Valentine's Day is just around the corner and I love making fun (simple) little goodies each year to hand out to those I love and make them smile...we all know nothing makes people smile more than Chocolate! I sent this blog to The Honest Company and they have posted it to their blog as well, you can check it out here.
Chocolate is incredibly nutritious when you choose dark chocolates with less added sugar (usually a higher percentage chocolate). They are loaded with antioxidants, called flavonoids - just like the ones found in green tea and red wine - which are known to protect your body from inflammation and in some cases even ward of cancer. Yes, the best tasting stuff on earth is also super healthy...go ahead, enjoy yourself *guilt-free* this Valentine's Day!
The recipe for these decadent little goodies are below!
1 (10 oz) bag dark chocolate chips
1.5 oz 100% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dried goji berries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons naturally dyed sugar sprinkles
2 tablespoons maple sugar
Heart shaped cookie cutters (I like to use multiple sizes), parchment paper, baking sheet, refrigerator
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Pour chocolate chips, 100% dark chocolate and ground cinnamon into a glass or metal bowl and place over a saucepan filled about 2” with water. You can also use a double boiler for this, if you have one; simply place chocolate and cinnamon in the top of the double boiler and fill the bottom pot with about 2” of water. The key is to have enough water below the bowl or double boiler to steam the chocolate, but make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
3. Place the pot (with bowl over top) over medium heat and gently stir the chocolate until it has completely melted. This will take about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Once the chocolate has melted, pour the chocolate onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Use a spatula to help you smooth the chocolate out into an even layer that is about 1/4” in thickness. (the thickness is really just a preference, you don’t have to get too crazy making sure it is perfect — it is more important that the chocolate is relatively even).
5. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to help the chocolate set and harden. This takes about 20 minutes total, depending on how cold your fridge is.
6. Part way through cooling, about 6-8 minutes after you place the chocolate in the refrigerator, remove and place on the counter. The chocolate should be partially cooled and the consistency of a soft paste. Press heart shaped cookie cutters into the chocolate and gently wiggle to make sure you are making a clear cut. Decorate hearts with toppings in any shape or fashion you wish. (to keep sprinkles confined to one heart shape, add the sprinkles while your cookie cutter is still in the chocolate! If you want to get fancy, you can also use a straw to poke a hole in the top of your chocolate heart and use it as a tag on the outside of a bag containing the rest of your homemade chocolates.)
7. Place the cut and decorated chocolate back into the refrigerator on the same sheet pan without removing the cut chocolate from the tray. Let it cool the rest of the way (about an additional 15 minutes). When the chocolate is completely cooled, it will be hard and you can snap apart the ‘scrap’ chocolate bits to reveal your hearts…of course you know what to do with the scraps.
8. Remove hearts from the tray using an offset spatula and place on a serving platter.
9. Store chocolate in a cool-dry place for up to a week. This is a great, make-ahead treat!