Unless you’ve been living under a rock (one not shared by a Paleo cave dweller) you have probably heard about Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive, and his magic coffee. Dave is the computer genius and entrepreneur who hacked his own biology, upgraded his brain by more than 20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 pounds without exercise while eating over 4,000 calories a day.
Dave’s recipe for Bulletproof® Coffee is here. He says, “Try this just once, with only 2 tbsp. butter, and have nothing else for breakfast. You will experience one of the best mornings of your life, with boundless energy and focus. It’s amazing.”
I had been doing my own version of his coffee/tonic/elixir, even before I met Dave and heard him speak on the low-carb cruise this year. (Many of us, including Dave and Jimmy Moore, brought along enough Kerrygold butter for a whole week of Bulletproof coffee on board the ship.) I prefer mocha over straight coffee, so I use a mixture of cocoa and coffee with grass-fed butter, coconut milk, MCT oil, and a little sweetener as a form of intermittent fasting. (It seems like a stretch to call it a “fast” when one serving can contain up to 800 calories, but without the carbs, I get all the benefits of fasting without lowering my metabolism.)
Some coffee shops around the country are starting to serve Bulletproof coffee. I hope it will eventually be available here in Seattle, the coffee capital of the world, where the locals mainline their caffeine to get up and running in the dark on winter mornings. If so, I predict that Dave will give heartthrob, Patrick Dempsey, the new owner of Tully’s, a run for the title as the most gorgeous and charismatic Java hunk in the Northwest!
Dave sells Upgraded™ Chocolate Powder and Cocoa Butter on his site along with his special mold-free coffee, vanilla, MCT oil, and other strange and wonderful stuff. I asked him if he had a recipe for making chocolate bars with his premium ingredients, and since he didn’t, I offered to take up the challenge. I’ve been elbow deep in chocolate for the last month. Here are the results so far. I’m starting to feel more invincible already…
BULLETPROOF® DARK CHOCOLATE BARS
It’s an understatement to say that chocolate is temperamental. The proper crystallization of the cocoa butter is an exacting science. Commercial makers of fine chocolates use special equipment to grind, melt, knead, and temper it to get that silky, melt-in-your-mouth smoothness. (The makers of inexpensive chocolate replace the cocoa butter with inferior, but less demanding fats.)
I didn’t expect to compete with the experts, but I’ve either had a run of beginner’s luck or it may actually be easier to make smooth, stable chocolate without sugar. Sugar and salt won’t dissolve in fat and even a tiny speck of water in melted chocolate can ruin the whole batch, which may be the reason for the complicated steps needed to get it smooth. I used a small amount of water-based sweetener in my recipe, but added it to the hot, melted cocoa butter. The hour of steeping before adding the cocoa powder gives the water time to evaporate. (At least that’s my theory for why this works, so don’t add any water-based sweetener after mixing in the cocoa powder.)
~ Chocolate molds (rigid molds are better than flexible), mini-muffin pans with fluted paper liners, or a sheet pan lined with parchment or foil. Do not grease the molds; the chocolate will shrink as it sets and release easily.
~ A fine micro-plane grater.
~ An accurate thermometer (a special chocolate thermometer, if possible).
~ A digital scale is useful for weighing the ingredients correctly, but not
~ A double boiler or a bowl that fits snugly over a saucepan OR a heat-safe container with a spout, like a Pyrex measuring pitcher, to make the recipe in a microwave oven.
8 oz (2 cups when chopped) Upgraded™ Cacao Butter, divided
1 vanilla bean
A few grains of salt
High-intensity liquid sugar substitute, such as stevia or monk fruit extract, stevia glycerite, or sucralose, to equal 2 cups sugar or to taste (A mixture of sweeteners gives a more natural sweet taste. I used 1 tsp EZ-Sweetz liquid sucralose plus 1 and 1/2 tsps EZ-Sweetz Liquid Stevia and Monk Fruit to test the recipe.)
2 tsps lecithin*
7 oz (1 and 3/4 cups) Upgraded™ Chocolate Powder
With a fine micro-plane grater, grate 5 grams (about 1 tbsp, grated) of the cocoa butter to use to “seed” the chocolate for proper crystallization. Reserve finely grated amount until ready to temper chocolate. Chop remaining cocoa butter into small chunks.
Chopping the cocoa butter, (c) 2013, Judy Barnes Baker
To Make in a double boiler (bain marie):
When using a double boiler, you must be very careful not to get any water or steam into the chocolate after it is melted. Even a drop of water can cause the chocolate to seize and separate. (A little water won’t hurt the melted cocoa butter until after the cocoa powder is added.)
Test your double boiler with cold water to see how much the bottom pan will hold without touching the top pan. Put that amount of water in the bottom pan and when ready to use, bring to a simmer. Reduce heat so water is hot but not bubbling; cycle heat on and off if necessary.
Place the liquid sweetener(s) into the top pan of the double boiler. Sprinkle a few grains of salt directly onto the liquid sweetener so it will dissolve.
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds into the pan. Add the vanilla pod as well. Add lecithin and stir to blend. Add chopped cocoa butter, except reserved amount, and heat over hot water, stirring frequently, until melted. Leave over hot water with the burner off for 1 hour to infuse.
After 1 hour, remove the vanilla pod and any large particles but leave in the seeds. Reheat the cocoa butter if necessary until it is warm and liquid. Stir cocoa powder into cocoa butter mixture until melted and smooth. (From now on, you must be very careful not to get any water or steam into the chocolate.
