Anyone else have the burning question: cacao or cocoa and what's the different? No doubt there is a buzz around cacao, so when I saw a can of it in TJ Maxx, I grabbed it! But what is it and is it just the same as cocoa?
Full disclosure here, I'm no dietician or nutritionist so I am gathering my research today from this post by One Green Planet.
Cocoa AKA cocoa power
Cocoa powder is the end product derived from a mixture of many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted cacao beans.
It's produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing.
Cocoa solids contain flavanol antioxidants......health benefits have been attributed to cocoa flavonoids. THATS. WHAT. I'M. TALKING. ABOUT! Cocoa is healthy!
Cocoa powder is a rich source of fiber (had no idea about this), has little fat and a bit of protein.
One Green Planet recommends, if you buy cocoa powder, buy plain cocoa powder, not cocoa mixes which often contain sugar. Look for either regular cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (a.k.a. dark) cocoa powder.
Cacao (this is what I really want to know about)
One Green Planet reports that Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it's raw and less processed!
Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods (I had no idea!) and the highest source of magnesium of all foods. BOOM!
For many years, throughout many cultures, Cacao has been used for health purposes.
Cacao beans that are chopped up into edible pieces are called cacao nibs.
Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact.
Cacao is an excellent source of nutrients and contains monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, naturals carbs, and protein.
In honor of cacao and cocoa powder, I am sharing this Two Minute Nut Butter Recipe. I'm a recovering chocoholic.......True Story! More on that later, but this recipe helped me to get through my chocolate cake, tollhouse pie, and oreo shake craving days. It makes one quick serving, only one tiny mess to clean, and will curb those chocolate cravings. I suggest serving with fruit, like sliced apples.
Two Minute Nut Butter
Prep Time: less than 2 minutes
2 Tbs almond butter
3/4 tsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
Drizzle of honey (about 1 tsp)
Favorite fruit or cracker (optional)
On a small saucer or cup combine all four ingredients. With a fork, mix together. Serve with an apple or other fruit or cracker to satisfy your chocolate craving. Enjoy!