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This month’s herb is Hawthorn. We chose hawthorn because it is the herb every herbalist thinks of when they think of heart health. Hawthorn, valentines day, love, and general heart opening body loving goodness was the inspiration of these chocolates, which are what those of you who received an herb box got in your box. I love these chocolates. They are the perfect way to get heart healthy herbal goodness into your body without the unpleasant taste of tinctures. I make a batch for my husband every few weeks so he can enjoy the heart healthy goodness at work and on the go, and I don’t have to sit on him and force it down his throat, he is taking his “medicine” willingly. Eating herbs as food helps your body use all of the medicinal benefits of the plant, so if an herb is deliciously edible like Hawthorn, you should definitely experiment with how to enjoy them in all sorts of different recipes. You can find some great recipes in this month’s (February 2014) Hawthorn issue – if you are reading this after February 2014, you can find the issue in our shop as a PDF or on Amazon as a Kindle file or in Print.
About The Ingredients:
Cocoa contains more antioxidants than red wine and green and black tea. These antioxidants are released when the cocoa is warmed up. It contains flavinoids which help improve cardiovascular function, blood pressure, and heart health. These flavanoids have also been lined to an increase in blood flow to the brain improving memory and possibly reducing the chances of dementia. Lets not forget it is a well known aphrodisiac and makes worries go away. Traditionally cocoa was enjoyed in spicy, not sweet brews, and as a ceremonial herb, not a day to day treat. Be sure when you buy cocoa that it is coming from a fair trade source. If not you might be supporting what is akin to slavery to grow your cocoa. That can’t be energetically good can it?
Hawthorn is most commonly known as superb herb for the heart and circulatory system. In fact many herbalists consider it the herb for the heart. It’s gentle action nourishes and tones, strengthening the whole circulatory system. Hawthorn is a trophorestorative for the heart. Meaning that it brings balance to the heart when used long term, truly and deeply helping to correct excess or deficient tendencies while revitalizing both function and structure. Wondrous in its capacity as a heart tonic, hawthorn has the ability to stimulate or depress the heart and circulatory system in response to the needs of the body. It is used to treat both high and low blood pressure and may help those suffering with postural hypotension. It’s rich antioxidant content provides excellent nourishment for the body and heart offering protection from free radical damage. To learn more about hawthorn get the February 2014 Hawthorn issue here.
Rose is rich in vitamins A, B, K, flavonoids, and polyphenols. The flavor and smell can not be missed. The delicate floral flavor helps us turn inward and open the heart to love from our selves and others.
Maca is a root related to a radish that grows in the mountains of peru. It is a touted “super food”, because it is a food and can be enjoyed like any other food. It is highly nutritious and rich in vitamins B, C and E as well as providing calcium, zinc, magnesium, iron and amino acids. It balances hormones thus boosting libido, increases fertility and endurance. It helps balance the mood and generally nourish the body.
Cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood sugar, cholesterol and reduce inflammation (another cause of heart disease). It is delicious, sweet, and warming which helps balance the cooling rose in the chocolates adding a wonderful flavor balance and health promoting boost.
A quick note: I don’t share a lot of food recipes. The reason is because creating a recipe like this is very personal. Some people enjoy lighter chocolate, some darker chocolate. Some can’t do sugar, and some can. I personally dislike the after taste of stevia which is why this recipe has both stevia and sugar, to lower the sugar content but still maintain the sweetness the general population might enjoy. What I am saying is, feel free to modify this recipe to fit your own needs. Try adding some elderberry to the mix, or ginger instead of cinnamon. At the end of the recipe I will share some herbal chocolate making tips to help trouble shoot your chocolate making adventures.
Hawthorn Herbal Chocolate Recipe
Hawthorn Recipe – Hawthorn Herbal Chocolate
- 1 cup organic cocoa butter, melted – make sure your cocoa butter is edible! (I got mine here)
- 1/2 cup organic cocoa powder (I got mine here)
- 2/3 cup organic coconut cream (I used canned coconut milk, full fat and scraped the cream from the water at the bottom. I like this brand because it is organic and in BPA free cans).
- 1/2 cup organic rose petals (I got mine here)
- 1/4 cup organic hawthorn powder (I got mine here)
- 1/4 cup organic maca powder (I got mine here)
- 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract (make your own or buy it here)
- 3 droppers full of liquid stevia extract (make your own or buy it here)
- 1-3 tablespoons of organic powdered sugar – to taste (I buy this brand)
- a medium pinch of organic cinnamon powder (I got mine here)
- a small pinch of sea salt (this is the brand I use)
- glass pyrex measuring cup, 4 cups or larger size
- large pot
- whisk or immersion mixer
- coffee grinder or mortar and pestle (I use a coffee grinder)
- chocolate molds (optional) – These are the ones I used and I am very happy with them.
- Place your solid cocoa butter in the pyrex measuring cup. When you place the cocoa butter in there you want about a cup and a half of the un-melted cocoa butter, so when it melts it equals 1 cup.
- Place your glass container into a pot with water in it. The water should go up about 1/4-1/2 the side of your pyrex measuring cup to melt the butter, but not splash boiling water into your chocolates. Turn the stove top to medium and allow the cocoa butter to melt. Be sure you have 1 cup of melted cocoa butter.
- While the cocoa butter is melting, place your rose petals and hawthorn berry powder into the coffee grinder and grind it until you reach a fine powder. Although the hawthorn powder would work without grinding it more, the rose petals need some extra bulk to grind into a fine powder. The hawthorn adds just enough extra oomph to turn the rose into a nice fine powder.
- Add your coconut cream to the bowl and whisk until combined.
- Turn the burner to “keep warm”.
- Add stevia and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
- Add cocoa powder, maca powder, and hawthorn rose powder, cinnamon and salt mix thoroughly.
- Taste your mix. At this point you should be able to see how sweet or bitter your mix is, and slowly add more stevia or sugar to reach your personal preference. Add sugar or stevia to taste. Your mix will be more bitter once it cools than it is when it is warm, so I find I need to add a little more sweetener to the warm mix to have a finished product with the right flavor.
- Mix everything thoroughly, you don’t want pools of cocoa butter at the top of your mix or your chocolates will look funny.
- Pour quickly into chocolate molds or onto a pan lined with parchment paper, smoothing the chocolate into the molds with a chopstick or the back of a butter knife as needed. and refrigerate for an hour. Pop out of molds and enjoy!
- I like to keep these refrigerated. They should be good for up to two weeks.
Tips aka Learn From My Mistakes
- When you are making chocolate, you don’t want a lot of extra oil on top once you have mixed in your other ingredients. If you don’t stir the chocolate well before pouring it in the molds, those pools of cocoa butter will move to the top of your chocolate and leave a white layer. Its still very edible but not as pretty. Stir between pours too!
- Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and great in chocolate, but it leaves it looking kind of gross.
- The rose petals are what give the chocolate the chunky texture, depending on how fine you powder it and how much you add. To reduce that texture, reduce the amount of rose petals, just replace that with another herb of your choice, or more maca.
- Don’t buy fancy chocolate molds from the craft store. They look nice but get junk stuck in them and don’t work as well as basic simple elegant molds.
- Always buy organic fair trade chocolate.
- Modify this recipe to fit your tastes. Add more or less cocoa, sweetener, herbs, and experiment with the herbs you add. I have added elderberry to great effect, it adds a beautiful berry like flavor. Experiment, discover and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this delicious heart healthy chocolate as much as I do. What better way is there to nourish your body and your heart than with these delicious chocolates.