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How to Use Lucuma Powder in Baking and Beyond

10 Uses for Lucuma Powder

Available at many health food stores, lucuma powder is made by dehydrating and grinding the fruit of the lucuma tree into fine powder. Lucuma powder has a sweet flavor that resembles caramel or maple syrup, which makes it a great ingredient for a wide range of recipes. From baked goods to "raw" (no-bake) desserts to green smoothies, here are 10 delicious ways to use lucuma powder:

1. Use Lucuma Powder in Baking

Because of its sweet flavor, lucuma powder can be used as a sugar substitute in some recipes, and it has become a popular ingredient among health-conscious and adventurous bakers. However, before using lucuma in baking, be aware that it is nowhere near as sweet as sugar, nor does it have the same texture as sugar. In fact, lucuma powder resembles more flour than sugar. Therefore, when baking with lucuma powder, it is usually best to substitute a few tablespoons of flour called for in a recipe with lucuma powder, and then reduce the amount of sugar called for in a similar amount. So, for example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups flour and 1 cup sugar, try using 1 ⅔ cup of flour, ⅓ cup of lucuma powder and ¾ cup of sugar.

2. Use Lucuma to Flavor Ice Cream

In Peru, lucuma is commonly used for ice cream and desserts. In fact, lucuma is said to be the most popular flavor for ice cream in Peru. You can find a recipe for Peruvian lucuma ice cream in nutrition expert Manuel Villacorta's cookbook Peruvian Power Foods. This cookbook can also be a great addition to your bookshelf if you are interested in using powdered Peruvian foods and superfoods in general as all the star ingredients in this extraordinary cookbook hail from Peru!

3. Sweeten Popsicles with Lucuma Powder

Lucuma ice cream may be tempting to the taste buds, and it can really help you cool odd during the hot summer months, but it is not exactly the healthiest dessert out there. If you are craving for a cool treat that won't derail your health goals, try homemade popsicles sweetened with lucuma powder. Here's an easy popsicle recipe that pairs mango with plain yoghurt and lucuma powder:

  1. Cut the flesh of one ripe mango into cubes, and place the cubes in a blender.
  2. Add 3 cups of plain yoghurt and 2 tablespoons of lucuma powder. Blend until smooth.
  3. Fill your popsicle molds with the mixture, and freeze until frozen all the way through.

4. Add Lucuma Powder to Green Smoothies for Added Sweetness

Try adding lucuma powder to smoothies for added sweetness. Especially green smoothies, which pair fruit with green vegetables like kale or spinach, can benefit from the natural sweetness of lucuma powder because they are typically not as sweet as smoothies that only contain fruit.

5. Make Lucuma-Flavored Nut Milk

With its caramel-like flavor, lucuma powder makes a wonderful addition to any homemade nut milk, whether it's cashew milk or almond milk, or any other type. Here's an easy recipe for cashew milk that gets a boost from lucuma powder:

  1. Place unsalted cashews in a bowl and cover with cold water.
  2. Let the cashews soak for a couple of hours, then drain and rinse.
  3. Put the soaked and drained cashews in a blender, along with filtered water. For every cup of cashews, use around 4 cups of water.
  4. Blend the nuts and water until the mixture is smooth. You can also add some water if the mixture seems too thick
  5. Add lucuma powder to taste, then blend again to combine.

6. Make No-Bake Chocolate Truffles with Lucuma

Today, health food stores are selling everything from cacao powder sweetened with lucuma to chocolate bars featuring lucuma to energy balls combining these two flavors—and for good reason: lucuma and cacao are a great flavor pairing! For the DIY-inclined folks out there, here's an easy recipe for raw (no-bake) chocolate truffles featuring lucuma powder:

  1. In a small food processor, process 1 cup of soaked and drained cashews, 1 cup of pitted dates, 1/4 cup of unsweetened, raw cacao powder, and 2 teaspoons of lucuma powder into a smooth paste.
  2. Scoop one tablespoon of the paste and form it into a bite-size ball with damp hands. Repeat until all the paste is gone.
  3. Dust the energy balls with cacao powder, and refrigerate for at least an hour prior to eating.

7. Make Lucuma Hot Chocolate

Here's another recipe that pairs lucuma powder with cacao! In addition to lucuma and cacao, this recipe for hot chocolate calls for vanilla extract which helps bring out the natural sweetness of lucuma powder. So, if you're ready for a hot, comforting drink, here's how to make lucuma hot chocolate in four easy steps:

  1. Measure out one mug of regular milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as hazelnut milk or almond milk) using your favorite mug.
  2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat slowly.
  3. Whisk in 3 teaspoons of raw cacao powder, 1 teaspoon of lucuma powder and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and keep stirring until hot but not boiling. As lucuma pairs nicely with maca powder in recipes that feature cacao or chocolate, you may also want to add a little bit of maca powder for an extra boost of nutrients.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the hob and pour the drink into your mug. Enjoy!

8. Incorporate Lucuma Powder into Your Breakfast

Start your day off right with a tasty, healthy breakfast featuring lucuma powder. You can incorporate lucuma powder into almost any breakfast dish: sprinkle it on overnight oats, stir it into hot oatmeal, mix it into yogurt or smoothie bowls, or add it to your breakfast cereal.

9. Add Lucuma Powder to Homemade Nut Butters

Still need more ideas on how to use lucuma powder? If you have a blender that is strong enough to make nut butter (or another nut butter making machine), try making a batch of lucuma-flavored nut butter—with its sweet, caramel-like flavor, lucuma powder can elevate almost nut butter. Here's a basic recipe for nut butter featuring lucuma powder:

  1. Place about 3 cups of nuts of your choice (such as cashews or macadamia nuts), 2 to 3 teaspoons of lucuma powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a in a blender that can handle nuts (if you don't have one yet, there are many good Vitamix blenders for making nut butters).
  2. Starting on the lowest speed, blend until crumbly. Depending on the nuts and the blender you are using, this can take anywhere from half a minute to several minutes.
  3. Increase the speed and process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding a bit of oil if necessary. Note that you may have to pause a few times to scrape down the sides of the blender container with a rubber spatula.

10. Consider Freezing Lucuma Powder for Later Use

Like other dehydrated foods, lucuma powder has a relatively long shelf life at room temperature. But if you have a lot of lucuma powder and you think you might not be able to use it all up before it expires, you can always freeze some of it for later use. To freeze lucuma powder, simply put it in an airtight freezer bag, seal and label the bag, and put it in the freezer.

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