There are so many ways to feel and express love, but I like to say that there's no food that symbolizes love better than chocolate. I don't mean Kit Kats or Hershey Kisses. I'm talking about real raw chocolate, also known as cacao. Gifting someone a sweet treat with rejuvenating and anti-aging elements will truly express that you care about them.
Now, before we get to making your own delicious treats, there are two important things you should know about cacao:
1. The secret inside cacao is the "bliss chemical". It's a neurotransmitter called anandamide, which actually stimulates feelings of love and joy and opens up the energy of the heart chakra. It's pretty powerful stuff and should really only been eaten as a special treat every once in a while.
Although it's super popular in the raw food world (because it tastes so good and is a natural replacement for traditional chocolate), the truth of the matter is that cacao contains caffeine and toxic compounds such as theobromine. It's in our bodies best interest to only have a small amount, so these chocolaty treats are best saved for very special occasions, like Valentine's Day!
2. A variety of natural sweeteners can be used in making raw chocolate treats, but choose them wisely! Just because they're natural doesn't mean they're good for you. In fact, the popular agave nectar should be avoided
. The best choice is a sweetener that's low on the glycemic index and has low fructose content. This way they don't affect your blood sugar (or only slightly affect it). This also helps avoid long-term health risks like cancer and obesity. Stevia and coconut sap are on the top of the "good" list.
Now, with all that being said, here are three divine recipes for Valentine's Day treats:
- 2 cups raw almonds (ground)
- 3/4 c raw cacao powder
- 6 dates (pitted)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 pinch salt (use Celtic or Himalayan salt)
- 3 tbsp filtered water (add more if needed)
- 1 cup dried coconut flakes (use the unsweetened kind)
- Pre-prep: Soak almonds in water for twenty-four hours, then rinse well. Dry them in a dehydrator or on the lowest setting of your oven with the door cracked open. We don't want to use soggy or wet almonds in the recipe.
- Grind the almonds in a food processor. Add in the cacao, dates, raisins, coconut oil and salt. Once everything is blended well, add the water to make the mixture moist.
- Take a small amount of the mixture and roll balls that are about the size of a silver dollar.
- Pour the coconut flakes into a small bowl and roll each ball in the flakes until it's covered evenly.
- Keep in the fridge to help the truffles harden for at least two hours.
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cacao butter
- 1 tbsp raw almond butter
- 1 vanilla bean (scrape out insides (can substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract))
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp coconut nectar
- Melt the cacao butter and coconut oil together in a double boiler.
- Add almond butter to the warm mixture and stir until it's dissolved.
- Pour in cacao powder, coconut nectar, vanilla and salt. Mix together.
- Taste test and see if you want to add anything.
- Pour into moulds or something like mini cupcake pans.
- Store in the freezer and enjoy the health benefits of cacao.
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 3 vanilla beans (scraped insides only)
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs (finely ground in coffee grinder)
- 8 1/2 oz cacao powder (weight)
- 3/4 cup almond butter
- 1 cup dried raspberries (broken into small pieces)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup coconut syrup (this is also called coconut sap and coconut nectar)
- Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler and then pour into a blender.
- Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthwise. With a spoon, thoroughly scrape the insides of the beans and add to blender.
- Blend until vanilla is totally broken down and mixture feels warm.
- Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt, coconut syrup, and almond butter by hand.
- Grind the cacao nibs in a coffee grinder until finely ground. Add to the large mixing bowl along with the cacao powder.
- Break up the dried raspberries into small bits and fold into the mixture.
- Stir by hand until smooth and there are no pockets of cacao powder.
- Line a baking sheet or pan with heavy waxed paper (8x8x2 inch is ideal)
- Transfer mixture to the baking sheet or pan and use a spatula to get a smooth top.
- Set in the fridge or freezer until fudge becomes hard. This will take about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge or freezer and cut into the size and shapes you choose.