No doubt, your Facebook and Instagram feeds are blowing up with chocolate and Valentine's Day treats in all of the ways. I'm about to add to that, but in a really, really good way. Like in the "Hey, I'll actually make that because it looks easy enough" or "Hey, no refined sugar? I think I'll like it here!" way.
Don't get me wrong, I love looking at the beautiful cakes, cupcakes, and cookies people so carefully and lovingly create but I have zero patience for making them so delicately- and I'm kinda sorta jealous of all you awesomely talented people. These days, by which I mean since I started having kids, I'm all about the speed and instant gratification. I'm in the kitchen, racing against the clock most days, and by the time the kids are in bed, I have zero energy to do anything else but Netflix the evening away. I mean, I occasionally do things like fold laundry, make lunches, or curl up into a ball and fall asleep. But that doesn't mean I don't want to do special Valentine's Day things like make awesome looking desserts.
The other problem is I have zero self-control around sugar. If I make it, I'll eat it all. But if you've been following me the last few weeks, you'll know I've recently found a way to try and balance things out. Like with these two-bite cashew butter lovies. They are decadent and luxurious in all of the ways dark chocolate can be. Tiny, loveable bites of dark chocolate, lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener of your choice, filled with creamy (or crunchy) all-natural cashew butter, and topped with a touch of decadence like slivered almonds, chopped nuts, or coarse sea salt, in the way of Salt Bae.
It's like opening up a box of chocolates and having one indulgent one, maybe two, putting the lid back on because you've had a couple of pieces and you know how to limit yourself. That, my friends, is my way of adulting. My cashew butter lovies are my answer to adulting and my method of adulting. I have gotten closer to finding zen. Probably not, but let's just roll with it.
Over the last few weeks, I've made several different combinations of these lovies ranging from almond butter to cashew butter and my favorite has been cashew butter. That's not to say other combinations haven't been good because they've been delicious. Both The Mister and the kids went crazy for this combination, sprinkled with sea salt, specifically so I'll stick to this combo for the time being.
Let's talk a little bit more about these bite sized candies:
√ This is a minimally processed type of candy so the enzymes you find in commercially prepared chocolate candy to prolong shelf life are absent. I use unsweetened chocolate, natural sweetener, and coconut oil. That's all that goes into this chocolate base. Because coconut oil has a much lower melting point than most fats, you'll need to store the lovies in the fridge, ideally, the freezer-in an air-tight container. They also remind me of ice cream bites out of the freezer so indulge away, in the good way, my friends.
√ I used this all natural sweetener, which has a lower glycemic index, great for people who don't want to see their blood sugar spike- if you want to stick to keto and use this a fat bomb, use a keto friendly sweetener. The sweetener I used specifically is like a liquid sugar and more concentrated so you end up needed less. I got mine from Whole Foods for half the price, but you can find it at any health food store. I've used as little as 3 tbsp for entire batch and still have had my candy turn out sweet enough for me. Or if you prefer to have it sweeter, you can use more. I've also used maple syrup and needed more, sometimes over ¼ cup to get it sweet enough. When you're tasting the chocolate, as you're preparing, the bitter notes will come through when the chocolate is melted. Don't worry, once it solidifies, and when combined with a nut butter where the sweet notes of the nuts are naturally enhanced, the chocolate will be sweet enough.
√ I prefer to use unsweetened baking chocolate and usually get the best quality possible for me. Don't go broke and spend all your savings on crazy expensive chocolate if all you can afford is cocoa powder. Use that instead. Just know that your texture will be different. When working with the chocolate, I like to melt it over a double boiler (pot filled halfway with water, brought to a simmer on the stove, with a larger heat safe bowl that fits over the pot, but doesn't sink into the water, filled with the chocolate so the diffused heat melts the chocolate) so I don't scorch the chocolate but other people have really great results with microwaving for 30 second increments until fully melted. Use whichever method you like best.
√ Cashew butter is my nut butter of choice because it has these rich, sweet undertones. I use a nut butter that has no added ingredients other than the nut itself, which you can find in most grocery stores. Or you can try making your own which is essentially blending the nuts in a powerful blender or food processor, until you get a smooth, creamy consistency. If you really love peanut butter like Little Man does, go ahead and dish that stuff out in the middle- it's a classic. And dark chocolate and peanut butter are a marriage with marriage goals.
√ I'm a fiend for sea salt anything. In this particular candy, the salt adds a complex note unparalleled by any other flavor. I've also been more into salt lately after reading Salt, Fat, Acid, and Heat and am discovering new ways in which salt elevates foods and their flavors.
√ I used this heart-shaped mold to make the lovies more festive, but you can simply use a mini muffin pan, lined with mini muffin cupcake liners and fill and freeze. Or use a regular muffin pan but the bigger your candy, the more chocolate and nut butter you'll need to fill and the fewer pieces you'll end up with.
How will you be spending your Valentine's Day? As for me, given that I prefer a quiet night in most nights, maybe a fire, rogan josh, and a few of these lovies. I would love to see you make these lovies and feature them. Tag me on instagram!
Until next time, my wonderful friends!Print
Cashew Butter Lovies
- Prep Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Cook Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Yield: 20-24 hearts 1x
- 5 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, broken into pieces
- 4-5 tbsp natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or apple sweetener* (or less if you prefer less sweet)
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ to ¾ cup cashew butter or nut butter alternative**
- a pinch of sea salt, plus more for garnishing
- OPTIONAL GARNISHES: chopped cashews, chopped almonds, unsweetened coconut flakes, flaked sea salt
- Using the double boiler method, melt chocolate completely on low heat and stir in coconut oil. Stir in liquid sweetener and pinch of sea salt. Alternatively, combine coconut oil and chocolate and microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, until chocolate is fully melted. Stir in sweetner and pinch of sea salt.
- Pour 2 tsp of melted chocolate into candy mold or paper lined muffin tin. Add 1 tsp nut butter on top, pressing down if needed. cover with 1-2 tsp melted chocolate, sprinkle with sea salt and garnishes of your choice and freeze until the chocolate is fully solid, about 1 hour.
- To store, refrigerate in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Chocolate melts faster than regular candy at room temp.
*I got a low glycemic apple sweetener from Whole Foods.
**I've used almond, peanut, and pistachio butter but like cashew butter the best