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One Bowl. HEALTHY. Cacao loaded Banana Bread

I put this together when I was under the weather (ta Covid 😓) and needed something very simple but uplifting.

Our lovely customer Dan, actually planted the seed months ago when he mentioned that he made an amazing banana bread using our cacao. This recipe is inspired by one crafted by Cookie and Kate (although we’ve switched out processed chocolate for our cacao).

If you’re not convinced, here’s feedback from Adam: “It’s better than good, it’s great. The banana and the cacao are competing for your taste buds. So bouncy and fluffy. Just so fluffy.” As chef, I was pretty happy with that. 🫶
 

𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗥𝗘𝗗𝗜𝗘𝗡𝗧𝗦

✨ ⅓ cup melted coconut oil/extra-virgin olive oil/high quality vegetable oil
✨ ½ cup sweetener (we used agave, but you can use maple syrup or honey)
✨ 2 eggs (we made a vegan flaxseed replacement, which worked a treat)
✨ 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approx 2 ½ medium bananas)
✨ ¼ cup oak milk
✨ 1 tsp baking soda
✨ 1 tsp vanilla extract
✨ ½ tsp salt
✨ ½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
✨ 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour (white or regular)
✨ Yummy bits: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts/cacao chunks, chopped dried fruit…

𝗜𝗡𝗦𝗧𝗥𝗨𝗖𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡𝗦

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (We didn’t have one and just used a cake tin and it still worked out great).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the oil and sweetener together. Add the eggs (or egg replacement) and whisk together well. Whisk in the mashed bananas and milk.
  3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend.
  4. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined.
  5. Add any of the additional yummy bits (nuts/cacao) in now.
  6. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
  7. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. (Usually closer to 60 mins if you have added additional yummy bits like nuts or cacao). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for at least 10 minutes. Cool before slicing and devouring!
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3 Common Mistakes when making your Morning Cacao*

*and how to avoid them

If you’ve tried our cacao and don’t quite get what all the fuss is about, then you probably haven’t quite mastered the art of preparing it. 😉 Implement these tips and we can almost guarantee that it’ll be a WHOLE new experience.

We’ve played around over the years and figured out our fav combos. Def recommend you 𝘗𝘓𝘈𝘠 & 𝘌𝘟𝘗𝘌𝘙𝘐𝘔𝘌𝘕𝘛 to figure out what you love best.

That said, we have some golden rules that we abide by:

🌻1. We 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 use top quality cacao (our Balinese cacao 90% of the time, 10% of the time we taste test other varieties). Unfortunately there is some poor quality cacao out there (usually wholesale cacao that seriously rips off the farmers: price is a good indicator as to whether this situation applies).

🌻2. 𝗔𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗱. Be it with a heat proof blender, stick blender or a whisk and some elbow grease.

🌻3. If we use milk, then we use a good quality oat milk.

🌻4. We 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗼𝗼𝗱 and add spices/sweetener accordingly. Some days we opt for heart warming cinnamon & a dash of cayenne. Other days, we just add a sprinkle of sea salt. Some days it’s just pure Mama Cacao.

Don’t be scared to do this – especially if it’s your first time trying cacao. Our palettes have been butchered by years of drinking highly processed dutched-cocoa (with emulsifiers, flavouring and other additives). For some of us, it’ll be a bit of a transition to Mama Cacao – so if you feel the need to add some natural sweeteners, milk and spices to make it suit your palette, then don’t be afraid to do so. In our experience, you’ll find less of a want to add sweetener and milk over time.

Inspo for this post was from visiting friends recently who invested in a 500g bag – they didn’t love their first cup. Adam took to the task, (this time blending, adding a touch of sweetener plus a dash of spices) and they were in love. Which made us very happy. 🥰

As always – we’re here to advise you if you need some further guidance, or also feel free to check out our preparation page on our website 🙂 We’ve got tips and tricks that we continue to develop based on your questions and feedback.

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #1

Probably one of the easiest mistakes to avoid, but it isn’t necessarily super obvious.

Being vigilant to ensure we don’t boil our cacao also comes back to mindfulness – to be present with the preparations, so as to ensure we don’t burn it.

