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My love affair with chocolate has taken an exciting new turn…

Last month I attended a Heart Yoga and Raw Chocolate Workshop at the Devonian Botanical Garden. The class was held in the Ozawa Pavilion overlooking the peaceful Kurimoto Japanese Garden and Lacie Cosgrove was our amazing instructor. We spent the first hour and a half doing a yoga sequence focusing on both the physical and spiritual aspects of the heart. After the yoga, we gathered around Lacie as she taught us about the medicinal and nutritional value of raw cacao and its affect of stimulating and calming the heart. She brought along 6 samples of various blends and flavors mixed in to the raw chocolate and shared some of her secrets of making raw chocolate from scratch. We also had a lovely herbal tea to drink.

I was so inspired that I immediately went to Noorish, (conscious eatery and superfood elixer bar) in Edmonton to buy the raw cacao as well as the two books by David Wolfe that Lacie recommended which contain everything I need to know about cacao (Naked Chocolate and Superfoods). Note: I will need to do separate posts on Noorish, raw cacao, David’s books and more tips of chocolate-making in the near future!

Today, I decided to start with a simple recipe:

Raw Chocolate with Maca and Toasted Almonds

3/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup agave nectar (add 3/4 cup if you like your chocolate to be very sweet)

1 cup raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon maca (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

Toast almonds and set aside to cool. Distribute tiny cupcake paper cups (I buy these at craft stores in the candy-making section) on a plate, or lay out candy molds. Put a few pieces of nuts into each cup.

Place coconut oil in a double boiler and gently heat until it turns to a liquid state. Add the agave nectar and vanilla and whisk to combine. add the cacao and maca and which until smooth. Pour a small spoonful into each cup. Once all cups are filled, put chocolate in the refrigerator to set for at least one hour.

Enjoy! Store in the refrigerator or freezer in an air tight container.

By the way, when it came time to clean my chocolate bowl, I heated up some almond milk and added it to the bowl and whisked the last of the chocolate into the milk. Voila! Hot chocolate! I poured this into two tiny cups, sprinkled a bit of cayenne pepper on top and served this to B. A delicious and healthy treat!