So you have decided to explore the potentials of cacao as your chocolate ingredient for your cooking, and that’s really great! Cacaos are very rich in antioxidants that are lost as it gets processed for commercial production.
By choosing to explore and test out cacao powder recipes, you will not only get to enjoy organic and healthier dishes, but you will also get to taste the purity of cacao flavors. Once you have tried raw cacao powder, you will never look at chocolate quite the same way again.
Understanding your Chocolates
We all know that dark chocolates are very rich in antioxidants and the healthier chocolate option out of the many variations out there in the market.
Unfortunately, despite the purer quality of dark chocolates, much of the antioxidants are still going to waste during processing. Chocolates are derived from cacao, and as the raw source, it contains all the awesome nutrients we all desire.
Food processing includes exposing ingredients to heat and that is the main culprit for lost nutrients. Though this process also serves as a cleanser to rid fresh produces from decomposing agents which results to a prolonged shelf life, the benefits for going natural is also very encouraging.
Raw cacao powder contains fatty acids such as omega-3, vitamin C for better immunity and serotonin to release happy hormones in your body, not to mention all those antioxidants for removing toxins in your body. If you have the option to go for raw cacao and enjoy it at its optimum form, why shouldn’t you?
It’s not bad, but actually good
Chocolate may not be very good for you, in excessive amounts, but raw cacao definitely is. While modern medicine advises us against too much chocolates, most of the detrimental effects of these sumptuous treats are accounted for by commercialization.
Processed cacaos or chocolates would usually contain sugar, butter and other additives which are intended to preserve them, and these added ingredients are the ones that are really bad for you, not cacao itself.
Raw cacao, in its untampered state are so rich in nutrients that including it in your diet is going to be good. Needless to say, replacing your regular chocolate with raw cacao powder is in fact going to make you healthier.
How to make raw cacao powder
Making your own cacao powder is a good way to ensure you are getting the best quality powder. While there are also cacao powders available in the market, if you are one of those who are lucky enough to have your own cacao tree in your yard, then utilize your harvest by making your own raw cacao powder for personal use, which you can also consider selling.
People are getting more and more conscious of the ingredients and contents in their food, which is why organic and natural foods are becoming so popular nowadays.
Grinding your own cacao beans to make your own raw cacao powder is fairly easy as long as you have the right tools. It is also a DIY activity which can be therapeutic at the same time.
- Remove the seeds from the cacao fruit once the fruit has ripened or you can simply buy cacao beans to save yourself some time.
- Spread your fresh cacao seeds on a drying tray evenly.
- Place the tray outside where it can get the full strength and heat of the sun.
- The drying process may take a few days but make sure you keep it away from bugs and evening moisture. You can opt to bring it inside the house at night time and just put it back out in the morning.
- Once your seeds have dried, select the ones that are too wrung out. These ones are just pure seed shell and will not have anything good in it to make good powder.
- You can use a coffee grinder to grind your cacao seeds, or you can also use a mortar and pestle but depending on the amount of powder you would like to make, the latter can be a long and tedious process.
- Grind only what you can consume within the next few days. Raw cacao powder can last for up to a week in storage, but is usually at its best within the first two days of grinding.
- Store your dried seeds in an airtight container, away from direct heat and sunlight to make it last longer. Make sure not to let any moisture in as this can encourage mold formation.
- Store your cacao powder in any airtight container as well just as you would store coffee but on a much shorter shelf life.
- Raw cacao powder are not as fine as commercially available cacao powders. They are moister but depending on the quality of your cacao seeds, they can be as three times more tasty than the ones available in the market.
Raw Cacao Powder Recipes
Raw Cacao Power Bars
Power bars are a must have for me, since I am always on the go and tend to lack sleep almost all the time. Not only are power bars very handy, but I get to pack them with as much nutrients as I can, not only with protein but with nuts for brain nutrition, especially when I feel brain dead.
What you will need:
- Two cups of lightly toasted pecans (dry-fry raw pecans on a skillet for about two minutes on medium heat)
- One cup of raw cacao powder
- One cup of chopped dates (make sure you remove the pits before you chop them)
- One tbsp. vanilla flavor
- Half a cup of granulated white sugar
- Half a cup of sliced almonds
- Combine all ingredients in the food processor, adding one ingredient at a time to form a mound, except for almonds and dates.
- Remove your lump from the food process and place it in a large bowl.
- Add the almonds and dates evenly into your mixture by rotating your bowl and folding your dough from the outside to the middle and pressing down
- On a baking tray or dish, flatten your dough evenly.
- Place another baking tray on top of your dough to create an even, flat surface.
- Place it in the freezer for two hours then take it out and cut into serving sizes.
Raw Cacao Truffles with Oranges
I love the contrasting flavors of chocolate and oranges. You can also substitute oranges with dried mangos.
- Half a cup of rough cashews
- Half a cup of melted butter
- A quarter cup of white granulated sugar
- A half cup of raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp. vanilla flavoring
- 1 tbsp. of chopped dried orange bits
- Ground the cashews in a food processor until they have a fine texture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients until the whole mix is smooth.
- Store the mix in the fridge for a couple of hours until it has firmed.
- Take your mix from the fridge and roll them into one inch balls.
- Roll your balls on the extra cacao powder to coat.
- Chill in the fridge and serve anytime.
Coconut Chocolate Cake
There is something so comforting about sinfully delicious rich chocolate cakes. Might be the serotonin in the chocolate but I know I always feel superb whenever I indulge.
What you will need
- A cup of filtered coconut flour
- Half a cup of raw cacao powder
- A pinch of salt (to taste)
- Ten large sized white eggs
- A half tsp. of instant yeast
- One cup of grapeseed oil
- One cup of granulated white sugar
- One tbsp. of vanilla flavoring
- Select a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients.
- Combine cacao, salt and instant yeast.
- Add egg, grapeseed oil, sugar and vanilla.
- Mix together with a hand mixer.
- Grease a baking a dish with oil or butter.
- Transfer the mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly.
- Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow it to cool in room temperature for about 20 minutes.10. Chill in the fridge for about two hours.11. Slice into serving sizes and serve.
Using raw cacao powder instead of the processed ones is a very healthy substitute you should seriously consider. Organic food such as cacao powder tend to be pricier than regular cacao powder if you buy them processed.
At the same time, since they are still processed, you will still be foregoing precious antioxidants and nutrients. Try making your own raw cacao powder and use them for your favorite dishes using cacao or chocolate powder.
The richness of the taste will definitely make you appreciate the true meaning of chocolate. I would love to hear what you think.
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