Cuckoo for cocoa

Cuckoo for cocoa

Are you a chocoholic afraid of ‘sinning’ with your favourite treat? Fear not! Here are a couple of healthy chocolaty recipes to satisfy your cravings.

Cocoa, one of the main ingredients of chocolate, is one of nature’s many miracles. Cocoa demonstrates significant benefits for the cardiovascular system, helping to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, minimise the risk of high blood pressure, and even lower the risk of cancer. Additionally, cocoa consumption is associated with reduced cognitive decline in old age.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, what better way to make your love evident to your nearest and dearest than by buying them a box of dark chocolates?  Better still, try mixing things up this year with these healthy and deliciously decadent recipes. After all, homemade beats store-bought any day!

Quick and easy hot chocolate

Ingredients

Yields: 1 Serving

1 Cup                    Unsweetened almond milk or low fat milk

1 Tbsp                   Unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ Tbsp              Semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate (chips or bar, chopped)

1 Tbsp                   Brown sugar

Method

  1. Add the almond milk to a large mug and microwave for one minute. Alternatively, add to a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Once the milk is warm, add the cocoa powder, chocolate and sweetener and whisk to combine.
  3. Put the mug back into the microwave or continue cooking on the stove top until completely combined and has reached your preferred temperature.

Zesty chocolate chip muffins

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 Cups                  Whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 Cup                Coconut sugar or brown sugar

2 Tsp                    Baking powder

½ Tsp                   Baking soda

¼ Tsp                   Salt

1 ¼ Cup              Buttermilk (alternatively, you can use 1 ¼ cup of unsweetened almond milk + one tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Allow it to sit for three minutes)

¼ Cup                   Fresh orange juice

2                             Large eggs

¼ Cup                   Grape seed oil or coconut oil, melted

1 Tsp                     Pure vanilla extract

4 Tbsp                   Orange zest or ½ teaspoon wild orange essential oil

¾ Cup                    Mini dark chocolate chips (60% and above cocoa content)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Oil a muffin pan, or line the muffin pans with muffin cases. Then, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, orange juice, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and orange zest.
  3. Then, pour in the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Make sure not to over mix.
  4. Fill the muffin pan or case up to ¾ full. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins are just turning golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool on a rack before enjoying them.

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