After resisting for about a year, I am finally acknowledging that I need to embrace a Paleo lifestyle. Sigh. I realize that to many of you a healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance and in theory I can see your point. However, in practice, well that’s another story. You see I’ve never actually felt “good.” I experienced pain most days and so the argument that eating right makes you feel good is lost on me. Especially, when ”eating healthy” (i.e. salads) makes things worse. Couple that with me being a hard core foodie and you are pretty much asking me to trust in blind faith.
However, I have decided to no longer be in pain and if taking a leap of faith is required, so be it. So here we are, me ready to become Paleo and feeling completely overwhelmed. After a bit of research, I have determined you start by building a Paleo pantry. Well, me being me, started with chocolate. (OK I actually first made ghee but the subject is very covered by the blogosphere. I like this article by Simple Life Mom How and Why You Should be Making Ghee.) I cannot function without chocolate (this may be a good time to mention I don’t drink coffee) and while most of you would start by buying coconut oil, my priorities are a bit skewed (besides I already have tons).
Now, I was going to need a few kinds of chocolate, chips for baked goods and bars for daily snacking. My chip needs were mostly met by Andrea Wyckoff of Forest and Fauna, one of my favorite blogs out there. While there are countless recipes for Paleo chocolate, I wanted one that uses cocoa butter and sweetens with maple syrup. I was lamenting that I’d have to develop it from scratch and then lo and behold, Andrea to the rescue. She recommends using a silicone trivet or potholder as a mold. Love it! For bars, I used a bar-sharped silicone mold also from Amazon but feel free to use what ever mold you like.
Next, we have to talk a bit about tempering. Tempering chocolate gives it that shine and snap and also keeps it from melting all over your fingers. Now, if this step is just more than you wish to handle, you can just use the chip mold, skip it, go straight to the recipe, and store the chips in the refrigerator. For the true die-hard chocoholics who need their chocolate bars, you are going to have to learn a bit about tempering. There are two main ways to temper chocolate, seeding and tabling. Seeding is the most common method by far. You take hot, melted chocolate and introduce a bit of already tempered chocolate and stir until it also melts. Great, except you can’t really buy tempered Paleo chocolate, at least not yet.
So that leaves us with tabling. Lucky us. This is the method that all the fine chocolatiers use, but don’t be intimidated. While this seems really daunting at first, it’s really not so hard. You’ll need an offset spatula, a bench scraper, and a stone slab or countertop. Here is a lovely video from Thomas Schnetzler of The Essential Ingredient Cooking School called How to Temper Chocolate. I find him reassuring and he doesn’t seem to rely on the BeniHana theatrics I usually see.
Yields 5 ounces of chocolate, enough chips for two trivets
Make your own Paleo-friendly chocolate chips and chocolate bars.
10 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
Adapted from Forest and Fauna's Make Your Own Chocolate Chips
2 ounces maple sugar crystals
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
2 ounces raw organic cacao butter
2 ounces raw organic cacao powder
- Combine the maple sugar and the seeds from one vanilla bean in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place the vanilla sugar and cacao butter in a medium heatproof mixing bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water. Stir slowly and constantly with a spatula until melted.
- Add the cacao powder and stir until smooth.
- Remove from heat and either pour directly into a mold or temper first and then pour into a mold. Tip: Place the molds on a cookie sheet before pouring hot chocolate into them.
- Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour for the chocolate to set.
- Remove the chocolate from the molds and store untempered chocolate in the refrigerator or tempered chocolate in a cool, dry place.
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