Cranberry Almond Bittersweet Chocolate

by Valerie on January 28, 2011 · 12 comments

This post was supposed to be about soup.  January is National Soup Month.  It has been freezing here in Washington and I have been making many quick soups in the Vitamix. A quick blend of raw and cooked ingredients, usually warmed on the stove right after (I know the Vita can make soup, but I do not like to run it long enough to heat the soup up).  I have made black bean soups, with and without sweet potato, carrot soups (with raw carrots and cooked azukis for extra protein), and sweet potato and/or butternut squash soups.

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Instead, this post is about dark chocolate.  Chocolated instead of soup. Yes, I know, Bittersweet Chocolate Day was January 10.  On that day, I made chocolate and soup, but I still thought this post would be about soup.  So I did not post about chocolate that day.  That was before I discovered the problem with me and my soup creations – whenever I start measuring them to give you a recipe, those versions are invariably never as good as the ones I throw together.

I did make the first iteration of this chocolate recipe on January 10th.  I think that counts, even though I am not posting the recipe until January 28th, which is, incidentally, the deadline for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, created by Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried.  This month  Lauren of Celiac Teen is hosting.

go ahead its gluten free

Lauren picked the theme Follow the Calendar, which is perfect for those of us who miss things like January is National Oatmeal Month or that January 4 is National Spaghetti Day.  Seeing as January is National Soup Month, I picked soup since I could post about it any day this month.  Little did I know that I would end up with a chocolate recipe.  That’s ok.  This is amongst some of the best bittersweet chocolate recipes out there – it reminds me of the berry-based dark chocolate bars I used to love, which are now all of limits seeing as they contain cane sugar, not to mention that gluten-free dairy-free chocolate is hard to find to begin with.  I had started relying on 100% unsweetened chocolate but I sometimes find myself having a reaction, probably because of trace amounts of dairy which seem to give me instant congestion – how it took me until I was 30 to figure out I was intolerant to dairy never ceases to surprise me, though it is true now that just a bit of dairy or gluten will give me a reaction very quickly, and it did not use to be like this.  I have tried a couple of agave-based specialty raw chocolates, but they are pricey and while some taste out of this world, some taste like dust.

This year one of my resolutions was to make my own chocolate more often (incidentally, I made resolutions, but still need to post them).  I have been playing around with the idea of making my own chocolate bar instead of cups.  Growing up in Switzerland means that chocolate bars (usually referred to as tablets) were my mainstay (except for After Eights of course).  Fancy boxes of chocolate were for adults and gifts.  I am sure I could purchase the correct mold, but when I was making a loaf of almond bread recently, I realized that the pan that Elana (who has basically become my almond flour baking guru at this point. The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook is one of my go-to cookbooks) recommends would be perfect for a large chocolate bar. I mean, look at the pan, lined with plastic and with the chocolate in it:

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And while not perfect, this looks chocolate bar like, no?

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I need to stretch the plastic wrap better.

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Better yet, while I love 100% unsweetened dark chocolate, I have been enjoying this creation as with a bit of stevia it is just slightly sweetened.  You can also use a combination of stevia and agave. The cranberries also offer a nice sweetness despite their tart edge.  I used cranberries made according to Ricki’s oven-dried cranberries recipe, which I adore.  You can of course substitute fruit-juice sweetened cranberries.  I am so pleased with how this recipe recreates the taste bittersweet chocolate.  My next step is to acquire some cacoa butter and make more of my own chocolate.  While I love using coconut oil for chocolate, it is a bit melty, so I would like to try cacao butter.

Speaking of Ricki, author of Diets, Desserts and Dogs, who co-hosts the S.O.S. Kitchen Challenge with Kim of Affairs of Living, guess what this month’s ingredient for the challenge is?

It is coconut oil, so this recipe is my submission to the event.  This recipe is both indulgent and gluten-free, so I am also submitting it to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. and The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten-Free Wednesday.

Cranberry Almond Bittersweet Chocolate (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Low-Glycemic, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free and Refined-Sugar-Free Options)

Makes 1 “bar” chocolate

  • 3 Tbsps coconut oil, melted (I love this one from Garden of Life)
  • 15 drops NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia (for sugar-free version) *or* 10 drops NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia and 1/2 Tbsp agave(for refined-sugar-free version).  See Note, below.
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao (I love this one from Navitas)
  • 2 Tbsps slivered blanched almonds (I am a huge fan of nutsonlinefor buying nuts)
  • 1/4 cup oven dried cranberries (use only stevia when making the cranberries to make this recipe sugar-free; or substitute with frruit-sweetened dried cranberries)

Line your chocolate mold with plastic wrap.

Mix the coconut oil with the stevia, and, agave if using.  Add raw cacao and stir until combined. Add almonds and cranberries.  Stir until combined and pour into your mold.  Place model in freezer until chocolate hardens, about 10 to 15 minutes.  I usually give it at least 30 to 45 minutes.  Slice into squares.

Note: If you do not have vanilla stevia, you could substitute half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and either 15 or 10 drops of plain stevia.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lavanya January 29, 2011 at 4:45 am

how very cool that you made your own chocolate!! I need to try it sometime.(also need to try your faux after-eights- I LOVE after eights)

and I have that problem often- my 'non-measured' creations are usually tastier than when I try to quantify the 'amounts' of ingredients used- so I totally get that!


2 Naomi Devlin January 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

Looks delicious! I also like the crinkly appearance – it shows that it really was made in your kitchen and not some factory. Bookmarked! xx x


3 Kim - Affairs of Living January 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Oh Valerie, this sounds great! I love chocolate and this is absolutely up my alley. Thanks so much for submitting such a great recipe…you have my mouth watering! xo


4 Aubree Cherie February 1, 2011 at 5:59 pm

This looks amazing Valerie! I melt chocolate and mix in stevia all the time, but I've never thought to put other flavors in it. Yum! I've linked this recipe to My fav top 10 recipes from last week post. Thanks!

~Aubree Cherie


5 Simply...Gluten-free February 1, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Beautiful! As mush as I like soup I would pick chocolate any day!


6 withoutadornment February 1, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I love how you made your own chocolate! I haven't been brave enough to try it.


7 Amy February 3, 2011 at 8:21 am

These look absolutely delicious. Love there are so many "free" things going on in this recipe! 😀


8 Tasty Eats At Home February 5, 2011 at 3:31 am

Great job! This looks and sounds delicious.


9 sea March 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

How fun- a homemade chocolate bar! I have to try this. And I must hunt down your faux After Eights. I have a feeling that I would love them!



10 Alfakatzz March 20, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Not sure what I did wrong, but followed the recipe and it was never liquid enough to pour or mold. I added 3 tablespoons more coconut oil and still no melty. Help!


11 Valerie @ City|Life|Eats March 21, 2011 at 2:07 am

@Alfakatzz – I am so sorry you are having trouble with the recipe. I have two ideas of what might be wrong:

1. did you melt the coconut oil completely or was it sort of half hard, half melted when you started? I find that it is key to make sure the coconut oil is completely melted at the outset.
2. what type of coconut oil did you use? I have only use the Garden of Life one i mention to make this recipe – I have used it several times, and it has always worked ,but it seems that different types of coconut oil are processed differently, so that might be part of the problem.

Please feel free to email me directly at citylifeeats at gmail dot com if you I can answer any questions.


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