Dried mulberries seem to be readily available in the stores nowadays. They are less sweet than a lot of other dried fruits so I thought I’d try using them to sweeten some raw chocolate.
I visited Ojai, CA a couple of weeks ago. As we wandered around the farmers market, I saw fresh mulberries for sale. I had never seen fresh mulberries before. These ones were particularly long and worm-like!! But they are a lovely berry to eat. Deep in color. There are actually three main colors of mulberries – white, red, and black. And you can get all three colors on one tree!
Now I want to plant a mulberry tree! Then I can enjoy the fruit AND run around it singing “here we go round the mulberry bush” (that’s an English nursery rhyme, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about!). Have you ever tasted fresh mulberries or grown them?
Nutritionally, mulberries are a good source of vitamin C and also have resveratrol, and some zeaxanthin – a carotenoid important for the retina. The colored mulberries have high levels of anthocyanins which have many potential health benefits including antioxidant effects. Surprisingly for berries, they also contain iron. And, of course, they are a good source of fiber (4g per 1/4 cup).
I’ve been using dried mulberries for a while now in different dishes as a delicate sweetener. So after tasting the fresh ones, I was inspired to use them more and thus decided to try mulberry sweetened raw chocolate. You can get white or black dried mulberries. If there is an option, I always go for the most intense color, as that has the great levels of anthocyanins. The ones I have at the moment are Organic Hunza Purple-black mulberries.
Preparing dried mulberries
Basically, to use them as a general sweetener, I grind them up using a hand-blender with one of those small bowl attachments. Or you could use a coffee grinder, and probably a regular blender would do the trick too. Grind until they look like the consistency of brown sugar.
Remember that they are a whole fruit so they won’t dissolve in a recipe, but will give a nice texture. I love the texture they give to the chocolate – see the photo at the top of this blog post. It’s a bit like using date sugar which is readily available, but there is less sweetness to the mulberries.
For more information on making raw chocolate, see last week’s post.
- 70g dried mulberries
- 70g raw cacao butter, chopped
- 50g raw cacao powder
- Grind the dried mulberries in a coffee grinder or handheld blender with small bowl attachment. Grind until the consistency of brown sugar.
- Chop the cocao butter into small pieces and place in a bowl. Sit that bowl in a larger bowl, containing boiled water. Take care not to get any water in with the cocao butter.
- Let the cocao butter melt (about 5 minutes). If the water cools too much, replace with more hot water.
- Remove from the water bath, and add cacao powder and stir well.
- Add the ground mulberries, stirring well.
- Pour into silicone molds or onto a silicone sheet to make chocolate bark. (It looks grainy, as the mulberries don't dissolve but give texture.)
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature.
Recipe makes 20 chocolates.
Serving size – 2 chocolates:
Total fat 6.7g
Total carbohydrates 8.7g