I’ve been a chocolate fiend for as long as I can remember. My obsession started with Snickers, then digressed to Caramelos (oy!), made a right turn at peanut butter cups, and has finally arrived at the basics – good old dark chocolate.
I enjoy dark chocolate most evenings and love trying new vegan brands. But I’d been wanting to make my own for a while now, especially since procuring cacao butter for these glorious cheesecakes.
Plus, I knew I could make it refined-sugar free and load it up with my favorite toppings.
Verdict: So good. So easy. At this point I’m basically operating a chocolate factory out of my apartment.
Making chocolate at home starts with just 3 ingredients:
Cacao or cocoa powder
That’s really all you need for a good base, at which point you can add vanilla extract to enhance the flavor, sea salt bring out the sweetness, and roasted almonds (or other toppings) for extra crunch.
I have no idea why I waited so long to make chocolate at home. It’s:
Quick + easy
& Super satisfying
The threshold to make chocolate at home is super low as well! You don’t need fancy molds, thermometers, or equipment; just a whisk, a bowl, and a baking sheet.
This chocolate makes an excellent healthier dessert, and would be especially ideal for entertaining. When your friends find out you know how to make your own chocolate, they’ll never leave your house.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment below and rate it – it’s super helpful for us and other readers. And don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers!
DIY Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
- 1 cup cacao butter* (I like this brand*)
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup maple syrup (amount depending on preferred sweetness)
- 1 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds*
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Melt cacao butter in a double boiler or in a glass mixing bowl set over a small saucepan with 1 inch of water over medium heat. Alternatively, melt in the microwave in a mixing bowl until completely liquid.
Once melted, remove from heat and add maple syrup and whisk to combine. When the mixture is completely fluid with no separation, add cacao or cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
Taste and adjust sweetness if needed - I found 1/3 cup to be perfect (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
Pour the chocolate into candy molds (if you have them), mini paper cupcake liners, or simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chocolate on top. Top with roasted almonds and sprinkle of salt.
Set in the refrigerator or freezer to harden for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Once completely solid, break or cut into pieces/bars. These can be kept at room temperature for serving. But for best freshness, store chocolate in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, or the freezer for 1-2 months.
*If you can't find cacao butter, you can try to sub coconut oil (1 cup (240 ml) coconut oil per 1 cup (218) g cacao butter). However, I did find it to make the texture and mouth feel more oily and a couple of readers have suggested it doesn't mix as well with the maple syrup. In this way, I highly recommend using cacao butter.
*If your almonds are raw, roast on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F (176 C) for 8-12 minutes, or until fragrant and slightly golden brown.
*The link above to the cacao butter is an amazon link that gives us a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 12 bars)
- Calories: 254
- Fat: 23.5g
- Saturated fat: 4.8g
- Sodium: 22mg
- Carbohydrates: 11.2g
- Fiber: 3.2g
- Sugar: 5.6g
- Protein: 2.6g