This article is dedicated to premium quality chocolate devotees - people who understand and value the unbelievable taste of organic Criollo cacao. Criollo cacao is the rarest type of cacao that was grown and consumed by Mayans and other native peoples in Mesoamerica.
The availability of pure organic Criollo cacao is very scarce, it accounts for only 2% of all cocoa supplied worldwide. Such a precious and exquisite cacao is at risk of extinction because of its lack of resistance to diseases, and it also requires specific climatic conditions to successfully grow ripe pods.
Why Is Organic Criollo Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Wafers so Important?
Organic Criollo Cacao beans (source: https://unsplash.com/photos/dOANMz2N2n0)
Let’s start with the essential question of “What are cacao beans?” Cacao beans are the seeds covered in the pulp inside the pod. There can be found up to 60 cacao beans in a single pod. When the seeds are extracted, they are processed into chocolate. To grow a mature cacao tree, it needs specific conditions like temperature that doesn’t go below 68 °F and doesn’t exceed 82 °F, an adequate amount of water, and humus-rich soil.
Essentially, there are four main varieties of cacao:
Forastero is the most produced and distributed worldwide from all four and Criollo is grown in a very limited amount. Due to its scarcity, Criollo is often mixed with other varieties; that’s why you should check the ingredients story of your chocolate if you want to try this delicacy.
Criollo is special because of its unique flavor that is distinctive from other varieties. Organic Criollo dark chocolate is a combination of a nutty and fruity flavor with hints of bitterness and caramel.
4 Recipes You Can Make With Criollo Cacao
Most of the ingredients you will find in your kitchen, and the recipes don’t require any special equipment. The only thing you might order in advance is organic Criollo cacao unsweetened chocolate wafers, or any other chocolate flavor you think will be a better substitute. Santa Barbara Chocolate has a vast collection of premium chocolate chips, cocoa powder, and butter - you’re sure to find your favorite kind!
Organic Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate mousse with organic Criollo cacao wafers will overwhelm your flavor palate. The recipe is very simple and it requires only 4 ounces of wafers from Santa Barbara Chocolate and 3 ounces of water.
- Get your bowl and put a cube of ice there, and a smaller bowl on top of it.
- Leave aside, and pour water into a saucepan, and add Criollo chocolate.
- Put the saucepan on a small fire and wait till chocolate is melted, stir it slowly.
- Pour melted chocolate into the smaller bowl, and mix it well with a hand mixer for about 5-6 minutes.
- As soon as the mixture looks thick, you can stop mixing. You will notice the chocolate looks like frosting and will quickly harden.
- Scoot the mousse into a cup or a bowl. Feel free to add raspberries or pieces of strawberries.
Chocolate pudding is another quick and easy recipe. This dessert will bring the aroma and richness of cocoa, and become an ideal treat when you crave sweets. You will need:
- ¼ cup of organic cocoa powder or organic Criollo chocolate wafers
- 2 ¼ cups of milk
- ⅔ cup of sugar
- 2 tsp of vanilla
- 3 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1 tbsp of butter
The total time of cooking will take you only 5-10 minutes, and you will be enjoying a perfect light dessert in no time! Here is what you need to do:
- Add sugar, Criollo chocolate chips (or cocoa powder), cornstarch, and salt to a saucepan.
- Mix everything together, and pour milk while whisking.
- Turn on medium fire and leave it for up to 3 minutes until you see a thick mixture.
- As soon as it starts to bubble, take it off.
- While hot, add vanilla and butter.
- Scoop into a cup or a bowl.
And that’s it! You can serve it in a bowl and decorate it with fruit per your preference.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
There is nothing more refreshing and sweet than chocolate-dipped strawberries. Invite your friends over for a party and serve these tasty bites for everyone to enjoy. All you need are strawberries and Criollo chocolate wafers.
There are just a few steps to this recipe:
- Melt Criollo cocoa wafers in a microwave or using a saucepan on a stove.
- Place parchment paper on a tray.
- Carefully dip strawberries but leave the tips out.
- Place chocolate-covered strawberries onto a tray.
- Refrigerate them until the coat is firm.
You can do the same with other fruit like bananas, or something salty like pretzels.
Another dessert to satisfy your cravings is a chocolate soufflé. It is effortless to make but takes a bit more time than previous recipes. To make the batter, you will need:
- 4 ounces of organic Criollo cacao wafers
- 60g of butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp of salt
- 3 tbsp of granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
Here are steps to make a creamy perfect soufflé:
- Melt butter and Criollo cacao wafers. Remember to mix it thoroughly. Then let it cool for a bit.
- Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt into the chocolate mixture, and mix together.
- In another bowl combine egg yolks and cream of tartar, and mix well.
- Take breaks when adding sugar. Add one tablespoon and whisk the creamy egg white mixture well, and then add another one.
- Add egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Slowly and gently mix them together.
- Leave the batter in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Butter up the ramekins and sprinkle sugar on the bottom.
- Spoon the batter into ramekins and bake for 14 minutes at 375 °F.