Looking for a simply awesome and yummy dessert that actually has beauty benefits? And that your kids/hubby/friends will actually also enjoy? Well I have just the recipe for you- my crowd-pleasing Chocolate Chip & Coconut Chia Pudding!!
Let’s Start With The Chocolate…
I often talk about how I’m a huge dark chocolate lover…but hey, aren’t we all!? I created this recipe to nourish you while taming your chocolate cravings, and without the refined sugars, dairy, preservatives and fillers that are often included in commercial chocolate bars.
The Theobroma cacao tree is grown in various parts of the world, and is where the cacao beans are harvested from. They are roasted and ground to produce cocoa. Take it a step further in the processing, and you are at the basis of chocolate. ;)
However, once the beans are dried at a low temperature, they are called raw cacao beans. These beans can be consumed whole, broken down to little cacao nibs (kinda bitter but earthy-tasting), or ground down into a fine raw cocoa powder. The latter is what we’ll be using in our yummy recipe today.
Whichever way you like to consume it, chocolate has been known to stimulate serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter in your brain, and is rich in natural antioxidant compounds with many health benefits. It also contains resveratrol, antioxidants, and is a good source of magnesium.
Note: Make sure the chocolate you eat is 72 percent or higher cacao, dairy-free, and organic.
Why use Coconut Nectar?
First off, it’s a naturally sweet and nutrient-packed “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms when the actual coconut tree is tapped. Because the coconut sap needs to be hand-harvested, it’s extracted by people skilled at climbing coconut palms (not a job I’d want, but we certainly appreciate those that don’t mind heights every day!).
Coconut nectar is a rare sweetener that actually has benefits- it contains 17 amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum vitamin B, minerals and is known for having nearly neutral pH.
Since The Glycemic Index (GI) is the standard measurement used to rank how fast blood sugar levels rise after we drink or eat a particular type of beverage or food over a 2-3 hour period of time, raw coconut nectar is a great choice to use as a sweetener. Glycemic Load (GI), which takes into account portion size, is actually a more accurate measure of how sugars affect our body (but let’s save all the details on that for another day!).
Agave, for instance, has a low GI but is high in fructose. So still a no-no. GI is not everything. Fiber is also important, as in fibr-rich whole fruits. But alas, I digress! Back to the recipe :)…
Coconut Secret is one brand that ensures their coconut nectar is made in small batches- being low glycemic, enzymatically alive and minimally evaporated to remove excess moisture- keeping it at it’s purest and most raw form.
There’s more treats in the recipe: calcium-rich dates, vanilla, pops of flavor from the shredded coconut, and need I say, MORE chocolate chips sprinkled on top, for the added crunch and natural sweetness. YUMMY!!!
This recipe is packed with antioxidants, brain-nourishing omega 3 fatty acids, and complete protein and minerals. It’s so easy to prepare and pack that you’ll find yourself whipping up this tasty pudding as your go-to kid-friendly (and adult-friendly), treat! ;)
This extra yummy but healthy treat will make no one miss that “regular” pudding. So let’s get blending!
How to Make the Chocolate Chip & Coconut Chia Pudding…
- 1½ cups unsweetened almond or hemp milk
- 3 pitted dates
- 2½ teaspoons raw cacao powder
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbs. coconut nectar or maple syrup
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 3 Tbs. unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 Tbs. mini non-dairy chocolate chips (optional)
- Blend together the almond milk, dates, raw cacao, vanilla and coconut nectar.
- Add to a container and stir in the chia seeds. Cover and move into the fridge, allowing to set for a few hours (this can be made the morning or night before your picnic).
- Stir again after a few hours to mix evenly, then move into a BPA-free container to pack for your picnic.
- Top with shredded coconut and chocolate chips.
Sending love and wishing you all my best,