sure the temperature doesn’t go over 50degrees C.
Yacon-Sweetened Macadamia & Hazelnut Chocolate Recipe
- 100 grams cacoa butter, chopped in small pieces (I bought mine here)
- 35 grams cocoa powder (I bought mine here)
- 70 grams yacon (or 40 grams yacon and 30 grams xylitol. The yacon will allow the xylitol to melt through)
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla syrup (the real stuff)
- 1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup roasted macadamia (or raw, if you prefer)
- Line a banana bread tin with baking paper
- Evenly distribute the macadamias and hazelnuts inside
- Melt cocoa butter in Thermomix on speed 1 at 50c for 6 minutes. Make sure it’s all melted.
- Add cocoa powder and mix on speed 5 at 50c for 3 minutes
- Add yacon (and xylitol if using), salt and vanilla syrup and mix on speed 5 at 50c for 3 minutes
- Pour over the nuts
- Refrigerate overnight. You can eat it as soon as it sets, but it will have a lower melting point and will feel as though it is melting instantly on your fingers.
Makes 1 large chocolate bar