When I was recently asked by Organic Times to develop a recipe, I jumped at the opportunity to use their chocolate as my primary ingredient (you can read more about why below). But what to make ?!!! So I went to you, my readers on Instagram and Facebook and overwhelmingly the request was for a SIMPLE, EASY AND QUICK TO MAKE, NOURISHING, MIGHTY GOOD, CHOC DROP SOMETHING for school lunches, afternoon tea and something an adult might love as well, please Jude !!!! I’m thrilled with the end result. Whilst the adult and child version are slightly different, they have enough common DNA allowing for them to made together, and it’s super easy and quick to do. Both last brilliantly in an airtight container for up to - well, I was still eating samples after 2 weeks (but obviously they are at their best within 7 days).
What’s so good about Organic Times cacao/cocoa / chocolate?
Chocolate, as we know it, is the result of a long process. Seeds from the cacao tree are firstly scooped out of the large pods and left to ferment and then spread out to dry. At this stage, the beans are considered to be raw — the full flavour that is chocolate, is yet to be realised. The seeds are then roasted and shelled to become what we call nibs, which can be left whole or broken into pieces. During roasting the flavour of cocoa is developed. Within the Raw Food movement, a view is held that raw cocoa/ cacao (both names are correct, and either can be used) nibs and (and thus all chocolate products that come from them) are more nutritious and preferable but this is highly contentious and not at all necessarily true, as that desirable mineral and nutrient bounty is only made bio available during the fermentation process. Whilst the raw product does have higher levels of phytonutrients they also have higher levels of antinutrients such as phytic acid (and indeed are along with coffee, one of the high phytic acid seeds) which makes very little bio available. Fermentation plays a primary role in breaking these anti nutrients down, where high temperatures are reached during this process and this is the traditional wisdom of cacao.
The nibs are then ground to form a thick paste — this is known as cocoa liquor, made up of fat (which we call cocoa butter) and cocoa solids (which we call cocoa | cacao powder) — do you remember the movie Chocolat (yes with the gorgeous Johnny Depp) – where she would grind the nibs into the liquor on the old stone ? – and in some cases vanilla and sugar is also added at this stage. The cocoa liquor can then pressed to remove most of the fat (cocoa butter), and the remaining solids are ground to what we know as cocoa |cacao powder. Cocoa is a lot like coffee, quite acidic — this varies with the variety of bean, and is also increased when the fat is removed. Organic Times chocolate products are grown and processed to the highest traditional standards, and because they are not raw you are assured of a delicious, health supportive and nourishing end result.
Natural cocoa powder and dutched cocoa powder
Most natural cocoa powders are tart and acidic, especially if they are not of high quality. One of the methods devised to reduce this problem was that of alkalising the cocoa powder by soaking the nibs in an alkaline solution, commonly potassium carbonate, which neutralises the acid and softens the flavour (by a Dutchman, hence the term Dutching or Dutched cacao/cocoa). This process also changes the colour of the cocoa to a deep chocolatey red. I do love using Dutched cocoa powder, with Organic Times as my first choice. In baking, you must know which type of cocoa powder you are dealing with, as the acidity of a natural or undutched cocoa will interact with whatever leavening you are using.
Organic Times Dark Choc Drops
Dark chocolate set in bars or as drops, is a mixture of varying % of cocoa liquor, sweetening, flavouring (such as vanilla), and an emulsifier, commonly soya lecithin. The proportions determine the mouthfeel, flavour and use of the end result . Most organic brands use raw sugar, but Organic Times uses rapadura sugar, and it makes for a beautifully wholesome, sweetened chocolate.
If you would like to read further about the lowdown of the Organic Times Cacao | Cocoa | Chocolate go HERE, it’s well worth the read.
I’d love to hear how you go, and how you like them… I do hope you enjoy both recipes…. x Jude
Recipes ©Jude Blereau and Organic Times 2017