charlotte eats muesli bars
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Quinoa, Coco-Cacao Muesli Bars

Vegan, Gluten Free and Dairy Free

Not Suitable for a PKU diet

These Muesli Bars are such a hit at our apartment block. Nearly every time we make them, they get eaten up gladly by the neighbours. If you are keen for a guilt-free chocolate treat, these Quinoa, Coco-Cacao Muesli Bars are perfect. They are so good though that you could easily eat a whole batch so beware.

When I started delving more deeply into food, I questioned the difference between cacao and cocoa. What I found was that cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate.

Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. Cacao butter (or fat) is removed from the bean during this production and the remaining part of the fruit is used to produce raw cacao powder; thereby keeping the living enzymes in the cocoa.

Cocoa powder is produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. This results in the changed molecular structure of the cocoa bean and the reduction of enzyme content. Cocoa powder can still be healthy for you if you eat it as dark chocolate (without the fat and sugar). It is excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels. Cocoa powder is a rich source of fiber, has little fat, and has a bit of protein in it.

Benefits that may be found in Raw Cacao:
  • Raw cacao powder contains more anti-oxidants than red wine, green tea and dark chocolate (as stated above).
  • It is a source of antioxidants, phytonutrients, amino acids, protein (therefore not suitable for PKU diets), zinc, niacin, calcium, chromium, iron, cooper and potassium.
  • It has been reported to improve blood pressure.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels; including for diabetics.
  • Senses satiety (makes you feel full) and compliments the palette.
  • Great source of magnesium which is especially good for stress, PMS (pre-menstral syndrome) and muscle cramps. (That’s probably way you crave chocolate during your period or just before. With all the benefits, go for it!)
charlotte eats muesli bars
Ingredients:

6 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp coconut butter
4 heaping Tbsp of raw cacao powder
2 Tbsp of maple syrup (or rice malt syrup, honey)
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup activated walnuts
1 cup puffed quinoa
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup goji berries

Procedure:

In a saucepan melt together coconut oil, coconut butter, cacao powder and maple syrup.
Chop pistachios and walnuts and add to the mixture along with the puffed quinoa, cranberries and goji berries.
Pour mixture into a shallow pan lined with baking paper and place in freezer to chill until set.
Once set, chop up bars into squares or rough pieces and enjoy.

charlotteats cacao bars
Notes:

– Additional or substitute nuts with activated almonds, sunflower seeds or pepitas.
– Substitute puffed quinoa with rolled oats or quinoa flakes. I think the puffed quinoa makes a better crunch. You can also use puffed buckwheat or rice for gluten free options.
– If you find the mixture too crumbly, make another mixture of cacao and coconut and add to the top of the mixture layer.

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