How to Get Creative with CBD Chocolate

The founder of Flor de María shares his story and three recipes for DIY desserts.

Flor de María
Flor de María CBD chocolate | Photo courtesy of Flor de María
Flor de María CBD chocolate | Photo courtesy of Flor de María

William Zitser loves good chocolate—real chocolate that tastes sweet and savory, made from thoughtfully sourced cacao. So the first time he tasted a CBD-infused chocolate, he was disappointed, to say the least.

“It tasted terrible,” he remembers. “CBD was helping me get over antidepressants, and I wanted to try it in different forms, but many CBD chocolate bars are trying too hard to be healthy. Good chocolate has real sugar, just not a ton of it.”

Around the same time, the Venezuelan creative—then living in New York—visited a cacao farm for the first time back home, and the rest is history. Zitser fell in love, visiting as many farms as he could and making relationships for importing chocolate from Ecuador, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. He launched his own CBD chocolate brand, Flor de María, in 2018.

Flor de María
Flor de María founder William Zitser | Photo courtesy of Flor de María

The name—which translates to “flower of Maria”—refers to an occasional nickname for weed in Venezuela, and the fact that the flower of the cacao is sometimes considered so sacred that you can’t touch it, as only 30% of the flowers bloom. The bars come in a range of cacao contents, with additional flavors like Ghost Pepper Caramel and refreshing Lemongrass.

While they’re delicious chocolate bars, they’re real chocolate—that means they still react to changes in temperature, and those changes can affect their ingredients. You know that marbled look that chocolate can get over time? It’s called “bloom,” and it happens when the chocolate is warmed up and the cacao butter begins to soften and separate, so that when the bar re-solidifies, marble streaks form on top. One way to look at these bars is that they’re altered, and you can email the brand for replacement bars. Another way to look at them? Ingredients for a next-level, CBD-infused DIY chocolate dessert.

“This chocolate has gone out of temper, which makes it easier to melt, making it perfect for simple emulsions,” he explains. Here are some of Zitser’s favorite ways to try the chocolate.

Flor de Maria Chocolates
Flor de Maria Chocolates

CBD Hot Chocolate

“This is the easiest thing you can do with that bloomed bar,” Zitser says. “Or you can make it with a perfectly good bar if the weather calls for it. I like to use Flor de Maria’s Dark Chocolate or the 75% Usulután for this, but I have done it with the Ghost Pepper Caramel and it hits the throat just right.”

• 1 Flor de María chocolate bar (chopped)
• ⅔ to ¾ cup milk

1. Place your pot on the stove over a medium heat, fill with about 2 inches of water.
2. Cover with the heat proof bowl in a bain-marie. Be careful, as you don’t want the simmering water in your pot to touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the water to simmer.
3. Place chocolate pieces in the bowl. After a couple of minutes, add the milk and whisk constantly until chocolate is melted and well blended (about 5 minutes).
4. Whisk in a pinch of cinnamon if you feel it. Remove from heat, adding more milk if desired.

CBD Vegan Hot Chocolate

“I tried over 30 variations of this until I came up with something that was just as creamy as the cow-milk version,” he says. “All of these ingredients can be found online. You can make this with water or a vegan milk—just replace ½ of the water with your favorite milk substitute. This recipe is extremely rich, so it can easily be shared by 2 to 4 people.”

• 1 Flor de María chocolate bar (chopped)
• 5 Tbsp glucose powder
• 1/8 tsp gellan gum
• 1 cup of water (or ½ water, ½ milk substitute)
• Pinch of salt

1. Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate until you see bubbles start to form.
2. In a bain-marie, melt the chopped chocolate.
3. Make an emulsion with the chocolate by adding the mixture little by little to the hot base while you whisk vigorously. It's a tough emulsion; it will require some elbow grease.

Chocolate Mousse

“This one may take a couple rounds before things work perfectly,” he warns, “but you’ll get there!”

• 3 eggs
• 2 Flor de María chocolate bars (chopped)
• 1 tablespoon of butter
• ½ cup cream
• 3 tbsp superfine sugar

1. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bain-marie. Or, melt in the microwave in 30 second stints stirring in between until smooth. Take care not to burn the chocolate.
2. Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the yolks.
3. Whisk the egg whites and the sugar until you get soft peaks, if you get hard peaks you overdid it, start again.
4. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form.
5. Fold egg yolks into cream, but don’t over do it! 6-8 folds is enough.
6. Make sure the chocolate is still runny but not too hot (should be lukewarm), and pour it into the cream yolk mix. Fold in, but again—easy does it.
7. Pour the chocolate mixture into egg whites, and fold until you don’t see any more white lumps. (10-12 folds). Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours. When ready to serve, fold it into a quenelle with a hot spoon and sprinkle with shaved Flor de María chocolate.

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Lauren Yoshiko is a freelance writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. She writes The Broccoli Report, a bi-weekly newsletter for creative cannabis entrepreneurs.