Have I told you about my longstanding relationship with maple butter and chocolate? Well, I know I've told you about my love of chocolate and my little habit of
hoarding stashing all sorts of interesting chocolate bars in my chocolate drawer (yes I have a dedicated drawer!)... One of my all time favorites has always been the Theobroma Chocolate Maple Butter stick. I used to get excited any time I was going on a trip to a particular spot 2 hours away, not because of all the things I would do or see while there, but precisely due to anticipation of stocking up on this little treat.
So what happens? They stop carrying it. You can imagine my dismay. Store after store, I'd see all the other Theobroma sticks -- all but the maple butter one. So after many months of being maple butter chocolate deprived, I decided it was time to remedy this situation -- with these fab 2-ingredient homemade maple butter chocolates.
Easy peasy. One of the perks of making your own maple butter-filled chocolates is that you don't need all the other additives and funny ingredients. Commercial chocolates, even the cleaner brands, often must add extra sugar and fillers to extend the shelf-life of their product. So while the original chocolate sticks that inspired me to make these were already dairy-free and fairly wholesome, with this homemade version you have the option of omitting the cane sugar altogether (especially if you make the chocolate yourself -- if you go that route, you can use the mulberry chocolates recipe -- without the mulberries -- from p. 212 of Unconventional Treats).
Or, if you want to take the short but still fairly wholesome and super simple route, just use your favorite dark chocolate bar in place of making your own chocolate. Couldn't be simpler and more delicious. For this version, I actually used a mix of various raw chocolate bars I had on hand. One of them had a hint of orange, and let me just tell you that Chocolate + Orange + Maple Butter = Bliss.
Here's the scoop on maple butter (aka liquid gold / the star of this chocolate party). Maple butter is insanely delicious. It's comprised of only one ingredient -- maple syrup, that's cooked in a particular way to make it into an incredible spreadable affair. You can make your own at home even, but I'll tell ya it ain't easy on the arms (involves a good 20-30 minutes of manual churning... standing over the stove... and a lot of maple syrup). So I say just splurge on one of the tiny jars. I know it's a pricey product, but I consider it a must-try. There's a reason why it's called liquid gold ? And besides eating it out of the jar with a spoon (who would ever do that?! ?), it makes these killer chocolates, so I'm giving you an excuse to treat yourself.
The best part is that these maple butter chocolates taste nothing like those cheap chocolate covered maple cream filled candies-in-a-box. Not sure if you've ever had the luck of trying some, but you know the kind-- made with sugar and maple flavor, etc. (not that they're all bad -- I'm sure there are decent ones out there, but just had memories of the less-than-savoy artificially flavored kind I've tried as a child -- PASS). Maple butter is pure and simple -- all the maple flavor and creaminess, none of the funny business of those artificial candies. Liquid gold.
You can find maple butter online or in the natural / health food section of many stores, or the specialty ingredient / souvenir section. I used this brand in this recipe, but I'm not super picky -- I've yet to meet a maple butter I didn't LOVE. (P.S. If you're in Canada, Superstore has the best price for it -- look for it in the natural section).
Making these is quite simple. Melt chocolate, fill a candy mold, pipe in some maple butter, chill, done. You'll need a candy mold of some kind -- I used one from this set, which makes smaller chocolates but anything similar will do. Just keep in mind that depending on your mold size the number of chocolates you end up with will vary...
Also, a few tips on filling that pipping bag: try to get the butter as deep into the bag as you can from the get-go to save yourself the trouble of pushing it down later. The hole you cut shouldn't be too small, but not too big either -- aim for something between the size of a lollypop stick and a small straw. Go for the maple butter that's closer to the bottom of the jar -- the stuff at the top is creamier and more runny, but the drier stuff near the bottom will be easier to work with and is more ideal for a filling. And lastly, don't overfill the chocolates on your first go -- you can always add a bit more in if you have any left in the bag once done filling all the chocolates in your candy mold.
Other than that, though, the recipe will sound rather simplistic -- rest assured, it's packed with flavor. If you love chocolate, and like to try new chocolate flavors and combinations, I know you'll love these as much as I do.
Simple, two-ingredient chocolates filled with creamy maple butter. Vegan and gluten-free.
- ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate of your choice, melted (*see notes for homemade recipe)
- 2 tbsp maple butter, at room temperature
- candy mold
- pipping bag
- Small flat tray
- Place your candy mold on a flat tray. Fill each candy cavity approximately ⅘ths of the way. Reserve a tiny bit of the melted chocolate for fix ups.
- Fill your pipping bag with maple butter. Cut a small hold at the tip (the size of a thin straw). Stick the tip of the pipping bag just into the very top of the filled chocolate in the mold and pipe a bit of the filling into the center of the chocolate in each cavity.
- When done, use the reserved chocolate to cover any of the cavities where you can see the maple butter protruding at the top.
- Carefully transfer the tray into the freezer and freeze for approx 30 mins, or chill in the fridge for a few hours. Once the chocolate is set, pop out of the mold and enjoy. Keep chocolates refrigerated.
*For an easy homemade refined sugar-free chocolate recipe, use the mulberry chocolates recipe (without the mulberries or toppings) from Unconventional Treats -- (p. 212).