Updated: Feb 16
Did you know that chocolate is good for your heart? Very fitting that we exchange chocolate on Valentine's Day!
The health benefits of chocolate come from the cocoa bean, which is ground to make cocoa powder, chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, prevent heart disease, raise good HDL cholesterol, boost mood and contain antioxidant properties, which protect our bodies from disease and protect our skin from the sun (bye-bye wrinkles and sun spots!).
As if we needed more reasons to love chocolate; cocoa is also a source of magnesium - a key factor in making several parts of our bodies run smoothly: heart, bones, muscles, nerves, and many others.
Just to be clear, not ALL chocolate has health benefits. Dark chocolate (at least 70%) is a healthy choice as it contains 2-3 more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate. And beware of ingredients that may reduce the health benefits - many brands include added vegetable oils, soy lecithin, sugar and artificial flavours & colours. Brands I like: Giddy YoYo, PC Organics and Camino, but if I have about 15-20 minutes, I like to make my own. It's easy, and I'm guaranteed all the amazing benefits of cocoa without any hidden nasties!
Makes approx. 30
¼ cup unpasteurized honey or agave nectar
¼ cup monk fruit sweetener or Pyure Organic Stevia** (if you don't have this ingredient, you can use ½ cup honey or agave)
½ cup natural peanut butter or any natural nut or seed butter
½ cup organic coconut oil
1 cup alkali-free organic cocoa powder - I like Yupik Organic (spoon into the measuring cup to avoid using too much)
6 tbsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
*You can use any additions that you like; other options include:
**I like using monk fruit and stevia as sweeteners as it doesn't spike your blood sugar (helps prevent cravings for sugar), and is carb & calorie-free. I like Pyure and Lakanto brands. Great article on sugar alternatives here!
Line a baking sheet or an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper (can also use silicone mold trays if you have them).
In a medium-sized glass bowl, combine honey, nut butter and coconut oil. Melt in microwave for 20 seconds and stir to combine.
Stir in cocoa powder until completely incorporated. Stir in monk fruit, shredded coconut and hemp seeds or other additions until well combined.
If using an 8x8 square baking dish:
Pour entire mixture into the parchment lined pan, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden.
Once hardened, remove the Kapows by grabbing onto the edges of the parchment paper, and transfer onto a cutting board.
Cut into squares, keep them on the parchment and slide everything into a large Ziplock bag. Keep frozen until ready to enjoy!
If scooping your Kapows onto a parchment lined baking sheet:
Let mixture sit for 20 minutes in the fridge to cool and thicken.
Spoon approximately 1 tbsp. of the mixture onto the cookie sheet (can use a cookie scooper here).
Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Store Kapows in a Ziplock bag until ready to enjoy!
Happy Valentine's Day (chocolate day) everyone!