These decadent little morsels are melt in the mouth delicious and a cinch to make. Dried goji berries, cranberries, tart cherries and golden raisins add sweet and sharp, and almonds add a little crunch.
Sugar is the number one or two ingredient in most chocolate, though we are spoiled by the affordable, high quality chocolate available in New Zealand (thanks Whittakers!). These chocolatey treats are a significant improvement on that with no refined sugar added. Let's not kid ourselves, they still have saturated fat in the form of coconut oil, so they're a treat - but a superfood treat that we can feel a lot better about and know that we're actually getting some nutritional value from.
So cacao vs cocoa. Is cacao overhyped or worth it? That's a matter of opinion. Cacao is raw and made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. Cacao is chocolate in its purest form, and is thought to have the highest levels of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods.
Cocoa is made from the same cocoa beans, but has been roasted at high temperatures. As long as the cocoa you use is pure (no other added ingredients) it's still very good for you and retains a lot of its nutritional and antioxidant value despite the heating process. Cocoa is slightly lower in fat.
In terms of flavour they're very similar and can be used interchangeably.
In New Zealand cacao is nearly four times the price of cocoa, so it'll be an individual choice as to whether the purity and nutritional content are worth it to you. I do have both in the cupboard, but am very judicious about when I choose to use cacao.
I chose to use some in these lovely little cups of goodness, and don't regret it a bit. If you're a dark chocolate lover, you'll love these for sure.
Coconut oil is widely available at a multitude of price points, I buy a reasonably priced one from Pak n Save. You can use whatever dried fruit you like. My choice of goji berries, tart cherries, cranberries and golden raisins might sound a little fancy but was actually just a pre-mixed option available from the supermarket bulk bins. Super yum.
- ½ cup cacao or cocoa
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup dried fruit (I used a mix of goji berries, cranberries, tart cherries and golden raisins)
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over a low heat. It has a very low melting point so it'll melt quickly. If you live in warmer parts it'll be liquid to begin with, in which case just mix everything in a bowl.
- Remove the pan from the heat and sieve the cacao in. Stir well to combine into a smooth glossy mixture, then add the remaining ingredients and mix through.
- Drop teaspoonfuls into the holes of a silicon mini muffin pan. Top with a few extra goji berries or fruit of your choice.
- Refrigerate until firm. The cacao cups are then easily popped out of the silicon pan. If you don't have a silicon pan you could pour the mixture into a lined shallow rectangular dish, then cut it into squares once set.
- Best stored in the freezer.