This is a post about new beginnings, food intolerance, and flower petals on chocolate.
Ah, gourmet chocolates… that divine little gift we give our lovers, our dinner hosts, even ourselves once in a while (for self-care purposes, of course). We would never turn up our noses at a Hershey’s bar or a bowl of chocolate ice cream — chocolate is chocolate, of course — but there is something about gourmet chocolates, with their quality crafting and sometimes unconventional flavours, that is almost spiritual. It is chocolate as we rarely have it.
For those of us who have food intolerances, however, those pretty little boxes are merely reminders of what we’re missing. Passed around at parties, a present from a well-meaning friend, they are lovely jewels that we can look at but never touch (I’m not being dramatic — if you’re a true chocolate lover, you’ll understand).
Food intolerances are a curious thing. They are cruel in so many ways, but they did bring Alexis and I together. For reasons yet unknown, both of us have discovered within the past two years that our bodies can no longer tolerate grains and starches. Alexis also has to avoid refined sugar, dairy, and lentils, and I have a peanut allergy to top it all off. And slowly, one by one, many of our other friends seem to be discovering similar health issues. The Paleo diet may be a current trend in the health world, but it is a necessity for some of us to function normally.
We wish we knew why these strange intolerances are suddenly afflicting so many people, but we don’t have the answers. Instead, we tie on our linen aprons, lay out our prettiest measuring spoons, and resolve to create a dessert that even someone without food restrictions would love.
Alexis and I dreamed up these chocolates in the spring, rain streaming down the windows as we sipped our tea at Rosso. It’s easy enough to make mediocre paleo chocolate, we realized, but most of the recipes taste too much of coconut oil and begin to melt as soon as you take them out of the freezer. That would not do. We chatted excitedly about creating truly good chocolate, with lovely flavours and shapes, adorned with flower petals and flaky sea salt. A week later, as the scent of cocoa drifted through Alexis’ sunlit apartment, we had them: delicious and attractive chocolates that held their shape at room temperature. And we could hardly believe it.
So, here’s to new beginnings. To discovering that we don’t have to feel deprived, that we can be intentional in finding recipes that are healing and tasty and don’t make us feel like we have to settle for mediocre.
Without further rambling, here’s a recipe to pay tribute to the floral delights of summer, and to our fellow chocolate lovers everywhere who may also be familiar with missing out. Buy some pretty chocolate molds, put them in a little box, and you have a treat to make you or a friend smile whether or not there are intolerances involved.
Paleo Gourmet Chocolates
- 1 cup cocoa butter
- 3-5 tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
For Rose and Honeycomb Chocolate:
- 1 tsp rose water
- 1 tbsp of honeycomb, broken into pieces
- 1 tsp dried rose petals, plus more for sprinkling
For Salted Lavender Chocolate:
- 1 tsp dried lavender buds, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp flaked sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Grate cocoa butter chunks either by hand or in a food processor until you have 1 cup.
- To create a “double boiler”: add water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Then place glass or ceramic bowl on top of the pot, making sure it’s not touching the water.
- Add the chopped cocoa butter and allow to heat in the bowl until melted, which should take 2-3 minutes.
- Once the cocoa butter is melted, add the honey and mix thoroughly. Remove bowl from heat when mixed.
- Add cocoa powder, and either rose water, petals and honeycomb, or lavender buds and sea salt. Then whisk to combine ingredients.
- Sprinkle toppings into the bottom of the chocolate molds.
- Pour chocolate mixture into the chocolate molds, over the toppings. Should make about 8 chocolates.
- Place mold in the freezer or refrigerator to set for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate is hardened.
We dare you not to eat the whole batch at once!
Photographed by :: Alena Tran / @allyctran