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Cacao Almond Heaven

I mean, just look at these cacao almond bars; SO GOOD! These are great to grab for a dessert or snack if you are wanting something sweet and delicious.

I get asked quite a lot what the difference between cacao powder and regular cocoa powder is besides the spelling. If you are wondering the same thing, you have come to right place!

You are probably familiar with cocoa powder, which is most commonly used to bake brownies, cakes and to make hot chocolate.

Cocoa powder is made from beans that are fermented and roasted, and then processed at a high temperature. Through the heating process, this causes the beans that are pressed into a powder to lose some of its nutritional value. Cocoa powder contains added sugar and dairy to make it sweet.

Cacao powder is minimally processed with no additives. Cacao beans are processed at a lower temperature and then pressed into a powder. The powder is a bit bitter in taste, but higher in nutritional content. This is a vegan option due to not having added sugar or dairy products.

Also cacao nibs, which I used as a topping for the bars, are the dried and fermented pieces of cacao beans.

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Ingredients you will need:

  • 1/2 cup cacao powder

  • 4 tbsp almond butter

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

  • 3 tbsp raw honey or maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

Recommended toppings:

  • goji berries

  • pumpkin seeds

  • cacao nibs

  • chopped almonds

  • sunflower seeds


Directions:

1. To a large bowl add the cacao powder, almond butter, coconut oil, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until well combined. **If too dry, add a tsp of coconut oil or water.


2. Once you have a dough-like consistency, place onto a piece of flat parchment paper. Once on the paper, place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough.


3. If you have a rolling pin, that will work best, but you can also use the bottom of cup or the back of spoon - use to flatten out the dough into a square shape by pressing down to flatten.


4. Once the mixture is flat and about 1-inch thick, add whatever toppings you would like. I added goji berries, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, chopped almonds and sunflower seeds.


5. Place this flat into the freezer for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer & cut into pieces. It makes about 6 bars.


**these keep best in the fridge or back in the freezer.


Enjoy!



Recipe inspired by Minimalist Baker


Have you tried cacao powder? If so, did you notice a difference from regular cocoa powder? Let me know in the comment box below.

 

Health Benefits from the ingredients in the Cacao Almond Bars:

  • Almonds promote heart health, lower LDL cholesterol, support strong bones & teeth, aid weight loss

  • Cacao aids digestion, reduces inflammation, improves circulation, blood & cardiovascular health

  • Coconut Oil supports weight loss & a healthy lipid profile, improves mental function, boosts immunity

  • Goji Berries boost immunity, protect eye health, aid digestion

  • Honey reduces inflammation, soothes cough, heals wounds & burns

  • Pumpkin Seeds reduce inflammation, improve focus, boost immunity, support weight loss

  • Sunflower Seeds lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes & cholesterol, improve skin & cellular health


xoxo Holly