Easy homemade dark chocolate – only five ingredients!
In case anyone actually needs another reason to reach for some chocolate…..
Five Reasons to Eat More Dark Chocolate
You know, for health…
- It’s basically brain food
The cocoa found in chocolate helps increase blood flow to the brain which leads to faster reaction time, better problem solving skills, and improved attention span. Not only that, but increased blood flow to the brain also improves short term memory and decreases mental decline in seniors.
- It helps protect against heart disease
The flavonoids in chocolate help increase blood flow to the heart as well which helps to prevent blood clots and hardening of the arteries. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few times a week has also been shown to lower blood pressure.
- Younger looking skin
Quality dark chocolate, not the sugary kind, is full of antioxidants that have anti aging benefits to the skin. Not only that, but the same flavonoids that increase blood flow to the heart and brain also increase blood flow to the skin giving off a healthy glow.
- It’s a “joy stimulant”
Cocoa boosts levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain which leads to improved mood. So when you’re feeling down and you’re craving something sweet it’s likely the boost in serotonin that your body is really craving.
- It helps you stress less
Chocolate is a great source of magnesium which has been dubbed “the original chill pill”. Getting more magnesium through diet leads to better sleep contributing to improved resilience to stress. Another study found that when test subjects who considered themselves to be highly stressed people ate an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day for two week had a significant drop in stress hormones.
Keep in mind that these health benefits relate to quality dark chocolate – at least more than 70% cocoa. Conventional chocolate bars filled with lots of sugar and additives don’t have the same benefits and are likely to cause more problems than anything else.
How to make homemade dark chocolate
Making homemade dark chocolate is probably easier than you think. It’s made with only 5 ingredients: cocoa powder (or cacao), coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and sea salt making it fairly easy to whip together. All you need is about 5 minutes of melting and whisking plus thirty minutes in the freezer and you’re good to go.
If you follow this recipe as is you’ll end up with about 85% dark chocolate, but feel free to customize to your taste adding an extra tablespoon or so of honey. I never used to be a fan of dark chocolate but over time I learned to love it as my eating habits changed and I ate less sugar.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavors to make your own special chocolate bar. Add a teaspoon of ground ginger, a touch of orange zest, a sprinkle of chili flakes – whatever you like and make it your own.
- 1/2 cup | 105 g coconut oil*
- 1 cup | 118 g unprocessed 100% cocoa powder or cacao powder
- 4 tablespoons honey or more for taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract**
- pinch of sea salt
- Begin by melting the coconut oil in a small pot over the stove top on a low heat.
- Once melted remove the oil from the heat and add the cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, sea salt and any additional flavors you want to add.
- Whisk everything completely until there are no remaining lumps of cocoa powder and the honey has dissolved into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour the chocolate into silicone molds or a lined baking pan and transfer to the freezer for at least 30 minutes or in the fridge for at least an hour. Once they've hardened pop them out of the molds and enjoy.
You can also use cocoa butter in place of the coconut oil for a creamier chocolate.
*If you're planning on using another extract like mint or almond use it in place of the vanilla.
Store these in the fridge