- 1 3/4 cups almond pulp
- 3/4 cup soft Medjoul dates (12-13 usually but I only had 11 of them left after yesterday’s almond milk)
- 5-6 tsp cocoa powder (I used 7 tsp of them)
- 1/2 tsp rum essence (or use pure rum but I did not have any so I used vanilla essence)
- Desiccated coconut as toppings
Cut the dates in half, remove the pits and finely chop them (if you have a high-powder food processor you don’t need to chop them). Blend until they turn into a paste; stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the processor.
Add the almond pulp, cocoa powder and vanilla essence and blend until well combined. Again you may need to scrape down the sides so it’s all mixed well. Transfer to a bowl and mix by hand for a minute until it all comes together. The mixture is only very slightly sticky. Form a big ball, that way you don’t have to keep chasing crumbs in the bowl.
Take small amounts of mixture and roll them between your palms to form bite-size balls. I made 30 balls, about 2 – 2.5 cm in diameter. Leave them plain or coat them with desiccated coconut (1/3 cup). To do that, wet your hands a little bit, roll each ball in your palms and toss it in coconut. Press gently so the coconut flakes stick. I also made some with cacao powder as well.
The chocolate balls taste great once made, but they’re much better after being refrigerated for at least an hour. They become firmer, the flavours are more intense and their consistency is almost fudgy. To make them even more fudgy, dry the almond pulp in a dehydrator (or oven) and use a few more dates and a bit more cocoa powder. It was definitely not the same as the usual creamy thick chocolate truffles you find in most chocolatier but it tasted much healthier and less sweet. Best part was, no sugar was used so you won’t be getting a lingering sticky after taste. A really fun and great way to recycle almond pulp and turning them into another simple dessert to enjoy!
I also found out more goodness about using raw cacao powder!
Why Unprocessed Chocolate is Good for You
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. More benefits of these antioxidants include:
- Promote cardiovascular health – Help dilate bloods vessels, reduce blood clotting, improve circulation, help regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
- Protect from environmental and metabolic toxins – Help repair and resist damage caused by free radicals, and may reduce risk of certain cancers.
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
- Serotonin – Cacao raises the level of serotonin in the brain; thus acts as an anti-depressant, helps reduce PMS symptoms, and promotes a sense of well-being.
- Endorphins – Cacao stimulates the secretion of endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the “runner’s high” a jogger feels after running several miles.
- Phenylethylamine – Found in chocolate, phenylethylamine is also created within the brain and released when we are in love. Acts as mild mood elevator and anti-depressant, and helps increase focus and alertness.
- Anandamide – Anandamide is known as the “bliss chemical” because it is released by the brain when we are feeling great. Cacao contains both N-acylethanolamines, believed to temporarily increase the levels of anandamide in the brain, and enzyme inhibitors that slow its breakdown. Promotes relaxation, and helps us feel good longer.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
- Magnesium – Cacao seems to be the #1 source of magnesium of any food. Magnesium balances brain chemistry, builds strong bones, and helps regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Magnesium deficiency, present in 80% of Americans, is linked with PMT, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and joint problems.
- Sulfur – Cacao is high in the beauty mineral sulfur. Sulfur builds strong nails and hair, promotes beautiful skin, detoxifies the liver, and supports healthy pancreas functioning.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
Important note- To fully benefit from chocolate’s wide array of nutrients, eat chocolate that is as close to its natural state as possible. Whole cacao beans and nibs are best. You lose many of the health benefits when you eat commercially produced chocolate.
Different Kinds of Chocolate
Many types of chocolate are made from the cacao bean:
- Chocolate liquor is made from raw, ground cacao nibs (the meat of the cacao bean)
- Cocoa butter is the fat of the cacao bean, and is solid at room temperature
- Cocoa powder is made by separating most of the cocoa butter from the liquor
- Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, containing about 50% cocoa butter
- Bittersweet chocolate contains at least 35% liquor, along with cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla
- Semisweet chocolate contains the same ingredients as bittersweet but has a greater sugar content
- Milk chocolate has only about 10% chocolate liquor, and also contains about 12% milk solids
- White chocolate does not contain any chocolate liquor; it gets its flavor from cocoa butter