I'm dreading all the processed chocolate my kids are going to come home with this week from school as Easter looms around the corner. When did every significant calendar event become an obessesion with stuffing my kids school bags with junk food? Click here to read a terrific article on this very point currently doing the rounds of the blogosphere. So what's in commercial chocolate that is so nasty? I had a quick look at the ingredients of some popular brands of chocolate sold in DJs yesterday and this is what I saw...... sugar, soy lecithins and other emulsifiers, milk powders, barley malt extract, glucose syrup (made from wheat starch), preservative 220, flavour and colour 122. And don't kid yourself in thinking that the world famous brands like Lindt are immune from this litany of ingredients. The first (and hence dominant) ingredient in one certified organic brand is rapadura whole cane sugar and the fourth ingredient was soy lecithin. And while rapadura is much less processed than white refined sugar, sugar is still sugar which is still sugar and if that is the main ingredient in what is going into my or my kids' mouths then I'm going to think twice about it. Many trendy organic brands sweeten with agave syrup, which I am not a fan of as it is 90% fructose and creates severe fluctuations in blood sugar levels with insulin spikes and crashes.
There is no chocolate that I know of on the market that ticks all of the boxes…which is why I started making my own years ago. I’m talking about REAL chocolate made from unprocessed raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, coconut oil and sweetened slightly with whole medjool dates. I roll these into 20g balls and roll into desiccated coconut. No sugar or other sweeteners required. When the quality of the underlying ingredients are the real deal, then you don't need to add much, if any, sweeteners (natural or otherwise).
The raw cacao powder I buy is long fermented and high in antioxidents. Raw cacao butter and coconut oil are high in healthy saturated fats and also slow down the release of fruit sugars contained in the dates.
So when my kids come home with armfuls of processed (or what I call "fake") chocolate, I tell my kids that life is too short to feel sick by processed foods and that if you want to eat chocolate be sure to eat the best quality chocolate available. And I swap every piece of junk food with one of my chocolate coconut balls or activated nut coconut balls (and make sure they don't eat them all in one hit!).
I pop chocolate coconut balls and activated nut coconut balls (the latter being chocolate free) into coloured plastic egg containers and hide them around the garden for an Easter egg hunt for the children and their friends on Easter Sunday.
If you want your kids, family and friends to enjoy real chocolate for Easter (or any other time of year!) without any of the nasties, pick up a bag of my hand-made chocolate coconut balls…..the real (raw) deal!
$15 for a packet of 6 balls.