I don’t normally talk about myself much in blog posts, but since I’m publishing these strawberry chocolates as a Valentine’s Day recipe, it’s time I let you in on some good news: I’m engaged! It’s been about two weeks since the proposal, so needless to say, this Valentine’s Day feels extra special and romantic. Still, I can remember many V-Days spent alone, and I know that when you’re alone it can feel like everyone else is around you is happy and in love. Although I’m grateful to be the latter this year, this recipe goes out to all my single ladies and gents out there. These 5-Ingredient Strawberry Chocolates pair best with a glass of wine, a comfy couch, and an episode of the Bachelor. No date needed!
This recipe takes less than half an hour to throw together, and yields 30 small chocolates to share with your friends, loved ones, or not to share at all! They are perfectly sweet without any refined sugars, are a little bit crunchy and tart from the freeze-dried strawberries, and can be made completely organic. I’m using organic cacao butter and organic cacao powder from the brand Healthworks. After years of searching, I’ve found them to be the most affordable, organic brand on the market. Get their products shipped prime on Amazon, or shop directly on their website as seen here. They are sourced sustainably, are certified organic, and come in the perfect bulk sizes like 1-lb and 2-lb bags so you can save big when you shop.
I used to be scared to work with raw cacao butter since it seemed intimidating! What am I supposed to do with those big blocks? It’s actually easier than it looks! Take a sharp chef’s knife to one of the corners diagonally, and you’ll see that it almost becomes grated on its own. As you shave it, the pieces fall apart, so it really takes no time at all to chop up finely. The trick is to just make sure you have no large pieces, as these will take longer to melt later.
I should preface this recipe by saying that I am not a chocolate-making expert (just a chocolate-eating expert). If you want picture-perfect, professional chocolates, you’re gonna need some tools like a double boiler, a thermometer, a lot of research, and a lot of patience. If that describes you, then you should probably stop reading now. On the other hand, if you want home-made strawberry chocolates that can be made without driving yourself crazy, then you are my people. Keep reading.
If you want to learn more about why we have to temper (or, pre-crystallize) chocolate, or if you want to purchase a thermometer to do it the “right” way, you may find it helpful to do a little more research. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed (I know, because I’ve tried!). Basically, when chocolate is melted and then properly pre-crystallized, it will harden with a crisp snap and will have a glossy appearance. If we don’t temper it, it will be dull and crumbly, and will not have that “snap.” In this recipe, we are going to use an at-home method called “seeding” which does not require a thermometer. Essentially, we are going to divide our cacao butter into thirds, melt two-thirds from the get-go, and then add the final third afterwards. I’m happy with the results that I get from this method and hope that you will be too!
These strawberry chocolates are simple but it can be a little messy and the recipe does require a little concentration so be sure to read the whole recipe fully before you start. That way, you’ll know what to expect and you won’t waste any time (you don’t want your cacao to cool off too soon before you are done mixing!). Relax, have fun, and get ready to get your hands dirty! Let’s just say, my fiance will NOT be coming home to a clean kitchen tonight…
Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. And as always, let me know if you try this recipe by tagging me @hashtagvegan and using #hashtagvegan on Instagram so I can see your creations!
For the animals,
- 1 cup Healthworks cacao butter, grated or very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, gently warmed
- 1/2 cup Healthworks cacao powder
- 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries, crushed to your liking
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, (optional)
- pinch salt, (optional)
- Be sure to have all of your ingredients out, prepped, and ready to go for this recipe. Since melting chocolate is time- and temperature-sensitive, you don’t want to waste any time between steps.
- Using the double-boiler method or 15-second intervals in the microwave, melt approximately 2/3 of the cacao butter in a heatsafe bowl, stirring with a whisk or spatula between each interval. (Do not overheat; it’s okay if you still have a few small pieces that are not melted since they will melt as it stands.)
- Immediately, add the remaining 1/3 of the raw cacao butter to the melted cacao butter and continue whisking or stirring. This may take 3-5 minutes of whisking to fully incorporate and melt. Do not take breaks (you don’t want to allow the cacao to cool off before the next step). You can do this!
- Add maple syrup (gently heated for about 20 seconds in the microwave) and vanilla extract (optional) and whisk until dissolved.
- Add the cacao powder through a fine mesh strainer to reduce clumps. Whisk again until dissolved; at this point you should have a smooth, shiny, still-pourable chocolate.
- Add the freeze-dried strawberries and stir gently one final time.
- Pour or spoon chocolate into the molds of your choice. If you don’t have any chocolate molds, try an ice cube tray!
- Tap your molds on the counter 10 times or so to make sure there are no air bubbles. If you’re messy like me, you may need to use a straight edge to clean up the mess on the outer edges of the mold and to level off the surface.
- Refrigerate or freeze for 15-30 minutes to solidify. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.