A cacao twist on the holidays

We chatted with the king of chocolate to find out more about his new venture.

 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
If you don’t know the name Oded Brenner, you certainly know Max Brenner. Oded is the Willy Wonka who founded Max Brenner. Now Brenner has a new, more waist- and health-friendly venture called Blue Stripes. The brand features an extensive line of products focused on using all parts of the cacao fruit—not just the bean, but the shell and fruit as well. The resulting line includes everything from antioxidant-packed cacao water to whole cacao granola and even cacao shell flour. Brenner also offers a number of gift sets perfect for Hanukkah. We chatted with the king of chocolate to find out more about his new venture.
Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your new brand?
After making chocolate for 20 years, I decided I wanted to tell the other side of chocolate. The unknown story of chocolate’s origin – the cacao fruit. In the process I learned not only how extremely delicious and healthy the cacao fruit is, but it also demonstrated to me how the locals are so considerate of what they grow and how careful they are to use the entire crop. It was clear to me that I needed to bring this cacao culture to our urban markets and change the way we use and consume chocolate.
What’s the health benefit of cacao that most surprised you?
Theobromine, which is an unbelievable alternative to caffeine. It’s a different source of energy that’s more pleasant and sustainable without the jitters or crash of coffee. In fact, you can drink it before bedtime or when you’re pregnant.
Can people use your products to detox from holiday indulgences?
Definitely. The Cacao Water literally feels like nature’s most powerful detox. It’s so clean, pure and refreshing – with no added sugar or any other ingredients. Full of antioxidants and electrolytes, cacao water is a great source of hydration, which is the base for every detox.
Do you have a recipe you can share that would be great for Hanukkah?
Of course! Try this:
Whole Cacao Sufganiyot
²⁄3 cup chocolate chips
¼ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup cacao nibs
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup coconut sugar
1¾ cup sour cream
2 cups Cacao Shell Flour Pancake and Waffle Mix
1 qt. canola oil for deep frying
Cacao sugar for the top
Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan; once warm add the coconut sugar and stir to dissolve. Bring to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a rubber spatula, carefully stir the cream and the chocolate until it forms a smooth ganache. Let the ganache cool completely before adding the cacao nibs. In a mixing bowl with a whip attachment, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, baking powder, coconut sugar and sour cream. Add the Cacao Shell flour in three additions. After all the flour is in, mix together for about three minutes until the dough is smooth but a little sticky. Warm up the oil in a pot on medium heat – be careful not to burn it. Once the oil is hot take a large cookie scoop and scoop the dough into the hot oil. When the Sufganiyot are crisp on one side, flip over and fry until the other side is done, about a minute or two. Take out of the pot and place on a plate with a paper towel to soak the leftover oil. Using a piping bag, fill the Sufganiyot with ganache and sprinkle Cacao sugar on top.