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I constantly struggle to eat enough fat.
You don’t have any sympathy, do you? But it is a problem for me about 6 days out of 7. I’m sure a few bacon cheese burgers and fries would fix this “problem,” but that’s not what I want. For starters, greasy food tends to ruin my day! Things like salmon, avocado, some nuts, and olive oil are how I’d prefer to meet my fat macro goal.
So what’s that got to do with this recipe? It’s made with a whole can of full fat coconut milk. Not the stuff that’s 50 calories a half cup – I mean the really full fat, un-diluted stuff. By the time the chocolate blocks are cut into manageable squares each block has about a gram and a half of fat. It isn’t enough to wreck your meal plan if you’re looking for a decadent treat, but a couple are enough to help me make my fat macro! And why are they called Aztec chocolate blocks? Because they have a spicy surprise. =)
I know it sounds weird that I’m consciously trying to eat more fat, but your body needs a certain amount of fat, just like you need a certain amount of protein and carbs. The differences I’ve seen in my body, energy level, and gym performance since I started tracking my macros and eating what I actually need have been incredible. I’ve been logging my food regularly for almost six months now and in that time I’ve accomplished things I never imagined were possible. For example, I’ve gone from being able to regularly get 50% of my bodyweight overhead with a barbell to being able to get 104% of my bodyweight overhead. That’s exciting stuff! My max jerk is now slightly more than my max back squat two years ago, and my current 3 rep max back squat is the same as my (very sketchy) 1 RM from April. If those words don’t make any sense to you, suffice it to say I’ve gotten both stronger and leaner since I began eating what my body needs. For some visuals, hop on over to my post about how “big” I’ve gotten with CrossFit and Oly (spoiler alert – I’m actually physically smaller as a result of lifting).
But enough of that. Let’s move along to the chocolate! That’s why y’all are here, right?
If you love chocolate, you probably already know that it’s from South America and that the original chocolate beverages were spicy, not sweet. These Paleo “Aztec” chocolate blocks honor that tradition with raw cacao powder and two kinds of pepper! While raw cacao is a better choice that cocoa powder, you can use cocoa powder if that’s all you have available. Even if there are no specially stores around you, you can always get natural cacao powder on Amazon! This is the cacao powder I use because I find it to be consistently high quality and a good value. If you’re using processed cocoa that’s already sweetened, I highly recommend leaving out the honey. And speaking of the honey, I’m not a big sweets eater. You can add one or two more tablespoons of honey if you need to, but less sugar is better for you. =)
- 1 can (about 1⅔ cups) full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups warm water
- 4 teaspoons gelatin, preferably grass fed (4 envelopes if you're using Knox gelatin)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1.5 oz raw cocao powder (this is about ¼C + ⅛C)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper or cayenne pepper (more if you're bold!)
- a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over a medium-heat burner and whisk in the powdered gelatin.
- Whisk slowly but constantly until the mixture is heated through, about 5-8 minutes. You may see it just starting to steam - that's fine. You don't need to bring it to a simmer, though!
- Keep whisking as you slowly add the honey.
- Once the honey is combined, slowly add/whisk in the cacao powder and keep whisking until it's fully combined.
- Whisk in the spices and remove the saucepan from the stove.
- Pour the mixture into a large glass or ceramic dish. A 9x9 or larger casserole dish works well!
- Cut a piece of plastic wrap and carefully place it on the gelatin's surface. This will prevent unattractive "scumming" as it cools.
- Place the chocolate gelatin in the fridge and allow it to cool/set for 3-4 hours.
- Cut into squares and enjoy immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge to enjoy later.
When I worked out the math, each of my chocolate blocks had about 35 calories with about 1.8 grams of fat, 2.9 grams of carbs, and 1.9 grams of protein. These numbers will vary depending on your exact ingredients and how many pieces you cut your chocolate gelatin in to, so please work out your exact numbers if tracking macros is important to you! If it isn’t, well, now you have a ballpark idea of the nutritional information.
While we’re on a “healthy” note: folks who know me know I am not a runner. Not at all. Several years ago, Papi Chulo did a Ragnar Relay in Miami and absolutely loved it. Well, it turns out there will be a Ragnar Relay over on Big Island next year. The distances haven’t been announced yet, but it will be about 200 miles run as a relay by a 12 person team. Not only is the distance divided by 12, but each person has multiple shorter runs instead of one really long one. It still seems very intimidating to me, though, because (as mentioned above) I am not a runner. Have any of you other non-runner types ever done a relay race like this? Or just any race longer than a 5k? Were you miserable or did it turn out okay? How long did you train?
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