Make your own chocolates with this easy recipe for a customizable advent calendar. Go sugar-free, dairy-free or simply choose your favorite flavors with this foolproof recipe!

The holiday season is upon us and chocolate is everywhere. I happen to have my birthday in late November so treats start then and they keep rolling until the new year, for what it ends up being about 6 six of sugar! I know many of you are on the same boat with celebrations such as Thanksgiving kicking off the sweet season early, or extending the festivities until well into January as most Latin countries do.

However, there are ways of making the sweet season a bit healthier without giving up on your favorite things, like advent calendars (let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love one?). There have been years where I even had two, one provided by work and one given by a family member or purchased by myself (if no calendar was received a couple of days before December 1).

This year I explored the healthier chocolate options online (good luck finding one in a regular supermarket, at least in the UK!), and although some brands make what looks like a good dark chocolate calendar, I eventually decided to make my own so I could share it with you. This is the perfect way to choose what you want. Sugar-free? Vegan? Certified gluten-free? No problem, this recipe can be adjusted to cater for all.

And even better, you can most likely make it with the things you have at home! I didn’t have to buy anything. So really, no excuse to get one made today 🙂

Inspired by my recent trip to Italy, where I had Gianduja everything (torrone, gelato, paste,…), I made my chocolates with ground hazelnuts. If you don’t know what Gianduja is, think what the best Italian treats (Ferrero Rocher and Nutella) have in common: hazelnuts and chocolate! Well, and sugar too, but the good thing about making your own chocolates is that you can skip that part altogether or put as much or as little as you want.

Gianduja chocolates recipe

Servings: 24  |   Preparation time: 5 min  |   Cooking time: 10 min

Basic ingredients:

  • 100 grams – Cacao liquor or cacao paste (this is 100% raw cacao) or use your favorite dark chocolate.
  • 2 tbsp – ground hazelnuts (for the Italian Gianduja taste). Substitute for your favorite ground nut or nut butter.
  • 1 tbsp – coconut oil
  • 2 tsps – maca (I use maca to add a subtle sweetness & flavor). Substitute for coconut sugar if you like your chocolate sweeter.
  • 1/2 tsp – ground vanilla

Toppings & flavors:

  • Ground coffee beans
  • Goji berries (or your favorite dried fruit chopped in small pieces)
  • Sea salt
  • Chili flakes
  • Chopped nuts


  1. Melt the chocolate a bain marie (water bath). Once ready, add the coconut oil and fold it in well.
  2. Add the rest of the basic ingredients and mix until fully combined
  3. Pour slowly into your silicone mold. An ice cube mold would do the trick if you are in a pinch or need more units!
  4. Sprinkle or press in your toppings and flavors chocolate by chocolate. I made a few of each flavor but you can also mix several ingredients into the same chocolate (eg. sea salt and ground coffee – hmmm).
  5. Let the chocolates rest in the mold at room temperature for 4 hours. Or put in the fridge if in a rush.
  6. Once ready, carefully remove them from the mold and store them in a biscuit tin for a fun and festive look, or a zip-lock container to keep them fresh. If you normally store your chocolate in the fridge feel free to do so, but I prefer my at room temperature for a meltier texture 🙂