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #2

This is an easy one to implement!

COMMON MISTAKE TO AVOID #3

We actually prepared our cacao for years without using a mechanical blender and it was beautiful – but we were committed to making sure it was fully blended so really went for it with a whisk or hand blender. It usually helped that we often prepared cacao in a group – so when the arms got tired we could share the task.

That said, a mechanical blender is honestly a game changer – it really gets in there and makes it SO CREAMY. 10/10 recommend.

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7 Ingredient, Vegan, Nut Butter Hemp Bars

These are so easy to whip up – no special equipment, basically just combine and freeze! This is also our fav recipe we’ve made to date! We made a batch to take up to friends in London, they didn’t last long!

Gorgeous pic and recipe adapted from the lovely Jade from Panaceas Pantry. Jade’s recipes use natural ingredients, are thoughtful and always DELICIOUS. Def recommend giving her a follow!

Store your bars in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. (Perfect premade snack for busy folk! )

Ingredients

375g (1 jar) smooth, drippy peanut butter (or whatever nut butter you feel inspired to use). If your nut butter is stiff your bars will be dry. You can compensate by adding in extra oil.

105g (1/2 cup) virgin coconut oil

75–100g (1/4-1/3 cup) pure maple syrup or honey or agave

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g (1 cup) plant based protein powder in plain or 100g ground oats (which we used)

85g (1/2 cup) hemp hearts

100g prechopped cacao, divided

1 Tbsp peanut butter (reserve)

Method

1. Line a small tin with baking paper and set aside.

2. To a bowl, add drippy peanut butter to bowl and add melted coconut oil.

3.. Add your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, honey or agave).

4. Add vanilla, protein powder (or ground oats) and hemp seeds and combine until completely uniform, thick and smooth.

5. Add chopped cacao and fold through.

6. Pour batter into your lined tray. It will be thick and heavy, so use a spoon to spread it around into an even bar. Set aside.

7. Add the remaining cacao and reserved 1 Tbsp peanut butter to a heat proof bowl. Melt via double boiler method. Once melted, pour on top of batter and spread to evenly cover.

8. Place your nut butter hemp bars in the fridge for 2+ hours to set.

9. Cut into desired serves AND ENJOY!

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Q: What’s the right serving of cacao for me?

Cacao Preparation Tips:

We thought it would be useful to set some guidelines around how much cacao paste to add for your daily brew. This guidance draws upon our experience and personal recommendations, but each of us is different. As with any fine brew feeeeel into the process. Try different strengths and flavours. You’ll soon know the optimal amount depending on the time and occasion.

There are lots of factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right amount for you. Depending on your metabolism, size, sensitivity to stimulants, and how clean your diet is in general, cacao will effect you in different ways. A two a day coffee drinker is likely to have a different experience to someone who strictly sticks to water and herbal teas.

If you don’t want cacao to interfere with your sleep, then we don’t recommend more than 1 Tbsp after 2pm.

If you are new to drinking cacao, especially if you aren’t a coffee drinker, then we would recommend starting with 1 Tbsp. Our personal preference is to drink our cacao thick (like a Turkish coffee), so when we prepare a gentle serving we will normally decrease the amount of liquid in this brew. (As a general rule: always start with LESS liquid and add more if your cacao is too thick).

If you want to cosy up with cacao in the evening, then we would also recommend a gentle serve. As you may already know, cacao gives us an energetic boost which is fabulous for the morning and midday, but not ideal if we want to get an early night.

2 Tbsp is our day to day go to. It provides a lovely long lasting boost, but without the jitters. I usually drink 2 Tbsp of cacao every morning (spiced in different ways, according to my mood – check out our earlier post about how to spice/sweeten your cacao).

This amount of cacao can bring enhanced alertness and also kick start creative juices. Often my colleagues will see me on our morning Zoom catch up with cacao in hand, it’s the perfect brew to dust the cobwebs from my eyes and embrace the day with fresh zeal.

