We need to talk about chocolate.
The longest love affair I’ve had has been with chocolate. I wonder if, as a toddler, I actually realized I loved those nice people taking care of me as solidly as I knew my taste buds loved the cacao bean. What? Relationships are complicated enough for a full-grown adult, let alone a toddler who doesn’t even have a grasp on language yet. But chocolate? You don’t need a language for chocolate. There’s nothing cerebral about it. It’s instant gratification. Instant love. I don’t think this is uncommon. It is much more rare to despise chocolate than to love it, no? To love chocolate so deeply is to count oneself in the majority.
However, how I eat chocolate? There may be some discrepancies here. So many people seem to take their good old time with it. They buy a bar, break of a piece, let it melt in their mouth, maybe take another square, and then wrap up the rest for LATER. Seriously? In college, I would buy a Cadbury bar from CVS and bite into it as aggressively and passionately as one would a crisp apple. Not sliced, skin on. Not sliced… but yes, okay, wrapper off.
You know those Dove Chocolate commercials? The ones in which the girl takes a bite so small it probably requires her six bites total to eat one tiny square? She always eats in slow motion. What are the people in the chocolate business trying to tell us? Eating in slow-mo somehow means you’re savoring this cocoa luxury more than you would if you ate it in real time? Um, I disagree. I savor my chocolate with the zeal of a lion taking down a zebra. I think that means my love is true love. It also means I could never be in a chocolate commercial.
The first time I tried this approach with a white chocolate Easter bunny, I think my teeth began to weep. My taste buds might have begun having suicidal thoughts. This wasn’t chocolate. It was illegal amounts of cane sugar and milk parading as one of the world’s most beloved heroes. I’ve never liked white chocolate. In fact, I’ve never even tolerated white chocolate.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s something along the lines of, “You chocolate racist.” Rest assured: I’ve seen the light. The white light. No, not that white light; Trust me, I’ve learned that tunnel vision isn’t my cup of tea.
I’ve been converted: I love white chocolate.
It was not the instant gratification I spoke of before. No instant love. No love at first sight. It was not flirting-turned-fervor in a romantic comedy sort of way. It was not sentimental or stylized.
It was an odyssey. Like building any relationship – romantic, platonic, or familial. I think we fail to see that Love takes root everywhere in our lives. It takes root between ourselves and the people to whom we show our soft underbellies. It takes root just as equally between ourselves and the people to whom we do nothing more but offer a daily “hello.”
The concept of having one day devoted to Love (and primarily only a certain type of love!) seems silly to me when the fabric of our every day is Love. I guess it is much easier to forget and simply make one mid-February day our yearly alarm clock to remind us. But what if we didn’t need a reminder?
How about making tomorrow morning the beginning of a lifetime rather than just the beginning of a day? It could be the start of always taking time to notice the Love growing through the cracks of the sidewalk, and consciously choosing to help it flourish.
White Chocolate Hearts (without sugar!)
I know this probably goes without saying, but this white chocolate can be made into any shape, any time of year! Try a white chocolate bar or white chocolate chips!
Also, you may want to make your hearts thinner than I did. Not only did I make them a bit thick, but I went a little wild with the vanilla powder, meaning it all sunk to the bottom in the hardening process. Don’t worry – this won’t happen to you.
*Note that I submitted this recipe to Diet, Dessert, and Dogs’ Wellness Weekend!
1/4 cup raw cacao/cocoa butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground vanilla bean (optional – I like the look of vanilla flecks in my chocolate!)
3 Tbsp coconut flour
pinch himalayan pink salt
6-7 drops vanilla stevia (I can only attest to the deliciousness of NuNaturals Alcohol-Free Vanilla Stevia)
1) Place raw cacao butter in double boiler (or a homemade one – glass jar in a small sauce pan!)
2) Heat the water over medium heat so that the butter begins and continues to melt. Simmer until fully melted.
3) Measure out 1/4 cup of the butter if you haven’t already done so.
4) Mix cacao butter with remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. It will look yellow – do not fear, it will lighten as it hardens.
5) Line a pan with wax paper, and place cookie cutters or chocolate molds on the wax paper. Pour white chocolate into the cookie cutters or molds to desired thickness and then immediately put into freezer to avoid leaking!
6) Remove from freezer after at least 2 hours and DEMOLISH.