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At home supping hot chocolate or Cocoa, has been at the forefront of nightly activities, all in the name of warmth!
We all know or have heard of the health benefits of eating chocolate, albeit raw chocolate or dark chocolate are predominantly the healthiest. Chocolate offers a good dose of Vitamin B's, plus essential minerals and healthy heart fats, (oleic and monounsaturated). So it is official there is NOTHING LEFT TO FEEL GUILTY ABOUT.
One girlfriend breakfasts on dark chocolate & coffee every morning, and looks fantastic on it!
So can drinking Cocao be healthy too?
We decided to "Go like Goldilocks" taste test & weigh in the health benefits. On the supermarket isle, there are at least 10 brands offering 30 different types of Cocoa. The three we selected buy in their chocolate from farmers who grow and trade ethically.
We started out with Starbucks Hot Cocoa Cinnamon Dolce. Cinnamon is also known for it heart benefits and can regulate the blood sugar. Notably, StarBucks doesn't add a ton of “Other” things. Though one of us had to step down from sampling because of the 18 grams of sugar. When they say Dolce, they mean it! It was good, but really sweet. The cinnamon registered on the tastebuds, but even though it is known to reduce blood sugar, there probably isn't enough per packet to do the job.
Next, and I urge you, try Dagoba Organic Drinking Chocolate “xocolatl”. It is my favorite store bought Cocoa, which I use in baking too. It contains cacao powder, pieces of dark chocolate, (then) sugar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
Cayenne is renowned for its heat and boosts the circulatory system, it adds a picante flavor and has a deep warming effect. The sugar content is half of the afore mentioned sachet, yep BONUS! I'll take flavor over sweetness any day.
Then I started thinking "What does it take to make your own hot chocolate"?
Cacao nibs would be the obvious place to start. I’ve thrown them at smoothies, in my oatmeal and even rolled my energy balls in them, but didn't really consider them as anything other than a nutritious topping...
So the third Cocao, is a recipe I devised using Ojio Chocolate nibs, and I'm calling it
"Guiltless, Energy Boosting & Heart Healthy Cocao"
- 2 tablespoons of Cacao nibs
- 2 Soft Dates stones removed
- 300 - 400 ml of Milk of your choice ( we are an almond milk family)
- Ground Cayenne
- Ground cinnamon
Place Cacao nibs in grinder for 2 mins until finely ground, set to one side.
Remove stones from dates, place in blender with 150 ml of milk and blend until no flecks remain
Warm in pan the cacao grinds for a moment before adding liquid, this helps them soften and blend with the milk.
Pour milk and date liquid into sauce pan
Gently simmer - Do Not Boil as this will destroy precious vitamins and minerals.
Remove from heat, sprinkle Cayenne and Cinnamon to taste.
Et Voila, Chocolat Chez Nous
Our resident twelve year old taster (not so goldilocks) was like "WOW!" and yes, I agree it was delicious and it felt satisfying. Certainly, had Cosmo's interest.
Here's to you & National Heart Health,