Chocolate has gotten a bad rap for too long. What we don’t always realize is that cocoa, all on its own, is not bad. It’s usually everything else that is added to the cocoa to create what we know as “chocolate.” Cocoa powder is full of flavanol antioxidants, which can help with inflammation, blood pressure, glucose levels, etc. But before you over-indulge, read more about the benefits of cocoa here.
Many times the words “Healthy Foods” turn people away because when I say healthy, they automatically think that they will have to give up EVERYTHING. But, instead of focusing on what I can’t have, it’s much more fun to focus on what I can have and what is good for me.
I’m proud to announce that chocolate is on the healthy list! As a matter of fact, most things are on the healthy list if you make it yourself.
Healthy chocolate? Why, yes! I talk a lot about good fats and how much our family’s health has improved since we’ve changed our pantry.
If you haven’t read your labels lately, there is a hazelnut chocolate spread on the market that has people believing that it is healthy for you, as people are dousing their children’s lunches with this anything-but-healthy spread. I’ve been guilty of believing that it was a healthier choice as well. Even the other non-gmo brands’ versions are packed with sugar. So, if you’re trying to avoid sugar, those can be checked off the list as well.
I’m not a fan of stevia leaf extract, but if you’re trying to avoid sugar, you can definitely make this chocolate with it, instead of using honey or coconut sugar like in the recipe below.
There aren’t too many healthy choices out there when it comes to store-bought chocolate. Almost all of them contain soy, and if you’re looking for low carb/sugar without the chemicals in artificial sweeteners – good luck. If you do find them – because they are be out there somewhere, like at Whole Foods – you better bring some extra money. But why worry about all that when you can make it yourself in about 10 minutes, and it only costs a few cents on the dollar?
I made this chocolate mixture a few weeks ago as a little secret kept between me, myself, and I. Yes, I do share. But, it was kinda late, and the kids were just getting to bed. Since I live with 3 small children who love chocolate (or anything sweet), I have to somehow get past their bedroom without a single smell of the dark-brown goodness that may awaken them from the glorious silence in the house.
We actually had this for breakfast this morning! Chocolate for breakfast? You betcha! I’ve just earned #coolmomstatus
I basically take simple recipes and replace all of the ingredients with healthier ones. Simple enough? I think so.
The first thing to know is: Unless you are blending it with a blender, cocoa powder does not blend well into cold substances. Therefore, we must heat up something in which to mix it. Start with coconut oil. You could also use organic butter. Melt at a low heat.
Add the cocoa powder, and mix until well blended.
It will be really runny… This is when you add your sweetener. This is where you want to be health-conscious because this is where the cocoa can become unhealthy. Choose a healthy sweetener, such as local raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or stevia leaf extract. My favorite sweetener for this is honey.
If you are avoiding sugar altogether, please use stevia leaf extract. If you are not avoiding sugar altogether, but want a low-sugar option, use coconut sugar since it has a low-glycemic index. Right here, I’m using coconut sugar. Please note that coconut sugar does not blend well and completely dissolve, so there will be a somewhat bumpy texture to it.
Mix until well blended, and sweetened to your liking.
Transfer to a container or dish to cool (or just leave it in the pot). In the liquefied state, it can be used as a sauce to pour over ice cream or any other dessert. Once it cools, it will become thicker, and can be used as a dip or spread. You can put it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down faster, but if left too long, it will become rock-solid. Just leave it out on the counter in order for it to come back to room temperature.
Get out your strawberries and start dipping!
For an extra little kick, add a spoonful of freshly ground peanut butter! I get freshly ground peanut butter at Rouse’s, using their grinding machine right on the spot.
TIP: I use this same process to make a chocolate syrup for chocolate milk, only I use a tiny bit of water to start – heat up the water, add the cocoa powder to melt, and then add honey to sweeten. Store in a squirt bottle for up to one month. My kids love this! And no junk from the store-bought chocolate syrup!
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