But, before you grab a candy bar, it’s important to recognize that not all chocolate is created equal. Dark chocolate with a 70 percent cacao content or higher contains more health benefits and less sugar than milk chocolate varieties. Look for a bar with whole food ingredients and a sugar content of less than 10 grams per serving. Dark chocolate may not directly reduce body fat, but provides a healthier alternative to those conventional sweets that are sure to sabotage weight loss efforts.
- Lowers risk of stroke & heart disease.
- Boosts heart health by decreasing blood pressure.
- Reduces cravings & provides high satiation.
- Increases insulin sensitivity & reduces diabetes risk.
- Protects skin with antioxidants.
- Quiets coughs by relaxing the vagus nerve.
- Improves mood & reduces stress.
- Increases circulation with blood-thinning properties.
- Improves vision by increasing blood flow to the retina.
- Increases blood flow to the brain to enhance mental performance.
Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Yields 12 cookies
5 large Medjool dates, pitted
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil (warmed so it’s in liquid form)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
To taste stevia (about 10 mini scoops powdered)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 72-88% dark chocolate bar, chopped (I love the Alter Eco brand)
1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil (for cookie sheet)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Blend dates, nuts and vanilla in a food processor until a paste forms.
- Add baking soda, salt, butter, egg, cinnamon and stevia. Mix thoroughly.
- Scrape the batter into a bowl & stir in coconut & chocolate.
- Form 12 portions of the dough onto a buttered cookie sheet, then gently flatten each one with your fingers.
- Bake until nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
1 ripe frozen banana
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup organic cacao powder
1 1/2 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
stevia, to taste
- In a food processor or blender, add ingredients and process until creamy.
- Top with optional cacao nibs. Serve chilled as is or as a dip for berries or cherries.
Dark Chocolate Covered Berries
2 dark chocolate bars (70 percent cacao content or higher)
2 cups fresh organic strawberries or blueberries
- Gently melt chocolate in a double boiler, then remove from the heat.
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
- Stir berries into the melted chocolate. Spoon small clumps of berries onto the baking sheet.
- Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.
Additional Dessert Recipes
Cookies: Vanilla Shortbread, Cacao Cashew
Fruit Ice Creams: Banana Chocolate Chip, Cherry Coconut, Orange Berry Vanilla, Strawberry Banana
Dairy-Free Milkshakes: Banana Sundae, Date Delight, Prune Perfection, Orange Creamsicle
Pumpkin: Pudding, Pie, Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Other: Almond Butter, Brownies, Popcorn, Banana Sundae Bites, Cherry Almond Balls, Fig Bars, Fruity Desserts, Cherry Cheesecake, Peaches & Cream, Pudding, Coconut Whipped Cream, Yogurt
Best Dark Chocolate Bars
If you’re short on time, below are my three favorite dark chocolate bars. I absolutely love Alter Eco. They focus on “Nourishing Foodie, Farmer and Field” and use very high quality, flavorful ingredients.
- Alter Eco Dark Blackout with an 85 percent creamy cacao content
- Alter Eco Dark Salted Brown Butter dark chocolate with pastured butter and sea salt
- Alter Eco Deep Dark Sea Salt with a 70 percent cacao content
Cate Ritter is a Certified Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner specializing in weight loss, digestive health and hormone balance. In-person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.