Ah, my love affair with dark chocolate cherry cordials. They were one of my favorite treats growing up, but being filled with sugar, HFCS, artificial flavors, and preservatives, I just simply chose not to consume them anymore. Sigh...It's for the best though because this recipe brings splendid news. These aren't exact copy cats of the cordials we all love, but they are a darn good health-concious relative. No fake, food-colored maraschino cherries, all whole food ingredients used here. With raw, vegan cherry and dark chocolate flavors all around, I'm sure they will fill you with delight. This chocolate recipe provides minimal ingredients for optimal flavor. I love chocolate, but unfortunately it's hard to find low glycemic, dairy-free chocolate in stores. Not to mention the high price! Argh. This is definitely a simple and customizable dark chocolate recipe that melts in your mouth (thank you coconut oil) and can be used in/on whatever really! Drizzled over chocolate, oatmeal, smoothies, you name it. For the raw cashews in the cream, it's best to soak 'em for 4-6 hours prior to blending. The better and creamier the texture shall be! Not to mention the nutritional benefits that soaking creates. Improved digestibility and reduction of dirt and enzyme inhibitors? No need to say more, I'm all in. I made these into mini cups because I simply did not have larger cups, also portion control ;), but feel free to double this batch to make more or larger cups.
Raw Dark Chocolate Cherry Cream Cups [Vegan]
For the Chocolate:
- 1/4 cup unrefined/virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa/raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar (maple syrup, or other sweetener works too)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cherry Cream Filling:
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked and drained
- 1/2 cup (overflowing) cherries (chopped, rinsed, and dried off)
- 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- Place all ingredients for the chocolate in a bowl. If the coconut oil is still solid, place the current bowl into a larger bowl filled with hot water. This will melt the coconut oil without being detrimental to the nutrients, as a microwave would. Stir really well until all is mixed. Don't waste the excess coconut oil left on the measuring cup! Rub the excess in on your arms or legs or anywhere that needs moisturizing!
- If you're not as much of a sucker for dark, bittersweet chocolate as I, then add in 1 tbsp more of sweetener until your sweetness preference has been reached.
- Spoon a thin layer of chocolate into each cup. Make sure to mix around the chocolate in the bowl each time before transferring to the cups. Because the coconut palm sugar is raw, it has a tendency to separate. If you're using a liquid sweetener, you may not have this problem. A quick mixin' never hurt anyone though...
- Place all filled liners in the fridge for a bit until hardened.
- In the meantime, next step: cherry cream! Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor. Add more non-dairy milk depending on preference and how creamy you'd like it to be. Also, adjust the almond extract amount to your likings as well. I used a bit more than 1/4 tsp, but sometimes almond extract can be overwhelming so adjust in minuscule increments. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Next, take out the chocolate filled cups and spoon in some of the cherry cream. Make sure to not let it touch the edges of the liner.
- Layer more chocolate over the cream until it's been buried in chocolate. Mmm...
- Place back in the fridge, or freezer if you're impatient and want to eat quickly, until hardened. Once chocolate has set, I stored these in the fridge to avoid freezer burn. (Keep in mind that the coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees F, so if you take them out of the fridge for a while they will probably start to melt. Just put 'em back in to solidify.)
- I must note that the flavors meld and improve after a few hours (even days) in the fridge!