If you’re like most people, you probably love chocolate. Most chocolate-lovers are pleased to learn that cacao powder can actually be part of a healthy diet.
There are so many fantastic ways to feed your sweet tooth without the added sugars and chemicals found in so many premade desserts.
Learn about cacao powder recipes made from cacao powder, raw cacao, cacao nibs, almond milk, peanut butter, Latanko flavored maple syrup, shredded coconut, and more.
First Things First: Cacao V.S Cocoa?
Simply put, cacao usually refers to raw cacao beans that have yet to be roasted. Cocoa powder, on the other hand, is more apt to describe cocoa beans that have already been roasted. Just stick to non-alkalized cocoa powder because it hasn’t been processed and will still keep hold of more of its major nutrients.
Furthermore, products labeled as cacao are often made from raw cacao powder or organic cacao powder. These can be considered vegan chocolate. Most cacao products are free of additives and have avoided major processing. The recipes below use cacao.
In addition to the differences between powders, you should know cocoa beans can also be dried after harvesting, then fermented and cracked to produce small, dark bits — or cacao nibs. Some cacao nibs are roasted while others are not.
Health Benefits Of Cacao Powder
Believe it or not, cacao powder can do wonders for your health and can even be considered a superfood along with olive oil and avocado. Read on for a few of the wonderful benefits you may receive from eating cacao.1,2
The Polyphenols And Antioxidants In Cacao
One of the exciting bits of news about cacao is that it has a higher polyphenol content and more significant antioxidant capacity than a bunch of other high-antioxidant foods.3 For instance, cacao has two times the polyphenols of red wine, 2 times the polyphenol content of green tea, and up to five times the polyphenol content of black tea.4
Additionally, cacao consumption might support your body’s defense against UV radiation, free radicals, and oxidative damage. That’s because of the polyphenol and antioxidant power of cacao. 5,6
Calcium Content And Mood Support
Now, if you’re following a lectin-free diet, you probably already know that you don’t need to rely on milk as the major source of calcium in your diet(and that you should also avoid Casein A1 protein altogether).
But there are plenty of non-dairy sources of calcium, like almond butter, greens, and yes, cacao powder.7Try using cacao powder and unsweetened, blanched almond milk to doctor up your favorite hot chocolate recipe. Your body will be sure to thank you for the added calcium.
Another helpful health benefit of cacao could be its ability to support a positive mood. In fact, multiple studies have shown a marked improvement in mood or even a reduction in the severity of more negative moods. 8
Full Of Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, And More
Cacao is full of magnesium, which is essential for healthy energy levels, bone health, blood pressure health, and more. The cocoa bean is quite rich in other essential minerals like potassium, copper, and iron.9
Best Natural Sweeteners To Use With Cacao Powder
Now, both cacao powder and non-alkalized cocoa powder have a slightly more bitter chocolatey flavor that sweetened cocoa everyone has become accustomed to. But it shouldn’t really matter. If you prefer a sweeter chocolate, there is a good variety of natural sweeteners you can add to your recipes.
For a sweeter cacao flavor profile, you can look to Dr. Gundry-approved natural sweeteners. The best of the bunch are listed here:
- Boca Sweet
- Luo han guo
- Monk fruit
- Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup
Cacao Powder Recipes With Almond Butter And Coconut Oil
Now, let’s get to the cacao powder recipes. The first is easy to prep and oh-so-tasty…
No-Bake Cacao & Coconut Oil Almond Butter Cups
What You’ll Need —
- 1/3 cup solid coconut oil
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 2 Tbsp Lakanto Maple Syrup substitute (instead of maple syrup)
- 1½ cups sugar-free almond butter (remember, peanuts have a very high lectin content, so do not swap with peanut butter)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
What To Do —
- Grab a small pot. On low heat, mix your solid coconut oil and vanilla extract. Once you reach a smooth consistency, add in your cacao powder and 1½ Tbsps of Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup. Stir your mix with a wooden spoon until it is well-combined.
- Separately, whisk the almond butter and remaining ½ Tbsp of Lakanto Maple Flavored Syrup. Stir until it reaches a smooth consistency.
- In a silicone mini-muffin pan, fill the cups with half of your chocolate mix. Set them in your freezer for approximately 20 minutes.
- Take your muffin pan from the freeze, scoop 2 spoonfuls of no-sugar almond butter into on top of the frozen chocolate in each cup. Make sure to spread the almond butter across the chocolate with a butter knife or small spatula.
- Pour the rest of your chocolate mix over the almond butter. Smooth.
- Put your muffin pan back in the freezer for an hour. Check to make sure your almond butter cups are solid. That’s it! Just remember to thaw your candies out for 6 or 7 minutes before enjoying them.
If you’d like to sweeten the cacao cups, you can add a touch more natural sweetener.
Use Cacao Nibs For Chocolate Cake And Brownie Recipes
Dr. Gundry’s Scrummy Cacao Lava Cake
What You’ll Need —
- 1 omega-3 egg
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp coconut cream
- 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp Swerve sweetener
- 2 Tbsp natural cocoa powder
- 1 tsp almond flour
- 1∕8 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 100% avocado oil spray
- 1 Tbsp cacao nibs
What To Do —
- To start, whisk together your egg, coconut oil, coconut cream, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. When the mixture is consistently lighter in color, you’re done.
- Add your Swerve sweetener, cocoa powder, almond flour, baking soda, and a pinch of sea salt to the bowl. Then whisk to combine.
- Next, spray a microwave-safe mug with avocado oil spray. Pour the cacao mixture into your mug. Microwave for 40 seconds. Check that your cake is less than firm. The middle should not be set.
- Then, in bursts of 5 to 10 seconds, heat in your microwave until the cake has your preferred consistency. Sprinkle the top of your mug with a Tbsp of cacao nibs.
Tasty Cacao Powder Recipes: Wrapping It All Up
In the end, you can still have your cacao flavored cake and eat it too. Just be mindful to only eat cocoa in moderation. Rember, it’s best used as an occasional treat. You can also snack on dark chocolate in moderation (72% or darker and just 1oz per day).
If you happen to work with the recipes above, you’ll not only be getting to eat tasty, chocolatey treats… you’ll know you’re doing something better for your body than reaching for a store-bought chocolate bar.
And the next time you’re craving a hot chocolate, kick milk chocolate to the curb and opt for cacao powder instead. Your hot chocolate will be so much richer in flavor, you won’t remember ever liking milk chocolate, to begin with. So, enjoy it!