This easy homemade dark chocolate recipe is creamy, dreamy and delicious. Once you learn how to make chocolate at home you may never want store bought again. 🙂
I love making chocolate bars right in my own kitchen. It's just so satisfying to know exactly what ingredients went into it and that it hasn't been sitting on a shelf in a wrapper for who knows how long. Plus, it really is SO creamy and delicious—trust me when I say that you probably won't want to go back to store-bought after you try this recipe. As DIY chocolate recipes go, this is one of the easiest with no prior experience required.
And if you have any left over, you can also use your homemade chocolate in other recipes such as this chocolate bark or these chocolate covered raspberries. It's also an awesome chocolate recipe for fondue. 😉
Did you know?
Chocolate is technically a fermented food since the cocoa powder used to make it is produced from fermented cacao beans. The fermentation process lasts for about a week before the fermented beans are roasted and processed into powder. And even though the high heat used during processing will kill any beneficial bacteria from the fermentation step, you can still thank them for giving your chocolate bar its irresistibly rich and alluring taste we've all come to know and love. 🙂
Pro tip: Note that you can easily substitute unsweetened cocoa powder and/or cocoa powder for the raw cacao versions. Just make sure that if you use cocoa butter it's a food grade product (look for "food grade" on the label.)
Some optional add-ins include:
- chopped almonds, cashews or peanuts
- chopped dried cranberries
- pomegranate arils
- sea salt
See recipe card below for exact quantities.
Okay, let's get started! 🙂
Step 1: Prep your add-ins
First, get any fillings you'd like to use ready to go. Finely chop your favorite nuts, dried fruits or any of the optional add-ins listed above, and then place them in one or more sections of a silicone chocolate bar mold.
Pro tip: If you don't have a mold, you can simply line a shallow baking dish with some parchment paper to make one large chocolate sheet, and then break it into pieces once it's cooled.
Step 2: Melt the cacao butter and add honey
Now, we'll melt the cacao butter, and then add some honey.
Pro tip: If your cacao butter is in large chunks rather than mostly smaller pieces, chop the large chunks into smaller ones first before you measure it, for better accuracy.
Place the cacao butter in a double boiler and start warming it using about an inch of water in the bottom of the boiler over medium heat.
Pro tip: If you don't have a double boiler, just place a stainless steel mixing bowl over a saucepan with an inch of water in it, and heat to medium.
Continue to heat the cacao butter slowly until it just melts, and then use a whisk to mix in the honey.
Once the honey is incorporated, remove the top of the double boiler to a heat safe surface or cooling rack.
Caution: If you are using a bowl rather than a double boiler, be extremely careful as you lift it off the saucepan so that the steam below doesn't burn you—try to lift it off towards you rather than off to one side.
Step 3: Mix in the cacao powder
Once the cacao butter and honey mixture is away from the heat, add the cacao powder, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt to the melted mixture and whisk everything to combine well.
Pro tip: Take a taste of your homemade chocolate to test the flavor; add a little more honey, if desired, to reach your preferred sweetness.
Once you're happy with the taste, it's time to form some bars. 🙂
Step 4: Mold your chocolate bars
Place your mold onto a cutting board to keep it flat as it chills, and then carefully pour the melted mixture evenly among the mold sections until it's level with the top surface of the mold. If you have any leftover, you can line a container with parchment paper and add the rest to cool.
Step 5: Chill your chocolate
Lastly, carefully transfer the mold to the fridge and chill for at least 45 minutes to solidify. (Keep it on the cutting board for easy transfer.)
Once they've solidified, remove the bars from the mold by slowly pulling the sides of the mold away. Then, store your bars in the fridge in an airtight container.
As written, this is a gluten free and dairy free chocolate recipe. Here are a few substitutions in case you can't find cacao butter or powder, or if you'd like to make a vegan version of this recipe:
- Cacao butter - use food-grade cocoa butter, or substitute coconut oil; with coconut oil, the result won't be quite as creamy, but it will still be delicious!
- Cacao powder - use cocoa powder, but just make sure it's unsweetened!
- Vegan chocolate recipe - use maple syrup instead of honey
The possibilities are endless for making dark chocolate! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Almond and sea salt dark chocolate - add finely chopped raw, unsalted almonds and a little extra sea salt to your mold
- Cranberry dark chocolate - add finely chopped sweetened dried cranberries to your mold
- Kid friendly - add a little extra honey to the recipe if needed, for sweetness
The main piece of equipment you'll need for this recipe is a silicone chocolate bar mold or other shaped mold, but you can still make this recipe without a mold and just line a baking dish with parchment paper to chill your chocolate in.
- chocolate bar mold (this one worked out perfectly with the amount this recipe makes)
- double boiler (optional; you can also use a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan)
- cutting board
- chef's knife (for chopping any add-ins)
Homemade chocolate bars will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months in an airtight container. I don't recommend storing homemade chocolate at room temperature especially in warmer climates, as it does melt easily once it's warmed.
🎉 Top tip
You can experiment with using slightly less honey if you like your dark chocolate more on the bitter side rather than semi sweet side. I'd recommend ¼ cup of honey as a starting place. If it's not sweet enough when you do a taste test simply add a little more honey and keep mixing and testing.
You can make your own chocolate bars at home by melting cacao butter and mixing it with cacao powder, some sugar or honey, a little vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. You'll want to chill your homemade chocolate in a mold for at least 45-60 minutes in the fridge to let it solidify.
Basic dark chocolate ingredients consist of raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder), cacao butter or food grade cocoa butter, a sweetener such as cane sugar or honey, a little vanilla, and a bit of salt to balance flavors.
Yes; you can substitute coconut oil for cacao/cocoa butter. The result won't be quite as creamy, but it will still be very tasty.
A double boiler is helpful to melt the cacao butter needed to make homemade chocolate, but you can also use a stainless steel mixing bowl over a saucepan. Additionally, you may wish to purchase a silicone mold to form actual chocolate bars.
How to Make Chocolate
- chopped almonds, cashews or peanuts
- chopped dried cranberries
- sea salt
- Prep: Finely chop any optional add-ins if you'd like to add them to your chocolate bars, and place them in one or more sections of a chocolate bar mold.
- Melt: Place the cacao butter in a double boiler and start warming it using about an inch of water in the bottom of the boiler over medium heat. Continue to heat the cacao butter slowly until it just melts, and then use a whisk to mix in the honey. Once the honey is incorporated, remove the top of the double boiler to a heat safe surface or cooling rack.
- Mix: Add the cacao powder, vanilla and salt to the melted mixture and whisk to combine well. Take a taste of your melted chocolate to test the flavor; add a little more honey, if desired, to reach your preferred sweetness.
- Mold: Place your chocolate mold onto a cutting board to keep it flat as it chills, and then carefully pour the melted chocolate evenly among the mold sections until the chocolate is level with the top surface of the mold. If you have any leftover chocolate, you can line any size container with parchment paper and add the rest of the chocolate to that to cool.
- Chill: Carefully transfer the chocolate bar mold to the fridge and chill for at least 45 minutes to solidify (keep it on the cutting board for easy transfer.)
- Enjoy: Remove the chocolate bars from the mold by slowly pulling the sides of the mold away, and then store your bars in the fridge in an airtight container for best results. Bars will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 2 months. Enjoy!