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Hardening Chocolate (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

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This chocolate is perfect for creating chocolate candies in molds or for dipping sweet treats into it.  Below I talk about melting the raw cacao butter, using two different methods; using the dehydrator or double boiler.  I tend to use the dehydrator method.  For this method you will need a dehydrator that has a large cavity, such as an Excalibur.

Once the chocolate is all mixed up and ready to use, it will be very thin at first.  As it cools, it thickens.  You can use it at any stage of viscosity.  If the chocolate gets to thick and hard to deal with, return it to the dehydrator or double boil to melt it back down.  This hardening chocolate won’t be snappy and shiny when dried.  That requires tempering and that is a style that requires practice, patience, and a more detail technique.

Regardless of which method you choose to use, I highly recommend grating the raw cacao butter into smaller bits.  This will speed up the melting process and it will melt evenly.  Make sure that your agave is at room temperature  and don’t let water get into the chocolate at any time throughout the process.  This can cause the chocolate to seize up and get clumpy.


  • 1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave nectar or maple syrup
  • Pinch Himalayan pink salt


Dehydrator method:

  1. You can use a double boiler method or dehydrator method (which is what I used).  I have a 9 tray Excalibur dehydrator which allows me to remove the trays and place bowls in the cavity of it.   It worked perfectly for this recipe.
  2. Shred about 1 cup of raw cacao butter in a 2 cup measuring cup.  You can use a bowl but this way once melted, you can double check your melted measurement (this just saves dishes).   Place the measuring cup in the dehydrator.  I also place a metal bowl in there to warm the surface of the bowl.
  3. Once the butter is completely melted pour the liquid into the metal bowl.  Whisk the cacao powder in, making sure to work out any lumps.
  4. Add the agave while you continue to whisk, then the pinch of sea salt.
  5. Proceed with making chocolates or covering your sweet treats.
  6. Place the finished treat in the fridge to harden or leave at room temp (as long as the house temp isn’t above 70 degrees).

Double boiler method:

  1. Set up the double boiler and add melt the cacao butter until it is completely melted.
  2. Add the cacao powder, whisking during the process.  Work out any lumps.
  3. Add agave, stirring really well.  Add the  pinch of salt and stir.
  4. Proceed with making chocolates or covering your sweet treats.
  5. Place the finished treat in the fridge to harden or leave at room temp (as long as the house temp isn’t above 70 degrees).

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™

  • Using raw agave nectar.. Click (here) to read why I use it.
  • What is raw cacao powder?
  • What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter?  Click (here) to read more about it.
  • For tips on working with raw cacao butter, click (here).


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.

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12 thoughts on “Hardening Chocolate (raw, vegan, gluten-free)

  1. elisha yarrington says:

    Hi there,

    First of all THANK YOU for your beautiful recipes, ideas, inspirations and photographers. You are a true inspiration for me.

    I have two questions for you

    1) I want to create an temper raw chocolate. I have been experimenting but have not “come up” with the right recipe. When i use liquid sweeteners like honey, coconut nectar, they do not emulsify with the fat (cacao butter) but when i use coconut sugar it doesn’t dissolve either. Any suggestions on how to create and temper raw chocolate would be amazing!

    2) What camera/lens do you use. Do you have any suggestions on taking great shots of food!

    Thank You


    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Elisha.

      Tempering chocolate is a whole process and deserves a post all of its own. Far to much info to share here. I will work on writing up a full tempering process and share it. :) Are you experienced in tempering cooked chocolate?

      As far as food pictures go… I use my iPhone. lol For great food pictures it takes beautiful food, patience, experience and natural lighting. Again, another big topic. I would google something like “beginners food photography” and skim through them until one speaks to you.

      Have a wonderful weekend, amie sue

  2. Michelle says:


    Can you explain the difference when to use Coconut Oil vs Cacao Butter? Cacao Butter is much more expensive and I want to know if I replace cacao butter for coconut oil will my chocolate still hold up?
    Thank you

  3. Hi Amie Sue – I see there is a recipe for a Raw Mulberry Crunch Candy Bar on this page but it it not on the site. Can it be found anywhere? I have a bunch of mulberries and it looks amazing!! Thanks in advance!


    • amie-sue says:

      Oh, I haven’t posted it yet Carolyn. Thanks for reminding. I will work on that post. :) Have a great day, amie sue

  4. Patricia says:

    Is there any way to give a weight for the cacao butter? I measured a half cup but perhaps my pieces were too large as the melting chocolate was too powdery. Thanks! ps your recipes rock! My 5 year old LOVES the chocolate kale chips! Thanks.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Patricia,

      I don’t have the weight documented so next time I make this recipe I will be sure to do so. Thank you for the sweet words and thrilled that your little one likes kale chips. :) Blessings, amie sue

  5. Amy says:

    What temperature and how long for melting chocolate in excaliber?

  6. Laura says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    Did you post the recipe for the Raw Mulberry Crunch Candy bar? Can’t seem to find it.

    Thank you,

    • amie-sue says:

      It appears that I haven’t…. It must have been lost in the shuffle. I will look for it and share soon! amie sue :)

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