When biting into a raw chocolate truffle that snaps between your teeth and then melts over the tongue blasting your mouth with the succulent essence of cacao, you can’t help but feel how good it can really be!
When I first read that raw chocolate is actually good for you I couldn’t help but think back to all the candy bars I consumed as a kid. On Saturdays or summer holidays (from school) I’d scrounge up all the nickels and quarters I could find and when I’d get enough for a Milky Way bar, I’d peddle the couple miles to either the grocery store or trailer town (where they sold candy to the people in the park). Pounds and pounds of candy melted in my mouth, but never did I feel anything but a sugar high!
That all changed a few months ago when I tried raw chocolate for the first time. I ate a couple truffles worth of chocolate and found myself feeling good all afternoon. I’d heard that there was a compound in chocolate that would give you a sense of euphoria, but I’d never experienced it. As it turns out, looks like there’s a compound called anandamide that might be responsible for this reaction. I found a little bit might explain this reaction from Exploratorium.
THC, however, is not found in chocolate. Instead, another chemical, a neurotransmitter called anandamide, has been isolated in chocolate. Interestingly, anandamide is also produced naturally in the brain. Both diTomaso and Piomelli went to great lengths to explain that this finding doesn’t mean that eating chocolate will get you high, but rather that there are compounds in chocolate that may be associated with the good feeling that chocolate consumption provides.
It’s funny that they relate it to THC because my experience what nothing like that! Lol.
The important part is that I’ve never felt this way from eating refined (cooked) chocolate. Maybe this molecule is sensitive and breaks down under the heat of the refining process.
Here is another little tidbit from antoine.frostburg.edu.
Anandamide’s long hydrocarbon tail makes it fat-soluble and allows it to easily slip across the hydrocarbon-rich curtain that isolates the brain from the bloodstream. Notice that its three-dimensional shape strongly resembles that of THC. But unlike THC, anandamide is fragile. It breaks down very quickly in the body. That explains why anandamide doesn’t produce a perpetual natural ‘high’.
In any case, you’re not going to find me eating a lot of “cooked” chocolate. I think I’d rather take advantage of, not only the calories, but the feeling that chocolate in the raw provides.
So, I’ve been making it for a while now and everyone asks – how do you make it? Well, it’s pretty easy. Take the following ingredients:
- 1 cup raw cacao butter
- ¾ cup raw dark cacao powder
- 4 Tbs raw agave syrup
- 1 tsp (or more) raw vanilla powder
And combine. Well, actually, you’ll want to melt the cacao into a liquid so that you can mix everything in. When I first started, I sliced the cacao thinly, placed in a bowl and then placed that bowl in a hot water bath until it melted. Now I just place it in the dehydrator. Once it’s melted, mix it all together. Make sure you taste it. If the vanilla is not all that strong, you may find you’ll have to add a little more. Or, if the dark cacao is a bit more bitter, you’ll find a little more Agave will mellow it out.
After it tastes right (you’ll get a better feel after making it a couple times) you’ll want to cool it in the fridge. I do this by lining a casserole pan with some parchment paper so that I can just pour the mix (to make bark chocolate). After it sits in the fridge for a few hours, the mix sets up.
Go easy on the stuff for it might keep you up all night. I try to limit myself to only a few pieces around lunch.
There are lots of great sources on the web that talk about raw chocolate. One of my favorite sites is The Sunny Raw Kitchen’s For the love of chocolate page. That page has lots of recipes that include coconut oil, which softens the chocolate.