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9 healthy cacao recipes that let you have all-chocolate everything

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanJune 29, 2018

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It doesn’t matter what time of the month it is—chocolate a-l-w-a-y-s sounds good. Before you stock up on store-bought treats, consider getting your fix the homemade way. There’s one ingredient that will let you have it all—from ice cream to brownies—in a way that’s so healthy you’ll give your body a boost while indulging.
Cacao powder—which primarily comes from tree pods in Africa—is not only full of free radical-absorbing antioxidants, but it also has an impressive magnesium content with one tablespoon of cocoa containing 27 milligrams. Since the important mineral can help with everything from handling stress to getting a good night’s sleep, it’s key to your well-being—so why not take it in via some chocolatey desserts?

These 9 healthy cacao powder recipes will let you get your chocolate fix the healthy way

Photo: Laura Peill

1. Raw chocolate chaga coconut doughnuts

Healthy donuts you don’t even have to cook? It sounds like the kind of dessert you dream about, but this option—AKA pure chocolate heaven—is total IRL goodness. And, to add to its appeal, it also contains a stress-busting adaptogenic boost from chaga mushrooms.

2. Sweet potato brownies

Who knew sweet potatoes and cacao would be such a winning combo? These vegan and gluten-free brownies are just as delicious as the kind that aren’t made from veggies. And the (literal) icing on the cake, er, brownie? Avocados. Yeah, talk about a super dessert.

3. Chocolate nice cream

No dairy will be found in this chocolatey nice cream. Made with frozen bananas, almond milk, and just the right amount of cacao powder, the frozen treat will hit the spot all year long—and keep you feeling great in the process. Take that, soft-serve.

4. Vegan chocolate cookie dough fudge cake

You read that right: This recipe combines cake, cookie dough, and fudge for the gooiest treat you could ever imagine (without any added sugar).

5. Black bean brownies

Bet you thought you couldn’t get fiber and chocolate in one bite, but these brownies prove you absolutely can. Chefs Jenny Dorsey and Mia Rigden of Well+Good’s Alt-Baking Bootcamp took everything you loved about boxed brownie mix and made an all-natural sugar-version that’s just as mouthwatering as the OG.

6. Raw cacao energy balls

The most delish afternoon snack you (and your body) could dream of, these tiny balls pack a ton of protein for all-afternoon energy in a sweet package.

7. Maca cacao hot chocolate

If you want to sip your cacao in beverage form, grab a mug and go for this chocolatey concoction. Maple syrup acts as an all-natural sweetener, so close your eyes and drink it all in.

8. Cacao plant-based bark

This (almost) too-pretty-to-eat bark can be made on Sunday for a week’s worth of yummy and healthy desserts. If you’re having guests over, get ready—they’ll be clamoring for a recipe.

9. Chocolate chip coconut flour pumpkin bars

Pumpkin usually gets reserved for fall treats, but that’s a crying shame. Ready in 20 minutes, this cocoa and pumpkin-powered recipe will make you want to eat the fruit all year round.

This post was originally published on June 29, 2018; updated on March 1, 2020. 

Still craving chocolate? Try this health coach-beloved coconut-cacao martini. Or, make this chocolatey breakfast spread.

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