The taste of acai has often been observed to contain notes of a rich, dark chocolate flavor that really comes alive when you add a touch of actual cocoa to the berry. Since it’s a well established fact that chocolate and hazelnut were made for each other, this bowl combines both to form something packed with antioxidants and good enough to be a dessert – but it still makes for a perfectly virtuous breakfast.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidant flavonoids known as flavanols, that have been shown in studies to lower blood pressure, increase blood antioxidant levels, and potentially lower oxidation levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Hazelnuts are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin E, as well as heart healthy monounsaturated fat. Blended with the antioxidant power of acai, this bowl is completely nutrient dense, despite the fact that it absolutely tastes like an indulgent treat.
The hardest part of this recipe is toasting and blanching raw hazelnuts, but even that takes less than fifteen minutes and you won’t regret putting the extra time into prepping. You can toast your hazelnuts the night before to make morning prep a snap – just store in an airtight container after removing the skins. For this recipe, we used very high quality dark chocolate (85% cacao) and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Hazelnut Cocoa Acai Bowl
For the acai purée
2 3.5 oz (100g) NATIVO PURO Acai Smoothie Packs
1 large banana
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
For the toppings
1/2 sliced medium banana
1 oz dark chocolate (85% cacao) – coarsely chopped
2 – 3 tbsp. coarsely chopped toasted hazelnut
Raw honey (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place raw hazelnuts on a baking sheet and place in center rack of the oven. Toast until hazelnuts turn light golden brown and begin to smell fragrant, no more than 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer hazelnuts to a clean kitchen towel. Wrap nuts in towel and rub together firmly until most hazelnut skins are removed. Set blanched nuts aside to cool.
Coarsely chop dark chocolate and cooled hazelnuts and set aside.
To make acai purée, run acai smoothie packs under water for a few seconds to thaw, then break into smaller pieces and add to blender.
Add cocoa powder, banana, and a splash of almond milk and blend on high until thick purée forms, adding small amounts of remaining almond milk until desired consistency is achieved.
Spoon purée into bowl and top with sliced banana, toasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and drizzles of raw honey to taste. Enjoy immediately!