Summer and popsicles go hand in hand, but most store bought popsicles contain high amounts of processed sugar, thickeners, and preservatives. Enter Liz Moody's gorgeous new cookbook, Glow Pops, which features fifty-five nutrient-filled popsicle recipes that taste amazing and will make you feel and look great too! Each pop recipe contains ingredients which encourage clear skin, boost brain power, rev metabolism, or bump immune function - now those are powerful pops! Glow Pops features fruity, chocolatey, creamy, green, and even savory popsicles, so every palate is covered. As a chocolatey girl, I was immediately drawn to the Mexican Hot Chocolate pops filled with creamy coconut milk, cacao, warming spices, and a little heat!
These popsicles stay away from processed chocolate and rely on raw cacao powder. Cacao is somewhat of a confusing ingredient. Is it chocolate? Is it good for you? Why is it raw? To help clarify things, here is the run down on cacao. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate and is usually found raw. The cacao bean grows in pods on the cacao tree in Central and South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Following harvesting, cacao can be turned into nibs, butter, or powder.
When cacao is heated and processed, it turns into cocoa and is usually infused with other ingredients such as preservatives, sugar, milk, and food coloring. When purchasing cocoa powder or mixes, be sure to read the label to avoid any unwanted ingredients. So what's the difference between cacao and chocolate? Chocolate is the combination of cacao or cocoa with sweeteners, milk, and possibly oil, nuts, dried fruit, and seeds. When purchasing a chocolate bar, opt for brands that use fair trade cacao beans and are at least 70% cacao. This means 70% of the bar is made of raw cacao and 30% is from other ingredients like sugar, milk, and/or nuts.
So why should you be consuming cacao? Cacao has many beneficial ingredients that can assist your body in a multitude of ways. Cacao is a great source of magnesium, which promotes restful sleep and is crucial for more then 300 bodily functions including those affecting the muscles, nervous system, bones, and heart. Cacao is also an antioxidant and reduces inflammation. Finally, cacao contains fiber which assists with satiety and promotes bowel regularity. In case you were looking for an excuse to enjoy these popsicles which are full of cacao, or nibble on some chocolate or munch on cacao nibs, go for it - just in moderation, of course!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Popsicles
Recipe reprinted from Liz Moody's Glow Pops cookbook
makes 5 or 6 3-ounce pops
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Blend together all the ingredients until very smooth.
- Pour the mixture into pop molds and freeze for 1 hour. Insert sticks and freeze for at least 4 more hours or until solid.