From Cupcakes to Traditional Korean Food and Everything in Between

Real Homemade Chocolate with 3 Ingredients + FAQ

Today, I’m going to show you how to make an unbelievably easy homemade chocolate using just 3 ingredients.  This chocolate is incredibly silky, buttery, and delicious.  It’s truly a little piece of heaven that melts in your mouth.

 

 

This is the cacao butter I used: http://amzn.to/1ERvA5P

5.0 from 5 reviews
Real Homemade Chocolate with 3 Ingredients + FAQ
 
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Author:
Serves: 1 dozen pieces
Ingredients
  • 100 grams cacao butter
  • 40 grams natural unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder
  • 20-25 grams powdered sugar* {depends on how sweet you like it}
  • Optional: pinch of fine salt and instant espresso
  • Other options: fruits, nuts, or extracts.
  • {My favorite add ins are hazelnuts, goji berries, fleur de sel, or cayenne but the possibilities are endless!}
Instructions
  1. Using either the microwave or a double boiler, heat even size pieces of cacao butter low and slow. Heat until it just melts- no more, allowing the residual heat to melt the rest. Let this sit to slightly cool for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Sift the cacao or cocoa powder with the sugar and stir into the cacao butter. Add the salt and espresso, if using.
  3. Pour into molds of choice. Toss in other add ins, if desired.
  4. Allow to set in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.
Notes
*You can use any sweetener of your choice. The powdered sugar just makes the chocolate a bit more stable.

Q: What are the benefits of eating chocolate?

A: When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and is even said to protect against cardiovascular disease.  Though, keep in mind that not all chocolates are made equal.  More on that below.

Q: Why make homemade chocolate?

A: Unfortunately today, a very common industry practice is to stuff chocolate with fillers like soy lecithin {which is the sludge leftover after soybean oil is refined} or vegetable fillers. It’s used in place of cocoa or cacao butter simply for the reason that it’s cheap.  A homemade chocolate is made with pure, all natural ingredients without chemicals or alterations and what you’re left with is …just chocolate.

Q: What are the differences between milk, dark, and white chocolate?

A:  Dark chocolate could be considered “the bare essentials,” if you will.  It contains no milk fats whereas milk chocolates do.  There’s a lot of debate on whether white chocolate is even chocolate at all.  It is typically a mix of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar.  Generally chocolate with higher percentages of cacao is better for you.  I personally dig an 85% bar.  But no matter what your personal preference, please choose one that is fair trade.

Q: What is the difference between cacao butter and cocoa butter?

A: They’re very similar but it comes down to how they’re individually processed.  Cacao butter is the cold pressed oil of the cacao bean. Considered a superfood, it’s had less heat applied to it than cocoa butter and is generally more pure with higher antioxidants.  When purchasing cacao butter, look for one that is 100% pure, organic, and raw.  Cocoa butter is from the cacao mass using heat, pressure or alkali salts and is lower in active flavenols.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Top 5 Superbowl Recipes

Here’s a roundup of my top 5 favorite Super Bowl recipes and good eats. I’m fairly certain that while J is preoccupied with football, I’ll be spending most of my Sunday with my nose in a book, only coming up for air when food beckons.  Here’s a glimpse of what we’re having to celebrate the Super Bowl {or rather how J will be celebrating while I have a good excuse for indulging}.

Mango habanero chicken wings with a technique to obtain that highly coveted crispy skin without a fryer in sight.

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Easy coconut shrimp & dipping sauce and how to get that coconut to stick on there like no ones business.

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Homemade cheez-it crackers that are exponentially better than their store bought counterpart.  These are light, buttery, and crisp without any trace of weird or funky ingredients.

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This Korean bbq jerky is pretty much a staple around here as it’s a great high protein and portable snack.  At the beginning of each month, J typically takes several pounds of grass fed beef and turns it into this jerky.

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And lastly, gone are the days of frozen processed cocktail weenies.  These Korean style meatballs are rich and tangy with a beautiful balance between sweet and spicy and each tender little bite sized piece is drenched in a thick and glossy sauce.

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Have a great weekend, friends!

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

 

Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

 

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

Guys, this is seriously my very favorite way to enjoy quinoa.  I’ve never been a huge fan of casseroles but one bite of this heavenly cheesy concoction swept that bias away for good.  A classic pairing for this in my house is a cedar plank salmon with its softly smoky undertones really jazzing it up as a fuller meal with the butteriness of the salmon matching nicely with the gobs of oozing cheese.  However, I’ve been known to enjoy a gigantic slab of this casserole on its own without needing anything else.  The quinoa lends a heartiness to the dish while the broccoli provides a punch of green with its crunchy vibrant texture and of course, the cheese just makes everything extra delicious while tying it altogether.  Try it with supper tonight.  You’ll thank me later.

