Learn how to make espresso flavoured raw vegan chocolate bars that resemble Nucao’s espresso chocolate bar but come with a third of the price. You’ll need only 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time.
Before we go on, I’d like to share the story behind those chocolate bars. I’m such a fan of Nucao’s chocolate bars, my favourite being their espresso bar. The trouble is that in Estonia those delicious bars tend to be overly expensive – €3.15 ($3.77) per a 40g (1.4oz) bar. Now, if I wanted to enjoy a bar daily, it would cost me almost €95 per month. Needless to say, this is not an amount I’d be reluctant to spend on any chocolate.
To cut the long story short, I went on a mission to create my own espresso bar that would be as similar to Nucao’s as possible. And I succeeded! Now, whenever my kid is asking whether we have Nucao chocolate at home, I know he’s referring to my own version of it!
And the best part is that now, instead of €3.15 my 40-gram serving only costs 70 cents! Of course, the cost may vary depending on where you buy your stuff from. For example, I’ve found a few e-shops locally that offer bulk packages and therefore the prices are very favourable.
My espresso-flavoured raw vegan chocolate bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and refined sugar free. Furthermore, the recipe is also adjustable for Candida diet.
For me, not a day goes by without a good quality vegan dark chocolate or candy bars, preferably homemade. And don’t get me wrong, I’m still healthy! It’s because this recipe is a health food compared to any regular store-bought milk chocolate containing refined sugars and who knows what else.
Table of contents
- How to Make Espresso-Flavoured Vegan Chocolate Bars
How to Make Espresso-Flavoured Vegan Chocolate Bars
Needless to say, I only use wholesome plant-based ingredients to make those vegan chocolate bars.
Cacao paste and butter
Let’s start with the key ingredients, i.e. cacao paste and cacao butter. Now, cacao paste can also be called cocoa paste, cacao liquor or cocoa liquor. It’s basically ground cacao beans. You may also see cacao butter referred to as cocoa butter. Both, cacao paste, and cacao butter can be bought in chunks or as buttons. I personally find buttons more convenient. It’s because you’d need to chop the big chunks on a chopping board to get the needed quantity resulting in more mess to clean up later.
It’s important to note that raw cacao paste has not been heated above 45°C (114°F) and contains a naturally rich supply of antioxidants. Moreover, it is also known to be one of the highest dietary sources of magnesium.
In case you cannot obtain cacao paste and butter, feel free to use 100% dark chocolate instead.
Next, I decided to go for coconut sugar as sweetener. The reason is that also Nucao bars use coconut sugar, and I wanted my bars to taste very similar. The being said, you can definitely choose a different kind if sweetener. For example, for a Plantricious version I suggest using date sugar and for those on Candida diet, erythritol or xylitol. However, make sure to grind those as well! Otherwise they won’t dissolve. If you’re concerned about the last two sweeteners, I suggest you read my article where I address both:Low Glycemic Sweeteners and How to Use Them.
It’s noteworthy that those vegan chocolate bars are not overly sweet. This is one of the things that I love about the Nucao bars as well. However, feel free to add more sweetener, if you feel the need to.
To balance out the subtle sweetness I added a pinch of Himalayan salt.
Nuts and seeds
In my opinion, the ingredients that make those vegan chocolate bars special, are hemp hearts (also called as hulled hemp seeds) and ground almonds.
The amount that you’re going to use in this recipe makes the chocolate mass very thick. In fact, it’s not the usual pourable liquid chocolate at all! And to be honest, I find this being one of the best qualities of this recipe. To be more precise, we end up with less saturated fat and more healthy monounsaturated fats found in hemp seeds and almonds.
And last but not least there’s ground coffee – the heavenly flavour that really makes this vegan chocolate bar exceptional! I use a quality specialty coffee that my hubby buys for himself. Now, I’m more than sure that if you go for the cheaper pre-ground varieties in a regular supermarket, your result would be somewhat different.
Directions for My Raw Vegan Chocolate Bars
The good news is that it’s extremely easy to make those healthy espresso chocolate bars. Here’s what you need:
- A heatproof bowl and a saucepan or a double boiler, or a microwave oven.
- Silicone chocolate mould(s) (don’t worry if you don’t have them – I’ll explain down below what you can do instead).
Melting the cacao paste and butter
First, place both cacao paste and butter into a heatproof bowl. Then, bring water to simmer in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Now, set the heatproof bowl in the mouth of the pot, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the saucepan. Make sure not to let even a drop of water to come in contact with your cocoa mass. You can also use a double boiler or a water bath melt dish, if you have one.
