Energetic, healthy but less caloric than its derivatives, cocoa beans are a food that once known is hard to do without. If you want to use them in the kitchen, here are 10 interesting proposals to add them to recipes.
The cocoa beans are elongated seeds (similar to almonds) contained in the fruit of the cocoa plant called The obroma cacao. From these seeds or beans two other known food products are obtained, which are cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
On the market there are raw or toasted cocoa beans that can be used for different recipes or for a simple and healthy snack. In fact, within these seeds are many minerals, including calcium, magnesium and iron, and many B vitamins and vitamin E.
They are also rich in antioxidants, fibers and have anti-depressive power thanks to the presence of magnesium and the ability to induce the secretion of endorphins and serotonin. However, keep in mind that they are not recommended if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, headaches and those who do not tolerate caffeine.
10 ideas for using cocoa beans in recipes
Before seeing the ideas to use cocoa beans in the kitchen , we want to warn you that their taste is much stronger and more intense than the chocolate we are accustomed to, slightly bitter (for this reason better eliminate the skin for those toasted) may not like at all, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting used to new flavors.
1) Cocoa beans as a healthy snack
As already mentioned, cocoa beans are ideal for an energetic and healthy snack. You can munch them mid-morning or afternoon as you break the hunger, or after a sport to get back in force as they are also highly re-mineralizing.
2) Grains of cocoa beans in fruit salads
Reduced in cocoa beans, they can enrich different dishes. For example, the classic fruit salad gives a touch of crunchiness and originality, for a different meal or snack. You can use all the fruit you want, maybe best fits the one with the sweet taste that contrasts the bitter beans, a sprinkling of cinnamon and you’re done.
3) Mince in biscuits and shortcrust pastry
One of the most satisfying uses of this ingredient is that which allows the making of biscuits and pies. In fact, the crushed cocoa beans are excellent if added to dough like shortcrust pastry, they improve crispness, aroma and flavor. Well they are obviously combined with cocoa, if you want to strengthen the flavor of the beans, but also to the crushed dried fruit, cinnamon, orange and red fruits. All you need to do is add a couple of spoons to your traditional recipe to bring a unique dessert to your table.
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4) Flavor creams
In place of vanilla try using cocoa beans to flavor creams. Leave the chopped broad beans in hot milk and proceed with the usual preparation of the cream. Once ready, filter it and, if you prefer, as a reference to this ingredient, use the grain as a decoration of the dessert or on the glass, if it is a cream to be enjoyed in the spoon.
5) Cereal bars and cocoa beans
Just like dried fruit, raw cocoa is also suitable for making energy bars. You can make them at home by mixing puffed cereals, cocoa beans, coconut flour and barley malt. Arrange the mixture in small piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for a few minutes at 180 degrees. Once cooled, add melted dark chocolate.
6) Salad with cocoa beans
Not being a sweet-flavored ingredient lends itself well to some savory dishes such as salads. Even better if combined with fruit salad, such as apples and oranges, this combination will pleasantly surprise your palate.
7) Smoothies or yogurt
The grain of cocoa beans is excellent for increasing nutritional values and giving more body to smoothies or yogurt. In yogurt you can dip them together with muesli, especially for breakfast, while in smoothies you can opt, in addition to fruit and vegetable milk, for the addition of cocoa and oat powder, sprinkling the grain only at the end of the preparation.
8) Flavor the jams
Some people use almonds to flavor jams such as apricots and figs. Well, even cocoa beans can be used in this way. With a mortar, pound them and add them to the fruit before cooking, as well as giving a nice scent it will be a surprise when tasting it you will meet these tasty fragments of chocolate flavor.
9) Crumble to cocoa beans
What’s better than to enrich muffins with a delicious crumble? The cocoa beans are also the protagonists of this preparation. You need to chop them coarsely and mix them with brown sugar, rice flour and rice oil (if you prefer you can also add almond grains), spread the crumble on the sweets before baking and enjoy your meal!
Finally, you will be positively surprised if you try to sprinkle the grains of cocoa beans on your risottos. Whether it is the simple risotto with saffron or a risotto seasoned with sweet-tasting vegetables, such as pumpkin or red turnip, you just have to try and choose the combination that you like best.