01 Dec 2010

Cacao the Raw Chocolate

The cacao bean is basically raw chocolate. It is one of the 5 top superfoods. The beans grow in pods on the Theobroma Cacao "Food of the Gods" tree which is found in the tropical regions of the World. When first removed from the pods the beans are white and only turn to brown later after they has been exposed to the air. The beans contain an oil which is commonly know as cocoa butter.

History shows that cacao was revered as far back as the Aztecs for it's aphrodisiac, health and mood enhancing properties. They often prepared a drink which contained cacao, chili, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is said that Montezuma drank 50 cups of a cacao drink each day.

The main difference between cacao, cocoa and chocolate is that cocoa and chocolate have been heated for hours at temperatures as high as 150C/300F and with chocolate many extras like butter fat, dairy and sugar added, turning it from an superfood to a tasty but very ordinary health food with most it's good properties reduced. Ordinary chocolate is not suitable for diabetics and those on low cholesterol diets.

Cacao contains higher antioxidant properties than red wine, green tea and berries. Antioxidants remove the free radicals from our cells and therefore prevent and repair the damage done by them, plus they are shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases the blood vessels ability to dilate. Making cacao excellent in making blood vessels more flexible, lowering the risk of hardening of the arteries, and therefore protecting the heart and circulatory system. Cacao is also said to be a good in the prevention of migraines and cataracts.

The chemicals theobromine and anandamide are also found in cacao and it is these non-addictive stimulants that is said to lift the spirits, increase excitement and alertness and in alleviate mild depression. Cacao also contains protein, dietary fibre, calcium, sulphur, magnesium, zinc copper and iron. Those on a diet plan must note that cacao, like chocolate, is high in calories so although it should be eaten daily, do not eat in excess. 1 oz / 28gms is 120 calories.

The cocoa butter contained in the beans is a solid fat, which melts at body temperature. It has become very popular in rawfood recipes as like coconut butter is and excellent "fat" for your health. It is used commercially as a cosmetic and ointment base.

WARNING : Dogs and cats should never eat cacao or chocolate as they are unable to metabolize theobromine and this could lead to cardiac arrest.

Always buy organic raw cacao beans, nibs and powder. Irradiation and spraying are standard practice with non-organic cacao beans. Enjoy!

Simple Chocolate Bar
From Mark Ament's article at Buzzle
To make this recipe you need a grinder or a mortar and pestle.
1/2 cup whole peeled organic cacao beans, ground
1/8 cup cold-pressed organic coconut oil
1/8 cup melted cacao butter (use coconut oil if not available)
1/4 cup raw organic honey or raw agave syrup

Optional ingredients:
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp almonds, finely chopped
1 drop orange, lemon, clove, lavender or other essential oil
cinnamon to taste
Celtic sea salt to taste

Grind cacao until it is very fine. The cacao will have a consistency like raw almond butter and will stick to the sides of the grinder. Mix ground cacao with coconut oil or cacao butter in grinder. Remove mixture and add honey and other ingredients. Stir well with a fork. The mixture should be able to be poured. If not, add more coconut oil. Pour into ice cube trays or other forms and freeze for 45 minutes. Serve immediately after removing from the freezer.

Fly High Goji Berry Superfood Smoothie
From David Wolfe's new book Superfoods - The Food and Medicine of the Future
4 cups of your favorite liquid (water, hot or cold tea, coconut water, or any nut milk)
3 tbsp goji berries
3 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp maca, red maca, or maca extreme
1 tsp goji berry extract powder (optional, but super energizing!)
1–2 tbsp sweetener (such as yacon syrup, light or dark agave, or any raw honey)
1–3 cups frozen, organic berries
1 tbsp hempseed
1 small pinch Celtic sea salt
1/4 leaf fresh aloe vera gel (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth.

White Corn Tamales with Raw Cacao Mole, Marinated Portobellos and Green Tomato Salsa
From Navitas Naturals     Submitted Sarma Melngailis of One Lucky Duck and Pure Food and Wine

For the portobellos:
3 med or 2 large Portobello mushroom caps, sliced into sticks about 2" long and 1/4" thick
1/2 cup pumpkin seed oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
30 oz almond flour
1 tsp sea salt

In a medium bowl, toss the mushrooms with the pumpkin seed oil, garlic, oregano and salt. Add a bit more oil if necessary to coat all the mushrooms. Transfer the mushrooms to a lined dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 115F/46C for 12 to 24 hours (tossing them around from time to time) or until the mushrooms taste as if they have been sautéed.

