100% customizable homemade chocolates made special with your loving hands. This Instant Pot trick makes it easy and fun too!
Today is a big BIG day! Today is all about CHOCOLATE. Big day = Chocolate, I'm sure you all understand.
We're not just talkin' about any ol' chocolate. Oh no. We're talking about DARK chocolate, AKA the best kind of chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate lovers stay where you are. You're gonna need to hear this, too.
I could talk for hours about my love for dark chocolate. The health benefits, my favorite brand, how to consume it every day and feel good about it . . . yep, we're covering all that today.
As recipe developing goes, there aren't many recipes on my site that I can say “I've been making this almost weekly, the exact same way, for 4 years straight.” In fact with this recipe going live today, that makes 2 recipes that qualify for this kind of bold statement, the other being Instant Pot Yogurt.
Yogurt and chocolate. My priorities are dead on.
Quick story about how these chocolates came about.
Several years ago I took an online course called Go Sugar Free where I gave up any and all sugar including honey, syrup, and other sweeteners for over 60 days. You can read more about that in this post titled The Decisions that Change Everything, but in a nutshell, I learned so much and it changed the course of my life in many wonderful ways.
By the end of the course, I achieved my ultimate goal of being free from sugar cravings which was HUGE for me.
However, I found that without sweet cravings in my life, I craved bitter so much more. Specifically, bitter chocolate.
As I searched for dark, DARK chocolate bars to enjoy, I soon discovered that the darker chocolate bars get, the more boring they become. As in, no company was putting nuts, peanut butter, sea salt, or caramel in the darkest of dark chocolate bars. I needed to fix this asap.
I started by making homemade chocolate bars in the Instant Pot which you can find on page 154 of Master the Electric Pressure Cooker, but I wanted something more portioned and a way to create more flavors at once. Basically my own personalized box of healthy chocolates.
Well, I searched Amazon for chocolate silicone molds and when I found these bonbon style molds, I knew I had my answer.
And the rest is history! For years now I have been making my very own chocolates with my favorite 90% Lindt Excellence bars and I enjoy them every evening after dinner.
They never get old, I love them with my whole heart, and even as dark as they are, with my special fillings, my kids love them (they also know to keep their little hands off of them, or else).
I've experimented off and on with different fillings and toppings over the years, but the 4 flavors I'm showing you today are my go tos, prepare for a salt/chocolate/texture theme.
- Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter (or almond butter is also amazing)
- Salted Dark Chocolate Caramel (it's actually date caramel, so no added sugar! See below for where to find it)
- Salted Dark Chocolate Crunch (and an ode to a Crunch bar except I'm using millet)
- Salted Peppermint Dark Chocolate (I add quite a bit of extract, my kids can smell the mint when I'm eating them!)
Let's get started!
WHY YOU WANT TO MAKE DIY CHOCOLATES
- YOU pick your percentage of chocolate and YOU pick your add-ins. Have you ever seen how much companies charge to make you a customizable chocolate bar? You're saving a bucket load doing this!
- It's simple, fun, and clean when compared to the traditional method of melting chocolate and trying to pour it into each individual mold without getting chocolate EVERYWHERE
- Gifts! My kids have been making homemade chocolates and chocolate bars as gifts for Christmas, Valentines, Birthdays, etc for several years now. Not only is it a joy for them to customize each chocolate according to what they know about the giftee, but individuals that receive these cutely decorated boxes are thrilled with the one of a kind chocolates they are eating.
- When was the last time you ate a chocolate stuffed with toffee, mini chocolate chips, and marshmallows? Ummm, never!
- Or had a zebra chocolate (dark and white chocolate swirled) speckled with colorful sprinkles? You're dying, right?
For today we are focusing on the chocolates I make for myself that are low in sugar and high in antioxidants, thanks to dark chocolate and healthy add-ins.
Before I jump in on how I do this, I'll be the first to admit that I'm likely breaking many rules on how to make perfect chocolates. There's no mention of “double boilers” and “tempering” here. This method is all about how to get my favorite chocolates in the world done in the least amount of time possible. If you are a professional chocolate maker, be kind.
