Okay, I have to come clean - sometimes a girl just needs a bit of chocolate - right? And, after all, chocolate come from cacoa beans, which are actually fermented in order to bring out the chocolate flavor we all know and love. Before fermentation cacao beans have a very bitter taste and without fermentation, the rich chocolate flavor wouldn't exist.
And of course, this is not the first time that I have talked about the merits of fermented foods. If in doubt, you can refer to my previous blogs on kombucha and beet kvass. In short, the process of fermentation provides us with foods that are rich with natural probiotics which are extremely beneficial to feeding our gut bacteria and helping aid the distress of indigestion, bloating, and supporting overall health, vitality, immunity and happiness in the long run!
Now getting back to the matter of chocolate, I want to clarify something that was a bit of a question mark for me - what is the difference between cacoa and cocoa? Is there actually a difference?
I found an excellent article on a website, Deep Roots of Home, which provided a very comprehensive and informative comparative - here are a few points that I have summarized from there:
Cacoa is the raw form of chocolate and comes from cacoa pods which contain the cacoa beans. It is much less processed than cocoa powder or bars. It is also thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium! (That blows me away!) It also contains more fiber and calories than cocoa because the fats and nutrients are preserved better due to less processing.
Cocoa on the other hand, differs from cacoa, because of undergoing a higher temperature of heat when it is processed. It still, however, contains large amounts of antioxidants and is beneficial for many body parts and functions including your heart, skin, blood pressure and even stress levels. No wonder some of us (wink, wink) go for the chocolate - occasionally!
If you cannot buy cacoa powder because of availability or budget, then make sure you buy plain regular cocoa powder or Dutch-processed (dark chocolate). Dark cocoa powder is less acidic and richer in taste, providing a healthy nutrient for you. You will see in the recipe at the end of this blog that I used Camino cocoa powder which is actually 97% cacoa which I thought was a very viable, healthy option.
Either way, cacoa or cocoa both provide healthy benefits to us!
And, as is often the case, I have diverged from my original intent of writing this blog! It all originated from a couple of weeks ago when I had a hankering for fresh scones at breakfast time. I came across this very simple and easy recipe for gluten-free chocolate almond scones and I thought they sounded liked the perfect breakfast treat. The almond flour lends itself to making them a more hearty scone than what you would expect from a pastry flour, but again this is personal taste preferences and I found them quite lovely and particularly tasty warm out of the oven that morning. The cocoa powder provides the extra flavor that I obviously crave from time to time!
And so if I have piqued your interest, here is the recipe.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Almond Scones - adapted from the Gluten-Free Homemaker
Set oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, combine the eggs and honey first before adding to the dry ingredients. Mix together and then add optional chocolate chips. Knead gently on floured surface until you have a soft, pliable ball (just a few minutes). Cut into shapes and place on baking tray with parchment paper.
Place in a hot oven and bake for approximately 12 minutes or until done. Serve immediately and enjoy!