Adding a few delicious Cacao recipes to your arsenal will do more than just impress your house guests and family. With the ingredient’s incredibly high levels of nutrients and anti-oxidants, learning some great Cacao recipes this year will also give your body a significant health boost.
Before you start, the first thing to take note of is the common confusion between Cacao and Cocoa. Despite both deriving from the same plant, Cocoa does not contain the same amount of unique properties as Cacao due to the way it has been processed.
Cacao is the purest and most raw form of the ingredient you can find, while cocoa, cocoa powder or chocolate has usually been subjected to a range of treatments – often involving the addition of sugar, oil, or milk fat.
Though we’re not saying you can’t enjoy your baked treats or various food recipes with Cocoa, to get the true benefits of the Cacao plant, look for the ingredient in its most unrefined and raw form to enjoy the wonders of this powerful superfood.
Here are three of our most favourite recipes that we recommend you try this year!
1. Chocolate Zucchini Banana Bread
1 cup Cacao Nibs
2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water
1 cup very overripe mashed banana (about 3 small bananas)
¼ cup coconut oil, melted ¾ cup organic cane sugar
1 cup grated zucchini, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5in loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Stir together the flax and water in a large mixing bowl and set aside to thicken for 5 minutes.
- Add and combine the banana, melted coconut oil, sugar, vanilla and zucchini.
- Add the flour, Cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir and fold in the Cacao Nibs.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack and prepare for serving.
2. Chunky Monkey Bites
1 cup oats
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup almond butter
50g Cacao Nibs
1 small ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp Maca powder
Ceylon Cinnamon powder for sprinkling
½ cup chopped walnuts
- Put the oats, walnuts, almond butter, banana, maple syrup and Maca powder into a food processor and process until it comes together in a thick paste. Add in the Cacao nibs and pulse a couple of times.
- Remove the mixture from the food processor and place into a bowl. Roll the mixture into small balls (approx. 20g per ball) and coat each ball with chopped walnuts.
- Sprinkle Ceylon Cinnamon over the bites and then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for up to a month.
3. Chia, Raspberry Pudding with Maca and Cacao
1tbsp Cacao powder
1tbsp Maca powder
1tsp Cacao Nibs
1tbsp raw honey
1tsp lemon zest
1tsp chia seeds
240ml almond milk
- Place all the ingredients except the berries into a glass jar.
- Stir well and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds expand.
- Before serving, add the raspberries on top and garnish with lemon zest and Organic Cacao Nibs.
If in doubt, you can simply use Cacao nibs as a supplement to any recipe that features chocolate chips. The result will simply be a more refined and distinctive chocolate flavour with slightly less sweetness and much more punch.
Cacao can also be found in powder form and makes a great addition to cereals or smoothies. A great alternative to chocolate, you can simply mix in some Cacao powder with your milk or soy substitute and stick your cup in the microwave for a delicious hot Cacao drink.
Finally, make sure you try your best to source your products from reliable health food stores or online suppliers. The trick is finding a product that is as unrefined and potent as it can possibly be to make the most of this amazing superfood.