If you’ve read my post about beginning my pantry cleanse, you’ll know I’m a woman of priorities. You’ll also know I’ve been overwhelmed from day one. So, I’ve cleansed my pantry bit by bit, beginning with my favourite bits, like wine.
I KNOW. But trust me, it works.
After buying organic coffee and wine, the next thing I turned my attention to in the early days of my pantry was chocolate. (Have I mentioned I’m not a nutritionist?)
If you want my favourite recipe for chocolate bliss, skip straight to the end of this post and you’ll find it. It is worth noting a few things first though, if you have the time. Because, I’ve been reading up on chocolate. And it’s awesome. Of course, I’m leaving out the bit where fermented chocolate beans were used as coins. You can’t eat that (can you?). Here’s what my humble chocolate research fetish has uncovered:
Chocolate Grows on Trees.
Yes, the world really is magic.
Chocolate grows on the Theobroma cacao, otherwise known as the cacao tree; a fruiting tree found in the Amazon. The fruit grows as pods. Inside each cacao pod are cacao beans. And inside of the beans, cacao butter.
So, chocolate is not a fruit. It is the vegetable fat extracted from beans that grow inside of a fruit.
Beans are not great news for autoimmune disease, so cacao really is a sometimes treat in our home. But oh, the bliss! If all you do is throw this stuff into a warm bevvy with a spot of coconut sugar or honey, you’ll be close to heaven. Before you do that though, read on.
Real Chocolate is Good for You.
The magic continues.
Cacao is power packed with many superfoods. The cacao bean is full of flavonoids, or antioxidants, that stabilise free radicals: pesky rebels that age cells. Cacao contains more than forty times the antioxidants of blueberries and more antioxidants than acai or goji berries. It is also high in magnesium, the most deficient mineral in humans in the developed world. With good fats, calcium, fibre, B vitamins, iron and zinc thrown in.
In its pure form, chocolate is an Amazonian superfood.
Like anything, over indulgence can cause negative effects. If you have too much cacao, you might experience sleeplessness, anxiety or abnormal heart rhythm because of the presence of stimulants, including theobromine and serotonin. Stimulants are great news for the human body, but not in excess. Gah! Surely, chocolate was made by the gods, with excess in mind???
A little raw chocolate is an amazing boost for your health.
Eat Cacao, Not Cocoa.
What’s the difference? Cocoa is simply processed cacao. Cocoa powder comes from beans have been heated at high temperatures. The result? Up to 90% of the original antioxidants and nutrients are stripped.
If they’re not organic, processed cocoa beans have also more often than not been doused with chemicals.
Only Organic Chocolate is Nutritious.
Even if you buy raw instead of processed chocolate, it matters how it’s grown. If you’re buying an Amazonian superfood that’s been grown with synthetic fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides, you’re being duped. Because it’s no longer a superfood, it’s a health hazard.
Even if you buy processed chocolate, buy certified organic. You won’t get most of the nutrients, but your body won’t be harmed either.
You Don’t Need to be a Pro-Chef to make Amazing Chocolate Treats.
Which brings me to the bit where I share my recipe for chocolate bliss with you. Well, nearly. And you know what, I’m even going to put up a picture of the finished product. Why? To show you how imperfect my chocolate treats look.
I’m not a chef, photographer or anyone who possesses artistry of presentation in the kitchen.
My cooking is the opposite of art to look at.
If you’re going grain free, I hope you visit the blogs of people who have become pro, like Danielle Walker . They have amazing knowledge and recipes to share.
Then if you’re overwhelmed by how perfect the food that they prepare looks—and no doubt is, and how you’re never going to be able to do this home-chef thing; come back to my blog and feel better about yourself. Because, you can do this; and you don’t have to produce photo-worthy plates. Taste-worthy, and nutrition-worthy is what matters.
I want to show you how healthy stuff looks in the hands of a non-pro kitchen mama or papa. And guess what? My family LOVE these chocolate treats. I have to shoo them away from the jar after they’ve had one, just like I would if there was a block of Cadbury in the cupboard.
So, here goes:
Date & Cacao Bliss Balls
24 Medjool dates, soaked in toxin free water for one hour or more.
2 cups of organic almond meal.
1 cup of organic shredded coconut.
2/3 cup of extra virgin organic coconut oil.
2/3 cup of organic cacao powder. (Or organic cocoa powder if you can’t get cacao.)
2 tablespoons of your choice of extra (optional). I’ve used hemp seeds, chia seeds, cranberries and crushed cashews. They all tasted good.
- Drain the dates.
- Throw everything into a blender.
- Blend until it’s thoroughly mixed and looks chocolatey.
Note: the coconut oil might be solid or liquid, depending on the weather, and either is okay. Throw it into the blender and the oil will work its magic, in either form.
- Scoop a teaspoon amount of the mixture out of the blender and shape it into a ball. Put some more shredded coconut onto a plate and roll the bliss ball in the shredded coconut, until the ball is coated.
- Put all of the bliss balls into the fridge, and keep them there. They’ll be ready to eat after about an hour. (I tend to put them on a glass tray, or on baking paper, in a cake container, in the fridge, while they set.)
And the photographs of my imperfectly delicious treats, in the making (brave of me, right?!):
Thank you for indulging me.
Now, go indulge you.
Images from dghchocolatier (on Pixabay) are used in this post. Other images are credited to shellsforfree.com.