Since my first chocolate testing experience using cacao butter, I’ve created quite an extensive repertoire of delicious treats. I mean, what can’t you cover in chocolate? But of all my creations, the toasted almond and sea salt bark is my favorite. The salt adds another dimension by enhancing the sweetness, and toasting the almonds brings out their natural oils, which adds more flavor. The first time I made it, I didn’t add enough toasted almonds (in my opinion), and so I would break off the pieces without almonds and put them back in the container for Justin. Ha! So the next time I made this, I was sure to cover every inch of the bark in toasted almonds. This chocolate is smooth, rich, and nutrient dense. It rivals chocolate sold in lavish boutiques, because after all, the handful of ingredients used to make this are of the finest quality. No artificial or processed fillers here!
Ingredients for Chocolate (makes 1 1/2 cups):
Special tools – grater, large pan, smaller glass/ceramic bowl, whisk
- 1 cup firmly packed grated cacao butter
- 6 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder
- pinch of salt (~ 1/8 tsp)
- 1/2 heaping cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (I used Kosher salt)
- Using a grater, shred the the cacao butter. It should basically look very similar to grated parmesan cheese. (See photo above.)
- Create a double boiler by adding 1-2 inches of water to a large pot on high heat. Once that is boiling, lower the heat to low before adding the smaller bowl. (You don’t want the water boiling when you put in the smaller bowl because the water may splash up into the cacao butter.) Put the grated cacao butter in a small glass or ceramic bowl and place the small bowl in the large pan, making sure the water never touches the actual cacao butter. (See photo above.) Once melted, usually about 3-4 minutes, remove the small bowl from the heat. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt, and cacao/cocoa powder and mix. Use a metal whisk or utensil; do not use a wooden spoon because that will create unwanted moisture.
- Pour the chocolate over wax/parchment paper.
- Roughly chop the almonds or just cut them in half. On medium high heat, add the almonds to a pan and toast for about 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan and let cool for a minute or until they’re ready to be handled. Use your hand to sprinkle the almonds evenly over the chocolate. Then sprinkle the salt on top. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set. When it’s hard to the touch, begin breaking it apart or cutting it with a knife. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Note: Making sure the cacao butter is 1 cup packed will ensure a crispy, snappy chocolate. If the 1 cup of cacao butter is not as packed, the chocolate bark will have more of a hard, fudgy consistency. Both are delicious and it’s all about preference.