Easy Ways To Use Cacao Powder + The Difference Between Cacao Powder vs Cocoa Powder
If you haven't further looked into the benefits of cacao powder, now is the time to start! Cacao powder (essentially raw chocolate powder has an amazing nutritional profile. Plus, with so many easy ways to use cacao powder, it's the perfect addition to your diet (hello, more chocolate!). Learn how to use cacao powder on the regular as well as the difference between cacao powder vs cocoa powder and which one is your best choice.
We have a lot of staples in this house (bone broth powder, collagen, algae tabs) and one of the biggest is easily cacao powder. As a chocolate lover, cacao powder has become my go-to source to make everything chocolate. Unfortunately, it isn't used often!
Cacao powder is the purest form of chocolate. It is the cacao (or chocolate) bean at it's most raw. Cacao beans that are scheduled to become cacao powder are not roasted at high temperatures (source). Instead, the beans are processed at low temps and then ground into flour. Thus, the bean retains its nutritional benefits., living enzymes, and awesome, health-boosting properties.
And trust me, there are some major benefits to cacao powder.
Don't want to learn? Jump To the best ways to use cacao powder.
What Does Cacao Powder Taste Like?
Since cacao powder is chocolate in its purest form, it's pretty bitter. Even dark chocolate lovers like myself will want a sweeter flavor (I'm a sucker for 85% dark chocolate).
This means that when learning how to use cacao powder, you also need to figure out how to sweeten cacao powder to your liking. There are lots of different ways to do this (honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup, sugar, etc) it all depends on what flavor you're going for, how you're using cacao powder, and what your typical palate is used to.
Most pure chocolate bars are a combination of cacao powder and cacao butter. This is what makes chocolate creamy and delicious.. but not sweet. Learning to play around in the kitchen can make it so creating your own chocolate is utterly simple.
Benefits Of Cacao Powder
As I mentioned, the benefits of cacao powder are plentiful. This chocolate powder is underused. When it is used, we load it with so many processed additives that it nixes the healthy benefits. However, here are a few fun eye-openers for you:
- Super high in antioxidants: cacao powder has 40 times the antioxidant count than blueberries
- One of the highest sources of plant-based iron. Since iron is a key component in our metabolism (it helps carry out certain enzymatic reactions) we really do need it
- More calcium than cows milk: we definitely need calcium however we don't need cows milk to get it. There are plenty of non-dairy sources that provide adequate amounts. There have been lots of talks as well about how much calcium we even absorb from cow's milk and it's my understanding it's not crucial. Find ways to boost calcium in other areas of your diet (even if you do ingest dairy)
- Contains a high amount of magnesium. I am a magnesium fanatic and actually use a magnesium powder from perfect Supplements because it's just that(learn more about the benefits of magnesium important. We need magnesium to protect against osteoporosis, cardiovascular health, diabetes etc. ). However, the reason I use magnesium powder is that it helps reduce tension, induce calm, help with headaches and cramping, and can even improve sleep. Cacao powder contains a lot of magnesium which is why I adore it.
Cacao Powder Vs Cocoa Powder
So, if cacao powder is so amazing. What in the hell is cocoa powder? You can grab cocoa powder pretty cheap from Costco (yes, we do still use cocoa powder sometimes and it's one of my husband's favorite Costco buys).
Cocoa powder is made from the cacao beans being processed at a higher heat temperature. This doesn't seem like a big deal but the result is:
- a sweeter taste
- less live enzymes
- reduced nutritional properties
Really, cocoa powder is just a more processed form of cacao powder. While it does have a sweeter taste which can be useful when it comes to baking, you lose out on all the good that makes cacao powder wonderful.
One thing to note is that you can also use Dutch cocoa powder to bake with. Don't mistake this for cacao powder. Dutch cocoa powder is still cocoa powder. The difference is that it has been washed to reduce its acidity level.
When it comes to cacao powder vs cocoa powder, I will always personally opt for cacao powder. It's my staple thanks to the wonderful benefits it comes with.
Where To Buy Cacao Powder
There are a lot of quality brands out there when it comes to ways to use cacao powder. My personal favorites are below. The reason that I opt for these particular bags of cacao is simply that I trust the brand.
All three brands are very well known in the health community, their processing methods are high quality and I often use other products from them. However, at the end of the day, it's definitely your call!
Now that I've sold you on using cacao powder, you're probably wondering the best ways to use cacao powder! Truthfully, you can make just about anything chocolate, it's more learning to play around with flavor.
Keep in mind that cacao powder is potent. So more often than not, you don't need a lot of it. One tablespoon goes a long way! We use cacao powder the most in:
- Chocolate smoothies (like this chocolate bomb smoothie or our favorite chunky monkey smoothie. Even a dark cherry chocolate smoothie)
- Chocolate topped bars (protein bars topped with chocolate or even homemade candy bars)
- Energy balls (like these chocolate coconut energy bites)
- Muffins (gooey oatmeal muffins for example)
However, there are lots of more unique ways to use cacao powder also. Below are 4 unique ways to use cacao powder that you probably haven't thought of!
How To Use Cacao Powder: Mix It Into Warm Drinks
Whipping up a super creamy, ultra yummy dairy-free hot chocolate is comforting in the cold weather! And this hot chocolate recipe is loaded with cacao-based nutrients- so it's a favorite.
Our go-to hot chocolate recipe is tasty in the winter when we add in a candy cane for extra yum!
Homemade Magic Shell
Clearly ice cream is better with chocolate! And cacao powder + coconut oil + syrup makes a killer 2-minute magic shell. Skip the store bought one and whip up your own in no time.
Magic shells are warm and instantly freeze/harden on the ice cream when they come into contact with it. this creates a crunchy, yummy chocolate shell on an already yummy dessert.
Grab our favorite magic shell recipes and make your next movie night that much more awesome.
Chocolate Almond Butter Cups Or Homemade Fudge
Step your desserts up a notch in nutrients by using cacao powder and learning to sweeten perfectly! These chocolate-based desserts are a favorite with just about everyone. Thanks to the addition of cocoa butter they're also super creamy.
DIY Chocolate Skincare Products!
Because cacao powder has so many nutritional benefits, it's also great on your skin (learn more about the perks of cacao powder on the skin). one of the ways to use cacao powder I love most is making everything deliciously chocolate. use it for:
- chocolate coffee scrubs
- chocolate lip balm
- hot chocolate lotion bars
Don't forget to pin these tips on Ways To Use Cacao Powder
Have I convinced you yet? If you haven't jumped into the cacao craze I hope I've given you a reason to start! The benefits of cacao powder are endless and it not only does it transform into decadent chocolate that can be added to smoothies and desserts but it's healthy too!
Fun fact: did you know you can GROW your own chocolate tree? I want to try this so badly. I'd be in heaven 🙂