Prepping nuts and coconut sugar
While the cacao mass melts, grind your almonds and coconut sugar. I suggest you grind a larger quantity and store the leftovers in separate jars so that can make the next batch quicker.
By the way, there’s an extra step you can take! I like to soak my almonds for at least 8 hours and then dehydrate them before grinding. The reason is that soaking nuts enhances mineral absorption and makes them easier to digest.
When the chocolate has been melted, it’s simply down to mixing in the rest of the ingredients. The mass will be quite thick, so don’t freak out! It’s definitely not pourable.
Moulding and cooling
The final step is to transfer the chocolate mass into silicone chocolate bar mould, spread it out evenly and refrigerate until it’s firmed up. It’ll take about 30 minutes.
This vegan chocolate bars recipe fills one silicone chocolate bar mould. To be honest, I highly recommend you double the recipe and make two bars (if you have more than one mould), especially if you have a family.
What if you don’t have a special chocolate bar mould? In this case you can use silicone candy moulds or even muffin forms instead. Should you go for the latter, press a thin layer of the chocolate mass at the bottom of each form.
Provided you don’t have any silicone moulds, you have several options:
- Firstly, use paper muffin or candy moulds.
- Secondly, line a smaller bread tin with parchment paper and press the mass at the bottom of the tin. Make sure to leave the parchment paper stick out on the sides or ends of the tin so that you can easily remove the chocolate bar once it’s cooled down.
- And thirdly, you can simply line a baking sheet or a larger plate with parchment paper and spread the chocolate mass out as thick or thin as you like. In case it doesn’t fit into the fridge, let it firm up at room temperature.
A tip! And finally, the second and third option require cutting the chocolate bars into smaller pieces later on. The trick here is to use a sharp knife as well as sawing in the lines before you actually start to cut through the cooled chocolate bars. That way it won’t break at random places so easily.
How to Store Those Raw Vegan Chocolate Bars
Those espresso-flavoured raw vegan chocolate bars are an excellent meal prep item. Here’s what you do to store them:
- Break into squares/pieces.
Start by breaking your chocolate bars into squares or pieces. If you didn’t use a silicone mould, check the tips above.
- Place the squares into a container.
Choose any container that you have at home. By the way, it doesn’t necessarily need to be sealable.
- Store the container in the fridge.
Place the container with the chocolate squares into fridge and store for up to a few weeks. However, I bet they won’t last for that long!
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Learn how to make espresso flavoured vegan chocolate bars that resemble Nucao’s espresso chocolate bar and come with a third of the price at the same time.
- First, place both cacao paste and butter into a heatproof bowl. Then, bring water to simmer in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Now, set the heatproof bowl in the mouth of the pot, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the saucepan. Make sure not to let even a drop of water to come in contact with your cocoa mass. You can also use a double boiler or a water bath melt dish, if you have one.
- While the chocolate is melting, grind the almonds and coconut sugar using a spice/coffee grinder.
- Next, mix into the cacao mass: coconut sugar, salt and ground coffee.
- After that add hemp hearts as well as ground almonds and mix everything well.
- Now, take a silicone chocolate bar mould and scoop the chocolate mass into the mould spreading it out evenly. Lastly, give the mould a little shake on both directions to even it out.
- Finally, put the mould into the fridge and let sit until firm (at least half an hour, better an hour).
In case you’re on Candida diet, substitute coconut or date sugar with erythritol or xylitol. Make sure to grind those as well! Otherwise they won’t dissolve. Learn more Low Glycemic Sweeteners and How to Use Them.
You might also replace coconut sugar with date sugar but then the flavour would turn out a bit different.
In case you cannot obtain cacao paste and butter, feel free to use 90-100% dark chocolate instead.
I suggest (if possible) to use specialty coffee beans or ground coffee for maximum flavour. If the grind is finer than that of V60, measure your coffee by weight, i.e. 2 grams or 0.07 ounces.
Feel free to use hazelnuts instead of almonds.
I suggest you soak the almonds (or hazelnuts) for at least 8 hours and then dehydrate them before grinding. Soaking makes them easier to digest and enhances mineral absorption. There’s no need to soak hemp hearts though.
Make a double batch if you have a family!
Storage: break the bars into squares and store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Raw
- Serving Size: 1/3 of recipe
- Calories: 230.3 kcal
- Sodium: 51mg
- Fat: 19g
- Saturated Fat: 7g
- Carbohydrates: 7.7g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 6.6g
Keywords: raw chocolate, chocolate bars
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