Crazy for Cacao

Cacao – the bean of the Theobroma Cacao, a plant native to the Central and South Americas, is also the source of most of the chocolate and cocoa products around the world. Is it really any surprise Theobroma literally translates to mean “Food of the Gods”? I think not.

When you take cacao, in its raw form (meaning it’s not heated above 118 degrees F) you are left with a product abundant in antioxidants, incredibly rich in magnesium (perhaps the most concentrated food form), a great source of sulphur (the “beauty” mineral), and a host of other nutrients. It’s really no wonder that cacao is touted as a “super food” by nutritionists and foodies alike!

In its raw form, cacao is a popular ingredient in many raw treats and desserts, and you can find it in powdered, butter, or whole “nib” form. It really just depends on the consistency you are after.  You can use it to make a delicious cup of hot chocolate, add it to your smoothies or even sprinkle it in your morning cup of java. In fact many people have used cacao to transition away from their morning cup of joe since it can produce a similar “buzz” because of the natural caffeine content.

Remember though, cacao is naturally bitter, the reason why dairy and sugar is added to make what most people know as chocolate. So when you’re getting creative in the kitchen, you’ll likely want to pair it with a natural sweetener to get the chocolate taste and experience you so desire.  

Check out two of my favourite smoothie recipes containing raw cacao powder!

Super Smooth Banana Cacao Smoothie

1 ripe banana (ripe = naturally sweet and delicious)

½ an avocado

½ cup of pure water

1 heaping tbsp of raw cacao powder

2-3 drops of stevia (my natural sweetener of choice but you could also use a drizzle of raw honey)

1 cup of ice

Blend and serve cold

Note: the addition of the avocado makes it taste especially creamy and decadent!

 

 Choco-Almond Crunch Smoothie

1 ripe banana

½ cup of unsweetened almond “milk”

1 heaping tbsp of raw cacao powder

1 tbsp of natural crunchy almond butter

1 tsp of raw cacao nibs (optional)

1 cup of ice

Blend and serve cold.

Note – for both of these recipes you can use a frozen banana, in which case omit the ice. Just make sure the banana is ripe before you put it in the freezer.

Happy Friday!

Elaine

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