Here at Batchez we just love using powerful spices in our recipes. So we know that there can be more than meets the eye when it comes to spices. In this post I will explain some fascinating details of flavor and health benefits of two such spices, Saigon cinnamon and natural cocoa.
In the United States the most common cinnamons used are Chinese cassia and Indonesian Korintji. After the 1954 Vietnam Embargo, the Saigon variety of cinnamon has been sparsely available and even less used. Now it is starting to make a comeback. At Batchez, we recently shifted to using Saigon cinnamon as it has an irreplaceable classic cinnamon flavor. Often compared to that famous cinnamon smell and taste that you might remember from one of your old grandmother’s homemade recipes.
While all varieties of cinnamon have some tremendous health benefits for your body, according to the publication Superfoodly, Saigon cinnamon is like the king of spices. “Saigon Cinnamon has more antioxidant activity than turmeric, acai powder, and ginger. With an ORAC value of 131,420, its antioxidant power trounces blueberries by over 25-fold, when comparing equal weights of each.” That powerful value equates to help with reducing inflammation, fending off free radicals, and fighting bacteria for your body. You can read more about the many attributes of cinnamon on the Superfoodly site.
I wanted to share another subtle but important little recipe detail that involves the type of unsweetened cocoa powder that we use in our protein rich snacks. Now, if you didn’t even know that there were two types of cocoa powder, don’t worry, you are probably in the majority reading this post. The two types of unsweetened cocoa powder are dutch-processed and natural. In keeping things simple, dutch-processed cocoa powder starts with cocoa beans that have been washed in an alkaline solution of potassium carbonate. This processes neutralizes their acidity before the beans are fermented, dried, roasted and cracked into nibs. Natural cocoa powder is from beans that have not been through the alkaline solution wash. This natural powder is typically more bitter and provides a stronger chocolate flavor. The two versions can be useful to professional bakers and recreationalists at different times for different reasons.
So, we not only love natural cocoa powder for its strong chocolate powered flavors, but also for its tremendous health benefits. The cocoa bean is very loaded with flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Many suggest that such flavonoids play a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. All helping to keep arteries healthy. However, there have been studies that report treating cocoa with alkaline can result in a 60% decrease in flavanol content. Using the natural cocoa powder over the dutch-processed, is a way to ensure flavanol content remains. Another step that we use at Batchez, is to include un-baked natural cocoa in our recipes, as heating the powder can also break down the flavanol content.
So no matter what your dietary or nutrition goals, there can be more than meets the eye to some of the most basic spices or ingredients sitting in your pantry. A little education in the field of nutrition can do wonders for your body, and maybe even your taste buds.
Geoffrey is CEO and co-founder at Batchez. Batchez protein rich snacks are the fresh and delicious alternative to conventional, factory produced, protein bars.