I didn't instantly fall in love with raw organic cacao.
I was never a big cocoa drinker and my preference for lollies overshadowed any love of chocolate I had in my past sugar eating life.
But with the many health benefits that come with consuming raw organic cacao powder, I opened my arms (and my mouth) and embraced it. Now, I'm a convert.
I do have some rules though, highlighted to me whilst doing the I Quit Sugar Program. After lots of experimentation and falling off the wagon and picking myself up again and again, I have found these rules allow me to enjoy this nutritious "real food" without blowing my sugar levels through the roof, without experiencing the mid-afternoon sugar slump, and without leaving me feeling foggy, light headed and shaky.
I only use raw organic cacao powder. NEVER cocoa. They may look and sound the same, but they're worlds apart nutritionally.
I eat any and all sweet treats straight after I eat a meal. I don’t snack mid-meals. This helps to avoid blood sugar spikes and also ensures that these "sweet treats" don't become habit forming.
Any "sweet treat" I plan to eat on a daily basis, MUST not exceed 1/2 teaspoon of sweetener. I make sure of this fact by simply making my own at home.
Unfortunately, I'm finding more and more "clean treats" found in cafes to contain a hell of a lot of sweetener. Yes, it may be un-refined natural sugars, but sugar is still sugar and when you consume a slice that's been made with medjool dates, coconut sugar AND maple syrup.....cripes….talk about not even being close to healthy!
So today I'm sharing with you one of my little treats containing the wonderful ingredient - raw organic cacao and only a touch of sweetener.....
Fruit + Nut Chocolate Bites
Makes 25 small chocolate bites
¼ cup almonds | ¼ cup coconut flakes | 1 tbsp coconut oil | 1 tbsp chia seeds | 1 tbsp freeze-dried organic strawberries | 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
1 batch of basic raw chocolate (see here)
(this will make a little more chocolate than needed for this recipe, but always great to have extra in the freezer, ready to melt and add to your next treat making day)
In a food processor, blitz the almonds, freeze-dried strawberries and coconut flakes until small fine pieces (you don’t want a powder, however you want them small enough to fit into your chocolate moulds).
Now add your chia seeds, cacao nibs and coconut oil and whiz gently to combine.
Separate this fruit + nut mixture between your silicon moulds, pressing down firmly, before placing in the freezer for ½ hour to firm up.
Meanwhile, make your chocolate (see here)
Once your filling is set, pour over your chocolate to completely cover. Pop back into the freezer for another ½ hour, before turning out and enjoying.
Keep stored in an airtight jar in the fridge or freezer. Remember, as it’s made with coconut oil, it will melt quickly if left at room temperature!
I find sucking slowly on one straight from the freezer after lunch or dinner quells any sweet craving I’m having.