The chocolate market in the U.S. is a $20 billion market. Americans love chocolate. The whole world loves chocolate, really.
It may be the one thing the majority of the global population agrees on.
What’s even better, is that studies are continuously showing that a little bit of dark chocolate each day can help lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body.
Antioxidants can help make skin brighter and clearer, help your immune system stay strong, and reduce risk of blood clots. Additionally, there’s less sugar in dark chocolate which is always a plus!
Dark chocolate needs to contain at least 60% cocoa which makes it a purer chocolate from the cocoa bean. Higher quality dark chocolate will also have fewer ingredients and remain as natural as possible.
If you feel like dark chocolate is calling your name and want to try some new, healthier recipes, here are a few to help you indulge in those cravings from your own home!
Dark Chocolate Recipes: Good For The Heart
Dark Chocolate Almond Bar
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
Step 1: 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.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: Taste and adjust sweetness if needed – I found 1/3 cup to be perfect.
Step 4: Pour the chocolate into candy molds (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 sprinkle of salt.
Step 5: Set in the refrigerator or freezer to harden for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 6: 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.
Chocolate-Covered Banana Almond Butter Bites
2 large ripe bananas
1/8 cup almond butter
1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Calories: 49 per 1 piece
Step 1: Peel bananas and slice into quarter-inch pieces.
Step 2: Mix the almond butter and applesauce in a small dish. Smear the mixture on one banana slice and top it with another banana slice to make a sandwich.
Step 3: Place the banana sandwiches on a cutting board lined with parchment paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Step 4: Before removing the bananas from the freezer, melt chocolate chips using the double-boiler method: place chocolate chips in a heat-safe glass or metal bowl, then place the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. Stir continuously until the chips are completely melted.
Step 5: Take the banana sandwiches out of the freezer and dip them in the chocolate (keep it on the boiling water to prevent the chocolate from cooling). Place the sandwiches back on the paper. Once they’re all covered in chocolate, pop them back in the freezer. They’re ready to eat after 15 minutes.
Warm, Flourless 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
Calories: 96 calories per serving
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Step 2: Place 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups on a large baking sheet. Spray each with cooking spray, and set aside.
Step 3: Combine chocolate, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl over hot boiling water. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Step 4: Puree bananas, sweet potato, and honey until smooth.
Step 5: Remove the melted chocolate from heat, and fold it over banana puree and egg. Mix well.
Step 6: In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until a soft peak forms.
Step 7: Slowly fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
Step 8: Spoon mix into ramekins, filling them almost to the top.
Step 9: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.
1/2 container silken tofu (1/2 pound)
1/4 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
5 pitted dates
1/8 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
40 large strawberries, washed and dried
1/4 bar dark chocolate, chopped
Step 1: Add all the ingredients except the strawberries and dark chocolate to a food processor. Puree until completely smooth, for several minutes.
Step 2: Place mousse in the fridge for at least 60 minutes. If you’re making this recipe ahead of time, it’s OK to leave the mousse in the fridge overnight.
Step 3: Using a knife or strawberry huller, carve out the middle of each strawberry.
Step 4: Spoon a small amount of the mousse into each strawberry. Place in a shallow rectangular dish. Top with a sprinkling of chopped dark chocolate and enjoy immediately, or keep in the fridge until ready to serve (up to a day).
Being healthy can be a sweet, healthy treat! No need to feel guilty for having something sweet. Treating yourself to healthier dessert alternatives like dark chocolate recipes can help you feel better about your cravings and giving into them!
Remember, all thing sin moderation, so don’t undo the healthy aspect of these dark chocolate recipes by eating too much sugar and sweets!