For the mole sauce:
3 tbsp Navitas Naturals cacao nibs
1 tbsp Navitas Naturals cacao powder
3 dried chili peppers
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup raw almond butter
2 tbsp Walnut or other nut oil
sea Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, add the chiles, Navitas Naturals Cacao Nibs, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, raisins and cumin and mix to combine. Add enough water to the bowl to cover and let stand at room temperature for one to two hours. Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender, add the almond butter and Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder and blend until completely smooth, adding as much filtered water as necessary to get it to a thick-sauce consistency. Add the walnut oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste, and blend to combine.

For the corn filling and tamales:
1 cup Navitas Naturals cashews
12 corn husks
6 cup fresh white corn kernels, cut from 4-5 ears
1 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sea salt
1 Small handful cilantro, finely chopped

Soak the corn husks in warm water for one to two hours to make them pliable. Place five cups of the corn in the food processor with the pine nuts, cashews, cayenne and salt, and process just until smooth, but do not over process. Fold in the remaining 1 cup corn and the cilantro and adjust seasoning if necessary. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the dehydrated mushrooms. Dry the corn husks with a towel. Tear a thin strip off the side of each husk – this will be used as string to tie the tamale together. Lay the corn husks flat and place about ½ cup of the corn mixture onto the center of each. Fold the bottoms up over the filling and then fold the sides over. Using the husk strips, tie the tops of each tamale. Place the tamales in the dehydrator at 115F/46C to warm them through, ideally for about two hours before serving.

For the salsa verde:
2-3 medium green tomatoes
2-3 medium tomatillos
sea salt to taste
2 Jalapeno peppers, seeds to taste, chopped
1 very large handful cilantro
1 green onion, white and 1” green, chopped     
2 tbsp lime juice

Quarter and salt the tomatoes and tomatillos. Let sit for one hour, then drain the liquid and place them in the food processor. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, and green onion and pulse until chunky. Drain any additional excess liquid and discard, and season the mixture with lime juice and salt to taste.

Raw Chocolate Cake
From the Best of Rawfood    Serves 10.

1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup carob
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut or cacao butter
pinch of sea salt

For the chocolate filling
2 cups cacao powder
1.5 cups agave sirup
1 cup coconut or cacao butter
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract (optional)
1 tablespoon Lucuma Powder (optional)
1 teaspoon Maca Powder (optional)
For garnishing: Strawberries, raspberries, or oranges for garnishing.

Combine and mix all ingredients. You can best do this by hand or standing mixer). It should have a dough-like consistency. Press the dough evenly into a 7 inch tart pan. (A removable bottom, a plastic cling wrap lining or one of these new flexible silicon pans are easiest.) Chill in the fridge for at least an hour if you have time.

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Poor into the cake crust. Put the cake back in the fridge and chill for at least another hour. Before serving, decorate the cake with the berries, orange or other nice looking fruit. Enjoy, this is the best raw food desert ever!

Raw German Chocolate Brownies
From that wonderful site Kristens Raw 
Oh-My-Goodness, These Are Amazing! Yield 12 brownies

3 cups raw walnuts, soaked and dehydrated
1 3/4 cups dried, unsweetened & shredded coconut
3/4 cup dark (or amber) raw agave nectar
1 tbsp raw (virgin) coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut extract
pinch Himalayan crystal salt

Take 1 cup of the walnuts and chop them. Set them in a large bowl. Add the coconut to the chopped nuts and toss briefly to mix. Take the remaining 2 cups of walnuts and grind them in a food processor, fitted with the "S" blade, until coarsely ground. Add the agave, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut extracts, and salt to the food processor and process until creamy. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to the large bowl with chopped nuts and coconut. Stir together by hand. Set aside while you make the brownies.

1/4 cup raw oats
2 1/4 cups raw pecans, soaked and dehydrated
2/3 cup raw chocolate powder
3 tbsps raw (virgin) coconut oil
dash Himalayan crystal salt
3/4 tspn vanilla extract
1 tbsp coconut extract
13 dates, pitted
1/4 cup raisins

Grind the oats to a powder with a coffee grinder or blender. Transfer them to your food processor, fitted with the "S" blade. Add the pecans and process until coarsely ground. Add the chocolate powder, coconut oil, salt, vanilla and coconut extracts. Process until well incorporated. Add the dates and raisins and process until the mixture begins to stick together when pressed between your fingers. Press into an 8x8 glass-baking dish. Top the brownies with the frosting.


Dirty Butter said...

Oh My! I'm having a chocolate high just reading the recipes! So my cocoa bars aren't really all that good for me, eh. I haven't a clue where we could buy cacao beans!

OFW Corner: Balitang OFW Ngayon said...

my grandfather used to make a chocolate bar for us using cacao beans since we have 5 trees of it in our backyard. We would suck the beans first then let in dry under the sun for few days. Then he'll grind the beans.

Jackie said...

DB Your local health shop should at least have the raw cacao (sometimes called raw cocoa) powder. Plus many places now selling online.

Balitang How interesting. Wish I had a tree :)