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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)

Updated: Jun 11, 2022

Everyone has their own chocolate percentage that resonates with them. Some like milk chocolate, some like dark chocolate, some like REALLY dark chocolate, some like white chocolate, and there are those people who don't like any kind of chocolate. I tend to be dipolar on one end of the chocolate intensity spectrum to the other end- in other words, I like 100% dark chocolate and white chocolate best. However, I like all kinds of chocolate roughly the same and am always content to gnosh on a square when presented with the opportunity. This recipe is for dark chocolate. It has no plant milk to water down the flavor, but it is sweetened with date paste to help cut the bitterness. Now, if you are team milk chocolate or team white chocolate, full disclaimer: this is chocolate with a bold flavor. Still, I feel like this recipe could work for most people regardless of their palate preferences. But if you're feeling like maybe this recipe isn't the one for you and you prefer more mild chocolate, check out my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate Recipe (Two Ways) or stay tuned for a (coconut) milk chocolate recipe coming to The Dimpled Date soon! This recipe is 100% dairy-free, vegan, paleo, and sugar-free (fruit-sweetened).



This chocolate recipe is 6 ingredients, is easy to make, and has a melt-in-your-mouth quality. Plus, it's super nutrient-dense thanks to cacao powder & cacao butter, date paste, and coconut oil. It's nice when your chocolate not only tastes good but is good for you too. And for you dark chocolate lovers, prepare for an intense indulgence! I would estimate this chocolate to be at least 75% to 80% cacao. Talk about rich!


I'm not going to lie, when I first tasted this dark chocolate the flavor instantly reminded me of a molten chocolate lava cake. The concept for making my Date-Sweetened White Chocolate (Two Ways) is the same concept that's used here for my dark chocolate:


-You start with melting the cacao butter & coconut oil

-Then, you combine the cacao butter & coconut oil in a glass bowl and whisk together

-You whisk in the cacao powder, date paste, vanilla, and sea salt

-Next, use an immersion blender (stick blender) to blend the bits of the dates from the date paste into the chocolate

-Pour into molds and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour


And that's it! Like I said, easy.



This chocolate is vegan, paleo, and sugar-free (fruit-sweetened) and is healthier than most chocolate you'll find at the store. Vanilla and date paste help to reduce the bitterness and add flavor, while coconut oil mellows out the cacao and adds creaminess.


I used to be a milk chocolate and white chocolate junkie as a kid, eating dairy-filled, excessively-sugary, unhealthy chocolate. I just never appreciated dark chocolate back then and certainly not sugar-free and/or dairy-free dark chocolate. Now, I eat 100% dark chocolate like it's my job. I actually have learned to appreciate the sweetness and creaminess of 100% cacao chocolate without tasting the bitterness (mostly). Now some of you may be wondering how on Earth I can not only can palate 100% chocolate but enjoy it too?? The answer? Being sugar-free for several years and my tastebuds becoming de-sensitized to bitterness and causing me to taste sweetness in unsweetened products more, like in unsweetened coconut, cashews (especially cashew butter), and, yes, 100% chocolate.



Nutritional Profile of Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate


Cacao powder- cacao powder is full of antioxidants, iron, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds. Cacao powder (also known as cacao solids) is basically un-processed cocoa powder and is good for relieving PMS symptoms, improving mood, raising HDL (good) cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and fighting free radical damage (free radicals are disease-causing particles)


Cacao butter- cacao butter is basically the nutrient-dense fat that is extracted from cacao beans. It is rich in healthy fats, plant compounds, and vitamins & minerals. Cacao in general is known to boost good cholesterol levels while lowering bad cholesterol levels, improve cognition, and, when used cosmetically, cacao butter is an excellent moisturizer for skin and hair (but before using it for beauty purposes, do some research so you know if it's right for your skin/hair type, what kind to use, how much to use, and how to use it)


Coconut oil- coconut oil is rich in healthy fats and fatty acids, which are good for heart health, brain health, and skin & hair health. Additionally, coconut oil may have antimicrobial and metabolism-boosting properties


Dates- dates (and therefore, date paste, which is puréed dates & water) are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, iron, and trace minerals. Dates help keep bowel movements regular, can protect against anemia, and are good for muscle & heart health


Sea salt- sea salt balances electrolytes and is good for the adrenal glands. Himalayan sea salt is a good option



Substitutions


For this chocolate, the cacao powder can be substituted with cocoa powder (alkalized or non-alkalized), but you have to use either cacao powder or cocoa powder because this is a chocolate recipe. The cacao butter can be substituted with additional coconut oil or coconut butter. The coconut oil is important for the consistency of this chocolate, but I'm fairly confident that melted coconut butter could replace the oil (the chocolate will be softer if you go this route).


You can swap maple syrup, agave, date syrup, coconut sugar, or an artificial sweetener such as stevia (liquid or powdered) or monk fruit sweetener, to taste. Another option is to leave the sweetener out completely for a more robust flavor and less added calories, but I would recommend using a sweetener if you don't like non-sweet super dark chocolate. The vanilla extract is necessary (to contrast the bitterness), but you can use vanilla powder instead, leave it out completely, or use the same amount of another extract (such as almond extract, orange extract, cherry extract, raspberry extract, etc.). And you can use table salt instead of the sea salt or leave out the salt altogether.



Stay Tuned...


The picture above is a picture of my Date-Sweetened Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe made with this dark chocolate recipe, coming to The Dimpled Date soon!


By the way, I mentioned this in an earlier post but if you're looking for a great date paste recipe check out Detoxinista's date paste recipe (it's my go-to!). Date paste is basically just dates puréed in a food processor/high-speed blender with water but it's helpful to have a recipe so you know the exact measurements and tips/tricks to making the perfect date paste!


Alright everyone, Happy Belated Halloween! (And Happy November!) I'll have a chocolate peanut butter cup recipe coming soon to honor Halloween goodies (healthy-style)!


As always,

Enjoy <3

-K.



Date-Sweetened Dark Chocolate (Vegan, Paleo, Sugar-Free, Fruit-Sweetened)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Chill Time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Total Time: 1 hr 20 minutes to 1 hr 45 minutes

Servings: Makes 18 pieces


Ingredients:


-1/2 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

-1/3 cup cacao butter

-1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil

-1/4 cup date paste

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-pinch sea salt


Directions:


1. In a saucepan on the stove, melt the coconut oil over very low heat until just melted. Set aside to cool slightly.


2. In another saucepan on the stove, melt the cacao butter over very low heat until just melted.


3. Transfer the melted cacao butter and the melted & slightly cooled coconut oil to a large glass bowl. Whisk together to combine.


4. Add the cacao powder and date paste and whisk to incorporate (you won't get the date paste fully incorporated and that's OK).


5. Whisk in the vanilla and sea salt.


6. Using an immersion blender (stick blender), break up the pieces of dates left from the date paste and blend them into the chocolate as best you can (use a circular motion and try to break up any pieces of dates that you find. Also: to avoid a mess, keep the immersion blender immersed in the chocolate when it's on and running). It's OK if you don't 100% blend all of the date paste into the chocolate (actually, you won't be able to fully blend the date paste into the chocolate, so don't get hung up if the date paste isn't completely incorporated).


7. Pour the chocolate into molds and place in the fridge to solidify and set, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


8. Use the chocolate in a favorite recipe, eat it straight up, melt it into a chocolate sauce in a double boiler, or store it in the fridge for later use. Enjoy!


Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

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