Chocolate and Versatility are Friends
Choc-o-late. It is nearly impossible to say that word without eliciting an emotional response. The lovely news about chocolate's health benefits fell into the "too good to be true" category for many. Well folks, yes, it is true. Rich in antioxidants, minerals and a gamma of compounds that are beneficial to our physical and emotional health, cocoa is one of those foods where you are eating your nutrients rather than just taking a pill. Is there a catch? Well, if your idea of chocolate is one that is low on the cocoa and high on either sugar or quite unrecognizable ingredients, then yes, there is a catch. You can however, take some DIY time and find something that you would like to do with a high quality cocoa powder.
Shopping for cocoa is a bit like shopping for quality coffee beans. Coffee can be roasted light to dark and cocoa can be raw or roasted. Coffee can be organic, fair trade, shade grown… yup, cocoa too. Due to the human and land compassion around cocoa production (child labour, communities being exposed to chemical growing agents, forest clear cutting for sun grown cocoa, etc, etc) your best bet is to choose the highest quality, fair trade, shade grown cocoa that you can afford. This will often present you with more of the nutrient compounds that you might be hoping to get from your cocoa as well.
Today, we are going to make chocolate pudding with our cocoa powder. Well, sort of. This could be chocolate mousse, it could be icing for brownies, oh actually it is frozen fudge pudding pops… wait what about flavours that go with chocolate like mint, espresso or maca? Yikes. It looks like you are making whatever interests you, which is the point of this blog so it looks like we are on track!
Now, how to label this recipe? Is it gluten free? Yup. Dairy free? Yup. What about raw? Yup. Hmmm, paleo? Yup. Vegan? Yup. You get the point.
If you have a high powered blender, like a Vita-mix or a bullet, you will have more success with this recipe. You can use any blender, you might just need to add a bit more liquid. Interested in a Vita-mix? Amaranth has them on sale for $479.99. Check with with your local Amaranth store for availability.
Chocolate Pudding Base
makes about 5 servings
1 3/4 cups nut milk (freshly made almond milk is not mandatory but makes this extra, extra, good!) Nut free milk could also be used to make this nut free (hemp, coconut, oat or cow's or goats milk would work best)
2 ripe avocado
4-6 dates (medjool are recommended, others can be used but need to be soaked to soften them, especially if you don't have a high powered blender)
1/2 cup cocoa powder (we used Giddy Yoyo brand)
1 vanilla pod scraped or 2 tsp of real vanilla extract
pinch sea salt (pink Himalayan is nice)
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk 1 TBSP at a time if you need more liquid. Taste. You decide if you need it sweeter. Honey is a great addition.
If you want to use this as icing, keep it thick and add 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil at the very end.
If you want to use this for fudgey pudding pops, spoon it into a popsicle mold and freeze.
To make it a mousse, whip 2 egg whites until they are stiff and gently fold them into the pudding.
You could even make chocolate cupcakes and pipe this into the centres to make them chocolate filled. You are only limited by your imagination.
Remember, you can also change the flavours by adding natural peppermint extract, a TBSP of maca powder or even a couple of shots of espresso to replace some of the milk. You could even add a couple shots of hazelnut liquor… you really are the boss of this. Enjoy!
Posted by Amy Buckman