 

 

 

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole
 
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Serves: 5 x 7 Casserole
Ingredients
  • ½ c dried quinoa {cooked to a 2:1 ratio}
  • 1 tb unsalted butter
  • 1 tb unbleached flour
  • 1 c warm whole milk
  • 1 c freshly shredded cheese {I used an aged cheddar} with some reserved for topping
  • 1 c chopped broccoli
Instructions
  1. First, rinse and drain the quinoa to wash away the bitter outer shell. You can either cook it on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. For ½ cup of quinoa, I used 1 c chicken stock.
  2. In a pan, melt the butter, low and slow.
  3. Whisk in the flour for 1-2 minutes to draw out the raw flour taste and slowly pour in the milk {you can also use stock}. Bump up the heat to medium and whisk constantly to prevent lumps. As it cooks, it will thicken.
  4. Stir in the cheese and broccoli.
  5. Transfer to a casserole dish, cover with more cheese then foil, and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

I enjoy this brand of quinoa:http://amzn.to/1wfc3HB

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

2 Ingredient Homemade Lip Balm

 

Chapstick

I have a confession to make.  I am a lip balm addict.  I’m fairly certain it’s psychosomatic for me but nonetheless, the struggle is real.  I shudder when I reflect back on how much money I’ve spent over the years on store bought sticks when I came to the realization a few years back that I could produce my own for mere pennies.  $.20 to be exact.  The best part of this is that it couldn’t be less fussy requiring only the minimalist of materials and you’re just 30 minutes away from all natural homemade lip balm.

 

 

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
2 Ingredient Homemade Lip Balm
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 part organic beeswax {for example, .50 oz}
  • 2 parts organic coconut oil {for example, 1.00 oz}
  • Optional: essential oils, honey, beet root/hibiscus powder, etc.
Instructions
  1. Use dedicated materials for all the following.
  2. Grate the beeswax.
  3. Melt the wax low and slow in a double boiler or in a heat proof vessel in the microwave. Use a vessel with a spout like a measuring cup. Heat until just melted, no more.
  4. Stir in the oil.
  5. Wait 5-10 seconds to stir in the optional add-ins if using.
  6. Carefully pour into desired containers and allow to set for 30 minutes.
Notes
About .10 oz wax to .20 oz oil yields one tube.
Mine last for about a year when stored in a jar in a dark, cool place.
Steer away from camphor or menthol as they dry out the lips.

If you can’t find beeswax near you, you can find it online here: http://amzn.to/1vzUPKa

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

Homemade Butter

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We’re going back to basics today with how to make homemade butter with just one ingredient.  It’s incredibly easy with little effort and what you’re left with is softened butter that’s recipe ready with endless applications.  The best parts are that you can control the quality and quantity and create some really unique butter compounds.  I personally love this homemade butter with salt and rosemary on some of J’s rustic breads or copious amounts of a cinnamon sugar or berry blend on brioche.

 

 

 

5.0 from 6 reviews
Homemade Butter
 
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Author:
Serves: ½ lb/8 oz
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1-2 ts ice water
Instructions
  1. If using a jar with a lid, shake the cream vigorously. You will bypass 3 distinctive stages: soft peaks, stiff peaks, then finally, the milk solids separating from the buttermilk. I show you in the video above how I made mine with a food processor {the easier/less elbow grease method}. You can also use a stand/hand mixer or blender as well.
  2. When you reach the final stage, drain it through a fine mesh strainer and push out all the buttermilk* you can. The dryer the better.
  3. Return it back to the jar and add 1-2 ts ice water and shake again until it's fully incorporated.
  4. Wrap in plastic and chill.**
Notes
*The buttermilk left behind is sweeter and isn't of the thick consistency you think of. I like to use mine in pancake/crepe/waffle batters.
**The shelf life of your homemade butter greatly depends on how thoroughly the buttermilk has been extracted which is why the "washing" is important. By chilling well produced butter, you can expect 2-3 weeks out of it whereas if enough buttermilk is left behind, it will spoil within a week. Also, I would recommend keeping your homemade butter chilled or use it immediately after making so it's fresh, softened, and recipe ready.

Love,

Your Squishy Monster

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