1/2cupfreeze-dried strawberriescrushed to your liking
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.
Optional: add a sprinkle of crushed freeze-dried strawberries or a sprinkle of sea salt to the bottom of your molds before filling them, for an extra pop of color and/or flavor!If your chocolate "seizes" and cools off too quickly, leaving you with a thick, grainy paste, put it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds (no longer!). You want to avoid re-heating it fully or else it will lose its structure for good.Unfortunately, you cannot use fresh or frozen strawberries in the recipe due to the moisture content.