Oh yeah. I love my chocolate and eat chocolate nearly every day in some form or fashion. Now, this is not the milk chocolate found on the candy isle laden with sugar and myriad other ingredients. No, this is the real stuff. The good stuff. Pure cacao is a superfood with myriad health benefits. And, the good news is there are healthy and indulgent ways to enjoy it, while reaping the benefits.
Cacao is rich in polyphenols (a powerful anti-oxidant found in wine), flavonoids and magnesium. It improves energy, mood, promotes healthy skin, aids digestion, improves cognitive function, and reduces the risk of heart disease, fights cancer, decreases inflammation and helps control blood sugar and weight.
It has even been shown to help keep teeth healthy (this is of course in forms without added sugars). So, with all of these fantastic benefits, not to mention, the oh-so-yummy factor, I keep it as a staple in my diet. The good stuff is my go-to for a sweet treat, without the refined sugar and processed foods found on the store aisles. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
My 3 Favorite Healthy Chocolate Desserts:
1. Chocolate Pudding Cake
(no sugar added, made with 5 natural wholesome ingredients and topped with berries, cocoa nibs and raw coconut)—yummola!
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp Cacao Powder (raw, organic, unsweetened)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Coconut Oil
1 large egg
Sprinkle cacao nibs
Hemp seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°. Mix all ingredients together until a fairly smooth consistency. The coconut oil does not have to be pre heated. Once combined, pour into a ramekin. Then, top with a sprinkle of cacao nibs. Place ramekin on a baking sheet and put in oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes. At 12 minutes there should still be a pudding-like consistency to the center. At 14 minutes, it is more cake-like. Top with unsweetened coconut flakes and berries (I like to heat my frozen blueberries by running hot water over them first. Or, simply add them frozen).
2. Cacao-Coconut Chia Pudding
(Another superfood powerhouse. This one is also has chia seeds, which are packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats), anti-oxidants, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and other nutrients. I’ve also added collagen protein powder for another boost)
1 can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 scoops collagen powder (optional)
1/4 cup chis seeds
Combine first 6 ingredients (through salt) in a blender or food processor. Blend until frothy.
In a medium bowl, add the blended mixture and the chia seeds. Stir to mix. Cover and put in refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. To serve, spoon into individual small bowls and top with cacao nibs and berries if desired. (Saves for 3-4 days in the refrigerator)
This recipe is adapted from “Food, What the Heck Should I Cook?” By Dr Mark Hyman.
3. The Bar.
This will take some palette adjusting and gradual steps if you are used to regular candy bars or sugar-filled desserts. My bar is the 100% cocoa bar from Lindt. There are numerous cacao bars out there, look for one at least 75% pure cacao AND also look to the sugar content. Some of these bars still pack in the sugar, which negates the benefits. The 100% has no added sugar. There is also a 95% with only 2grams of sugar in the entire bar. With either of these, one square is literally all you’ll need at a time. Seriously.
Healthy Ingredients I use in My Fav Chocolate Desserts:
Full-fat Coconut Milk
Want to see the exact brand and ingredients I use PLUS my other must-have items for a healthy pantry? Grab my Healthy Pantry check-list. You will not be disappointed. It took me years and tons of hours of research to curate this list....and it's free.
(with clickable links)