Heat the chocolate over very low heat in the top of the double boiler, stirring and testing with a thermometer frequently. Wipe off thermometer between tests and continue to heat, stir, and test the temperature until the chocolate reaches 115°F (46°C). It must reach 115°F (46°C) to break the crystals so it can form new ones, but never let it get to130°F (54°C). If it overheats it is ruined. You may be able to recover some of the cocoa butter, but you must start over with new cocoa powder. (The lecithin may give you a slight margin for error. It has saved me from disaster more than once.)
Remove chocolate from heat and let cool to 95°F (35°C), stirring and testing with the thermometer frequently. Immediately add the reserved micro-planed cocoa butter and stir until it is dissolved and the mass is smooth.
Let the chocolate continue to cool, stirring and testing frequently, until it cools to 90°F (31.5°C). When it reaches the target, pour it into molds or onto a sheet pan in a 1/4-inch thick layer. Refrigerate, if desired for faster setting, but do not freeze. It will continue to cure for 12 to 18 hours.
Remove chocolate from molds or peel off parchment or foil and break into pieces.
To Make in Microwave:
Place liquid sweetener(s) in microwave safe container and sprinkle the salt directly on the sweetener so it will dissolve. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the tiny seeds into the pan. Add the vanilla pod as well. Stir in lecithin and chopped cocoa butter as above. Heat on 50% power for 15 seconds, stir, and continue to microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring after each, until cocoa butter is melted. Leave in microwave with door closed for 1 hour to infuse.
After 1 hour, remove the vanilla pod and any large particles but leave in the seeds. If the cocoa butter is cool or starting to solidify, reheat it until it is warm and liquid (just a few seconds when using the microwave). Stir cocoa powder into cocoa butter mixture until melted and smooth. (From now on, you must be careful not to get any water in the chocolate.)
Heat the chocolate in a microwave oven on 50% power, in 15 to 30 second bursts, stirring and testing with a thermometer after each interval. Wipe off thermometer between tests and continue to heat, stir, and test the temperature until chocolate reaches 115°F (46°C). Use shorter bursts and lower the power setting when close to the mark. It must reach 115°F (46°C) to break the crystals so it can form new ones, but never let it get to 130°F (54°C). If it overheats it is ruined. You may be able to recover some of the cocoa butter, but you must start over with new cocoa powder. (The lecithin may give you a slight margin for error. It has saved me from disaster more than once.)
Remove chocolate from microwave and let cool to 95°F (35°C), stirring and testing the temperature frequently. Immediately add the reserved micro-planed cocoa butter. Stir until the cocoa butter is dissolved and the mass is smooth.
Let the chocolate continue to cool to 90°F (31.5°C), stirring and testing the temperature frequently. When it reaches the target, pour into molds or onto sheet pan in a 1/4-inch thick layer. Refrigerate, if desired for faster setting, but do not freeze. It will continue to cure for 12 to 18 hours.
Remove from molds or peel off parchment or foil and break into pieces.
Makes 8 oz of candy.
Nutrition data per serving of 1/2 oz
Cal: 254; Fat: 28.4g; Protein: 0.8g; Fiber: 1.3g; Carbs: 2.3g; Net Carbs: 1g
CHERRY PECAN COCONUT CLUSTERS
I had some lovely, fresh Bing cherries so I put them in my candy. I didn’t expect them to last very long, but I have a few left in the refrigerator after four days and they are still perfect. They may last longer than that, but I doubt that I will ever know!
½ recipe Bulletproof® Chocolate, above
½ cup fresh sweet cherries chopped into fairly large pieces and blotted dry
½ cup broken pecans
½ cup large flake coconut
Place fluted paper liners in mini-muffin pans. Divide cherries, nuts, and coconut flakes evenly into cups. Pour melted chocolate over fruit and nut mixture. Let cool. Keep in refrigerator but let warm up a little before eating. Use dried fruit instead of fresh for longer storage or to keep at room temperature.
Makes 16 candies. Nutrition date per each:
Cal: 174; Fat: 18.6g; Protein: 1g; Fiber: 1.6g; Carbs: 3.1g; Net Carbs: 1.5g
Perfectly tempered chocolate is smooth and uniform and it breaks with a crisp snap. It will set up quickly, it can be stored at room temperature, and it will not develop a white bloom caused when the cocoa butter separates due to too much heat or humidity. It can be refrigerated as extra protection against bloom, but bring it to room temperature before serving.
Lecithin contains phosphatidyl choline and the essential fatty acids, choline, and inositol. Lecithin aids in emulsifying fats. It is made from soy, sunflower seeds, or egg yolks. Dave has a link on his site to a brand he recommends.
Lecithin is the secret to many of the techniques used in Molecular Gastronomy because it stabilizes foams and emulsions.
“Lecithin is a lipid found in cell membranes of every living being, including humans, and which enables them to be maintained and repaired. It was studied for the first time in the mid-nineteenth century by French chemist and pharmacist Nicolas Theodore Gobley. At the time, he extracted the substance from the yolk of an egg and gave it the name lekithos, a Greek word meaning egg yolk. He then spotted the group of molecules in many parts of animal bodies, and in large quantities in the bile, blood and brain.”
~~from the Molecular Gastronomy website
(c) 2013, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwarsblog.com