One of my favourite things is discovering that a specialty food item that I buy on a regular basis is actually really easy to make at home. It’s not just about saving money, it’s about being able to choose the base ingredients and having control over the processing variables too. Cleaner, fresher, less processed food is right up my alley, and the money saving thing is pretty awesome too.
You may have heard of (or spent a lot of money buying) coconut butter (aka coconut manna). It is different from coconut oil, as it is made with the whole coconut flesh as opposed to being extracted from the coconut flesh. Physically, it is like the difference between puréed avocado and avocado oil.
As it turns out, making your own coconut butter is easier than getting your shoes on to go to the store to buy it. All you do is put dried, shredded coconut into a blender and blend until it liquefies (1-10 minutes, depending on your blender). The warmth from the friction of the blender blades melts the oils in the coconut, helping it blend easily. Unless your house is regularly 24*C (76*F) (I’ve heard this happens) it will solidify again at room temperature.
I use coconut butter in nut and seed-based treats like this, in dips or dressings when I’m looking for some body, but if I’m being honest, I mostly just eat it off of a spoon. It is gooood in a way that raw, shredded coconut can’t even compete with. If you’re having a sweet craving, a spoonful of coconut butter, (consumed with your eyes closed, while sitting down) will more than do the trick.
It doesn’t need chocolate. I like to think I don’t need chocolate either, but I also think a small amount of good quality, raw chocolate here and there makes me a better person. A little bit will take your homemade coconut butter to actual, decadent dessert status without adding anything too guilt-causing. In fact, a bit of raw, dark, minimally and carefully sweetened chocolate contains flavonoids (that help reduce free radicals), B vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium and potassium.
I have included a chocolate fudge recipe that is as simple as it gets. All you do is melt raw, dark chocolate together with coconut butter and let it set (at room temp or in the fridge). That’s it. The extra cocoa butter fat helps it to set firmer than the coconut butter sets on its own. If you are a texture person, sprinkle some raw cacao nibs or hemp hearts over the top as it is setting, for some added crunch.
It is easiest if you make your own coconut butter and then add the chocolate to the same blender. The coconut butter will have residual heat from the blade friction, gently melting the chocolate without damaging it. You can also use store-bought coconut butter, just melt it slowly in a bain marie, adding the chocolate at the very end.
It is important to thoughtfully choose your chocolate. At the very least, dark chocolate (70% or higher) should be used, raw (if you can find it), fair trade, and sweetened with less proccessed, lower gi sugars would be optimal (coconut sugar/stevia). I used Zimt chocolate for this recipe, an artisanal chocolate company located here, in Vancouver. It was created by Emma Smith, who has high standards for healthy, delicious and beautiful chocolate. It is minimally sweetened with coconut sugar, a lower gi sugar, and really is the good stuff (I have it hidden, mostly from myself, all over my house). Try to find some chocolate created with equal amounts of care.
Once it is set, I recommend that you cut it into small pieces and store it in your freezer. Have a little bit when the chocolate part of your brain speaks to you, between broccoli caesar salad, kale chips and green soup.
- 3½ c (250g bag) Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
- 1 x Coconut Butter Recipe (see above)
- 80g Raw, 70% Dark Chocolate (I used Zimt Artisan Chocolate)
- 3 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
- Put the coconut in a blender and blend until very smooth. This will take 1-2 minutes in a high-power blender or 10+ minutes in a regular one.
- Pour into a jar, let come to room temp and then cover it.
- Store at room temp.
- While the coconut butter is still warm from blending in the blender, add the chocolate and leave for a minute (so that it melts) before blending together.
- (If you want it a little sweeter, add a pitted date or two at this point, and blend well)
- Pour out onto a parchment-lined platter or platter or small baking sheet (with sides, it's pretty liquid-y and will run like heavy cream)
- Let cool at room temp and then top with cacao nibs.
- Cool entirely at room temp. If it is still liquid, transfer to the fridge.
- Once set, cut into pieces. Store in the fridge, freezer or at room temp if you live in cooler temperatures (like anywhere in Canada almost year-round)