Raw cocoa butter is a type of vegetable fat that comes from cocoa beans. It is often used in cooking, especially when making chocolate. Some individuals and cosmetics manufacturers also use cocoa butter as a skin care product.
Cocoa beans are the dried seeds of cocoa tree, which can be found growing in the warm tropical areas of South America. The fat extracted from these dried seeds is referred to as raw cocoa butter. It is typically pale yellow in color, and it smells and tastes vaguely like chocolate.
One of the primary ingredients in chocolate is raw cocoa butter. This butter is used to make both white and milk chocolate. Chocolate melts when eaten because cocoa butter has a melting point slightly lower than a person's body temperature. Fine, quality chocolate typically contains more cocoa butter than lower quality chocolate. Producers of very low quality chocolates often substitute other types of vegetable fats for cocoa butter.
Cooks can also use raw cocoa butter at home. It can be used to make homemade chocolate, for example. Some cookie recipes may also call for this type of butter. Regular butter or shortening can sometimes be a suitable substitute for cocoa butter, but this will greatly change the taste of the finished dish.
Raw cocoa butter can also be used as a skin care product. A number of lotions and creams on the market today contain varying amounts of cocoa butter. It is very moisturizing and can help heal dry skin.
This fat can also make the skin more elastic. Pregnant women can use these type of lotions, or even raw cocoa butter, to help prevent stretch marks. This can be done by applying it to the abdomen throughout the pregnancy.
There are also a number of other benefits of raw cocoa butter. Some individuals claim that it reduces the appearance of scars and wrinkles. Recent research has also shown that cocoa butter can also block the harmful ultra violet rays of the sun.
Some people should not use raw cocoa butter, though. Those with a chocolate allergy should shy away from it, since it will most likely lead to a possibly severe allergic reaction. Acne sufferers may not want to apply cocoa butter to their faces. It can clog pores, which can make acne worse.