Since I'm stuck in my 90% chocolate ways, I reached out to Lindt and they shipped me out various percentages of dark chocolate. Just for you, I tasted them all. They all deserve a quiet, glorious melt in your mouth moment, but my heart will forever go to 90%. My kids happy danced for 78% and my husband found his happy place at 85%.
HOW TO MAKE EASY HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES IN THE INSTANT POT
- Add a pinch of kosher salt and cacao nibs in each hole of the silicone tray (optional, unless you want my honest opinion, then it's not optional)
- Break one square of chocolate into 4 equal-ish pieces
- Squeeze the 4 pieces into one hole, repeat to fill your molds
- Place the molds on top of a trivet in the pressure cooker pot
- Cook for 2 minutes. Done! Perfectly melted chocolate, check!
- Add your favorite fillings like date caramels or
- All natural peanut butter (the PB from Thrive Market is soooo good!)
- Let the chocolates harden at room temperature, pop them out of the molds
- Voila! You just saved yourself a million dollars in homemade chocolates
VARIATIONS FOR HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE FILLINGS
For healthy options go with some of my favorites from over the years:
- Salted Nuts: pecans, cashews, peanuts, macadamia, etc
- Dried Fruit: raisins, pineapple, mango, craisins, date roll, etc
- Dried Spices: red pepper flakes, dried mint, cracked peppercorn, cayenne pepper, turmeric
- More Random Ideas: almond butter, peanut butter, Carob chips, uncooked quinoa or millet, peppermint extract, flaky salt, cacao nibs, Biena salted chickpeas, etc
My kid's favorite toppings however go like this:
- Chocolate chips of every variety, sprinkles, toffee bits, Nutella, crushed Oreos, marshmallows, graham crackers, M&Ms, caramel bits, cinnamon bears, and beyond
BEST DARK CHOCOLATE TO BUY
Feel free to pick whatever add-ins you like, but I have a strong opinion on what type of chocolate you should use.
I've used every chocolate bar, baking chocolate, chocolate chips, bark, melting chips known to mankind and the Lindt Dark Chocolate Excellence bars are the ONLY bar that will melt into a perfect pool of chocolate for me. Trust me on this one. I faithfully stalk their website for when there is a good sale, then I load up! Every now and again they go 50% off and I order $100 worth. Not even kidding right now. Don't tell my husband . . .
Nothing else that I've tried would ever completely melt. Without a full melt, my chocolates were just lumpy, weirdly textured, disappointing chocolates.
Despite my many attempts at research, I have no idea of the chemistry behind this, but the Lindt Excellence bars 70-90% are definitely the way to go.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DARK CHOCOLATE
Dark chocolate is one of the very few dessert foods that can legitimately be considered healthy. This is largely due to its high levels of antioxidants in the form of polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. Antioxidants are shown to protect the body from free radical molecules that may harm the healthy cells in the body leading to problems such as early aging, cancer, etc. I love this kind of knowledge! If you do too, read this article, Definition and Effects of Free Radicals.
The darker and less processed the chocolate, the higher the levels of antioxidants.
Studies of dark chocolate have shown that regular intake can decrease heart disease, improve brain function, elevate mood, and possibly protect your skin. For more info on this read 7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate.
DARK CHOCOLATE NUTRITION: DARK CHOCOLATE VS MILK CHOCOLATE
How does dark chocolate compare to milk chocolate? Let's take a look
40 grams of 90% dark chocolate contains 240 calories, 22 grams fat, and 3 grams of sugar. The first 3 ingredients of dark are chocolate, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder.
42 grams of milk chocolate contains 230 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 22 grams of sugar. The first 3 ingredients of milk chocolate are sugar, cocoa butter, and milk.
Interpretation: Dark chocolate contains more fat because it isn't diluted with milk, but only has a few more calories than milk. Dark chocolate contains much higher levels of antioxidants with a fraction of the sugar.
SO . . . IS DARK CHOCOLATE HEALTHY?
