We all know Easter is nearly here and what a different Easter it will be. Easter for some will still be a time of indulging in chocolate and for some maybe OVERINDULGING in this delicacy!! Did you know it is actually possible to enjoy chocolate without the guilt? Yes, there is such a thing as healthy chocolate.
When we think of healthy chocolate one often assume all dark chocolate is a healthy choice. Unfortunately, most dark chocolate today is highly processed, losing most of its nutrients and antioxidant qualities in this processing and leaving you with a wonderful dose of sugar and fat!!
So how do we find this healthy chocolate? We need to look for raw unprocessed chocolate known as cacao. Cacao is the ‘chocolate superfood’ we often hear about which is high in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. Cacao is in fact the untreated seeds referred to as cacao beans which are grown on small trees known as Theobrom cacao which translated means “cacao, the food of the Gods” in the Greek language. Raw cacao is usually sold as whole cacao beans, cacao nibs which are peeled, finely chopped beans or as raw cacao powder, which is made from peeled, cold pressed cacao beans.
Raw chocolate or cacao contains many important vitamins and minerals and is therefore a beneficial food to include in your diet. Raw cacao powder can be blended into fruit smoothies, or with dairy, soy or rice milks. It can be added to your protein drink or yoghurt. The whole beans or nibs can be added to your favourite fruit and nut nibble mix, or even used to replace chocolate chips in icecream, pancakes, muffins, biscuits etc.
One of the positives of spending more time at home means we have time to enjoy being more creative in the kitchen. Below I have given you some of my favourite cacao recipes. Perfect for Easter overindulgences without the guilt!! The coconut rough slice is so easy to make and so so tasty. Once again, the chocolate carrot cake is super delicious containing carrots almond meal and cacao powder. As well as being nutritious and extremely tasty, this cake is gluten free, sugar free and dairy free so ticks all the boxes for those suffering from the common food allergies.
RAW VEGAN COCONUT ROUGH
1 cup almond meal; ¼ cup cacao powder; ¼ cup maple syrup; 1 cup shredded coconut; ¾ cup organic coconut oil; ¼ cup sunflower kernels, 1/4 cup puffed quinoa; ¼ cup Australian pumpkin seeds; 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
Mix all the dry ingredients except cacao nibs. Melt coconut oil and mix through dry ingredients. This can be done in a food processor although I find it just as easy to mix through by hand. If the mixture is too dry add extra coconut oil. Sprinkle the mixture with cacao nibs. Press the mix into a small lined cake tray pressing down with the back of a spoon. Place in refrigerator to set hard then cut into small squares. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
RAW CHOCOLATE EASTER EGG
¾ cup Raw Cacao butter, ¼ cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 1 cup Raw Cacao Powder, ½ cup Coconut Syrup, ½ cup Cacao Nibs. Finely chop cacao butter. Slowly melt cacao butter and coconut oil in metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, fold cacao powder, cacao nibs and coconut syrup. Place in Easter egg mold or any other mold, create your own shapes and then place in fridge to set.