I was thinking about this the other day, and came to the realization that I really don’t ever crave candy. It has always been chocolate. Not gummy worms, sour keys, or skittles. It’s always chocolate. Although, I’m not opposed to a mouth-puckering or intensely sweet candy, chocolate has been my weakness for as long as I can remember – which is why I decided I needed to make a healthier version of my favourite treat, because let’s face it, I’ll never stop eating chocolate and it’s not the healthiest thing in the market.
Although, I made this chocolate in a chocolate bar mold to feel like it’s typical store-bought chocolate, this can definitely be spread onto a baking tray and broken apart into bark pieces. It looks beautiful when topped with delicious nuts, seeds or dried fruits.
Since hazelnuts has been my latest obsession, as you can tell in my Salted Coffee Chocolate Cake recipe (and there’s more hazelnuts to come on the blog soon, by the way…), I’ve topped my chocolate bar with toasted hazelnuts, bitter cacao nibs and a touch of flaky sea salt.
I love the contrast between the bitter chocolate, nuttiness from the hazelnuts and the hint of saltiness, but of course, you can top this with whatever your heart desires or leave it as a blank canvas and enjoy the chocolate on its own. I also used maple syrup as a sweetener for this recipe, since it find it amplifies the nutty flavour of the hazelnuts and gives it a more complex flavour.
Raw Chocolate Bar with Hazelnuts
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup or agave syrup ((or more if you prefer it sweeter))
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped ((optional))
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs ((optional))
- flaky sea salt ((optional))
Using a box grater, grate the cacao butter (to ensure even and quick melting) before adding to a bowl. Microwave the cacao butter in intervals of 30 seconds until melted or melt in a double boiler.
Once the cacao butter is melted, pour in the raw cacao powder and maple syrup until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Taste the chocolate at this point to see if you need to sweeten if further.
Pour the chocolate mixture into your chocolate bar molds or a pan lined with wax paper. Spread the chocolate with an offset spatula and tap the molds on the counter to make it smooth and even. If you are making a bark, you can simply skip the tapping step and spread the bark according to your preferred thickness.
Generously top the chocolate with toasted hazelnuts, cacao nibs and sprinkle on some flaky sea salt. Or use other toppings such as toasted pecans, peanuts, caramelized buckinis, dried cranberries, gogi berries, etc.
Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until it hardens completely.
Once hardened, flip the chocolate bar molds upside down and lightly tap the molds on the counter until the chocolate pops out. If you are making bark, you can simply chop the chocolate into pieces or break it apart with your hands and enjoy.