Chocolate is yum and it also has a lot of health benefits which includes reducing blood pressure, protecting the heart and brain, and kerbing cravings for both sweet and salty foods. So there’s no harm in consuming chocolate if it is the adequate quantity and in the right way. Here are five delectable ways to do just that, so you can satisfy your choc-o-tooth without derailing your healthy efforts.
1 Dark Chocolate Almond Bars
Ingredients: 1 cup (218 g) cocoa butter, 1/3 – 1/2 cup (80-120 ml) maple syrup (amount depending on preferred sweetness), 1 cup (96 g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup (56 g) roasted almonds, 1/8 tsp sea salt
Method: Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or in a glass mixing bowl set over a small saucepan with 1 inch of water over medium heat. Alternatively, melt in the microwave in a mixing bowl until completely liquid. Once melted, remove from heat and add maple syrup and whisk to combine. When the mixture is completely fluid with no separation, add cacao or cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Taste and adjust sweetness if needed – I found 1/3 cup to be perfect. Pour the chocolate into candy moulds (if you have them), mini paper cupcake liners, or simply line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chocolate on top. Top with roasted almonds and a sprinkle of salt. Set in the refrigerator or freezer to harden for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once completely solid, break or cut into pieces/bars. These can be kept at room temperature for serving. But for best freshness, store chocolate in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, or the freezer for 1-2 months.
2 Chocolate oatmeal smoothie
Ingredients: 1/2 cup raw milk or nut milk of choice, 1/2 cup rolled oats (soaked and cooked), 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder, 1/2 tablespoon honey (substitute maple syrup or stevia) The Add-ons, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 tablespoon grass-fed butter, 1/2 cup strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or any other berry
Method: Place all of the ingredients into your blender and blend for around 30-45 seconds or until nice and smooth. Serve it in a glass and garnish it with grated chocolate and oats. Enjoy!
3 Chocolate black bean power cookies
Ingredients: 1 cup (240 ml) cooked black beans, 2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil), 2 tbsp nut butter (we used almond), 2 tbsp oat milk (or any plant milk), 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut palm sugar, 4-5 tbsp cacao powder, 2 tbsp rose hip powder (can be substituted with some rice flour and cinnamon), 1 tsp baking powder,1/2 tsp sea salt
Method: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Rinse the beans thoroughly in cold water. Drain them, save 20 beans for decoration and add the rest to a food processor together with oil, nut butter and milk. Blend until smooth. Sift together sugar, cacao powder, rose hip powder, baking powder and salt and add to the bean mixture. Run it again until all is combined. The batter should be similar to a thick mousse. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 9-12 evenly distributed dollops of batter on it. Use a spoon or a finger to form the cookies into round shapes, 3-4 inches/7-10 cm wide. Bake for around 20 minutes (they should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
4 Healthy chocolate mousse
Ingredients: 2 large avocados peeled, pitted, and halved, 1/3 cup raw honey, ½ cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder, ¼ cup Almond Breeze Almond Coconut Milk, 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Method: Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until completely smooth. Note: You may need to scrape the edges of the food processor to get everything to combine. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Serve with grated dark chocolate and/or coconut whipped cream.
5 Chocolate banana chia pudding
Ingredients: 200 ml coconut milk/almond milk/milk, 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened), 2 Tbsp maple syrup (Use honey/sugar if not vegan), 2 Tbsp chia seeds, 2 sliced bananas, Grated dark chocolate garnish
Method: Add coconut milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup and chia seeds in a bowl and mix well. Cover with a lid and slide in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight. Serve it in bowl or glass. Pour half of pudding into a glass and arrange sliced bananas over it. Repeat this process again. Grate some extra dark chocolate and serve.