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Before we dive into this recipe, lets talk pheromones, yes you heard me right… pheromones!
Pheromones are chemicals secreted by the body that may influence the behavior of those of the same species. Research shows each person produces pheromones with a unique chemical formula. But did you know there are certain foods such as chocolate that can mimic human pheromones.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains a pheromone that has been linked to the feelings of happiness and good moods. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a stimulant that causes a sense of excitement and well-being. According to CBS News, the pheromone in chocolate is similar to the hormone dopamine. This is perhaps the reason so many people eat chocolate when they are stressed or worried.
I will be very honest here, I am not a strong chocolate lover. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy chocolate but if you were to set a bowl of fresh cherries and a bowl of chocolates in front of me… the cherries would be gone in no time flat. Chocolate just doesn’t tempt me. My grandmother on the hand, well shoot, I have witnessed her down a box of chocolate covered cherries in one sitting. A big box, all by herself! And trust me, she is an itty bitty thing. I don’t know how she does it.
So, there is science behind chocolate, but who really cares, right? What we really care about right now is making these lovely morsels and devouring them! For this recipe, I used store-bought, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, soy-free, free-trade, vegan chocolate chips (well that was a mouthful!). I get many emails from readers who have a hard time getting their hands on raw cacao powder so I wanted to test it out using store-bought chocolate. That way I can help those of you out there who can’t readily obtain raw cacao. For those of you who wish to make this with raw chocolate, you can do so… Ok, let’s get busy.
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.
Next I am going to share with you WHAT NOT TO DO… I thought I would save some time by dropping a handful of my dried almond stuffed cherries into the bowl of melted chocolate. Seemed logical to me. But as you can see it made for some “not so appealing” chocolate nuggets. Mind you, they tasted amazing but not so pretty to look at. Lesson learned… some things are not meant to be rushed.
In the photo below I tried again with an extra dose of patience. I dipped the cherries in dark and white chocolate. This round I took my time and dipped one cherry at a time. You can see the difference it made.
Towards the end, I saved a little white chocolate and dark chocolate to use for drizzling. I put the melted chocolate into a Ziplock baggies, pressed the air out, snipped the bottom corner and wa-la, a piping bag! I gently squeezed the bag as I quickly passed over the cherries. The quicker you are, the thinner the stream will be, making it more delicate looking. This process takes just a matter of seconds.
Next, allow the chocolate to harden. DO NOT put them straight into the fridge! The moisture from the fridge will cause a discoloration of the chocolate. It won’t effect the taste but they won’t look as pretty. Today, was a warm day outside which translated into warm temptures in the house. This made it hard for my chocolates to harden so I grabbed my trays and went on a hunt for a cool spot in the house. After several rooms, I came upon a nice chilled room… the “work-in progress” massage room! So there are my cherries, spread out on the massage table, just’a chilling! lol
After the chocolates have hardened (thank you sweetie for volunteering to make sure, it took 4 to make sure lol) you can now store them. If you REALLY want to get technical, you should wear white cotton gloves when handling chocolates, this prevents fingerprints and smudges from happening. But if this isn’t a concern to you, pop those babies off the trays right into your favorite storage container, I am guessing your mouth can only hold about 8 of them, so you will need to find a larger container. :) I have several pictures to share with you. I wanted to give you some ideas on how to be creative with them. I hope you don’t mind. But before I show you all of those, below I posted a picture of how I am freezing some of mine. I took a piece of cardboard and lined it with tinfoil. I then placed the chocolate stuffed cherries on the board and wrapped a piece of plastic wrap around them. I then slid the cherries into a FoodSaver bag and sealed it. It worked like a charm. This way, it won’t get spoiled with freezer burn!
Below, I used small jars and snack sized Ziplocks to create gift sized portions. Using my computer and my never-failing Print Shop program, I made special labels for them. I have entirely too much fun with all of this!
Next, I used small little plastic bags (used for suckers, found in the candy making section) and placed 5 treats per bag and tied them closed with twine. Below, this box that I found at Michael’s Craft Store worked perfectly for creating an assortment box for gift giving.
Ok, last but not least… if you have a patient partner who has to put up with smelling your wonderful creations, who has to walk by time and time again and gets his hands slapped as he/she tries to sneak one here and there, they deserve their very own “Stash”!!! This is important, so don’t forget this step. Below, is Bob’s…