If you’re a label reader and avoid certain ingredients, you know that buying chocolate is awful. The grocery store is filled with chocolates with fillers, dairy products, and other things that can wreak havoc on your gut. As someone who does not tolerate soy, finding a dairy free AND soy free chocolate feels impossible. As Easter is around the corner, this almond butter dark chocolate recipe will take all the guesswork out of finding chocolate you can enjoy, and it only has 4 ingredients! This dark chocolate is also paleo and vegan friendly. If you love dark chocolate: rejoice! This one is for you. Bonus: it was so so so so easy to make, and I will definitely be testing out more chocolate recipes in the future! For now, this one you can make for your own Easter basket!
Before you decide to make this chocolate, I want to make the disclaimer that this is VERY dark chocolate, likely in the 90%+ range as far as chocolates go. You can of course mix together the chocolate to make solid chocolate candies, but if you want to sweeten things up a bit, the almond butter brings in a little more sweetness. This chocolate is rich and delicate, making every bite an experience!
So, what’s the deal? How good is dark chocolate for you really?
Some health benefits of dark chocolate
You don’t have to look at the ingredients list to know that dark chocolate has a significantly less sugar than milk chocolate. The more bitter taste of dark chocolate comes from the higher cacao content found in dark chocolate, which brings a higher level of antioxidants.
Remember flavonoids? Cacao is one of many foods that contains high levels flavonoids that help block free radicals. I’m not going to lie – the first time I heard about free radicals, I sort of thought they were hippie tales about negative energies flowing through the universe. The fact is that there is a lot of research on the subject, and there are some forms of oxygen and nitrogen that are harmful to the human body. The word antioxidant itself comes from the word oxygen, referring to those forms that can have harmful effects on the body. Antioxidants are part of the equilibrium that keeps the stress of these harmful particles from overwhelming our system.
That all might sound super scary and far out there, but our bodies are constantly fighting to stay in a happy medium with the world around us. An easy parallel example is water. We all know that we need to consume water to survive; most people can only go a maximum of three days without water before dying, whereas some people can live one to two MONTHS without food. Water is vital to life, but you can also consume too much water. Your kidneys eventually cannot keep up with filtering the water you consume, leading to diluted levels of sodium in your blood. Hyponatremia, as it’s called, can be life threatening. Too little water? Bad stresses on the body that can lead to a bodily shutdown. Too much water? Bad stresses on the body that can lead to a bodily shutdown. We have to hit the sweet spot in the middle in order for us to stay in equilibrium – just like with free radicals and antioxidants.
If you’re looking for more information, here is a great website and video from Science Learning Hub that goes more in depth to how antioxidants protect you against free radicals.
So what’s the big deal? The stress caused by free radicals, also known as oxidative stress, contributes to the aging process. We all know that as we get older, we are more susceptible to diseases, and eating cacao (yay, dark chocolate!) can help combat against the development of heart disease, diabetes, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and more.
Cacao can also be a great part of an anti-inflammatory diet. In one super neat study from 2018, eating 30 g of dark chocolate (84% in this study) a day reduced inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes. I mean, there are worse ways to reduce inflammation, right?
How to make Dark Chocolate Cups with Almond Butter
This recipe is so easy, but to make things even more fun, you’ll need a chocolate mold. It can be any type, honestly, but it helps to make things easier for the almond butter insides!
Ingredients that you will need for the Dark Chocolate Cups with Almond Butter are:
- cacao (I’d definitely go with a higher quality cacao for this recipe, since that is where most of the taste comes from!)
- coconut oil
- almond butter
- maple syrup (you can also substitute honey for a non-vegan version)
Making these Dark Chocolate Cups with Almond Butter are so simple. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave. Mix the melted coconut oil together the cacao in a bowl with some of the maple syrup. It should form a chocolatey paste.
Place some of the chocolate mixture in the bottom of each chocolate mold. Using a knife or other utensil, coat the sides of the mold with the chocolate mixture. You don’t have to use a ton of of the chocolate mixture, but since this will be the shell of your candy, you want to make sure that it is completely coated. You don’t want to use all of your chocolate for this part of the mold– be sure to set aside some to “seal” in your filling!
Once you have fully covered the insides of the chocolate mold, set the chocolate in a cooler place to harden. Your fridge or freezer will work great.
While the chocolate mixture is hardening, create the almond butter filling. Mix together the almond butter and the rest of the maple syrup. Set aside until the chocolate in the molds hardens.
Once the chocolate in the mold is solid, carefully spoon in some of the almond butter mixture. You can use your fingers to press more into the mold. Then, layer on some more of the chocolate mixture and set aside again in a cool place to harden.
Once the final bit of the chocolate mixture has hardened, they’re ready to eat! Feel free to also just use the dark chocolate mixture to create a solid chocolate candy, which is also a rich treat!
Dark Chocolate Cups with Almond Butter
- chocolate molds
For the chocolate
- 1/2 cup cacao powder You want very good quality cacao powder!
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
For almond butter filling
- 2 tbsp almond butter can be crunchy or smooth
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Melt the coconut oil in the microwave
- Once the coconut oil is melted, stir in the cocoa powder and the maple syrup until it is smooth
- If you want solid chocolates, fill your chocolate molds with the chocolate mixture. If you want to fill your chocolates with almond butter, place some chocolate the mold and then use a butter knife or other utensil to coat the sides of the mould.
- Place the molds into a cooler area, such as the freezer or the fridge.
- If you are making solid chocolates, you can remove them from the mold once they have hardened.
- If you are filling your chocolate with almond butter, mix together the almond butter and maple syrup in a second container.
- Once the chocolate has hardened, use a butter knife or other utensil to scoop in some of the almond butter mixture into the chocolate.
- Add a small amount of the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the almond butter to "seal" the almond butter inside.
- Set the chocolate in a cool place again to cool.
- Once the chocolate hardens, remove them from the mold and enjoy!