Valentines Day is close. That means lots of love, hugs and chocolate are in our future! On the average Valentine’s Day, nearly $400 million of chocolate is purchased around the world. Whoa, that’s a lot of chocolate! So, assuming you’re headed out there to purchase some of that chocolate (I know we are!), then do your Valentine a favor and go for the dark stuff. The darker, the better. And if you’re ready to bake up some treats for your favorite Valentines, we have a special dark chocolate recipe that will win you a lot of brownie points!
The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
The benefits of dark chocolate are many, but one of the most powerful benefits is its ability to fight free radicals (the harmful compounds in our bodies that can contribute to inflammation and chronic disease). Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that fight those free radicals, including flavonoids and polyphenols. It’s nutrition is also impressive when it comes to fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese and copper. When selecting dark chocolate, there are a few things to look for, so use the buyer’s checklist below to ensure you get the good stuff!
The best dark chocolate has distinct characteristics. Follow these tips to make sure your dark chocolate is high-quality, rich in antioxidants and of course, delicious.
- High in cocoa: 70% or higher cocoa percentage.
- Cocoa comes first: Cocoa or a form of cocoa is the first ingredient.
- No unnecessary ingredients: Avoid dark chocolate that contains trans fat, milk, artificial flavorings, high amounts of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients.
- No alkali processing: Alkali processing is also known as Dutching. Avoid chocolate processed this way. (The label will say “cocoa processed with alkali”.) This process breaks down the antioxidants.
- Fair-trade and organic: This type of dark chocolate is more likely to be high-quality, ethically sourced and pesticide-free.
Dark Chocolate Mini Brownies
These make great little bite-sized treats for your Valentines!
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw honey
3/4 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan with coconut oil, or line with paper liners.
2. Combine the chocolate, coconut oil and raw honey in a small saucepan. Place the saucepan in a skillet with an inch of water, or use heavy cast iron skillet. Heat over medium. Mix constantly until smooth.
3. In a small bowl, combine the almond flour and sea salt.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and the vanilla & almond extracts. Add in the melted chocolate.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
6. Fill each mini muffin cup to about 2/3 full.
(This makes 24 mini brownies = 1 pan.)
7. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes, until set and cooked through. (Mine were done in 15 minutes, so keep an eye on it!)
Recipe adapted from realhealthyrecipes.com
Resources: healthline.com, draxe.com