What is Cacao Butter?
Considered to be a vegetable fat, cacao or cocoa butter is derived from cacao beans. It is a pure and stable source of fat and is versatile. Not only is it used in cosmetics such as lotions and face creams, it is also used in cooking and baking.
While you may not realise it, you have likely come into contact with cacao butter - as we mentioned above, in your beauty products and just as likely, in your food. You may not have noticed it because cacao butter is rarely the star of a recipe, rather it is a stagehand that works hard in the background to create a creamy and smooth feel to your foods, giving them a melt-in-your-mouth quality.
As you may have guessed, cacao butter has a very mild chocolate flavour. It is usually beige or off-white is full of health benefits in its purest form -- raw:
● Theobromine is naturally found in raw cacao. It is a mild stimulant and can help those who suffer from depression. It seems to trigger the brain to produce anandamide, a neurotransmitter that gives us the feeling of euphoria.
● High in antioxidants, cacao can help the body lessen oxidative stress. It also targets free radicals and helps decrease the chances of developing life-threatening diseases.
● There seems to be claims about raw cacao reducing bad cholesterol levels while raising good cholesterol. This has been thought to be because of it’s high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content.
● Cacao butter is considered a good source of magnesium, iron and vitamin E
The ancient civilisations of South America had always treasured cacao beans its byproducts so it’s no wonder why people indulge themselves in a bite (or two) of chocolate.
How is Cacao Butter Made?
Cacao butter starts off as cacao beans, specifically those from the Theobroma cacao plant. These cacao beans also produce cacao powder and cacao nibs. The beans are roasted first, after which their hulls are removed. The contents, the cacao nibs, are churned into a paste. This process is quite tedious and must be done with care. The paste is pressed to release the fat. This is the fat that we turn into cacao butter. In a nutshell, cacao butter is simply the vegetable fat from pressed cacao nibs.
Unlike ordinary grass fed butter, as cacao butter is a vegetable fat, it is a completely dairy free product. And for those who assign to the ketogenic diet lifestyle, cacao butter is completely keto friendly, making a great addition to many ketofied recipes.
Cocoa butter is the main component in chocolate that lets it melt. It’s what helps the treat harden in cool temperatures too. It is highly resistant to oxidation, making it less susceptible to becoming rancid over time.
Cacao Butter and Cocoa Butter – Is There a Difference?
You may have heard of cacao butter and assumed someone has spelled cocoa wrong – and while both cacao butter and cocoa butter share a similar texture and flavour, the way they are made is where they differ the greatest.
To produce both cocoa and cacao butter the beans are subjected to a pressing process, but during the cocoa butter rendering, the beans may be subjected to heat, whereas during the cacao butter rendering process, heat is not added to the process, the beans are cold pressed. Cacao butter is more nutrient dense than cocoa butter, however they can be used interchangeably.
Add Cacao Butter To Your Diet
In moderate amounts, raw cacao butter will be a great addition to your diet. Remember that cacao butter is still a vegetable oil and despite its health benefits, too much of it can increase your caloric intake.
Try out these healthy yet delicious recipes for your next cacao butter fix!
55g chaga powder
55g ground raw cacao nibs (you may use a coffee grinder or food processor)
2 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp raw cacao butter
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
4 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
You will need:
1 small loaf tin, some parchment paper to line the tin, whisk, bowl, and saucepan
● Line the pan with parchment paper.
● Heat water in a saucepan. Set the heat to low-medium when it gets to a rolling boil. Place a heat-safe bowl on top of the sauce and whisk together the coconut oil, cacao butter, honey, vanilla extract, and salt. Turn off the stove.
● Whisk in the shredded coconut, chaga powder, and cacao powder. Make sure that is well-combined.
● Pour the mixture into the pan and place it inside the fridge to set (around 1-2hours).
● Take out the fudge and cut it into squares. Keep it in an airtight container, refrigerated.
These will keep for 2 weeks (or less since we know you’ll be enjoying them!)
Superfoods Tip: You don’t have to use chaga mushroom. You can substitute it with any of our super mushrooms.
Make this smoothie a part of a hearty breakfast to kickstart your day. The combination of chaga mushroom and cacao nibs and butter is the perfect way to help your body’s immune system fight toxins, viruses, and bacteria.
Where can I get Cacao Butter?
At Superfoods Australia, our cacao butter is made from high quality Peruvian Cacao beans which have been shelled and crushed to extract the oil. Our cacao butter comes in button form, making it easy and simple to add to recipes regardless of the amount you need. Consider adding a few to your coffee or morning smoothies to enhance the creaminess or treat yourself by topping off your favourite desert with a few buttons.
And here’s a fun fact for you – the Mayan leaders supposedly enjoyed up to 30 chocolate drinks a day, that’s all the encouragement I need!