Ok, I clearly went totally overboard with making raw chocolates for Valentine’s Day this week! There are raspberry and passion fruit flavored ones, the Food Fix Up’s salty centered chocolates, and finally, the raw chocolate raspberry cups - one of my favorite raw chocolate recipe I want to share with you this week. I teach it in every raw food cooking class, as it is super simple. Even if you never cook a day in your life, you can make these cups!
The nice thing about the raw chocolate cups is, that they are not really chocolate in the real definition. While you do use raw cacao powder, there is no messy melting of cacao butter on a double broiler involved.
Next, you can pretty much get all the ingredients in a well stocked health food store, without having to make any of the ingredients at home. (But if you are a fan of making your own cashew butter, please do go ahead!).
And lastly, the recipe is so delicious, it will surely impress that special someone you are making these chocolates for!
The first thing I always get asked: is cacao and cocoa the same? Even though both refer to the plant that gives us our favorite chocolates - the Theobroma cacao tree - “cacao” is used for the non-processed version. The tree itself grows cacao pods (they kind of look like a papaya with a brownish red skin). Once you open the pods, you get the coffee beans, which look just like coffee beans. The beans then get broken down into cacao nibs. If you have ever tried these chocolate chip imitators, you know they taste way too bitter for our chocolate taste buds that favor Mars bars. In the last step, cacao nibs get ground down into cacao powder. This is the raw cacao powder version that is referred to in this recipe.
For the common chocolate we are used to, the cacao beans get roasted and chemically treated to take away the bitterness, deepen the color, and make the powder more easily processable into chocolate bars. This is called “Dutch processing”, and you will often find this written on cocoa powders.
Raw cacao is hailed as a superfood. While I try to be cautious with using this term - maybe another day I will rant about the exploitation of super foods marketing 😜 - it is undeniably super dense in nutrients. There are around 1200 different compounds in raw cacao, which are still in the process of being studied. Raw cacao is definitely rich in anti-oxidants, helping with heart and brain health. Another super benefit: raw cacao delays your aging processes!
Two especially significant compounds are called anandamine and phenylethylamine. Both are associated with the bliss like state you achieve when eating chocolate and naturally occur in our bodies when we feel great and in love.
There have been many controversies around raw chocolate (like with all foods!), especially regarding theobromine, oxalic acid, and mould on raw cacao beans. Theobromine acts just like caffeine and can make us feel hyper, addicted, gives us headaches, and the typical energy crash you experience after drinking coffee. Oxalic acid on the other hand hinders calcium absorption during your digestion. This means that even though raw cacao has a lot of calcium for strong bones, it can’t actually be used by your body because of the oxalic acid.
I wouldn’t put away the raw chocolate truffle just yet though! First of all, when we study isolated compounds in the labs, we never take into consideration how they work together with the other 1199 chemicals in the raw cacao or any other plant. For example, oxalic acid can actually get deactivated by antioxidants - and you guessed it - raw cacao has plenty of those to offer! Next, just like with all foods, they can be your medicine or your poison. Having some raw chocolates once in a while will never kill you, and perhaps give you some of the health benefits. I prefer to have some raw chocolate once in a while instead of a processed sugar, dairy, and soy version. On top of that, I try to make sure that it is organic to avoid any pesticides, which can commonly be found on cacao beans.
Give these raw raspberry cups a go, I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooling time: at least 1 hour in the fridge
For 3 chocolate cups:
- 3 raspberries
- 1 tsp cashew butter
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp raw honey (or other liquid sweetener)
- 1 Tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp acai berry powder (optional)
- 3 small truffle cups (they are like tiny muffin cups and you often find them in the baking section)
Roll about 1/3 tsp cashew butter between your fingers and stuff it into a raspberry. Repeat until all raspberries are filled.
In a bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, honey, cacao and acai berry powder until smooth and creamy (you can also use a food processor or blender for this).
Place the raspberry with the open part down into a little truffle form. Ladle the coconut chocolate mix on top - fill just underneath the rim.
Place in the fridge for at least an hour to harden slightly. The outside should be hard like chocolate, the inside slightly liquid like a truffle.
These keep well in the fridge for 5 days if you can resist!
Happy Valentine's Day! 💗