Cacao Butterby Jennifer Higgins on 10/28/10
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I'm always getting asked about Paleo desserts. Even more frequently than questions about Paleo desserts, are questions about Good Fats. One of the ways I approach desserts, especially in the land of kids, is to use them as a vehicle for good fat. There are the usual options, most frequently eggs, butter and coconut. There is one other MOST EXCELLENT option which has only recently become widely available in food grade form. Thanks to the Raw Food Movement, raw organic cacao butter can now be purchased in nearly all natural food stores. Sadly, I feel as though when I mention the Raw Foodists I must immediately distance myself at the same time. Vegan Raw Food activists are primarily a group of slightly to intensely flaky people pushing their own strange/hypocritical food morality, often with trust funds, who would benefit from a very good steak. They have some things really right about food, so I don't like to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I can't stand their preaching about how people who eat animals are not as spiritually "high", and yet most of these Raw people have adopted several spiritual traditions (drumming, sacred circles, chanting etc...) that originated with the world's HUNTER-gatherers. Uggh. Still, I'm not beyond acknowledging and thanking the Raw Food Folks for making raw cacao butter an option for me.
Cacao beans grow on a tree. A tree called Theobroma cacao. This, of course, translates to Food of the Gods. Cacao trees are originally a South and Central American equatorial shade tree. Nearly 50% of the cacao bean is fat. This fat is cacao butter. It is about half saturated and half unsaturated fat. Cacao butter is rich and delicious and provides you with a lovely variety of fats. All you hard gainers out there, if you are tired of olive, coconut and eggs, get some cacao butter. It comes in soapy-feeling chunks which need to be gently melted over a pot of hot water (double boiler). After that you can mix in anything you like including minced dried fruit or nuts. Here is an example:
1c unsweetened shredded coconut
1c finely chopped goji berries
1/4 raw honey
3 drops orange oil
3/4c melted cacao butter
Mix well, it will be very crumbly. Press into a pan in a layer and refrigerate. Once it has cooled you'll be able to cut squares out of it.