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The Self Examiner

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Tags >> cacao powder

I have a deep deep love and admiration for the cacao bean.  Cacao is a magical food that seems to immediately satisfy and comfort me.  There's something about a dripping chocolate sauce, or a spongy chocolate cake that calls to me.  Perhaps you feel the same way. I dedicate this week's Focus blog post on the magical cacao bean.  Read up on some of our favorite recipes with cacao here.

Cacao (Theombroma cacao)

Although not all cacao is roasted, it is all fermented, thus reducing its bitterness.  Full of antioxidants and phenyl ethylamine-- the chemical found in the brains of people in love-- it's no wonder people all over the world are attracted to chocolate.  Chocolate fruit looks somewhat similar to a small papaya.  It's the beans on the inside of the pod that we ferment and use in confections, potions, and brews.  Cacao is available in whole beans, nibs (bits of the full bean), and powder (ground up nibs) as well as cacao butter (the extracted fat solids).  Theombroma literally means "Food of the Gods". Human use of cacao dates back more than 5,000 years, and evidence suggests that it was used by the Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec people of Mexico shamanistically and ritualistically as well as a form of currency - and of course, as food! Raw cacao is one of the most complex known food sources, containing an estimated 1,200 chemical constituents including anandamide (bliss chemical), arginine (needed for proper cell division and the healing of wounds), dopamine (a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure system of the brain), serotonin (a neurotransmitter needed for mood modulation), tryptophan (a precursor for serotonin and melatonin), and phenylethylamine (boosts our ability to be alert and pay attention and is noticeably abundant in the brains of happy people). In addition, cacao contains Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors, which allow more of these and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain). Raw cacao is an incredibly rich source of magnesium, which is needed for the heart to function well (it is the primary mineral missing when heart problems occur). Research has shown cacao also to be extraordinarily high in antioxidants - nearly twice that of red wine and three times what is found in green tea.


Recipe by Chaya-Ryvka Diehl


Calling all raw chocolate lovers, hear yee, hear yee; If you would love to be able to take 6 simple ingredients, turn them into the most delicious chocolate treat ever, and do it in less than 10 minutes this recipe is perfect for you!


I suggest printing this recipe out and pinning it up to your fridge because I am sure you will be making it on a regular basis. Make it with your children, and enjoy it as a healthy dessert alternative! If you want a chocolate free version use carob powder, or lucuma powder (for a blonde version) instead of the chocolate (you may want to reduce the sugar a bit because carob and lucuma are both already slightly sweet).


This is one of my favorite snacks – for any time of day. It's inspired by Cafe Gratitude's “I Am Super” (dark chocolate nuggets), but my version is even more simple. These are a great energy boost and quite tasty!

I offer ratios instead of measurements so you can make whatever amount you want! I usually use ½ cup to equal one part, which makes about 20 balls.


It’s that time of year again.  Sure, you tried to give up the enriched wheat flour, the partially hydrogenated oils, and the inverted sugars… but we all know what happens when those adorable girls show up at your door with boxes of Girl Scout cookies.  Are you sure you can resist the allure of thin mint bliss?

Well, thanks to Rawdorable chef Shannon Marie, you won’t have to.  Check out mission “Chocotastrophy,” her personal challenge to create raw vegan versions of the 5 top selling Girl Scout cookies: Thin Mints, Samoas (Carmel Delights), Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties), Do-si-dos (Peanut Butter Sandwiches), and Trefoils (Shortbread Cookies).


recipe by Chaya-Ryvka
This recipe comes from my level 1 dessert class series

Makes 2 servings

  • 2 cups creamy almond mylk (blend 1 cup soaked almonds to 3 cups of water. Set in the fridge until it’s completely cold)
  • ½ cup medjool dates (this is a wet measure. Wet measure is when you add the ingredient into a liquid and measure by how much the liquid rises. If you have 2 cups of almond mylk you will add the dates until the mylk rises to 2 1/2 cups. Make sure the dates are fully immersed in the liquid.)
  • 3 Tbs. almond butter (optional for creamier shake)
  • 5 Tbs. raw cacao powder
  • 10 drops vanilla flavor extract, 2 Tbs. liquid vanilla or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt

Blend well to emulsify dates.

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