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Hardening Chocolate

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Hardening Chocolate

– raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free –

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 too 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 dry.  That requires tempering and that is a style that requires practice, patience, and a more detailed 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 maple syrup 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. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe. blessings, Jamie sue

Chocolate Covered Lemon BombsIngredients:

  • 1/2 cup (94 g) raw cacao butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (40 g)  raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp (35 g) 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).
  3. Place the measuring cup in the dehydrator.  I also place a metal bowl in there to warm the surface of the bowl.
    • 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 maple syrup 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 maple syrup, 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™

  • 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).

20 thoughts on “Hardening Chocolate

  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,

  7. Jacinte says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,
    I’m getting ready fot Christmas treats, and I’m wondering when to use the tempered chocolate, should I use it to make the hardening chocolate.
    Thanks for your help.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Jacinte,

      I do recommend doing it when at all possible. If you are looking for the very best results in making chocolate candies and other dipped items then, by all means, temper it. Especially if you want the chocolate to set up perfectly, to have a snap and a sheen, and if you want to coax the most flavor from the chocolate. If you plan on using chocolate as a drizzle, then I wouldn’t temper it.

      If you just want something quick and easy, you can skip the process. I don’t do it all the time myself. Does that help at all? I realize that I didn’t give a black and white answer. Let me know if I can further guide you. :) blessings, amie sue

  8. Mary Jo Matey says:

    Hi can the cocoa butter be added to a chocolate peanut butter candy that I make ( like a melt away chocolate ).. it only calls for coconut oil ..freezes very nicely ..but when put out it softens terribly .. to the point of not being able to pick it up. IF cocoa butter can be added .. at what ratio.. so that its not too hard ? But doesnt soften soo badly so fast

    Soo look forward to ur response

    thank u soo much
    Blessings always

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Mary,

      By adding cacao butter, the chocolate will stay more firm at room temp (obviously it depends on how warm/hot the climate is where you live). Coconut oil melts quicker than cacao butter. I don’t have a ratio to give. It would all depend on the recipe. Since you have a specific recipe and texture that you are aiming for, you will need to experiment with ratios. Have fun! blessings, amie sue

  9. John says:

    I have made the chocolate recipe just as written, came out quite well. I poured it on top of a raw vegan cake, made it look wonderful. However when I cut the cake the chocolate cracked in another area.
    I wonder if I left it at room temp longer if this would make the chocolate less apt to crack .
    Any suggestion ?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning John,

      Your creation sounds lovely. I can totally imagine it as a “frosting” on a cake. I can see why it cracked. My suggestion would be to run the knife under hot water before each cut (cleaning the blade as well between cuts for a cleaner appearance) With the blade being warm it should put pressure on the cake surface. Oh, and do the cuts slowly so you can gauge any resistance, therefore, working through the slice with grace and ease.

      What do you think? I hope you have a wonderful day! amie sue

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