During the summer months, my cravings for cold, icy treats increase. Which is only natural 🙂
So instead of indulging in the corner store ice cream that tends to be loaded with inflammatory added sugars and artificial flavors, I’ve decided to play around with an “ice cream” treat that I can feel pretty good about.
This banana peanut butter ice cream makes use of any ripe bananas you have (which I always have) and adds some natural peanut butter (for some healthy fat) and cacao nibs to give it an antioxidant boost! I love chocolate – so adding cacao satisfies my craving every single time. Plus, it’s good for you.
AlgaeCal’s COO, Vivian, recently sent me this comparison of cocoa vs. cacao and we got to chatting about the benefits. And if you don’t already know what cocoa or cacao is, I’ll give you a quick run down.
Cocoa and cacao both come from the Theobroma cacao tree, which is native to South America and produces seed pods. These pods are then cracked open to harvest the beans inside. In fact, they look a lot like coffee beans.
But the next step is where the beans either become cacao or cocoa.
Cacao: is minimally processed. The beans are fermented and dried and then heated at a low temperature. The heating is necessary as it separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest. This fatty part of the bean can be made into cacao butter. It’s white, tastes a bit like white chocolate and can be used in baking or as a moisturizer (lip balms, lotions etc.) Cacao powder is what manufacturers mill into powder after the fatty part of the bean is separated during the heating process. Cacao nibs on the other hand, which is what we’re using in today’s recipe are just cacao beans that have been chopped into small chunks. They taste like a less sweet version of chocolate chips and don’t have all the added sugars and artificial sweeteners (YAY).
Cocoa: is heated at much higher temperatures. The benefit? It results in a sweeter flavor, but lesser health benefits. Unfortunately, the high heat alters the nutrient composition of the bean and changes its structure at a molecular level.
The antioxidant levels in foods are expressed as an ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value.
When it comes to cacao vs cocoa, 100 grams of…
- raw cacao powder = 95,500 ORAC value
- cocoa powder 26,000 ORAC value
The higher the better, obviously.
Bottom line: Cacao is more beneficial than cocoa (although that doesn’t mean cocoa isn’t beneficial) as it has more powerful antioxidant effects and retains its nutrient composition better. That’s why we’re going to add 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs to our ice cream recipe below. You won’t be disappointed! I promise…
Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Cacao Nibs
- 2 bananas, frozen
- 2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
- 2-3 tbsp. almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
- Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender
- Blend until smooth!
This make ~ 2 servings. You can enjoy this immediately, or freeze and store for later.
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