Why Cacao Butter Should Be Your Valentine

Chocolate-dipped strawberries are so passé. Cozy up to these cacao-based desserts instead.

What could be more romantic than the cold-pressed oil of a cacao bean — aka cacao butter? Maybe it’s the fact that cacao butter isn’t just an essential ingredient in chocolate, but also a healthy source of Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, antioxidants and, yes, mood-stimulating serotonin. Use cacao butter to make chocolate, or for melt-in-your-mouth cookie dough truffles and sexy raspberry chocolate leather.

Raspberry Protein Chocolate Leather (pictured at top)
Serves: 6
1/2 cup unsweetened raw cocoa powder
1/4 cup grass-fed collagen or protein powder
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Freeze-dried raspberries, for topping

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, collagen and sugar. Whisk in the warm melted cacao butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour onto a parchment paper-lined surface and, using an offset spatula, spread evenly and thinly. Scatter some raspberries over it; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight. To serve, peel to eat.

Per serving: Calories 257; Fat 20 g (Saturated 10 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 6 mg; Carbohydrate 17 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 11 g; Protein 5 g

Cookie Dough Truffles
Makes: 9
1 1/2 cups raw cashews, toasted
1 tablespoon raw cacao butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate morsels plus 1 cup, melted

Using a high-speed blender, process the cashews into meal, scraping down the sides if necessary, about 1 minute. Add the melted cacao butter, sugar, vanilla and salt; blend until combined, about 5 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely; stir in the 1/4 cup morsels. Using a 1 1/4-inch scoop, form cookie dough balls, place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Place the melted chocolate in a heatproof bowl and submerge each scoop of cookie dough, turning to coat and shaking off any excess. Return to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let set, at least 1 hour. Repeat with the remaining frozen cookie dough scoops, reheating the chocolate as needed.

Per serving: Calories 284; Fat 20 g (Saturated 9 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 67 mg; Carbohydrate 29 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 22 g; Protein 6 g

Chocolate-Salted Peanut Crunch Squares
Makes: 16
2/3 cup unsweetened raw cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup raw cacao butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened rice cereal
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, plus more for topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Whisk in the warm melted cacao butter and vanilla until smooth. Gently stir in the cereal and peanuts; pour onto a parchment paper-lined square mold and, using an offset spatula, spread evenly. Scatter some peanuts over it and let set overnight or refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. To serve, cut into squares.

Per serving: Calories 138; Fat 13 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 104 mg; Carbohydrate 8 g; Fiber 2 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 2 g

Keep Reading

Next Up

Gluten-Free Valentine's Day Dulce de Leche Deliciousness

This dessert combines comforting old-school chocolate chip cookies and tempting dulce de leche, which makes up the molten center.

Ricotta "Sundaes" With Gluten-Free Granola

Instead of curling up with a pint of ice cream, make a lighter "sundae" instead: use creamy low-fat ricotta and your favorite sundae toppings, like dried fruit and chocolate chips.

Chocolate Love Bark

Make homemade chocolate bark for your Valentine this year; this recipe is allergy friendly and is easily adaptable to include your favorite add-ins.

Honey-Strawberry Quinoa Salad

Ready to serve up a new, fun summer salad for your Labor Day picnic or BBQ? You can easily combine seasonal fruits and vegetables into any grain-based salad, like this Honey Strawberry Quinoa Salad.

How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy

We rounded up Food Network chefs and Food Network Kitchens' best tips for making gluten-free gravy on Thanksgiving.

Taste Test: Gluten-Free Stuffings

We ranked the top gluten-free stuffings out there on nutrition, taste and cost. Find out which one to cook on Thanksgiving for your gluten-free family.  

Gluten-Free Ricotta-Onion Pizza

Make a pear, arugula and ricotta-topped pizza for a holiday appetizer or as a non-traditional holiday meal.

Almond-Pea Soup

Make mom a veggie-loaded, bright green soup for Mother's Day.

Mini Green Pizzas

There’s tons of nutrition information swirling around out there; how do you know what to believe? Look for these red flags to know when to be a skeptic.

Kid-Friendly Gluten-Free Honey-Cherry Stuffing

This easy stuffing recipe is sure to please everyone at your table -- it's gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan, but your guests will know it as just "delicious."


The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c


2pm | 1c


3pm | 2c


4pm | 3c


5pm | 4c


6pm | 5c


7pm | 6c


9pm | 8c
On Tonight
On Tonight


10pm | 9c


11pm | 10c


12am | 11c


1am | 12c


2am | 1c

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.