Allow me to make your day right now- these Matcha Almond Butter Cups can and should be eaten for breakfast.  I repeat: You now have a reason to eat chocolate for BREAKFAST!!  The combination of cacao and matcha give you all the energy of a cup coffee, but in a clean stream without the jitters.  Mixed with healthy fats from almond butter and coconut oil, you’ll feel satiated for hours.

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I first got on to matcha when I stopped drinking coffee about a year ago to overcome adrenal fatigue.I was drawn to this tea because matcha’s caffeine releases slowly over the course of several hours, meaning it won’t cause highs and lows the way coffee does.  Theophylline, an amino acid in matcha, doesn’t place stress on the adrenals, and can actually help RESTORE hormonal balance and be beneficial to the adrenal glands (Can you say, #FoodIsMedicine ?!)

To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan at first.  Matcha is all the rage everywhere and when I first tasted it I thought, uhhh just tastes grass to me.  But, when I thought about it, the first time I had coffee by itself I thought it tasted like actual dirty water, but once mixed with a variety of milk, sweeteners and flavor, it tastes pretty damn delicious.  I rarely drink matcha alone, but love to incorporate it in my smoothies each morning.  I also really like the combination with nutty almond butter and rich dark chocolate. Hence- these Matcha Almond Butter Cups.

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Now about that chocolate I promised you for breakfast…the base of these cups is made from cacao powder mixed with coconut oil and a bit of natural sweetness. Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, different from the cocoa you probably buy at the store, because cocoa powder undergoes high heat processing, whereas cacao is raw.  Additionally, cacao is one of the highest antioxidant foods, rating in the top 10 in the ORAC system. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale measures the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb cell and tissue damaging free radicals in the body. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food.

Ancient Aztec and Maya cultures cherished cacao for its energy-boosting properties because it contains the compounds theobromine and phenylethylamine.  Theobromine (what gives dark chocolate its bitter taste) has stimulant properties like caffeine, however, it does NOT stimulate the central nervous system. Phenylethylamine is an adrenal-related chemical that stimulates dopamine, not only making you happier, but also increasing focus, motivation and productivity. Move over coffee, we’re getting our morning jolt from chocolate now.

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So now when you’re sweet tooth is kicking in and your energy is lagging around 3pm, grab for one of these Matcha Almond Butter Cups to satisfy both needs, while packing micronutrients and antioxidants as well. Store them in the freezer so they’re ready to go whenever you need a chocolate fix!

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Matcha Almond Butter Cups
Makes 12-16 full sized cups

Layer One:
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Cacao powder

Layer Two:
1/2 cup all natural almond butter
1T MRM Raw Matcha Powder*

Layer Three:
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey (preferably raw and local)
1/4 cup all natural almond butter
½ cup cacao powder

Optional: course sea salt for dusting the top

Method:

  1. Melt the coconut oil for layer one and stir in the maple syrup and cocoa powder until smooth. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of the chocolate into paper lined muffin cups. Slightly swirl the chocolate around in the cups so it runs of the sides of the papers, if you want the cups to have a “closed off” look instead of showing the layers. Pop in the freezer about 10 minutes to allow to harden.
  2. While the bottom layer is freezing, stir together the almon butter and matcha. Then, once the bottom layer is frozen, spoon about 1-2 tsps of the nut butter into the middle of each cup. You can place in the fridge or freezer after this step, but I find it unnecessary.
  3. Finally, melt the coconut oil, honey and almond butter together for the top layer, then stir in the cacao powder until smooth. Spoon on top of the matcha layer until it is entirely covered. Sprinkle with sea salt if you’re using. Place back in the freezer, at least 10-15 minutes, or until ready to serve. Before eating, allow to sit on the counter 5-10 minutes before biting in to, so the chocolate isn’t to hard. Note: These MUST be stored in the fridge or freezer, as coconut oil melts at anything above room temperature.

*I prefer to use MRM’s Matcha because it is raw, certified non-gmo, vegan, and is responsibly sourced from Japan.  If you shop through the clickable link above, use the code ELLEN at checkout to save 40%.