Healthy Chocolate Dessert Recipes
Mary Perry, RD
When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of chocolate. While recent research has shown that chocolate has many health benefits, we’re not talking about the chocolate typically found in those heart-shaped boxes but rather real cocoa or raw chocolate known as cacao.
Cocoa and raw chocolate pack a powerful nutritional punch thanks to naturally occurring antioxidants called flavanols. These flavanols help protect against the damage caused by harmful molecules in the body called free radicals. Studies show chocolate may help to protect the heart by raising good HDL cholesterol while lowering the bad LDL cholesterol; lowering high blood pressure; and reducing the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks or strokes.
To get the most antioxidants, look for non-alkalized or lightly alkalized cocoas and dark chocolate made with at least 60-70% cocoa beans or “cacao” since milk chocolate and white chocolate don’t have these health benefits. If not choosing cocoa or raw chocolate, just remember to keep portions moderate since chocolate is still high in saturated fat and added sugar.
Here’s a recipe for a raw chocolate fondue that you can feel good about. The dessert lifts your energy rather than slowing you down by eliminating heavy cream and sugar. Keeping the chocolate in raw form provides another added bonus of not needing a warmer.
Raw Chocolate Fondue
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Ingredients for Basic Fondue
1 very ripe banana, peeled
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup (preferably unsweetened) almond milk
2 teaspoons agave nectar
3 tablespoons raw cacao (such as by TerrAmazon) or high quality cocoa powder
Optional Add-In Ingredients of Your Choice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
Suggested Fruits for Dipping
1 cup fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed, and halved
2 ripe kiwifruits, peeled and cut into chunks or thick half-rounds
1 mango, peeled and cubed
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted or frozen cherries, defrosted
In a blender, place the banana, almond butter, almond milk, agave nectar, and cocoa and blend well until the mixture forms a smooth cream. Add in any of the optional ingredients that you wish. Transfer the fondue to a serving dish. Arrange the cut fruit on a platter and serve with toothpicks or fondue forks for dipping.
Source: The Healthiest Meals on Earth