Sorry, milk chocolate, but we’re leaving you out of this one.
In honor of National Chocolate Day, the HealingRadius team wants to send some healthy dark chocolate tips your way, because, well, we love dark chocolate and it is delicious. Beyond the flavor, this indulgent and comforting snack is actually really good for you. According to several studies over the years, daily consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, improve skin quality, and fight muscle fatigue. How’s that for sweet-talk?
The benefits of dark chocolate come from cocoa, antioxidants known as flavonoids, and the simple fact that dark chocolate has lower added sugar and fats than milk chocolate. So, if you’re ever looking for a quick and easy fix, get your hands on the treats with the highest proportion of cocoa, as they are usually better and more nutritious for you. You can also check out the recipes below that are full of calorie-conscious and tasty ingredients!
Note: Please use in moderation; too much of this good thing can be harmful to your health.
Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons melted dark chocolate
1 1/2 cups whole almonds
Handful of coconut shavings
Dried cherries (optional)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then start melting dark chocolate pieces in a pan on low heat; it won’t take long to melt. If you’d like a cherry taste, place a handful into the pot once the chocolate has melted.
Place a teaspoon of melted chocolate on parchment paper; top with a small handful of almonds. Drizzle almonds with one tablespoon of melted chocolate. Repeat with the remaining almonds and chocolate until your pan is full.
Sprinkle coconut shavings over each nut cluster.
Transfer to a refrigerator for about 10 minutes to chill and then remove when firm. Enjoy!
Flourless Chocolate Cake
6 ounces 70-percent dark chocolate
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 overripe bananas
1/4 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
3 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups on a large baking sheet. Spray each with cooking spray and set aside.
Combine chocolate, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl over hot boiling water. Whisk until chocolate has completely melted.
Puree bananas, sweet potato, and honey until smooth.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and fold it over banana puree and egg, then mix.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until a soft peak forms.
Slowly fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, then spoon mixture into ramekins, filling them almost to the top.
Bake for approximately 6-7 minutes, remove, and serve. The center of each cake should be soft and warm.
Garnish with extra orange zest if you like!
Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
Ingredients for brownies:
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup protein powder
2/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Ingredients for peanut butter swirl:
1/4 cup all-natural creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir the dry ingredients together (flour, protein powder, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt), then set aside.
Mash the banana in a large bowl, stirring in the olive oil, one teaspoon vanilla, and chocolate chips.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well.
Use a spoon to fill each of the muffin wells to the top.
In a small ceramic bowl, mix the peanut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Place the bowl into the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, until slightly softened.
Add a dollop of the peanut butter mixture to the top of each brownie bite.
Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack, then enjoy!
With these healthy recipes, dark chocolate won’t have to be deemed a guilty pleasure again. If you have any nutritious dark chocolate recipes up your sleeve, we’d love it if you would share them with us. Here’s to living a fun, zestful, and holistic life!
Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.