You don’t have to compromise flavor to make a delicious chocolate dessert that is heart healthy and still says “I love you!”
It’s fun to make a special treat on Valentine’s Day, but sometimes dietary restrictions can leave you scratching your head to make a dessert that is both delicious and healthful. After my husband’s heart attack earlier this winter, we’ve had to take an even closer look at our already pretty healthful diet. But, we still need some treats now and then, certainly on special occasions!
Dark chocolate, minimally processed
Chocolate to the rescue. In its unsweetened form is very healthful! Iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, B vitamins, and antioxidants that can fight cancer and protect your heart. Of course, we are talking minimally processed dark chocolate and not chocolate that has been filled with extra sugars and other ingredients. Moderation, of course, but there is room even in a restricted diet for a treat that includes chocolate, and my doctor agrees. She also approves of coffee, so we’re all set!
There’s still fat, there’s still sugar, but in a minimal way that supports a healthy heart!
I’ve included a really fast pudding recipe here that requires no cooking and is done in a few minutes, and a cooked pudding that basically substitutes a few heart-healthy ingredients for the original.
The quick version uses creamy avocados for the base. The cooked version uses corn starch to thicken a traditional chocolate style pudding.
Top with fresh fruit, strawberries if available, and serve in dessert glasses. Our family’s favorite is a set of Elsie the Cow dessert parfait dishes that the kids love. It is always their go-to for puddings and ice cream. Well, not just the kids…
Quick Dark Chocolate Secret Ingredient Pudding
- 2 very ripe avocados
- 2 Tbsp. Dutch processed cocoa powder
- Pinch of espresso powder
- 6 pitted dates, softened
- 2 – 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup mini dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup lite coconut milk
Place everything but the milk in a food processor, chocolate chips last. Heat milk to just below boiling and pour over. Cover and leave it for 30 seconds. Pulse for a few seconds, then process until smooth, about a minute.
Divide between six dessert glasses. Chill for an hour, and serve with dark chocolate shavings or fruit on top.
Traditional Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Pudding
- ½ cup unsweetened Droste brand cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp. espresso powder
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 1/2 cups almond or soy milk
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp. vegan butter, chopped up
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
With a wire whisk, mix together sugar, cocoa power, espresso powder, salt, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the milk, and place over medium heat and start to warm
Heat until the mixture begins to send up a few large bubbles, and thickens. Cook for an additional minute or so, remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla extract, continuing to mix well until everything is melted and incorporated.
Turn out into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Chill. You can also put this in your individual serving dishes, but you do have to cover them all. Serves 8 to 10, or one nice pie.
Once chilled, serve topped with strawberries. If you have Elsie the Cow dessert dishes, even better!
You can really jazz up this humble dessert. Add some chopped up candied ginger and drizzle with ginger syrup. Or, make a spicy version with a pinch of both cayenne and cinnamon. It is also delicious with some grated orange peel added to the milk, and topped with candied orange peel.
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