Chocolate has the magnificent ability to vaccinate against bad moods. Something explosive happens in your veins as well as your mouth.
According to scientists, this is because of a neurochemical called dopamine.
Once stirred, dopamine can initiate an electrical cavalry through the veins and hit every imaginable spot. And I mean every spot.
High levels of dopamine are associated with increased motivation, neuro-aerobics, and general rí rá agus ruaile buaile. All diplomatic speak for better nookie.
Luckily for us, Mother Nature gave the cacao bean heart-healthy flavanols and magnesium. Both nutrients are loyal friends of the cardiovascular system, helping blood-flow and circulation. In fact, I believe the smell alone of chocolate can send a feline’s pulse into frenzy. Quite the defibrillator.
The endorsement of chocolate comes with a very big qualification however. It must be raw or dark. Untreated, raw cacao is the nutritional heavyweight champion of chocolate. Try Booja Booja or the recipe below for validation. Next best is 85% dark chocolate – indecently rich and muscular (no smart comments).
Anything else is disqualified, especially the white or milk varieties. Commercial everyday bars rely upon nasty fats, sugars and artificial additives to make them palatable. They imitate chocolate, and only succeed as cheap imposters.
CHOCOLATE ORANGE TRUFFLES WITH SEA SALT
We use these as currency in our house. Our toddlers will sing Humpty Dumpty in Mandarin for raw cacao truffles. So will my husband.
1/3 cup cacao butter
2 tablespoons hot water
6 tablespoons cashew nut butter
1/2 cup maple syrup or barley malt extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
3 drops culinary grade orange oil (try Neals Yard online)
½ teaspoon good sea salt like Maldon flakes
2 tablespoons raw cacao or lucuma powder (for dusting)
Melt the cacao butter in a bain-marie. All this means is placing the broken shards of butter in a shallow bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl is at least 4 inches above the simmering water. Remove from heat, and let the cacao butter naturally melt over the hot water for 5 minutes.
Blitz the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Keep the motor running, and slowly add the melted cacao butter in a steady stream. The addition of ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper is rumoured to make your tongue dance and your pulse quicken. Just saying.
Refrigerate in the same bowl, with the blade intact, for about 3 hours. You should be able to make about 50 truffles from the batch. If the mixture seems too hard, or you’ve forgotten about it in the fridge, blitz it again to loosen it up. (That’s why it’s useful to leave the blade in).
Drop into raw cacao or lucuma powder once you’ve rolled little bon bons out of the mixture. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Glory be to the icebox!