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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Vegan Mofo Day 3: Raspberry Chocolate Cups

I have the great fortune of having grandparents who are very aware of the consequences of using herbicides and pesticides. They have beautiful lake front property and a decent portion of the property is dedicated to gardening. They have rows upon rows of organically grown raspberries, and us grandkids are always welcome to take as much as we can pick. Is it greedy to take 6 buckets home at a time? Not if it's only a couple rows worth!

Lance and I use a lot of fresh raspberries in smoothies, peach raspberry pie, cookies, sprouted buckwheat cereal with hemp milk and raspberries, and in sauces to go over crepes, waffles, pancakes, and muffins. We still freeze the majority and usually have enough to last the year. This year's crop was not as good due to the uncharacteristic amount of cold, rainy weather we got from April on. I am trying to pace our raspberry consumption, but it's really hard to hold back! My grandparents have had these plants for well over 30 years - I'm not sure how long they have been cultivating and expanding their raspberry patch, but I know they've been around at least as long as I have. The dogs love them just as much as we do, and it's always funny to see their bums poking out of a bunch of stalks - and in Bogey's case (their 130 pound Bernese Mountain Dog), the poor stalks get mauled and he often turns around to look at us while chewing on half the stalk, leaves and all. He must know they are a great source of vitamin C.

Raspberry Filling
1 cup Raspberries (frozen is fine)
5 pitted Medjool Dates
1/4 cup water
1 TB Chia Seeds

Add the raspberries, dates, and chia seeds into a high speed blender. The chia seeds will help thicken the sauce. If you do not have a high speed blender, blend the chia seeds in a coffee grinder or spice blender before adding them to the blender. The water should be the smallest amount possible - just enough to get the blades to keep turning things over in the blender. Use the tamper tool to help things along. This is more filling than required for the chocolate recipe. I used my leftover filling in smoothies the next morning.

3.5 oz cacao butter
1.5 oz cacao powder
3 oz agave

I melt the cacao butter over the lowest heat possible on my stove top, periodically taking the pan off the burner so the temperature doesn't get too high. If you are trying to obtain a food that is closer to raw, I suppose you could melt the cacao butter in a food dehydrator over several hours at the appropriate heat. I honestly don't have the patience, and the fact that it is questionable how raw cacao is due to fermentation after harvest makes me less anxious about conserving time and energy on my part using the stove top at a very low heat. Once the cacao butter is melted, I take the sauce pan off the heat and combine the rest of the ingredients, stirring often and vigorously so the agave combines properly with the rest of the chocolate. This chocolate recipe is from a previous post, so feel free to double the batch to help use up more of the filling.

I didn't have chocolate molds, so I just used mini cupcake papers. Spoon about 1 TB of chocolate into the bottom of each cup, or enough to coat about 1/3 of an inch. Add a teaspoon of filling to each cup to form the raspberry center:

Add at least another tablespoon over the top of the filling to create a flat surface on top of the candy.

Put the cups into the fridge to harden. I took a couple cups to work with me the next morning and left them out for several hours without a melting issue. These will melt in warm weather (ever forgotten a chocolate bar in the car? yuck). I recommend storing them in the fridge for less risk of a mess. They are a little messier to eat than highly processed chocolate that has a lot of additives and texture aides, but it's so worth it!

The finished product after chilling.


  1. Oh my. These look heavenly. You're so lucky to have access to your grandparents' lovingly raised raspberries.

  2. Wow, that would be heavenly to have all of the organic raspberries we could eat!!! I buy a teeny tiny carton for over $4, and one of my kids can down them all at once.

    I've never seen anything like these chocolate cups with raspberry filling! I'm so interested.

  3. Those look good. I've noticed lots of your recipes use agave. I was wondering what your take was on it compared to HFCS. Recently I saw lots of posts around the internet saying it is processed in the same way. I suppose it does have the benefit of not being made of GMO corn...

  4. For a time, I was also worried about agave. There are a lot of articles out there (with very little scientific resources cited) that spout that the two are the same thing. High fructose corn syrup is processed with a series of harsh chemicals and heating techniques to render it. Agave is not treated the same way - although I do believe it is not raw and cooked over 115 degrees to cook it down into a syrup from the plant. High fructose corn syrup is a very specific fructose (D-fructose) with a specific chemical pattern, and I can't find any literature to prove that they have the same chemical make up. All fruits are a combination of glucose and fructose, so I suppose the kind of fructose and residual chemicals from the processing would add to how our body responds.

    The biggest proof to me is how my body handles agave and how I muscle test for the product. Agave is very high in inulin, a food for the good bacteria in our guts. HFCS does not have that attribute. I get very ill when I eat anything with corn, period. I get arthritis from too much cane sugar, so I try to use fruits, agave, and other natural sweeteners.

    I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist, and it's a little odd to me that all of these articles are coming out at the same time all of the pro-HFCS campaigns are being run in commercials on national television and the name change to "corn sugar" to make it seem less ominous (remember, those commercials are also saying that HFCS is the same thing as sugar).

    If you are still concerned, I would recommend soaking dates and running the dates and a small amount of soak water in a high speed blender or food processor and substituting date syrup to agave at a ratio of 4:3. That's what I did while I did more research and was making up my mind on the topic.

    Great question! I wish I could point to several articles, but it's somewhat of a gray area people have decide on their own. Above is just where I landed. I try not to have it all the time and mix up the sweeteners I use (maple syrup, agave, dates, fruit, etc.). Too much of one thing is always a bad thing.