By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef
There's something about cacao: no matter what time of day, it always sounds like a good idea to enjoy this tasty, nutrient-dense superfood. You may remember that cacao is a top superfood for truly incredible reasons: it's full of anti-aging antioxidants, rich in vital minerals, and boosts cognitive health and neuroplasticity…to name just a few of its benefits! But cacao is also a real hero in the kitchen as a healthy, delicious way to consume chocolate in a variety of applications. Here are eight of our most favorite ways to use cacao:
1. Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls
Fact: Cacao basically turns smoothies into chocolate ice cream. Amazing, right? Add a spoonful or two of cacao powder to your next creamy blend and revel in having dessert for breakfast.
2. Homemade Chocolate
Few things are more satisfying than mixing together cacao butter, cacao powder and a sweetener of choice to make healthy chocolate entirely from scratch. Let the “artisan” start with you! Start with this easy DIY recipe for some major inspo and let your imagination handle the rest.
3. Baked Treats
Cacao powder can be used as a direct one-to-one swap for unsweetened cocoa powder to chocolate-up your favorite baked treats like cakes and brownies. And for a nut-like crunch with a chocolate chip-like taste, try sprinkling regular cacao nibs or cacao sweet nibs into batters as well.
4. Overnight Oats
Sweet breakfast options like porridges, oatmeal, overnight oats or chia pudding become renewed by mixing in cacao powder to create a chocolate-themed variation. We love this low-sugar application!
5. Hearty Stews
Believe it or not, cacao can act like an earthy spice in stews that feature Central and even South American flavors. A spoonful of cacao powder is a great addition to chili or stew with tomatoes, sweet potatoes, lime and cinnamon.
Cacao makes the most amazing chocolate drizzle in the world, just begging for your next healthy treat! By simply combining cacao powder with nut butter and your favorite liquid sweetener, you'll create the perfect decadent upgrade for everything from smoothie bowls to fresh fruit to pancakes.
7. Fat Bombs, Balls and Bites
Throwing cacao powder into your next food processor experiment almost guarantees deliciousness. Grinding up nuts and dried fruits to make a sticky base is delicious on its own, but adding cacao easily turns this style of recipe into one that tastes like a fresh-baked brownie.
Incorporating cacao nibs is a fantastic way to make any kind of granola a little crunchier and a little healthier, too! You can use regular or sweet nibs for this simple and satisfying application.
So, how do you use cacao? Tell us in comments below!