Before I begin this post, this is way too long overdue, so I apologise! Do you remember a long time ago, when we were still wearing loincloths and feeding pet dinosaurs, I hosted a giveaway, and then the dinosaurs got extinct, man developed fire and you were still waiting to hear the results?
Well, wait no more thousand years longer, as officially, I would like to announce the winner:
Ladies and gentlemen, randomly chosen from our wonderful commenters waassss….. *anticipation*
ASHLEY FROM WISHES AND DISHES!
Yessireee this classy, upstate New Yorker will be the new, lucky owner of Ms Lorna Foreman’s one of a kind, Gluten-Free Cookbook, Wheat Watchers!! Congratulations
I have emailed you a notification for your details, and then the book will be on its way!
And a big thank you to all of you for all the support you showed during the giveaway – I was overwhelmed as was Lorna!
Now… moving on to the post for today…
How lucky am I? A couple of days back, Justin from Cheap Super Foods Australia, contacted me, asking me to try some wonderful up and coming raw, organic ingredients from their huge range. As if I could turn down a huge opportunity like that! I know many bloggers, especially Vegan, focusing on all these new foods, so I knew I had plenty of inspiration to start making recipes.
But what are superfoods? Why is using them considered ‘super’ but using caster sugar, isn’t? We are not being ingredient-ist here, but the term ‘superfoods’ means that particular ingredient has been classified as “Food with high nutrient and phytochemical content that may confer health benefits. It has few negative properties if any, considering it is highly unprocessed (natural), does not contain contaminants, saturated fats, artificial ingredients or food additives.” – Wikipedia
When I say ‘phytochemicals’, I mean naturally occurring beneficial chemical compounds in plants, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenol. I used this think anything ‘organic’ equated in some way, to marijuana and hippie food, tasting like dirt despite any ‘benefits.’ Since I started food blogging, I have learnt a heck of a lot about all of it, and am glad to learn that is not the case!
The wonderful folks from Cheap Super Foods sent me three different 250g samples:
- Cacao Powder
- Coconut Sugar
- Chia Seeds
Let’s begin making raw, organic, totally delicious desserts shall we?
Cacao Powder. CAcAo powder.
Cocoa Powder. COcOa powder.
2 different vowels can make an immense different when you are baking. Can I be honest with you? I used to think ‘cacao’ was a different spelling for ‘cocoa’, you know how Australians spell ‘centre’ with ‘re’ but Americans spell ‘centre’ with ‘er’? A small difference, no biggy, I did not even think it over much, despite the fact that majority of the time, cacao was associated with the words, ‘raw’ or ‘organic’.
Sheesh, so young and naive.
I looked up the difference between the two and it is basically, a difference in processing, ending up with one used commonly in desserts, and one used in common association with health benefits. You see, while they both obviously come from The All-Mighty Chocolate Bean, a.k.a The Cacao Bean (Yes cacao, NOT cocoa bean), cocoa powder is heated in order to be made, which often destroys many naturally occurring antioxidants and nutrients it may contain. Therefore, it is no longer raw AND is more rich and bitter. It also may contain some cocoa butter to enhance flavour, and may go through a process of becoming ‘Dutched’, meaning it is alkalised (all you chemists!) and has less health benefits.
Meanwhile, cacao powder, is raw, and does not use the various processes, therefore allowing it to keep its rich, beneficial properties. Cool right? It is the chocolate flavour with more
Of course, while I may use it in different ingredients to give them a healthy twist, I would never replace my Special Dark Cocoa Powder, as it really does have that richness in it. And if you are going to eat a pound of butter, do it the right way non? This is an ingredient I would keep in the pantry if I was whisking up pancakes, or muffins, to put my health meter a notch up while still enjoying myself. It is a great substitute for sure
To celebrate this fabulous superfood, here is the recipe for you. I am sure you have all heard of Raw Organic Brownies, which contain no sugar and no fat. Well, I whipped up my own recipe for one and hope you enjoy it. It was fudgier moreso than even my usual best brownies, and while not the richest, certainly made my sweet tooth sing and my body’s nutrient level hit the roof
Raw Fudgy Brownies (With Everything!)
Adapted from many sources put together but inspired by: Oh, Ladycakes
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup raw walnuts/pecans (or a mix!)
- 2 cups pitted dates (Medjool)
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- Pinch of allspice
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut + extra for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp Himalayan Salt (I did not have any but it has been recommended by many)
- Chocolate chips, for sprinkling
- In a food processor, process nuts together until finely ground – you will notice them sticking together slightly, and that is because their natural oils have been released while being crushed, which is a good thing
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor
- Add in the allspice, cacao powder, desiccated coconut and salt (if using) and blend until combined
- Scrape down again (this is important because otherwise, there will not be even distribution)
- While the food processor is… processing… make your date paste: Put your dates in a saucepan over high, barely covered by water and boil until the majority of water has evaporated and the dates are easily mashing together (similar to in a Sticky Date Pudding)
- Let mixture cool for 10-15 minutes
- Spoon into food processor with the maple syrup and process. You should notice the mixture starts to clump together at this point.
- In a tin lined with baking paper, spoon the mixture out and spread. As you can see, I wet my hands slightly and then used them to make the spread more even
- Sprinkle with extra desiccated coconut and chocolate chips (I did not do this till after, whoops!
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours
- Slice and devour, you will die when you realised they are just as fudgy as underbaked brownies!
- Put in orange zest, some peanut butter, whatever you fancy! Even espresso powder
- After blending it all, if you want some crunch, mix through chocolate chips or more nuts before spreading it in the tin and refrigerating!
- Try freezing it, you may be pleasantly surprised
Would I recommend buying this product? Definitely! The texture of the cacao powder was soft, it smelt fantastic and the health benefits were incredible! For day to day baking, I would use this instead of normal cocoa powder to up my nutrient intake without a doubt!
Cheap Super Foods Australia boasts of the best organic quality in their products and this is definitely evident in the good packaging and delicious flavour. Not only do they have a wide range of ingredients to try such as acai powder (what even…) and goji berries, but check out their Superfoods Blog, to get fabulous ideas on how to implement them in day to day recipes!
*Disclaimer: I may have received these products courtesy of the company but my opinion of each ingredient was all my own