As we were making a batch of raw chocolate bars this morning for Orion Cafe, we thought it would be great to share a little something about cacao. Probably everyone is a fan of chocolate. But have you discovered raw chocolate yet? The incredibly rich and pure taste of raw chocolate is truly indescribable. And it does not only taste delicious but comes with great health benefits as well! Raw cacao, not to be confused for cocoa, is made by cold-pressing raw cacao beans ensuring that no nutrients are lost by heat treating.
Health benefits of raw cacao
Studies done on chocolate reveal that raw cacao beans are good for us. The bean is actually the seed of the fruit of an indigenous American jungle tree. This cacao tree produces flowers all year long, so it’s always cacao season! Each fruit is usually 8 inches long and contains about 20 beans.
You can have dried cacao in the form of beans with or without the skin, nibs, powder, butter or paste. You can make chocolate bars, cacao beverages, trail mixes, etc.
Cacao – superfood with antioxidants
Raw cacao contains the highest amount of antioxidants, which protect from free-radical damage. It is high in the alkaline mineral magnesium, which helps the heart, the brain, the bones, and the peristalsis. It also provides 300% of the recommended daily allowance of iron per ounce. Cacao is high in chromium, manganese, zinc and copper, some other important trace-minerals.
Cacao supplies vitamin C when raw (vitamin C is destroyed by cooking) and omega-6 fatty acids. Cooked chocolate contains rancid omega-6 (trans fat) so, once again, raw chocolate is an amazing addition to your everyday diet. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Raw chocolate treats
As we were making those delicious raw treats this morning, why not share the recipe for those with you!
All you need is:
- Raw cacao paste
- Coconut oil
- Coconut blossom sugar
- Some nuts/berries to taste
You could also substitute the cacao butter with cacao powder. The cacao paste (or Cacao Liquor) is just very helpful. It is made from raw cacao beans that have been crushed into a liquid that solidifies at room temperature. No heat is used to make the cacao paste, which makes it a raw product with all its great properties. Cacao paste is about 55% cacao butter. If you like the taste of true dark chocolate, this is it. 100% pure organic cacao! No additives, sweeteners or anything else.
So, on a bain-marie, melt the cacao paste, then add coconut oil and the coconut blossom sugar. Mix and taste. Poor in silicone chocolate molds and place in the freezer. If you want, you can press a nut or a berry in each chocolate.