I’ve now been off sugar (except for a few small handfuls of dark chocolate and a bite of a coworker’s peanut butter pie) for TWO DAYS! Call the Pope because I think this makes me a candidate for sainthood.
But like any true addict, I’ve found a way around my cravings that could still be called “clean eating.” Cacao Nibs were all the rage last year when I bought a container of them at my local health food store, Wheatsfield. They were roasted, to bring out the chocolate flavor. Gotta love that, right? I tried them plain and it was like chewing on twigs dipped in sand. No yummy chocolate mouthfeel, just grit in my teeth.
I took them to my daughter who is a self proclaimed chocoholic. She tried to love them, but in the end rejected them as bitter.
Internet searches told me to put them into cookies and muffins. Done. I ruined several batches of cookies and muffins realizing that they still tasted like gritty twigs, surrounded by better baked batter.
They sat in my cupboard. And they bugged me. For a year. Recently I realized their expiration date was near and decided to at least extract the chocolate from them.
Just as I was preparing to do this, Dr. Oz announced that we should be eating Coconut Palm Sugar because it won’t spike blood sugar. He must have forgotten that he told us that last year. Which is why I had a neglected one pound bag of the expensive sugar sitting on my shelf with the sad cacao nibs. Perfect, a pairing. And since coconut oil is still in favor this year (stay tuned, as that may be the next ingredient to hit the dust) I decided to make it a trio.
I cleaned our coffee grinder well and set about whirring the nibs in small batches. I sifted the cacao and reground what remained to make sure it would be lump-free. It yielded about 2 cups of what I thought would be unsweetened cocoa powder. Well it was, sort of. It was impossible to grind it as fine as the unsweetened cocoa powder in the store. So while I was in the grinding mood, I ground the palm sugar too, which had developed lumps that looked like inverted cellulite from my thighs.
Not to be discouraged, I dumped it all into a pan to whip up something yummy – and healthy. I won’t say the results are anything that I could sell to make my fortune online. I first started with a sort of sauce, but it was still too “chewy” (read gritty). I decided that if I added another textural element, then the grittiness of the sauce would be in good company. I tossed in toasted pecans. Perfect. Then I put spoonfulls into a mini-muffin pan that was supposed to be “non stick.” I’m so trusting.
I set the pan out in the cold to firm up and my “rescued” dog followed me onto the deck and escaped into the frigid air. Thirty minutes of frenzied pursuit followed until I finally convinced her we needed to go inside. By then my treats had firmed up and I needed a chocolate fix. Bad!
They stuck to the pan, but no true chocolate addict would let that stand in her way.
I will gladly scrape out the bottom of the little muffin cups because the result was a chewy, crunchy chocolate cup that satisfied my cravings and won’t raise my blood sugar.
A sort of success, right?
At least if you have a container of cacao nibs, you could try this. If not, use real cocoa powder and your result will be silky.
2 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder (or ground cacao nibs.)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or stevia or whatever you like to use)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup milk
1 cup toasted pecans.
Put all the ingredients into a saucepan except the nuts.
Heat slowly and mix well.
Bring mixture to a boil and take off the heat.
Add the pecans. Stir and drop by spoonfulls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
If you use a minimuffin pan, spray it first.
Chill to firm.
Sure, it was a process, but it yielded something that will keep me from getting into all the baking supplies I’ve hidden in the basement cupboards – at least until Valentine’s Day.
Let me know how yours turn out.