Chocolate is an amazing food. It contains a high amount of antioxidants that have been linked to a variety of health benefits, and eating chocolate gives you endorphins, “the happy hormone.” But I’d rather leave refined sweeteners and a high sugar content out of my chocolate. When I buy chocolate, I look for super-dark varieties (and fair trade). I also love to make a variety of treats at home with more natural sweeteners, and less of them too.
Here are 12 of my favorites:
1. Deep Dark Chocolate Tart (pictured above): I hate it when I make this tart. Really … I do. Because every time, I want to have just a “little more” of the delicious, bittersweet tart, and then ... just a little more (and the struggle goes on). It’s hard to resist with its chocolate, nut-based crust, and it’s creamy, dark chocolate, decadent layer of pure chocolate goodness.
2. No-Bake Raw Macaroons: With coconut cream, coconut flakes, cocoa powder and honey, you can stir together a sweet little treat that’s perfect for little hands (as well as my own).
3. Chocolate Whipping Cream: This is amazing. A swirl of maple syrup and a scoop of chocolate transforms whipping cream into a decadent delight. Serve with berries to dip into it, use to top hot cocoa, or dollop on cake.
4. All-Natural Thin Mint Cookies: This gluten-free version is a definite favorite in this household.
5. Brownie Pudding Cake: This is a sweet treat that is quite popular. This is my gluten- and dairy-free version based on an old favorite recipe. Naturally sweetened and using whole grain, it also has the advantage of being frugal to serve to a crowd!
6. Chocolate Banana Freezer Pie: This recipe is mostly sweetened with bananas! It makes an icy chocolate treat.
This strawberry ice cream starts with bananas, and ends with chocolate. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)
7. Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Bananas are the basis for this sweet, thick, creamy ice cream. Who can resist strawberries and chocolate?
8. Chocolate Hazelnut Cake: This rich, slightly sweetened cake has a rich chocolate flavor with nutty overtones.
9. Delicious and Simple Truffles: For a more traditional treat, this simple recipe will have you rolling truffles in no time. And, you can even have a couple small truffles without consuming much sweetener if you use a dark chocolate!
10. No-Bake Mini Double Chocolate Torte: These chilled, fudge-like treats are especially delicious topped with fresh fruit.
11. Chocolate Milk “Frappe”: This coffee-free icy chocolate milk is the perfect pick-me up in the afternoon. Plus, it’s only lightly sweetened.
12. Hot Cocoa: If you are looking for a warm drink, these hot cocoa recipes are delicious and comforting.