Crazy fo’ cacao

cacao bean and cacao powder

cacao bean and cacao powder

Ok, nearly everybody knows dark chocolate is good for you.  Why?  Out of all the chocolates (ie. white, milk, dark) it’s the richest in antioxidants and heart-healthy polyphenols and flavanols.  This is attributed to the cacao content.

But have you heard about its other surprising benefits – cavity inhibitor or intelligence booster, you say?  Further research into cacao:

1.  A naturally occurring cocoa-powder extract may be added to future toothpastes in the US.  Apparently the extract hardens tooth enamel.  Harder enamel = stronger teeth = added resistance to decay.

2. Eating just one serve of chocolate each week lowers the likelihood of a stroke by 22% compared to non-chocolate eaters.  The likely cause is the high flavonoid content.  Research also indicated that even in the event of a stroke, chocolate eaters were 54% more likely to recover!

3. Chocolate lowers blood pressure in hypertension sufferers.  How?  The flavanols assist in widening blood vessels.  Apparently a 125kJ serve each day was sufficient to have a beneficial impact on blood pressure.

4.  Flavanols and antioxidants are known to increase blood flow to not only the brain but the retina.  The effects of this are improved mental clarity and eyesight.  Win!

open cacao bean

open cacao bean

As if you needed more reasons to eat chocolate, right?  I know I don’t need any.  As hubby will confirm, I find it difficult to function without having some every day.

To celebrate the research findings from scientists around the world.. it is only fitting to share a raw chocolate recipe!

This basic recipe can be tweaked according to your liking!  Choose any toppings you like, you are only limited by your imagination.  Chop some nuts (pistaschio, almond, macadamia etc), dried fruit (apricot, figs, goji berries), carob nibs, even crystallized ginger.  Other recipes I’ve seen have added essential oils such as peppermint and orange.

Ingredients:

100g melted coconut oil

150g raw cacao powder

50g melted cocoa butter

6-8 tbs agave / stevia / your sweetener of choice

1/2 cup toppings

choc + coconut

choc + coconut

Food process all ingredients except the toppings. (If you don’t have a food processor just make sure you mix very well in a bowl).

Taste – if not sweet enough for your palate, add in more agave or whatever sweetener you are using.

Stir in toppings into the melted cacao mixture thoroughly.

Spread with a spatula on a large flat surface such as a baking tray or you can pour them into ice block trays.

Refrigerate until set (minimum 1 hour).

Revisit childhood and proceed to lick spatula and bowl clean.  Sigh blissfully.

TIP:  Adding in bits of coconut flesh is delish.

Try not to scoff all in one sitting!  Freezes well 🙂

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