Lent is almost over which means I can start using cacao and chocolate again!… I’m a little excited. Plus, I have this new recipe to share with you that uses cacao… delicious, raw, cold pressed cacao. What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa powder? While they are pretty interchangeable, the health benefits and processing are quite a bit different.
Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. This process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cacao is the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods. In fact cacao is packed with all sorts of goodness:
- Magnesium (great for “that time of the month”), and other essential minerals like calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
- Polyphenols, antioxidant rich flavonoids
- Vitamins galore: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, C, E
- Heart-healthy, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat
Cocoa looks the same but because it’s been roasted at high temperatures, most of these beneficial qualities are lost. Again, you can still use cocoa powder, this is just “food for thought” and why not make your desserts both delicious and healthy?
Another great quality about these Red Velvet Brownies is the red color. No, I didn’t use any red food coloring. I used raw beets! Beets are actually what people use to use to make red velvet cakes… back before they started creating junk with artificial food colorings (check out this link for reasons you should avoid red dye and other food colors). Back to the beets. Beets are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, B vitamin folate and other essential minerals like potassium, and manganese. Potassium is essential for healthy nerve and muscle function while manganese is good for the bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Essentially, beets are awesome and that’s why I use them; plus the color is gorgeous!
So with all that knowledge, get ready to enjoy these Red Velvet Brownies even more!
Red Velvet Brownies
- 2c oats
- 1/4c steamed or canned beats (raw works, too!… but has a less sweet, more beet flavor)
- 1/4c raw cacao powder
- 1/2c coconut milk (any non-dairy milk will do)
- 1/2 cannellini beans (1/3 of a can)
- 1/3c maple syrup
- 1/4c applesauce
- 3T coconut oil
- 1t baking powder
- 1/4t baking soda
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1/4c chocolate chips… or more!
Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease an 8×8 baking pan.
Begin by grinding the oats into a flour. [never spend money on oat flour; buy rolled oats and blend]. In a large mixing bowl, pour in your oat flour and dry ingredients and give them a good mix.
In a blender, add cooked beet, beans, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth! [Check out that beautiful color!]. Pour the contents of the blender into your mixing bowl and mix until well combined; now you can stir in all of the chocolate chips you’d like.
Pour the red velvety batter goodness into your baking pan and put it in the oven. Keep the brownies in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check the brownies to be sure they’re done. Then let cool 15 minutes or so before devouring.