I'm gonna give that question a solid YES! Obviously eating it with abandon is going to result in negative effects but an ounce or two each day has been proven to be a positive addition to a healthy diet.
Now that you know how to make your own chocolates and feel awesome about making chocolate an essential addition to your every day, go pick up some Lindt Excellence bars and some silicone trays and get your Willy Wonka groove on!
I love these chocolates more than I can even express. I pack them along when I eat out for dinner, I stuff them in my carry on when I travel, and I want to cry when I'm stuck in a sketchy town in Hawaii without a decent dark chocolate option in sight.
Make some today for that special someone in your life. Make sure and hide some in the back of your pantry for later as well. They make the worse days so much better.
TOOL/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES IN THE INSTANT POT
- Instant Pot
- Chocolate Truffle Silicone Molds
- Lindt Dark Chocolate Excellence Bars
- Date Rolls/Date Caramel – I find these for about $5 near the produce area next to fresh Medjool dates. If you're buying them on Amazon, this Sweet Gourmet or Sincerely Nuts brands are the best price I found. The one-pound packages last me a very long time.
How to Make Homemade Chocolates in the Instant Pot
Completely customizable chocolates made with ease in the Instant Pot
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 24 chocolates
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 4 silicone chocolate molds with 6 cavities each
- Lindt Excellence Chocolate bar 70 – 90%, broken into 24 individual squares
- cacao nibs
- kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- date caramel – chopped into pieces about the size of a black bean
- uncooked millet or quinoa
- Peanut Butter (the all natural, sugar-free, runny kind)
- Mint extract
Other filling options: macadamia nuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, raisins, almond butter, shredded coconut, etc
- Add a small pinch of kosher salt to each cavity, followed by a pinch of cacao nibs.
- Break 1 square of chocolate into 4 pieces and squeeze it into one cavity. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate squares.
- Add 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot and place a short trivet inside. Top with two of the silicone trays.
- Place a taller trivet over the trays and top with the remaining two trays.
- Note: If you don’t have trivets that will work for this, just cook two trays at a time.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 2 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a quick release.
- Before taking the trays out of the pot, use a paper towel to dab away any water that has collected on the trays so it doesn't run into the chocolate (a little condensation may have gotten into the chocolates, that’s fine).
- Place trays on a cooling rack.
- To one tray, immediately add a pinch of millet to the top of the chocolate. Shake them gently to help the millet just barely settle into the chocolate.
- To another, push a piece of date caramel into the center.
- To another, add a drop of peppermint extract to each chocolate. A small pipette or small measuring spoon makes this process easier.
- For the final tray, get a scoop of peanut butter on a spoon. Use a second spoon to scrape small dollops of peanut butter into the center of each chocolate.
- Let sit at room temperature until hard. This can take anywhere from an hour to four hours depending on the temperature in your home.
- After hardened, pop out your creations and enjoy!
- Store chocolates in an airtight container at room temperature. The first 3 or 4 days have the best “melt in your mouth” feel.
- Use Lindt Excellence Chocolate bars to achieve perfectly melted chocolate every time
- If using a different brand of chocolate, be aware that it may not melt into a silky, smooth puddle like the Lindt Excellence bars, but it can still work! Just use a small knife or toothpick to smooth the chocolate into the mold once it is melted
- If you’re concerned with condensation that might drip into the chocolates, you can definitely cover them with foil. I don’t notice any difference in the final product so I don’t bother with the extra step
- Placing the chocolates in the freezer will harden them quickly. However, I felt like this gave the chocolates a dry texture so I prefer to let them sit at room temperature to harden
- As written, these chocolates are a healthy chocolate treat with minimal sugar and wholesome fillings. For a more traditional dessert chocolate try freezing small balls of Nutella, cookie butter, egg free cookie dough, buttercream frosting, etc and place that in the center after the chocolate is melted.
- Other “sweet treat” mix in ideas include white chocolate chips, marshmallows, toffee bits, crushed cookie pieces, sprinkles, etc. Personalize the chocolates for whomever you’re creating them!
Keywords: instant pot dessert, homemade chocolate, chocolate dessert