Chocolate is a Superfood...Really!!
This is not your kid’s candy bar. This is real, raw, dark chocolate.
Chocolate. It immediately sparks something in you… especially if you love it as much as I do. What is it that has such a draw, an attraction? it goes beyond what it is to what is signifies: an indulgence, a reward, a forbidden treat. But we also hear about the “benefits” of dark chocolate and then aim to buy the highest percentage of cacao we can find- 60%...70%...as high as we can without it being so bitter is just doesn’t taste like “chocolate” anymore. What should we really be doing, buying and looking for?
Read on to see where chocolate actually comes from, how we can bring it closer to it’s original state and of course, how to make it into delicious chocolate superfood treats.
What is Raw Chocolate?
Starting from it’s origin, the cacao tree holds cacao pods with cacao beans inside. The cacao beans go through a process of fermentation, drying, roasting, ground into a paste, liquified and tempered. The result is cacao powderand cacao butter, which we can find on our supermarket shelves today.
The cocoa powder that we typically find on the shelves has been processed in high heat destroying so many benefits that it naturally contains.
How did it get from the plant to the packaged chocolate we see on the shelves?
In it’s pure form, chocolate is bitter. Think of chewing on a cacao bean like chewing on a coffee bean. As Spanish royalty discovered 500 years ago, to make chocolate taste better, you add sugar. Today, we do the same thing….add sugar, add butter, add hydrogenated vegetable oils. Anything to make it taste better and be processed cheaper on a mass scale. It has, over time, been chemically processed, diluted from it’s natural state and stripped of so many benefits.
I’m so glad you asked! Raw Cacao Powder has many benefits:
· Antioxidants-even more than blueberries! They fight against free radicals, which are linked to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
· Theobromine-A stimulant, great for extra energy
· Flavonoids-Found in fruits & veggies
· Magnesium-For your heart & brain
· Helps lower blood pressure
· Natural Mood Elevator & Anti-Depressant
How do you make Raw Chocolate?
I use a simple base recipe I found online from one of my favorites, The Minimalist Baker. I bought my ingredients on Amazon, they can also be found in Whole Foods.
1 cup Cacao Butter
½ cup Raw Organic Cacao Powder
3-5 tbsp. Maple Syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla
Dash of Sea Salt
Heat the Cacao Butter in a double boiler (in a bowl set on top of a sauce pan with boiling water) to melt. Then add all other ingredients, stir together. Pour into mini muffin liners in a mini muffin pan. I add whole nuts-cashews and almond, you can add anything you’d like-nuts and dried fruits (apricots, dried cranberries, dried cherries, coconut) are great additions. Put in the freezer to set. One tray will freeze in about 20 minutes.
Think of all the gifts and treats you can bring to life with this. I often top the above base with almond or peanut butter. You can also put a nut butter in the middle to make your own Peanut/Almond Butter Cups.
I am at the tip of the iceberg experimenting with the endless possibilities of raw chocolate. If you decide to dive into this beautiful world with me, please share recipes and ideas you find along the way.
Plan for the New Year Now….
Are you curious about how to harmonize your health goals? How to fit wellness into your busy schedule? The New Year is a great place to start fresh.
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I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.