For the uninitiated, Cacao nibs are broken up pieces of cacao beans deprived of sugar, fat and the cooking process that constitutes of what we know as chocolate. It’s reminiscent of espresso beans in both texture and taste.
Eaten raw, cacao possesses an absolutely rich-earthen chocolate taste, but without sweetening, some find it too intense in taste, and slightly bitter. I personally love raw cacao, and eat it often. With a few ingredients, the nibs are transformed into an slightly nutty and sweet snack that satisfies a chocolate craving without indulging in a chocolate bar.
The nutritional benefits or raw cacao are plentiful, ranging from reducing blood pressure to improving heart function to alleviating stress. The Theobromine naturally found in raw cacao is a mild, non-addictive stimulant that some believe can treat depression. It contains as well as causes the brain to produce a neurotransmitter and endocannabinoid known as Anandamide, which would account for the euphoric sensation some feel when consuming cacao or chocolate.
It has been shown that raw cacao is very high in antioxidant flavanoids, sulfur and magnesium. The essential fatty acids found in chocolate may help the body to raise good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. There are studies that claim raw cacao (without added sugar or dairy products) will reduce your risk of cancer as the high levels of antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.
Eating raw Cacao can also act as a primer to your bodies Endocannabinoid system.
“N-acylethanolamines are compounds found in chocolate that are structurally similar to anandamine, which is similar to the cannabinoid responsible for euphoria from cannabis. These compounds may not exert their effect by binding with the tetrahydrocannabinol receptors, but by inhibiting breakdown of endogenously produced anandamine, thus prolonging a “natural high.”
Di Tomaso E, Beltramo M, Piomelli D. Brain cannabinoids in chocolate. Nature . 1996;382(6593):677-678.
Parker G, Parker I, Brotchie H. Mood state effects of chocolate. .J Affect Disord . 2006;92(2-3):149-159.
Here is one way to liven up Cacao and make it a medicated super food treat that is delicious and able to be used in many ways:
3/4 cup Organic Raw Cacao nibs
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted medicated butter
Himalayan Sea salt
Organic Vanilla Bean Powder
2. Place the nibs and the sugar in a small saucepan and heat them over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Soon the sugar will start to stick together and form larger clumps. It is normal for the mixture to give off a little smoke during the cooking process.
3. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the sugar liquefies and there are only a few specks of unincorporated sugar. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the Medicated butter immediately, stirring well.
5. Allow them to cool at room temperature before breaking them apart by hand.