|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||25%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||54%|
|Total Carbohydrate 15g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 8g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||10%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
A vegan or plant-based nutritional approach to eating doesn't mean that desserts, treats, cakes, and other beloved guilty pleasures have to be off-limits. Vegan cooking has come a long way in creating varied and delicious sweets that have nothing to envy in conventional dairy and egg-based confections. Our simple recipe for raw vegan chocolate bars is just one example of the great desserts you can make with just a few healthy ingredients. They're prepared in just five minutes, but let your cacao bars to set in the fridge before eating—although licking the spoon is definitely allowed.
Raw cacao is the cold-pressed, unroasted cacao bean, and because there are no high temperatures hitting it, its nutritional content is higher than in its cousin cocoa. Considered a superfood, raw cacao has been stealing the spotlight from more conventional cocoa. It's high in many minerals, including zinc, potassium, manganese, and especially magnesium. The benefits of consuming cacao have been studied alongside those of drinking coffee and tea, as they all share the presence of a phytochemical called methylxanthine, which promotes brain and cognitive health.
This method for making homemade raw chocolate comes from Emily von Euw's book of similarly delicious raw food recipes "Rawsome Vegan Baking." Use our method as inspiration and personalize your cacao bars with crunchy or fruity toppings to make the combinations that you like the most. We recommend using cocoa butter—another name for cacao butter—instead of coconut oil because it helps the bars set better and it won't melt in your hands as easily as a bar made with coconut oil.
1/2 cup raw cacao powder, or carob powder
1/2 cup cocoa butter, melted; or coconut oil
1/3 cup agave syrup, or any other liquid sweetener
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
Transfer the mixture into chocolate molds, a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, or mini cupcake liners.
Place the molds in the fridge or freezer until solid or at least 20 minutes.
Personalize the Cacao Bars
There are so many ways of making these bars into whatever you want. Many flavors pair well with raw cacao—here are some of our favorite additions:
- Use liquid flavors such as vanilla, orange, almond, or hazelnut extract. Start with 1 teaspoon per batch and ramp it up in subsequent batches if you want a stronger flavor.
- Add crunchy nuts to add texture and flavor. Roasted and chopped macadamia nuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, or peanuts are just a few options. You could either incorporate 1/2 cup of your favorite nut into the mixture or add it on top before placing the molds in the fridge.
- Add dried chewy fruits, such as goji berries, raisins, or Craisins; or for crunchier textures, add freeze-dried fruits like raspberries or strawberries.
- Use sea salt or Himalayan pink salt to sprinkle on the bars before placing them in the freezer.
Alternatively, use the liquid cacao mixture to cover candied orange or lemon peels. Then, put it into a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to place them, and chill until set.
Camandola S, Plick N, Mattson MP. Impact of coffee and cacao purine metabolites on neuroplasticity and neurodegenerative disease. Neurochem Res. 2019;44(1):214-227. DOI: 10.1007/s11064-018-2492-0