Friday, May 11, 2012

Alert – Foodgasm Ahead!! Chocolate Covered Strawberries (with homemade dark and white chocolate – vegan and sugar free)

We went strawberry picking a few weekends ago and we’ve been eating strawberries every day and I’ve had fun incorporating these red beauties in everything from ice cream to salads.  You just can’t go wrong with strawberries, right!  Don’t these look wonderful drenched in chocolate (um, yes, foodgasm – the perfect mix of sweet and tartswoon)!  What a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift these would make, perhaps for dessert after dinner out or a home cooked meal.  This chocolate was completely inspired by Ricki @ Diet Dessert and Dogs.  She recently made some goji berry sugar free chocolates, and they were amazing. It was my first time using stevia as a sweetener in chocolate, and I have to say, it worked beautifully.  And my chocoholic husband LOVED them, so that’s ALL I need to know.  If he gives me the thumbs up, it’s a winner in my book.  
Ingredients

Dark Chocolate
-1/4 cup cashew butter*
-3 level tablespoons of cacao powder
-1/4 teaspoon vanilla stevia 
-1/4 teaspoon coffee flavor
-1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

White Chocolate 
-2 tablespoons cashew butter*
-1 teaspoon coconut oil
-30 drops vanilla stevia

How To:
1.  For dark chocolate: in a double boiler (or just put a nonstick pan on top of a pot filled with water), add cocoa butter, cashew butter, and cacao powder.  Stir as it melts to help break up the cashew butter.  When the chocolate looks nice and hot and it’s melting, turn off heat and continue to stir until everything is well incorporated.  
2.  Add in both vanilla stevia and cocoa stevia.  Stir. 
3.  Transfer melted chocolate into two separate bowls (should be 1/3 cup for each bowl).  
4.  In one bowl add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract, and in the other bowl, add coffee flavor.
5.  Allow chocolate to cool and thicken a bit before you start to dip in the strawberries.  
6.  You may need to place the bowls of chocolate in the fridge, but not for long.  Be forewarned, once the bowl gets cold, the chocolate hardens very fast.  So, if this happens, simply put the bowl directly in some hot water to melt and start over.  It may take a few tries to get the chocolate just right, but what you want is a somewhat thick syrup.
7.  It helps if you put a plate in the freezer before you start.  After you dip your strawberries, you can place them on the cold plate and it hardens the chocolate and helps it from oozing.

How To:
1.  For the white chocolate:  in a double boiler (see above), add cocoa butter, cashew butter, and coconut oil. Stir as it melts to help break up the cashew butter.  When the chocolate looks nice and hot and it’s melting, turn off heat and continue to stir until everything is well incorporated.  
2.  Add in vanilla stevia. Stir. 
3.  Transfer melted chocolate into a bowl and allow to cool.  You can place in the fridge to help thicken, but see above if it hardens over completely. 

Notes:
*To make cashew butter, add 1 – 2 cups raw cashews to food processor.  Turn on and blend until creamy.  It will get creamy right after the ball of nut butter forms.  
*You don’t HAVE to make the chocolate with cashew butter!  Skip it for a creamier finish.  
*When you start to dip the strawberries, do 5 to 7 strawberries at a time, the place in the fridge on the cold plate with a non-stick surface, such as parchment paper to help set up.
*Cool the berries, then re-dip in chocolate until you achieve your desired chocolate thickness.  I prefer a thin layer, 
*If you place the strawberries directly on a glass plate, a metal spatchula works well to remove them from the cold plate – be gentle but firm. 
*Garnish when chocolate is wet, before you place in fridge – use shredded coconut, lemon, orange or lime zest. 
*These can be left out at room temperature, they will not melt all over.  Placing in the fridge just helps them set up.  
*Please add your stevia to taste.  I don’t like super sweet, just enough to offset the bitter.  So test the chocolate before you drizzle on the strawberries. 
*Make little chocolates with leftover melted chocolate (see below)
I also use a spoon to cover the strawberry with chocolate 
This is what happens if the chocolate gets too firm, it becomes difficult to work with.  Just warm the chocolate if this happens.  You need to find the right consistency, this takes a little practice.  Remember, the white chocolate will look a little pale, but will become whiter as it cools.  
Shredded coconut and lemon zest for garnish 
Pour your extra chocolate into miniature silicone baking cups and make little individual chocolates.  So fun!


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Posted by Amber at

Labels: candy alternatives, dairy free, dessert, how to, sugar free, summer treats, vegan.

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