Roasted cacao nibs (Left to right): with parchment, without parchment, broken, and pulverized.

My parents sent me some cacao nibs last year and only recently have I started experimenting with them. They’re very bitter and have a strong cocoa taste, but kinda smooth because of the coca butter. It is very fragrant after grinding, better than a can of Hershey’s cocoa!

Our neighbors had us over for dinner the other week and prepared an awesome Chocolate Mousse Tart. I’ve never had an avocado-based chocolate dessert before and this was better than I could have ever imagined! Since I’m sensitive to dairy and wheat, I could eat my fill of this incredible dairy-free/gluten-free concoction without feeling bloated or tired. Thank you, Elena, for sharing this amazing recipe! In my version I couldn’t form a crust so I just parfait’d it (see pic below), but Wolfie doesn’t seem to mind it one bit! ;)

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TARTS

Maple Walnut Crust

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups walnuts
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
a pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Ingredients:
4 ripe avocados
10 very soft dates (soak in water for a few hours to make them soft)
4 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cacao powder (or cocoa powder if you don’t have the other)

Directions:
1. Place walnuts in a food processor and pulse until chunky. Add the maple syrup and sea salt and pulse until the mixture is combined. (You can create a smoother crust by blending longer if you like, but in my experience leaving some chunks is a good idea to add contrast against the smooth chocolate pudding).
2. Get out a muffin pan. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the walnut mixture at a time and press into the bottom of a muffin cup. Press firmly so that the walnut mixture is compact and holds together. You should be able to fill about 8 cups with the walnut crust. Refrigerate.
3. Finely chop the dates.
4. Cut open all the avocados and scoop them out into a clean food processor. Blend. Add the other ingredients and blend to incorporate.
5. Remove walnut crusts by running a knife around the perimeter to loosen, then lift out. If the crust breaks or becomes dented, simply press it back together once it’s out the mold.
6. Spoon a large dollop of avocado mouse on top of the crust base. Garnish with whatever fruit you have on hand (fresh berries, banana, dates, pomegranate, pineapple…). Enjoy! =D

 

Wolfie wanted a taste of my parfait — no way, Jose!


I also tried a Shallot Marmalade recipe using cocoa nibs, and substituted about half the ingredients. Instead of shallots, I used sweet onions. No prunes so I used dates. And though you could use either balsamic or red wine vinegar, I think the balsamic was too overpowering, so only a little bit of marmalade and lots of rice worked for me. I served it with miso-lemon marinated chicken (marinade recipe here), brown rice musubi and greens.

Shallot Marmalade recipe became “Onion Jam,” or o-Jam.

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