Blog : dairy free

Crazy for Cacao

Crazy for Cacao

As known lovers of chocolate we thought we would give you some insight into the incredible benefits of raw cacao. 

Cacao, as it is spelled (no it is not a spelling mistake) refers to a dark brown powder produced by cold pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The purpose of cold pressing as we have explained previously in relation to our almond milk is to preserve the nutritional content of the bean and keep the living enzymes intact while removing the cocoa butter. This minimal processing results in a product which maintains a high ORAC ( value, a measure of the amount of antioxidants in foods. In contrast, cocoa which looks exceptionally similar is produced by roasting the raw cacao. This process damages the molecular structure resulting in a decrease in the nutritional value as many of the nutrients are not heat stable. Furthermore, the more commonly known cocoa powder often has sugar, amongst other things added in the manufacturing process.

At Luz Almond we are proud to use cacao, (as in the raw packed with goodness version), in two of our delicious products – our cacao cold pressed almond milk and our slightly more decadent cacao fudge with chocolate pieces frozen dessert.

Luz Cacao Cold Pressed Almond Milk

So why do we love cacao so much:

  1. Cacao is a rich source of flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that protect from ageing and disease. Cacao has a higher ORAC (measure of antioxidant content) score than acai berries, spinach, blueberries, red wine and green tea, giving it one of the highest antioxidant values of all natural foods.
  2. Cacao is a great source of magnesium which assists the body to process fats and proteins, as well as building strong healthy bones and teeth.
  3. Cacao also contains two compounds (phenylethylamine and anandamide) thought to act on the brain creating a feeling of euphoria and allowing cacao to act as an aphrodisiac and mood enhancer.

Definitely a few good reasons to give these delicious products a try!

Cacao Almond Milk Frozen Dessert

Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

Why you SHOULD keep drinking that almond milk latte

As proud producers of almond milk and almond based products we feel it is time we cleared something up! The arguments against almond milk are not new, no doubt it has popped up in your Facebook feed about the environmental cost or the actual percentage of almonds in your almond milk. But when it comes out of the mouth of someone whom many of your target market follow and whom you have spent significant advertising dollars with … well let’s just say a confused emoji face springs to mind!

So we are going to clarify a few points and just to make it more simple we are going to break it down as they have.

1. The water.
“It takes 5 litres of water to grow one almond!”

Yes this may be true but please put it into context! As Alissa Walker pointed out in her article ‘Seriously, Stop Demonising Almonds’, 80% of California’s water is used to grow food but we shouldn’t stop eating any fruit, vegetables or even meat due to how much water they take to grow so why are almonds now the devil?

By just focusing on the ‘water cost’ you are failing to consider the whole picture such as the social and economical value of the food we are growing with the water, not to mention the nutritional value. From an economic perspective, while almonds use 10% of the California’s water, they are generating approximately 15% of the state’s total farming value and almost 25% of agricultural exports from the state (Walker, 2015). Plus given the increasing demand for almonds which has seen prices skyrocket, almonds are bringing in significant revenue for California, $11bn of it in fact.

And what about the fact that the water is being used to provide us with a healthy food rich in protein and good fats – surely being used to create something which benefits the health of the population stands for something, right?

2. The waste.

“The almond meal is tossed when almond milk is commercially produced”.

Firstly don’t lump all commercial almond milk producers together. At Luz we actually wholesale our almond pulp to people for use in baking, plus we are always looking for ways to utilise it in product and recipe development. The fact is all food manufacturing has waste so no need to single out almond milk!

  1. The carbon footprint.

“The environmental cost of shipping almonds from US + packaging = small environmental disaster”

Carbon footprint, yes, environmental disaster – slight exaggeration perhaps? Regardless many products are also produced with ingredients from overseas so perhaps it is better to focus on supporting local farmers and industry – something we are big advocates of at Luz! We proudly use Australian almonds to minimise our environmental impact, as well as contributing to the Australian economy.

We won’t even get into the carbon footprint of the meat industry but needless to say it is huge!

  1. The dose of additives.

“Most brands are packed with thickeners, emulsifiers, sugars and other crap stuff “– you are right, we couldn’t agree more! Luz Almond milk is made simply of almonds and water without all those additives and nasty stuff. Again the fact is many manufactured products are packed with this stuff and I can assure you almond milk is not the only or the worst examples of this so it is about reading and understanding labels!

