For those of you who, like me, are a total Chocoholic, World Chocolate Day - 7th July - is probably your favourite day of the year… after Easter :)
But did you know that chocolate - in its purest form - is actually GOOD for you? Raw cacao is packed full of nutrients - it’s only when it’s overly processed and mixed with sugar and the lipid soya lethicin that it becomes unhealthy i.e. eating chocolate with 85% cocoa solids is definitely better than a bar of Dairy Milk.
Natural raw cacao contains a host of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, vitamins E and B, essential healthy fats, as well as protein and fiber. It is also an amazing antioxidant – one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidant flavanols. Cacao also contains a stimulant called theobromine, which – unlike caffeine – does not have an affect on our nervous system but creates a slow release of energy throughout the day, and also supports heart health. Cacao is also full of a neurotransmitter called anandamide, which acts as a stimulant and blocks feelings of depression. It even contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the chemical in the brain that is triggered when we experience pleasure – and the reason why cacao is so often referred to as a natural aphrodisiac.
So what can I do with raw cacao? There are so many interesting & delicious ways of incorporating raw cacao into your diet. I love to start the day with a hot chocolate ‘shot’ – just a simple blend of warm water and 1 teaspoon of my favourite Choc Chick ginger and turmeric raw cacao powder. You can add it to smoothies, shakes and of course, baked goods.
This World Chocolate Day I celebrated by baking these Choco-Banoffee Cupcakes -
Choco-Banoffee Cupcakes (GF, Ve)
A healthier plant-based version of a banoffee chocolate treat? What’s not to love?! Especially if the chocolate in question has been made with CHOC Chick’s raw, organic heavenly cacao powder and cacao butter!
You could use chocolate chips, but I prefer to use CHOC chick’s super delicious cacao nibbles for a bit of a crunch - these are cacao nibs coated in dark chocolate and sweetened with yacon syrup… #drool
These cupcakes are simple to whip up and cater to all dietary requirements, making them perfect for sharing – if you can bear to, that is! :)
To feed your Chocoholism check out the delicious recipes on CHOC Chick’s website!
1/3 cup (30 g) CHOC Chick 100% raw cocoa powder
1/3 cup (80 g) boiling water
2 large (240 g) extra ripe bananas
1/2 cup (100 g) coconut sugar
1/3 cup (75 g) plant m*lk (I like to use Plenish almond m*lk)
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (200 g) gluten-free flour (I like to use Dove’s)
1 tsp (4 g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 g) baking soda
3/4 tsp (3 g) salt
6 oz (170 g) CHOC Chick cacao nibbles
4 oz (110g) CHOC Chick organic cacao butter (melted and cooled)
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp maca powder
1/2 cup (115g) vegan butter
2 cups (450g) icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Line a cupcake tray with paper liners to you’re ready to go when the batter is finalised.
Mix the boiling water and cacao powder together in a bowl to form a smooth paste.
In a large mixing bowl (or in a food processor) mash the bananas until they form a smooth paste.
Next add the coconut sugar, plant m*lk and vanilla and whisk up with the bananas until silky smooth.
Then in another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well until the batter is smooth. Add the cacao paste and mix again.
Finally, fold in the cacao nibbles, saving some to sprinkle on top of the cupcakes when they’re oven-ready.
Fill the prepared cupcake cases about 2/3 full and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Once baked, remove from the oven and let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting
1. Melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie.
2. In a separate bowl or in a food processor, beat the vegan butter, maple syrup and and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Then add the melted cacao butter to the butter/sugar/maple/maca mixture and continue whisking until the ingredients are well combined.
4. Let the cupcakes cool completely before decorating them with the frosting and any toppings – like dried banana, cacao powder or more cacao nibbles! :)