Adaptogenic Chocolate and Fruit Bars (for breakfast!)
Here's a naturally vegan and gluten free breakfast for you, in the form of a bar of chocolate. The bitter edge of these bars is softened with fruit for a chocolate that is free of sugar and full of nutrients.
Hello friends, and happy Spring! It's officially official and despite the chilly, rainy weather I'm so excited for longer days and the freshness that defines this season. My tastes are following suit, and we're going through massive amounts of lettuces, cucumbers and herbs lately to satisfy my cravings for crunchy, super fresh salads. And while we can all do with a good salad, what I'm really sharing today is something that feels a bit more special. Chocolate, for breakfast.
Before I get into the recipe, I want to explain why this one doesn't include what is often a pretty central ingredient to all chocolate recipes: sugar. I've always shied away from refined and artificial varieties of sweeteners in favour of the healthy versions - coconut sugar, maple, honey, dates. Honestly, I believe that these are fine to consume in a healthy diet, and that our bodies naturally utilize sugars to feed even our good bacteria in the microbiome. This recipe doesn't include any form of sweetener though, because I've been omitting sugars (in all forms) from my diet lately as a component of healing from a particular issue. Naturally, my taste for chocolate didn't subside just because I wasn't eating sugar, and that lead to a discovery that you could make unsweetened chocolate that still tastes good. It's surprising, right?
It's kind of amazing to me the way we adapt to our circumstances - diet, and otherwise. I see this at work all the time, the way people can pretty much deal with any kind of adversity and not just "make do" but thrive. Obviously, not eating sugar doesn't qualify as adversity, but it is an adjustment. I always find my way to the kitchen when I need to make an adjustment for my health so naturally, a craving for chocolate lead to some experimenting. I've discovered that you can load up chocolate with the most wonderfully nourishing and tasty ingredients, and use fresh berries to offset the bitterness of the chocolate with excellent results. Of course, my taste buds have acclimated to very dark chocolate and you guys can adjust these with a little maple syrup if you need to ;) I'll include a note in the recipe about that - then you can play around with reducing the sweetener overtime, if you feel like it.
Most of all, I hope you guys like the idea of a breakfast-worthy bar of chocolate! My favourite version - and the one I make most often - is studded with raspberries, and dusted with crushed rose petals and cacao nibs for crunch. It's delightful. I've also made versions with blueberries and lemon zest, and with frozen banana slices sprinkled with cinnamon and turmeric (amazing). My advice is to include the cacao nibs no matter what version you do because they add great crunch! A little salt and vanilla goes nicely, and there are also a lot of optional add-ins here - this is where the "adaptogenic" name comes from because mushroom powders including chaga, reishi and cordyceps as well as maca root all help support the body in times of stress. I've listed lucuma, collagen peptides, mushroom powders, maca, and mesquite as options for you to include. Lucuma, maca and mesquite in particular help soften the bitterness of the chocolate, a little. All these add-ins are good and good for you, but totally not necessary for you to make these magnesium-rich, nourishing breakfast-worthy bars.
Enjoy and have fun with it! I'd also LOVE to hear if you guys make these, so please get in touch if you do! xo
Adaptogenic Chocolate Bars
Makes 4 bars using mini silicon baking pans. You could also line a dish with parchment paper and make this into a "bark", breaking it up into pieces when ready to eat. When I make these to eat right away or within a day, I add in the raspberries/fruit. When I'm making these for enjoy over the week, I'll leave the fruit out and then just eat it alongside the chocolate. One last note! The cacao paste is so easy to use and makes these pretty stable at room temperature (unlike coconut oil chocolate which always must be refrigerated), it also is a bit less bitter than the straight raw cacao powder version.
1/4 cup cacao butter, finely chopped
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup cacao paste, finely chopped (optional - omit and add 1 teaspoon coconut oil instead if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
a pinch of sea salt
optional extras: up to 1 tablespoon total of these
1 teaspoon mushroom powder (I like reishi or a blend)
1-2 teaspoons collagen peptides
1 teaspoon lucuma powder
1/4 teaspoon mesquite powder
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
toppings of your choice (fresh mint, fresh or frozen berries, superfood powders, brown rice solubles/tocos, pollen, cacao nibs, fleur de sel, nuts or seeds, dried flower petals, matcha, etc)
Set a small bowl over a small pot, filled with 1-2 inches water. Make sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl when you set it over top (creating a bain marie). Be careful not to let any water in the bowl, or else it will cause the chocolate to seize.
Add the cacao butter, cacao powder, cacao paste or coconut oil, vanilla and salt to the bowl. Set to a low heat, and allow the mixture to gently melt. When the mix is almost completely melted, remove the bowl from the pot, wipe the bottom with a towel, and whisk the mixture until completely smooth. Add in the extras if you're using them and whisk again to combine.
Divide the mix evenly between silicon molds (or pour onto a parchment lined sheet if you're making this as a bark instead). Top with whatever fruit you like - I often choose frozen raspberries, blueberries, or cherries, cacao nibs, a sprinkle of brown rice solubles (tocos), matcha, citrus zest, bee pollen, fleur de sel, or superfood powders. Refrigerate chocolate to set for at least 15 minutes, then store extras in the fridge until ready to eat. See below for my favourite combination!
Raspberry Rose Bar
Amounts listed below are for one breakfast bar.
6-8 raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon dried rose petals, crushed
1/2 teaspoon cacao nibs
1/4 teaspoon maqui or acai powder (optional)
Right after pouring the chocolate into a silicon mold or onto a parchment-lined sheet, disperse the raspberries, rose petals, and cacao nibs across the top. Sprinkle with maqui or acai powder. Place in the fridge to set for at least 15 minutes.
Store chocolate in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to eat. Enjoy!