Baking #Glutenfree & #Vegan with #Cacao: Tips & Tricks

I've gotta say, whoever decided that National Cocoa Day would fall in December (December 13, to be exact!) is a hero in my mind. With Christmas creeping closer, festive flavors like pumpkin-spice-everything and gingerbread are dominating kitchens across the globe...including mine. So I'm definitely grateful for a reminder to go crazy for cacao this week!

It also doesn't hurt that cacao is packed with nutrients that will help you stay healthy during the holidays. While you could rely on your mom's traditional cocoa powder, I thought I'd give this national holiday a superfood spin by highlighting cacao instead. Not only does raw cacao boast over 40 times the antioxidants as blueberries, it's also the highest plant-based source of iron. If you're looking to add more magnesium or calcium to your diet, cacao can help with that too. In fact, consuming cacao has even been shown to improve people's moods and help fight depression...so why should you not go a little cuckoo for cacao this holiday season?

casey the college celiac


Whether you're a cacao veteran or don't know where to begin, keep reading to discover some of my favorite cacao-crazy gluten free and vegan recipes! (Readers with a big sweet tooth, you may want to have a bib on stand-by!)

Need a delicious breakfast for Christmas morning? Then try having my favorite healthy dessert for breakfast: a creamy smoothie bowl! Simply add cacao to your favorite smoothie recipe for a luxurious twist. For an ice-cream-like breakfast, combine ingredients like bananas, vanilla and zucchini for some hidden veggies. You can also experiment with a Sundae Smoothie by adding strawberries and topping your bowl with homemade chocolate sauce made from coconut oil with cacao powder.

If you're craving a cozier way to start your morning, load up on (oatless) oatmeal instead. While chocolate oatmeal may not sound like anything new, a few extra ingredients can take it to the next level. For instance, maca powder adds a subtle sweetness that perfectly complements cacao's rich flavor. You can also experiment with berries for a hit of tartness (Christmas cranberries anyone?), shredded coconut for a tropical twist or cacao nibs for a chocolate overdose.

casey the college celiac
Some of my favorite breakfasts...
Or, you can go into full holiday mode and snack on some clouds - correction, pancakes - instead. Because even if you don't add cacao powder right into the batter, you can still make some chocolate sauce to go on top. For foodies who like some textural variety into their meals, you can also throw cacao nibs into the mix. You may even become torn over whether you like gooey chocolate chips or crunchy cacao nibs more.

If you're worried about battling an afternoon slump during holiday shopping, try sneaking cacao into your snacks. My personal favorite, of course, will always be homemade granola. As long as you don't spill a pound of cacao into your mix, cacao can meld with most flavors, whether you're feeling like a hit of pumpkin, a chewy/crunchy form of your favorite green smoothie, or another use for that extra popcorn. And, of course, I'm lovin' bliss balls for easy fuel that stays good for months in the freezer.

casey the college celiac
Crunchy, chewy and creamy madness!
And, I couldn't not include a traditional form of cacao craziness - cake - could I? Especially since I'm in the midst of finals week, this mug cake is definitely going to save my sanity. Because the only thing better than cacao is a chocolate lava cake that takes five minutes from start to finish. And including ingredients like cacao, coconut flour and banana definitely makes this cake a "superfood," right?

If you're craving even more ideas on how to celebrate National Cacao Day (and the rest of the holiday season), here are some of my favorite recipes from the blogosphere:

Whether you're a sucker for everything pumpkin or enjoy chocolate everyday of the year, this Tuesday definitely gives you an easy excuse to dive into some extra chocolatey goodness. And, with these recipes just a click away, baking gluten free and vegan with cacao powder has never been easier.

In fact, a national holiday has never tasted so healthy... or so sweet!


*Also found at Inspiration Monday, What'd You Do This Weekend, Tasty Tuesday, Turn it Up Tuesday, What's Cookin' Wednesday, Allergy Free Thursday, Vegetarian Mama, Pretty Pintastic Party, ShareFest and Wine'd Down Wednesday!*

What's your favorite way to include cacao in your diet? What festive flavor do you enjoy most around the holidays? Tell me below!

Comments

  1. Holy moly I knew cacao had some awesome properties but I didn't know it was that high in all those nutrients! Calcium and magnesium? Um, yes please. And more antioxidants than blueberries? Not like I needed more reason to get in a daily dose of something chocolatey but hey now it is an absolute necessity. Thanks for the ideas and recipe shares!

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    Replies
    1. Glad I can keep you enjoying your chocolate with full understanding of why you deserve another bite ;) Nothing better than healthy and delicious!

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