On the tracks of the Aztecs:
Homemade nut chocolate spread

Do it yourself

Do you know what's in the various nut-nougat spreads you can get in the supermarket? Have you ever looked at where those ingredients come from?

Many ingredients, such as palm oil, travel halfway around the world to become part of our chocolate experience. Perhaps you've heard of it: palm oil is a very cheap raw material and today it is found in every second supermarket product. Unfortunately, the production of palm oil is often associated with environmental destruction and exploitation.

Here you can learn how to make a home-made nut chocolate spread that does not include palm oil.


Chocolate Facts

Who invented cocoa? Has its preparation changed over the years? And how come we feel so happy when we eat chocolate?
We collected some exciting facts about cocoa and chocolate as well as links to information about cocoa and palm oil!


Overview

  • Suitable for age group: 6-99 years

  • Especially interesting for: People who are interested in nutrition and like to try out recipes; families and foodies

  • Preparation time: about 30 minutes


Ingredients

  • For about 12 servings:

  • 80g butter or margarine

  • 50g nuts, finely chopped or ground

  • 60-80g honey or agave syrup

  • 20g cocoa powder (baking cocoa)

  • 1 pinch of vanilla pulp

  • For the very brave: some chili


Preparation

1) Melt butter in a pot or pan and let it cool down briefly. You can also melt the butter in the microwave, but be careful that it doesn't get too hot.


2) Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and scrape it out.

Pro-tip: Pick up the scraped vanilla bean and fill the small glass tube in which you bought it with sugar. Wait a few days and you will have your own vanilla sugar. Perfect for cookie season!


3) Put the nuts in a bowl, then add the cocoa powder and the vanilla pulp. Make sure to use baking cocoa.

We used chopped and grated hazelnuts but you can use other types of nuts as well.


4) Add the honey and butter and mix everything using a mixer or fork until it's creamy.

Let it cool down in the refrigerator and your nut-chocolate spread is ready.


Bon appetit!


Learn more!

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. They grow mainly in Africa and South America because they like the warm and humid climate (they can't survive temperatures below 16°C, so unfortunately you cannot have a cocoa plantation in your own garden). The cocoa beans are then used to make cocoa powder and chocolate in a complex process.

Humans discovered the potential of cocoa over 3000 years ago. The Olmecs, who lived in the fertile lowlands of the Gulf of Mexico, were among the first to prepare a cocoa drink. The Maya and later the Aztecs took over the cultivation of cocoa. The Maya even believed that the cocoa plant was of divine origin. They celebrated great feasts in honor of the cocoa god Ek Chuah, during which they of course drank cocoa. This drink was called Xocóatl and consisted of water, cocoa, vanilla and chili. If you are up for it, you can try to spice up your nut-chocolate spread with some chili!

The indigenous people of Latin America were so enthusiastic about cocoa that they not only used it as currency (cocoa beans), but also believed it to have health-promoting effects.


Picture: Ek Chuah with name glyph in Codex Dresdensis
© Sylvanus Griswold Morley, (1883–1948), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Today we know that cocoa contains serotonin and dopamine. Both can lead to good mood in our body.
But there are also other substances in cocoa (e.g. polyphenols) that can be good for our cardiovascular system.

And there is still much we do not know about cocoa. One could say that even after more than 3000 years,
the cocoa bean has still not told us all its secrets.







BIOTOPIA –
Naturkundemuseum Bayern
Botanisches Institut
Menzinger Str. 67
80638 München, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

BIOTOPIA Lab: +49 (0)89 178 61-411

© BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern 2019

BIOTOPIA Newsletter