You’re most likely familiar with cacao nibs and cacao powder, which are two of the most common forms of the popular superfood, cacao. However, a wonderful yet less well-known form of cacao - and one of our favorites, to be honest - is cacao paste! Rich in antioxidants, cacao paste comes straight from raw cacao beans, after which it is crushed into a liquid that dries into its solid form. In other words, it’s completely natural, and full of antioxidants.
Referred to as “Food of the Gods” by the Aztecs and utilized as currency in Mexico since ancient times, the cacao bean is filled with health benefits and healing powers. In fact, pure, unprocessed cacao contains more antioxidant flavonoids than blueberries, black and green teas, and red wine, and is especially beneficial in reducing stress and promoting cardiovascular health. Additionally, cacao is full of magnesium, which supports a healthy brain and strong bones. Finally, the sulfur levels in cacao are great for skin and liver detoxification. Luckily, cacao paste in its pure form contains all of the amazing benefits of cacao, so we love incorporating it into our meals.
Many people are unaware of the appropriate uses for cacao paste, but they’re actually surprisingly simple. For example, our personal favorite way to use it, as it was originally used by the ancient Mayans, is in Chocolatl! Like hot chocolate, this drink is made by bringing water to a simmer on the stove and adding cacao paste, a dried guajillo chile, a cinnamon stick, and a vanilla bean, if you so wish. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly, then remove the extraneous ingredients and you’ve got yourself Mayan culture in a mug!
Interested in some additional uses for cacao paste? Check out the delicious, indulgent recipes below to get started using your new favorite superfood in the kitchen:
- Place the cacao paste and cacao butter in a metal bowl and suspend in another bowl of hot water & allow to melt.
- Add honey and lucuma and pour into molds.
- Freeze until mixture has hardened, and keep in the freezer.
- 1/4 c macadamia nuts
- 1/4 c walnuts
- 1 avocado
- 2 Tbsp almond butter
- 2 - 3 Tbsp cacao powder
- 3 Tbsp melted cacao butter
- 1 Tbsp melted cacao paste
- 2 tsp lucuma powder
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup or favorite sweetener
- dash of sea salt
- shredded coconut for garnish (add some into mixture as well)
- In food processor, mix macadamia nut and walnuts. Add avocado and almond butter and mix until creamy.
- Melt the cacao paste and butter in a dehydrator, or put hot water in a small metal bowl and place a medium metal bowl on top of the smaller one (raw double boiler method). Melt both butter and paste in the top bowl. Stir and add to mixture to food processor.
- Add lucuma powder, and maple syrup. Add a dash of sea salt.
- You can quick pulse shredded coconut into mixture. Garnish with shredded coconut and your favorite raw chocolate sauce (mixture of raw cacao powder, maple syrup, and water to thin).
- Eat as is, chill in refrigerator, or freeze if you want a frozen dessert.