Last week I mentioned that one thing I really miss these days is dark chocolate. My historic go-to treat for a quick dessert or afternoon pick-me-up, I always have a stash of good-quality chocolate on-hand — most of it purchased from my favorite fall-off-the-truck store for $1 a bar (while I dream of the day I find a coveted Olive & Sinclair bar, I’m currently happy to walk away with brands like Chocolove, Endangered Species, or Green & Black).
On the whole, I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate, and would much rather offer my kids a square of that over a piece of candy. But the problem for me right now, while on the GAPS diet, is that most all dark chocolate, even high-end brands, contains sugar. And sugar is on my no-list.
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve walked into my kitchen since January, usually around 9pm, looking for something that would take the place of a square of dark chocolate. Most often I ended up with a spoon full of peanut butter with honey drizzled atop.
But it’s just. Not. Chocolate.
Then a couple weeks ago I read about this chocolate-coconut candy made by Wardeh at GNOWFGLINS (a highly-recommended resource blog for anyone interested in a traditional-foods diet) — and, while my hopes weren’t high (GAPS-friendly recipes are often painfully disappointing), I gave it a try. I am delighted to report that it is completely, totally addictive. Like a candy bar — chewy, full chocolate flavor with the texture of coconut and dried cherries, and an optional crunch of nuts. I call it “Mommy’s Candy Bar,” and have resorted to hiding it from my family.
I made a few tweaks/additions to the original recipe. Some ingredients are shamelessly obscure (coconut butter, cacao butter) — but for anyone on a grain-free, sugar-free diet, they are highly-recommended investments toward chocolate-loving sanity (and can be useful in other treats as well). Like homemade Larabars, this recipe is made for customization — you can utilize whatever flavors float your candybar boat. Mine happen to be dried tart cherries and pistachios.
Store these morsels in your refrigerator for longevity. Though mine might end up in the freezer soon for safer keeping. Safer, of course, from me, and my chocolate-loving hands.
Recipe: Coconut-Chocolate Candy with Cherries (grain-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free)
: Based on this recipe at GNOWFGLINS
Coconut butter is the pureed meat of the coconut — not the same as coconut oil. I have bought this brand — it is expensive — but will soon be trying a slightly less expensive version of the same product. Cacao butter is the fat from the cacao bean — it lends a velvety-smooth, extra-chocolatey flavor to the candy, my “secret ingredient” — I use this brand, it lasts a long time.
- 7 Tbsp (a shy half-cup) honey
- heavy pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut butter (see note)
- 1/2 cup finely-chopped cacao butter (see note)
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder (I like this raw, fair-trade bulk brand)
- 1 cup dried unsweetened coconut
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries, chopped nuts, etc (optional)
- Have ready an 8-inch square baking pan, lined with parchment paper.
- In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the honey and salt until boiling. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, boiling for two minutes (set your timer). Reduce heat if necessary to keep from boiling over.
- Remove from heat, and add the coconut butter, cacao butter, and cocoa powder. Stir until smooth.
- Add the coconut, vanilla, and optional cherries or nuts. Stir to combine. Pour candy into prepared pan, smoothing the top to level.
- Refrigerate for half an hour, or until firmly set. Loosen sides with a knife, and pop out of pan. Cut into pieces (let warm to room temperature to make this easier). Store in refrigerator in an airtight container (freeze for longer storage).
Copyright © Katy Carter, 2012.