Oh it’s chocolate season alright. At first, you just see just a few of those pretty pink packages popping up in stores … stuffed with gold foil-wrapped confections that make even the most mundane market feel just a little more special. Then, before you know it, it’s a full-on chocolate kind of world: chocolate bars on every shelf, chocolate recipes on every website, and if you’re like me, a little chocolate stashed on every counter, too. Not that I’m complaining.
Chocolate really does make the perfect “I love you” gift – whether that I love you is to a partner, a friend, or simply to yourself(!) – because it’s a creamy, flavor-rich bite of pure pleasure. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the few pleasures in life that actually comes stacked with benefits too – namely cardiovascular support, mood-enhancement, and skin protection. And to really get the most of these benefits, handmade raw chocolates packed with superfoods is the nutrient-dense way to go.
You don’t need to be an artisan chocolate expert to craft some magnificent chocolate specialties. In fact, making chocolate at home is surprisingly simple. So simple actually, that once you master the basic technique, you can get away with adding in all kinds of customized superfood boosts, from different types of superberries, to even greens in powdered form. This year, I’ve whipped up a special version that secretly packs in a sensational amount of spirulina. Although spirulina has long been a go-to superfood for me, I really fell in love with it last year after I visited the Hawaii-based headquarters of Nutrex, the US’s only spirulina farm. When I wasn’t engrossed in snapping selfies with the vibrant blue-green pools of live algae, I was blown away by just how much “power” this one special food truly has: from detoxification advantages to eye health. One thing that excited me in particular was its anti-allergenic properties – thanks to being a strong anti-inflammatory food that also fortifies the immune system, spirulina has been in my allergy-season arsenal ever since. I’ve been motivated to take advantage of it in any way I can, but since you can’t cook with it (heat destroys much of its nutrition), and it turns foods bright green, I often lean on hiding it in flavorful dessert recipes, like these special Valentine chocolates below! Handmade with love…and healthy intentions!
Superfood Chocolate Hearts
No chocolate molds? No problem. Just pour the chocolate on a chilled porcelain plate, refrigerate until hard, and snap apart in large chunks with a dull knife for an elegant chocolate bark.
Makes 24 small hearts
½ cup melted cacao butter*
¼ cup cacao powder
2 teaspoons Hawaiian Spirulina Powder
1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons agave nectar
¼ cup mixed finely minced toppings (such as goji berries, dried dragonfruit, and culinary gold foil)
Place the cacao butter in a medium bowl. Use a wire whisk to mix in the cacao powder, spirulina, vanilla powder and sea salt – whisk until completely smooth. Add the agave, and whisk vigorously to combine. A teaspoon at a time, carefully pour into chocolate molds – such as small hearts, or desired shapes. Sprinkle the tops lightly with minced toppings of choice. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes, or until chocolate is completely solidified. Snap hardened chocolate out of the molds and serve. Chocolate may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature, but will soften in very warm environments.
*Melt cacao butter shavings over very low heat until liquefied. Be careful not to burn – err on the side of lower heat.
Thank you Nutrex Hawaii for sponsoring this post, and providing such top-notch spirulina for the world to enjoy! Use code SFJULIE at Nutrex-Hawaii.com to receive 20% off up to $75, 30% off up to $149.99 and 40% off above $150.