Festive Chocolate Drops
Festive Chocolate Drops
This is a completely divine, easy to slap together, delicious & beautiful sweet treat for those moments when you want something decadent, satisfying & something that has a little bit of an exotic, fun & creative flare. It's also perfect for those times when you're in need of something sweet and "fancy" looking to take or make for a dinner party dessert, because it is quick, easy and simple but without compromising on taste, appearance or "snazziness".
So let’s talk about chocolate. We all love something chocolate-y and rich from time to time. Personally, I used to be the biggest choco-holic, until I went vegan. I suddenly found that my cravings for all things CHOCOLATE vanished. I think it was because for the first time I was giving my body enough of what it really needed & wanted: fruit: easily digestible, convertible & usable energy. I am the biggest advocate for fruit, I really do believe that it is the food of the gods. At one point I was quite strictly raw food based, eating high volumes of fruit. I felt so energized, light & enthusiastic about life because suddenly I had the energy to be. It really does come down to that; that simple translation of what you put into your body being the direct determinating factor of what you can put out of your body into your daily life, interactions & relationships. Therefore, what you eat has a direct correlation with what and how you experience your reality. I did start to feel slightly out of balance though, and it was at this point in my life that I went to a plant based culinary school in the Austin, Texas in the States. I had such a desire to learn more about this incredible way of being. We went quite deeply into healing modalities such as Raw & Living Food, Macrobiotic & Ayurvedic cuisine. These types of healing cuisines are all very different but they are all incredibly healing within their own capacities. It was when we went deeper into the Macrobiotic & Ayurvedic modalities that I started to learn how you can use, prepare, cook & eat cooked foods in a way that is very healing & beneficial to the body. I started to incorporate more plant based fats like avocado, seeds, tahini as well as plant based cooked whole foods like potatoes, quinoa, rice, chickpeas and the like. Things that offer not only so many incredible nutrients and health benefits but also offer an astounding variety & room for expanding my creative energies in the kitchen. I started to feel a lot more grounded & balanced. I will expand on this in another article when I delve deeper into the particular energetic qualities of food and food preparation techniques through Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic healing techniques of preparing, storing, eating & enjoying food.
Having said all of that, and having done my job at preaching about the incredible healing and life-giving & enhancing properties of fruit and whole foods, let’s talk more about the healing nature of all things chocolate. Lately my appreciate & love for chocolate has come back with a deep rumbling hum of intensity. Especially when paired with coffee. Or vanilla. Or chili. Or toasted nuts. And coconut. Or all of the above, really.
How did these festive chocolate drops come into being? Well, I got a gift from one of my favorite humans. A slab of 90% dark Lindt chocolate. Let me first warn you that I am a huge texture girl, I find that if something doesn’t have a fantastic balance of textures I struggle to fully, deeply enjoy it. The crunch factor is the key textural focal point for me. From there, it expands to loving a smooth, creamy something and a light fresh something and then a hearty, substantial something. I found that eating the chocolate just as it is was fine and cool, and obviously delicious, but when I added that textural-something-special it elevated the chocolate, it elevated it and enhanced my overall experience of the decadent & comforting treat. I like to create & play with different flavor combinations and textures for each droplet. But if you find one particular combination that tickles your pickle, then you are more than welcome to stick to that. In the ingredients listed below I’ve listed my top 6 flavors.
· ½ slab of 90% dark Lindt chocolate
· ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
· ½ medjool date
· ½ - 1 tablespoon chopped raisins
· 1 teaspoon toasted flaked coconut
· ½ tablespoon chopped toasted seeds or your favorite nut (I used a mix of toasted sunflower & pumpkin seeds)
· 1 teaspoon finely chopped dried mango
· ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
· ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
· ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
· ½ teaspoon granola of choice (I used my spiced coconut granola)
1. Prepare a baking tray lined with parchment paper for making working with the chocolate drops more easy and efficient.
2. Prepare all of your toppings – your spices & seasonings, chop your mango, seeds/nuts, raisins and dates finely (keep everything in separate little bowls).
3. Bring a small pot of water to the boil. Place a silver or glass bowl over the pot (making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the pot). Crush your half slab of chocolate and add it into the bowl, stir constantly until thoroughly melted. Take the bowl off the pot of water and set aside for the meantime.
4. Half a slab of melted dark chocolate should make about 6 droplets of equal size so work with that in mind. Take a tablespoon and drop equal amounts of melted chocolate into rounds on the parchment paper. If the rounds need a bit of help to flatten and distribute evenly, do so. Then start with your toppings. My top flavor combinations in order of favoritism were as follows:
- Chopped raisins & turmeric (total winner!)
- Chopped date & cardamom (this came in hot as a second winner)
- Toasted flaked coconut & date with a sprinkle of sea salt (delicious beyond belief!)
- Mango & chili with a sprinkling of sea salt (this one is for the person with a slightly less sweet tooth)
- Chopped raisins & toasted seeds
- Toasted coconut granola with a sprinkle of salt
Dark chocolate (the darker the chocolate is, the better it is for you) is full of healing properties like iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and calcium. Chocolate does contain caffeine, but compared to the caffeine levels found in coffee it is almost negligible particularly if you are eating the chocolate in moderation and not in 100 gram slots. Raw, unprocessed cocoa beans have been found to have one of the highest antioxidant levels. Some examples of the organic compounds found in cocoa that act as powerful antioxidants in the body are polyphenols, flavanols & catechins all of which help to protect against free radical damage in the body. The flavonols found in dark chocolate have been found to stimulate the endothelium (lining of the arteries) which aids in blood flow. These same flavonols are said to aid in protection against sun damage, improve skin density & hydration as well as improve blood flow to the skin. As one can see, there are numerous benefits of eating cocoa and dark chocolate, this message is obviously to be taken with a grain of salt as obviously the more unprocessed and unrefined the cocoa or chocolate is, the better. This message isn’t to condone the heavy consumption of mass produced unhealthy sweet chocolate snacks that contain copious amounts of refined sugar & fat. This message is, however, there to inspire you to create delicious, healthy, healing cacao treats to satisfy that decadent sweet tooth and to create something that is pleasurable without compromising your health.