What we can say for sure, is to approach a full ceremonial dose with caution. A ceremonial dose cacao is intentionally intended to be felt in the body, particularly for the heart opening effects. We’ve experienced many ceremonies celebrated with the consumption of cacao, and found ourselves too alert for sleep (we took this as an opportunity for more singing and meditation, but this might not be for everyone!)

The invitation is really to experiment for yourself and most importantly, to enjoy it!

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Choc Coated Peanut Bites

Choc Coated Peanut Bites

While living in Mexico, we mastered the art of creating our own peanut butter. We were inspired by Celia, a tremendously inspiring Mother & Grandmother, who we served alongside in the kitchen. Celia roasted & blended the peanuts at home and then brought in tubs of mouth-watering peanut butter that she sold to hungry yogis & meditators. Since then, we’ve spent years perfecting the perfect peanut blend. It’s exceptionally easy too – our fav, Minimalist Baker, has a great recipe on how to make your very own nut butter. For us, the only thing that pips our love of freshly made peanut butter is artisan cacao paste….

This recipe is a fantastic fusion of two of our favourite obsessions – home made peanut butter and cacao paste.

Ingredients

Peanut Butter filling

  • 1 cup canned organic coconut cream
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Dipping Chocolate

  • 100g Cacao Artesanos Cacao Paste
  • 100ml melted coconut oil (plus extra)
  • 2 generous tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave syrup)

Plus

  • 1/2 cup peanuts, roughly chopped, toasted
  • Sea salt

Method

Peanut Butter Filing

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and melt together, stirring constantly, until nice & runny.

2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 10–15 minutes.

3. Once slightly cooled, pour your mixture into a silicone, square ice-cube tray and transfer to the freezer to set for a minimum of one hour or until completely firm.

Dipping Chocolate

4. Melt the chocolate ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly, until thick and creamy. Set aside to cool slightly.

Combine!

Remove one of the frozen peanut fillings from the mould and, using tongs, a spoon or even your fingers, dip it in the dipping chocolate.

Place on a wire rack and quickly top with the chopped peanuts and a pinch of salt. It’s recommended to work quickly before the chocolate sets. Repeat until you’ve coated all your peanut fillings. Transfer to the fridge for 20 minutes to chill and firm.

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Rich and Creamy Avocado Cacao Mousse

Rich and Creamy Avocado Cacao Mousse

(It’s Vegan too!)

This creamy cacao mousse is the perfect way to cap off a meal. We’ve made these so many times for guests and they are always blown away at how rich and creamy these are, despite not having an ounce of dairy in them. Plus, they are really EASY to make – what’s not to love?!

Ingredients

For four servings

130g ripe avocado (either 1 large avo or one and a half little guys)
4Tbsp Cacao Artesanos Cacao Paste
90g whole (unsalted) cashews
140ml oat milk
6 Tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup

Method

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until silky smooth.
Spoon the mousse into your serving dishes (we suggest individual little dessert pots, if you have them).
Chill for 30 minutes prior to serving in the fridge.

Optional: Feel free to add small cacao paste shavings or crushed nuts to decorate.

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Cacao, Date & Coconut Bliss Balls

Cacao, Date & Coconut Bliss Balls

This is the trinity of divine: decadent cacao, sweet dates and crunchy coconut. And THEY’RE HEALTHY. Whip these bad boys up to impress your guests, or just treat yourself. These bliss balls also freeze really well, so you can make them advance and simply thaw when needed! We like to make a big batch every fortnight and just defrost a few each morning. Loaded with delicious Cacao Artesanos 100% pure cacao paste, these are the perfect pick-me up for when you need a wee energy boost.

Ingredients

  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup Cacao Artesanos 100% pure cacao paste
  • tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup extra shredded coconut for rolling

Method

Prep the dates by placing them in a bowl and covering with water. Stand for an hour, drain and remove the seeds.

Process the soaked dates, almond meal, shredded coconut, coconut oil, cacao paste and chia seeds until the mixture comes together. Transfer to a bowl and allow to stand for 20 minutes – this will allow the chia seeds to soften.

Place the coconut you set aside for rolling into a bowl.

Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mixture, (a level tablespoon), into balls. Roll the balls into the shredded coconut to coat. Hey presto!