Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of the cool new super food on the block: cacao! Which of course immediately peaked my curiosity because much like everyone else in the world, I love chocolate. Anyways, as much as I would love to try out a cacao ceremony, I don’t really partake in anything I can’t do without my two year sidekick these days. So I was super stoked when my friend Sarah (of @usdrifting) who happens to be a vegan chef (seriously she’s about to open a vegan cafe in Buffalo, NY), shared her recipe for these cacao treats. You can call them truffles to impress your friends at dinner parties, or Prairie just calls them balls (which makes me start singing “suck on my chocolate salty balls” in my head and laugh like a 12 year old every time). Either way they are delicious, nutritious, and sure to impress both the discerning palette of your toddler and your hipster foodie pals.
First a quick lesson on cacao in case (like me two weeks ago) you don’t really know what it is. Cacao is the is the bean that they make into chocolate! When you see studies about the health benefits of chocolate, they are generally based on raw cacao, not on chocolate- which as you has been roasted, processed, and has a shit ton of added sugar. (fun fact: Cacao is very fatty but has no sugar. Foods found in nature often have either sugar (like fruits) or oil, but never both in the 50/50 ratio found in chocolate … except breast milk! Now we know the real evolutionary reason we all love chocolate so much!) Cocoa is raw cacao bean which has been roasted, so you’ll want to use raw cacao to ensure no nutrients have been lost through the roasting process.
Okay here’s Sarah’s recipe:
Raw Cacao Balls:
- 1 whole container of dates, pitted.
- 3/8 cups raw cacao powder.
- 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup,
- 1-3 teaspoons of chia seeds.
- Pulse in food processor until dough forms and scoop out into a bowl. (If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender, but be warned the dough is super sticky!)
- At this part you can add whatever you like- powdered peanut butter, mini vegan chocolate chips, coconut, freeze dried raspberries, nuts, etc. My favorite combo is raw cacao nibs and walnuts.
- Next roll the dough into 1/2 inch balls.
- In another bowl put some cocoa powder, or peanut butter powder or finely crushed freeze dried raspberries.
- Roll each ball in the powder until it’s coated and no longer sticky.
- Refrigerate until they harden a bit, then you can store in a mason jar or whatever