Did you ever wonder where chocolate comes from? Cacao or chocolate comes from trees in the rainforest. The trees can be 50 feet tall and love shade and living by the water. They are about 10 years old when they start producing fruit. They fruit for around 10-12 years.
The chocolate fruit pods can be red, yellow, or orange and can grow as large as a football. Inside the pods there are between 20 to 60 chocolate seeds surrounded by a sweet pulp that animals and children in the rainforest like to suck on. The pulp tastes like a mango.
To get to the chocolate nibs, you have to roast the seeds, crack open the shell, and scrape out the cacao or chocolate powder. Then to make sweet chocolate, you have to mix the powder with sugar and other flavorings like milk, almonds, peppermint, caramel, or vanilla. Many people heat the cocoa and blend it to make it very smooth and get the right consistency.
We made dark chocolate bonbons with organic cacao powder, coconut flakes and sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut oil for a healthy treat. I prefer a sweeter chocolate so next time I will add much more coconut or cane sugar. I would also like to add caramel.
My favorite chocolate dessert is buck eyes (chocolate covered peanut butter balls). What are your favorite chocolate recipes?
Directions for Cacao Bonbons
1) Put 5 tablespoons of coconut oil and the desired amount of coconut sugar in a Pyrex dish. Use 2 tablespoons for a dark chocolate flavor or 4 tablespoons or more of coconut sugar for a sweeter chocolate. Put in the microwave on high for 15 seconds, stir, and then cook for another 10 seconds. You want the sugar to dissolve. Note: It is better to melt the oil and sugar on the stovetop to retain more of the nutrients in the oil but the microwave is easier.
2) Add 5 tablespoons of cacao powder and mix until dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Mix until smooth.
3) Add 5 tablespoons of coconut flakes ground into small pieces. Mix.
4) Add nuts or caramel on the bottom of the mould and pour the chocolate on top. Place in the refrigerator to form the bonbons. I used our Beaba baby food freezer container to create 7 bonbons. This way you can pop out one bonbon at a time. I love finding other uses for things!
Enjoy with fresh mint, sea salt or red raspberries. To make a more gourmet chocolate like you would see at Cacao or Godiva, use real Fleur de Sel Sea salt hand-harvested from France.
This article was researched and written by my daughter. This fall, she will be asked to research topics and give presentations to her class. These posts are good practice for her. We hope to find topics your children find interesting and encourage them to start writing as well. If you have any great ideas for posts about foods or fun activities, feel free to share them in the comments. She would love to hear from her friends. Have a great summer!