Hello, my name is Tess, and I am a chocoholic. Well, I am a raw organic cacaoholic. Those of you who know me are well acquainted with my addiction. Those of you who are new to my blog-- welcome to my obsession. Don’t be alarmed. I assure you, it is perfectly safe, and downright delicious. I will warn you though -- it is highly contagious. But be comforted in the knowledge that you can enable this addiction and join our program without too much collateral damage.
In a previous post introducing my Vegan Chocolate Chilli Pepper Mousse we started at step one in our twelve step program -- “switching to dark unsweetened chocolate”. Then we lept ahead to step ten, which was “to embrace a vegan, dairy free, sugar free chocolate mousse”. Today we go back a little to step two which is, “we accepted that we could not exist without a hit of chocolate, but found that raw cacao powder provided a depth of flavour, nutrient density, and antioxidant injection that could not be matched”.
For those of you who are not familiar with raw cacao – welcome to chocoholic nirvana!
Raw cacao beans are the seeds of the fruit the cacao tree native to South America the West Indies; or as I like to affectionately call them “the seeds of chocolate heaven“. It is these beans that are roasted and mixed with cocoa butter, sugar and other things to make chocolate. But you can enjoy cacao beans in their raw natural state, which provides more health benefits. I use raw cacao in a ton of raw recipes.
Raw cacao is one of the best known food sources of magnesium which aids the absorption of calcium and supports healthy heart and muscle function. Raw cacao also contains other essential minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and sulphur. But best of all – raw cacao keeps us happy! Not only does it taste absolutely phenomenal, it contains Phenythylamine (PEA) which helps to increase mental focus and alertness. It also contains inhibitors that allow more seratonin to circulate in the brain; and contains neurotransmitters such as dopamine and anandamine.
Raw cacao beans have an impressive anti-oxidant profile that contains 14 times more antioxidant flavanoids than red wine, 21 times more than green tea, and 7 times more than dark chocolate. Pure raw cacao beans, nibs and powder contain no sugar and a lower fat content than most other nuts; and are a much healthier alternative to conventional chocolate which contains milk solids and sugar. I like to eat handfuls of raw cacao nibs along with Goji berries or fruit as a snack when I am travelling . I also throw them into smoothies and shakes for a chocolate hit. They are wonderful blended into ice creams, puddings, cookie and muffin batters, or used as a topping for cereals and fruit. Try making oatmeal with coconut milk and topping with raw cacao nibs and agave for a blissful comforting creamy chocolate treat in the Winter. YUM!
Sorry, back to TODAY’S recipe -- the raw chocolate sauce! “Oh, Happy Day”, when I can enable my two favourite addictions in one hit – chocolate and coconut! I will use any excuse to get a hit of coconut. This addiction first started back on a childhood trip to America where our dear friend Bev (from the pumpkin muffin recipe) whipped up some of her famous hot fudge sundaes made with chocolate sauce, fruit, nuts and coconut. What can I say? It was love at first bite. We came home with a suitcase literally full of hot fudge sauce cans, and mum would ration out our stash as a treat for “Sunday night sundaes”! For years I happily “coat checked” my liver and colon to enable my addiction on family movie night.
That was until Steven Acuff put me onto the joys of raw coconut. I jumped into the coconut trough with a greedy enthusiasm that saw me sampling every raw organic coconut product I could stick my snout into. I discovered the joys of raw chocolate sauce, and suffice it to say, I have never looked back. WOO HOO! I could happily enable my addiction without the stomach aches. Raw chocolate sauce made with raw cacao powder, raw coconut nectar and raw coconut butter is free from the refined sugar and additives of most commercial chocolate sauces. It contains all of the antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut butter combined with the antioxidant power of raw cacao powder. I have tasted a few raw chocolate sauces now. But my favourite would have to be the one made by Loving Earth in Australia. It is absolutely phenomenal! Their range of raw organic products remain unparalleled in Australia, and they are one of the most impressive organic companies in the world. They remain my raw, green, fair-trade warriors of choice.
Here is my version of their famous raw chocolate coconut butter. Every time I grab for a jar at the health food store I am greeted by a fellow foodie’s hand grabbing for an adjoining jar. A chocoholic chuckle is always accompanied by a glowing endorsement “How good is this?!”
My favourite way to enjoy this raw chocolate coconut butter is with some raw vegan coconut ice cream. But you can use it as a spread, warm it up to create a fondue for fruits, blend with warm water for hot chocolate, slather it on cookies to make ice cream sandwiches, stir some through oatmeal and cereals, or eat it by the spoonful directly from the jar! The best thing about this raw chocolate sauce is that the coconut butter can be enjoyed as a solid or a liquid. It melts really well and then solidifies really quickly at room temperature. It is like that chocolate sauce that gets hard when you put it on ice cream because of the properties of the coconut butter.
This chocolate coconut butter is incredibly rich and decadent -- a little goes a long way; and it might take a while for some people to get used to the unique flavour. Having said that, I have served it up to cream dreamers with rave reviews. Researchers recommend eating 3 tablespoons of coconut butter a day. It has no cholesterol and no trans-fats. This is a fantastic decadent way to get your daily fix of coconut! I have left this raw chocolate sauce recipe very basic. But it works really well with chilli flakes or cinnamon if you want to jazz it up a bit.
I use the loving earth raw cacao powder which is the best raw cacao powder I have found. When I break open the seal of that can the hairs in my snout start dancing and my tongue flops out onto the floor begging for a fix. Only the most adept Coloratura Soprano could do the experience justice. The intensity and depth of flavour makes me weak at the knees. Give this raw chocolate coconut butter a go in your blender and let your inner addict sing.
Just one gentle disclaimer: this quick little concoction has a tendancy to kick the most sober addict back into denial. Proceed with caution. This is hard to quit! But hey, we are only at step two. We have time. Enjoy!
Going from chocoholic to raw cacaoholic is a process….right?