  1. The nutritional value.

Probably the most contradictory point in the whole article – on one hand we have that “most brands only contain about 2% almonds” so you can’t really benefit from the vitamin E, B2, magnesium and copper, however on the other hand it says really “we would only eat a small handful of almonds in one sitting and having two lattes on almond milk will add up to more than that”. So wait there is too many or too few almonds?

On a gram per gram basis it should be no surprise that almonds pack a greater nutritional punch than almond milk so by no means are we suggesting almond milk should replace almonds in your diet. However there are an increasing number of people looking for an alternative to dairy milk to use on their cereal or in their baking, coffee etc for many different reasons. For this, almond milk is a great alternative as it not only tastes great but also contains vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron and B vitamins. Obviously the amount of each of this is dependent on the actual percentage of almonds used in the milk but once again we always encourage people to READ LABELS and know what is in the food you are eating.

  1. The price.

“Almond milk is one of the most expensive alternatives out there” – well that shouldn’t really come as a surprise given how much almonds are these days. As a rule of thumb the most expensive brands usually contain more almonds and less of the other stuff but again read the label!

 

Our simply Luzscious verdict

Sure make your own! In an ideal world we would all love to make it BUT if god forbid you are busy or don’t own a high speed blender or I don’t know … just can’t be bothered then buy Luz…the closest thing to the homemade version!

But wait a minute … wasn’t the headline of the article ‘Sorry, but you actually shouldn’t be drinking almond milk’?

Guess your recipe books may need an edit!

 

 

Choc Almond Butter Cups

Choc Almond Butter Cups

Makes 10 small cups

Ingredients

1 block Loving Earth Dark Chocolate (80g)

¼ cup raw almonds, chopped

3 tbsp PSA or other nut butter

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

 

Method

  1. Combine almonds, cinnamon and maple syrup in small saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir occasionally until nuts slightly golden.IMG_4626
  2. Add nut butter to saucepan and stir to combine into a thick crunchy butter.
  3. By placing a bowl over a saucepan of steaming water melt the chocolate and coconut oil, stirring continuously to ensure smooth consistency.
  4. Once melted pour a small amount into each of the 10 small patty cases to line the bottoms then place in the freezer for 5 minutes.IMG_4625
  5. Squash a small teaspoon amount of butter into each cup and flatten with smooth. Then pour chocolate over the top to cover. Place back in the freezer until set.
  6. Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

Screenshot 2016-02-03 13.33.25

Gluten Free Almond Pancakes

Gluten Free Almond Pancakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2/3 cup rice flour

2/3 cup almond meal

1 cup Luz Date Milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

coconut oil

Method

1. Combine eggs, almond meal, rice flour, vanilla and baking powder in a bowl.

2. Slowly add the Luz Date Almond Milk, starting with a third of a cup and adding more if required to thin out the mixture.

3. Heat a small fry pan over medium heat and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.

4. Add ½ cup pancake batter and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until set.

5. Repeat with remaining mixture.

6. Serve with fresh fruit, honey comb, edible flours and for an extra treat why not top with a delicious scoop of Luz Almond Burnt Toffee and Macadamia Frozen Dessert!

IMG_5467

Spiced Chia Pudding

Spiced Chia Pudding

So simple, yet so delicious! Made with our Delicious Date Almond Milk

Serves 1
Ingredients
2tbs chia seeds
1 cup Date Luz Almond Milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
3 baby Iranian figs in spiced syrup (we used Tar 10 Sticky Fig) (optional)
Method
  1. Combine chia seeds with Date Luz Almond milk and cinnamon mix and leave to sit until chia seeds have swollen (10-20mins).
  2. Refrigerate preferably overnight.
  3. Serve topped with figs (if using) and flaked almonds.

 

 

 

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Ingredients
Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)*
24 Ladyfinger / Savoiardi Biscuits
100g dark chocolate

Syrup
1 cup strong coffee
2 tbsp frangelico (optional)
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. To prepare the syrup add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  3. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  4. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  5. Grate chocolate on top of the cream.
  6. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers, 3 layers of cream and 2-3 layers of grated dark chocolate..
  7. Decorate with dark chocolate or alternatively a dust of cacao.
  8. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

*For a gluten free option for the cake, try substituting the lady finger biscuits for the cake from our lamington recipe (minus the raspberry). Instead add some coffee powder/flavouring and the alcohol as you will not be able to soak the cake like you can the lady fingers.

