What is Cacao Butter
Cacao butter, also known as cocoa butter, is the pale-yellow fat extracted from cacao beans. It is luxuriously rich, creamy and fragrant. To get cacao butter, beans are harvested from cacao pods, fermented, then dried in the sun. The shells are removed, and the beans are crushed into nibs. The nibs are milled into a liquid called cacao liquor. This is then pressed so that the cacao butter is excreted, and a solid cacao cake remains. The cake is then ground into a powder for cacao powder, and the butter is retained.
Benefits of Cacao Butter
Cacao butter is a source of iron, which oxygenates the blood and reduces fatigue. It also contains Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is sugar-free and low in sodium. The high number of antioxidants increases its shelf life, making it a stable fat that can be stored for up to two to five years.
How to Use Cacao Butter
Cacao butter is plant-based, dairy-free and sugar-free, making it perfect for low-carb, keto, paleo and sugar-free cooking. It is versatile in baked goods due to its subtle, chocolatey flavour. Its melting point is just below body temperature at 35°C, which is wonderful in providing that silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture for decadent desserts. And also makes it a brilliant base for homemade natural skincare products.
Cacao butter provides a nice smooth texture, a creamy consistency as well as structure for homemade chocolates. It is especially good for making white chocolate, plant-based truffles, chocolate coating/shells, nut butter cups as well as chocolate drizzle.
Melt in a small saucepan to use as part of the fat content in baked goods like cakes, muffins, brownies, shortbreads and pie crusts. Cacao butter can also be used as a thickener for mousses and other fillings and toppings.
Nut Butter Spreads
Melt cacao butter in a small saucepan before blending with nuts in homemade nut butter spreads for additional creaminess.
Melt a tablespoon of cacao butter into your favourite milk and add to creamy hot drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
Add a tablespoon of grated, or melted, cacao butter to smoothies to thicken them and make them more luxurious.
Cacao butter can also be used as a base for homemade natural skincare like body butter. It soothes the skin and makes a brilliant moisturiser.
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