Raw Vegan Chocolate Options
Chocolate lovers can delight in the fact that dark chocolate actually helps reduce stress! Aside from it’s heart-healthy benefits, LiveScience reported a study where eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate for a period of two weeks showed decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This study was published in 2009 in the journal of Proteome Research (www.huffingtonpost.com)
But here’s the rub – most commercial chocolate candies and bars are very high in sugar in comparison to the ratio of cacao. To get the best benefit from chocolate the cacao level needs to be around 72%. You won’t find that in most of the candy you buy at convenience stores and supermarkets.
One of the great learning experiences of the raw foods lifestyle is how simple it is to make a chocolate ganache or candy sell by simply mixing a few ingredients, which also happen to be good for you, such as rich cacao and coconut oil, both loaded with antioxidants. Whisking these items with some viscous sweetener, such as agave nectar or coconut syrup can bring instant gratification. While there has been some bad press about agave nectar, if you limit its use to filling the occasional chocolate cravings or seek out the raw organic versions, I think you will be fine. Certainly do try this recipe with coconut nectar as that is a great alternative sweetener derived from the palm tree and boasts a relatively low glycemic index (35). For more information on Sensible Sweeteners check out my blog and NBC’s Daytime appearance.
I am sharing two surprisingly simple “prescriptions” for chocolate therapy; They are made with healthy fats, dark chocolate and sensible sweeteners. You can find ground cacao at health food stores or use Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa.
First, a simple candy shell sauce from my book – Raw Fusion Living. If you don’t have cacao butter, you can leave it out – it will be more of a sauce than a shell, which can harden when cold. (Place in freezer for rapid hardening.) Use it on a variety of fresh berries.
You can buy Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder at any market and that will work perfectly if you can’t get raw cacao. The photo is from my friend, Rosemary Nickel (www.motivatingothermoms.com).
Chocolate Candy Shell
- ¼ cup agave or coconut nectar
- 2 TB. raw cacao powder
- 1 TB shaved and melted cacao butter (but you don’t need to add this if you don’t have it!)
- 1 TB. coconut oil (add an extra tablespoon more if you don’t have cacao butter)
Directions: To melt cacao butter, grate over a small cup and immerse the cup in hot or boiling water (bain marie) – it will melt immediately.Whisk ingredients together until you achieve the desired consistency.
Avocados are rich in essential fatty acids (unsaturated fats), a great source of omega 3 and 6 and they are very easy to digest. They are considered to be a “good fat” which is good news for people who love guacamole, a universally loved appetizer and so easy to make:
Botanically a fruit, but often served as a vegetable. It always amazes people who are first experimenting with raw desserts are astounded by how an avocado can become an instant smooth and creamy dessert icing or pudding by adding some sweetener and flavoring and whipping up the mixture with a wire whisk or potato masher. However, if you are making a large portion of this (3 or more avocados) you may want to use a food processor to get all the lumps out but for up to 2 the whisk or masher will be fine.
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1-2 TB. maple syrup, raw honey, agave or coconut nectar
- 2-3 TB. of unsweetened cocoa powder
- Optional: Dash of vanilla and/or salt to balance flavors
Directions: Spoon out avocado into a mixing bowl – with a large fork mash it well, add sweetener and mix – then sprinkle in 2 TB. of the cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly and taste – should be sweet with no real avocado taste, so adjust by adding more cocoa and/or sweetener.
I didn’t have a photo of this pudding and “borrowed” one from www.greenlitebites.com – so, thanks!
These recipes are from Raw Fusion: Better Living through Living Foods volumes 1 and 2 copyright 2010 Quantum Mind Press, LindaJoy Rose, Ph.D.