Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites (vegan and grain-free)
Let's dedicate some love to dark chocolate. Although throughout this entire blog I discuss the dangers of sugar, there are some "treats" that are actually quite good for you. The most important one is dark chocolate. "Dark" chocolate refers to chocolate with 70% or higher cacao content. The higher the cacao content the less sugar and less dairy it will have. Believe it or not you can actually find 100% dark chocolate and at least for my palate I think it's amazing! Let's take a look at some of the health benefits of dark chocolate.
- Good source of minerals -- iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese
- High in antioxidants -- actually raw, unprocessed cocoa beans are among the highest scoring antioxidant foods.
- The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and increase HDL (good cholesterol); making it great for the heart.
- Can improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain and improving cognitive function.
- The flavonoids may also offer cancer prevention.
AND of course it tastes amazing! What's not to LOVE!
Eat More Dark Chocolate
I don't imagine that I need to give you too many ideas of how to eat dark chocolate. Just break off a square and enjoy!!
You can also use raw cacao powder or cacao nibs to get the full un-adulterated antioxidant benefit of dark chocolate without any added sugar or processing. You can add these to your smoothie, yogurt, or even on top of a bowl of berries. Shaved dark chocolate is another yummy addition to top off a bowl of fruit. Yum!
Here's a recipe for using raw cacao powder in a treat the whole family will love. My kids gobble these up and the best part is they're made entirely from real food; no added sugar, no flour, no dairy. AND they're super simple!
Step 1: Combine the following in a high-powered blender or food processor:
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1/3 cup cacao powder (or 100% dark chocolate cocoa powder)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
Step 2: Blend for less than a minute, just until all the ingredients are combined
Step 3: Roll into little balls and Enjoy!!
They can easily be stored in the fridge and enjoyed at any time.