FullSizeRender-1

 

 

 

Matcha Tiramisu

Matcha Tiramisu

Ingredients
Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)*
24 Ladyfinger / Savoiardi Biscuits
2 tsp Being Co. Matcha
1 tbsp water

Syrup
1 cup water
2 tbsp amaretto OR Malibu (optional)
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup
2 tsp Being Co. Matcha

 

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. Combine 2 tsp of matcha powder with 1 tbsp water, mix until paste formed. Add matcha paste to almond cashew cream and stir until thoroughly mixed.
  3. To prepare the syrup add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  4. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  5. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  6. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers and 3 layers of cream.
  7. Decorate the top as you wish, a simply dusting of Matcha powder also looks great!
  8. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

*You can make the almond cream with Luz Matcha and omit the added Matcha in the cream layer

 

 

 

 

Rosewater Tiramisu

Rosewater Tiramisu

Serves 6-8

Screenshot 2015-07-16 17.54.17 Ingredients

Almond Cashew Cream (1 batch)
24-30 Sponge Fingers / Saviordi Biscuits
¼ cup freeze dried strawberries, chopped (optional)
Rosewater (to taste)

Syrup
1 cup water
2 tbsp Frangelico OR amaretto OR Malibu
¼ cup honey or rice malt syrup
1-2 tsp rosewater (add gradually)

Method

  1. Prepare the almond cashew cream following the recipe here and including the coconut oil (and ricotta if you wish).
  2. Add the rosewater so it provides a delicate, fragrant taste.
  3. Stir through freeze-dried strawberries.
  4. To prepare the syrup – add all ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. (You may like to prepare ahead)
  5. Assemble either as one cake or in individual glasses. Begin by dipping a sponge finger into the syrup for approximately 10 seconds or until soaked but not soggy. Lay at the bottom of the dish. Repeat until bottom of the dish is covered.
  6. Add a layer of cream on top, approximately 1cm deep and ensuring the sponge fingers are covered.
  7. Then repeat with soaked sponge fingers. Repeat so you have 3 layers of sponge fingers and 3 layers of cream.
  8. Decorate the top as you wish – you may like to try rose buds or petals, pistachios or some grated white chocolate!
  9. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until ready to serve.

 

 

 

Screenshot 2015-07-16 17.45.35

 

 

 

Berry Chia Trifle

Berry Chia Trifle

Serve as a delicious nourishing breakfast or a healthy dessert!

Ingredients
1/3 cup chia seeds
2 cups Original or Medjool Date Luz Almond Milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)
¼ cup almond meal or LSA
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
Arils from ½ pomegranate
Method
  1. Combine chia seeds with almond milk, mix and leave to sit until chia seeds have swollen (10-20mins).
  2. Add vanilla, almond meal and coconut flakes, mix to combine.
  3. Fill two glasses about 3cm of the way up with the chia mix, then sprinkle with frozen berries and pomegranate arils, then repeat with remaining chia mix, berries and pomegranate arils.
  4. Refrigerate preferably overnight.

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Quinoa Porridge topped with Panfried Cinnamon Pear

Quinoa Porridge topped with Panfried Cinnamon Pear

Serves 1

Ingredients

¼ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

2/4-1 cup water

½ cup Luz Almond Cold Pressed Almond Milk with Medjool Dates

½ fresh pear, thinly sliced

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp ground cinnamon plus extra for dusting

Quinoa Porridge topped with Panfried Cinnamon Pear Recipe with Almond Milk

1. Combine water, quinoa, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan on medium to high heat. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and cover for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add Luz Almond Milk then cover for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, heat coconut oil over medium heat in small frypan. Place pear in pan and sprinkle with cinnamon, cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden.

4. Serve quinoa in bowl topped with pear and serve immediately.

NB: You may like to add a tsp of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.

To learn more almond-based recipes, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Help us bring dairy free, vegan friendly almond yoghurt to Australia. Support our Kickstarter campaign by clicking the button below!

Support our Kickstarter campaign for a yoghurt machine