Healthy Chocolate Truffle Snacks + 5 Real Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

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This is the first post in our Pure Chocolate Wisdom series of information and scrumptious recipes, sponsored by Pascha Chocolate – my new favorite chocolatier! Pascha Chocolate is made in a top allergen-free facility (dairy-free and even soy-free!), and is certified organic, vegan, fair trade, kosher, and non-GMO verified. Pascha Chocolate has just introduced three new chocolate chip products: 55%, 85%, and the one we are currently loving, 100%!

Chocolate: Health or Hype?

Like a message sent from the confectionary heavens, Dr. Oz proclaimed chocolate to be a good-for-you food. For years, cacao has been abuzz in nutrition circles, but when this beloved health hero took sides, we knew the superfood status of chocolate was here to stay. But not all chocolate is created equal, and when it comes to nutrition, the darker the better. In fact, 100% unsweetened pure chocolate can provide the most when it comes to the following researched benefits:

Pure Chocolate Wisdom: 5 Real Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate + Healthy Chocolate Truffle Snack Recipe

Brain Boost – The EU recently approved a health claim linking cocoa to cognition. Research has shown that the flavonols (phytonutrient compounds) in pure chocolate seem to exhibit neuroprotective effects. Eldery participants in a new study enjoyed their cocoa with a side of memory and processing speed improvement. Additional research in the U.K. and Norway found that chocolate could improve alertness and performance on cognitive tests.

Sun Screen – London researchers also found that those who regularly consume dark chocolate can enjoy natural sun protection. In their study, subjects indulged in 20 grams (.7 ounce) of high-flavonol chocolate daily, and after 12 weeks, they were able to stay in the sun for twice as long without getting burned, when compared to as those who didn’t get their chocolate fix. Conventional low-flavonol chocolate (such as milk chocolate) did not boast the same protective benefits. Prior studies have helped to confirm chocolate’s protective effect against harmful UV rays.

Cardio Strength – In Sweden, women who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate weekly saw their risk of heart failure reduce by up to one-third. Germany upped the ante with a long-term study showing the ability of a daily dark chocolate square to lower blood pressure and cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by 39 percent.

Fitness Buddy – On a diet? Don’t cut chocolate. In Australia, they found that pure chocolate mitigated increased blood pressure during exercise for overweight individuals. And in Copenhagen, scientists were able to demonstrate that dark chocolate is more filling than milk chocolate, and it lessens cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

Stress Less – As it turns out, some emotional eating may not be such a bad thing. According to those calm Swiss scientists, very anxious people can significantly reduce their stress hormone levels and partially suppress the metabolic effects of overactive nerves by eating 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate every day for two weeks.

Pure Chocolate Wisdom: 5 Real Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate + Healthy Chocolate Truffle Snack Recipe

For maximum health benefits, Dr Beatrice Golomb recommends dairy-free pure chocolate (the darker the better, as noted above) that is minimally processed and contains no trans fats or other additives. Also, eating chocolate in smaller doses, but with regularity (hello chocolate chips!) may be optimal.

How to Enjoy Unsweetened Pure Chocolate?

Intense and rich, good quality unsweetened chocolate can add depth to many dishes, sweet and savory. And the 100% cacao chips are amazing for ease in measurement, use, and melting. Here are five delicious and nutritious ways to enjoy them:

Raspberry Chocolate Yogurt Bowl with Unsweetened Pure Chocolate Chips (dairy-free + allergy-friendly)Berry Chocolaty Bowls (pictured above) – Top your favorite healthy chocolate yogurt (I used CoYo with a few drops of added stevia), pudding or mousse with fresh berries and unsweetened chocolate chips.

Chocolate-Covered Trail Mix – Add unsweetened chocolate chips to your favorite fruit and nut (or seed) trail mix, or use them to add contrast in homemade granola bars.

Chili, Mole Style – In Mexico, unsweetened chocolate is commonly used in savory dishes, too. Stir a handful of the unsweetened chocolate chips into a pot of chili just before serving (the chips should melt right in) for complimentary depth of flavor.

Chocolate Chip Shakes – Have a favorite smoothie that could benefit from chocolate? Add a handful of unsweetened chocolate chips to the blender (once your smoothie is pureed) and pulse several times to break them up. My favorite is a frozen banana, almond butter, a little almond milk, and a few drops of stevia, followed by the chocolate chips.

Pure Chocolate Truffles (picture and recipe below) – Rather than the overly-sweetened, heavy kind, I like “truffle snacks” for daily eating. They are fruit-sweetened for a lighter, more energetic treat. Enjoy my recipe, which uses pure unsweetened chocolate and not a speck of added sugar …

Healthy Pure Chocolate Truffle Snack Recipe + 5 Real Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Special Diet Notes & Options: Healthy Pure Chocolate Truffles

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and paleo. For nut-free pure chocolate truffles, see the substitution notes in the recipe.

I’m sharing this recipe and post on Shirley’s awesome Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free EasilyAllergy-Free Wednesdays at Adrienne’s blog, Whole New Mom, and The Weekend Social at The Midnight Baker.

5 from 1 reviews
Healthy Pure Chocolate Truffle Snacks
 
Prep time
Total time
 
For slightly sweeter snack balls that still have ample cacao benefits, you can substitute 85% chocolate chips. Note that the prep time does not include chilling time in the refrigerator.
Author:
Serves: about 9 truffle bites
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Soak the dates in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, mash (I use a fork) the soaked dates with the melted chocolate chips and almond butter, until relatively smooth and well-distributed. Add in sweetener, to taste, if desired.
  3. Scoop the mixture by the generous ½ tablespoon and roll into balls.
  4. Place some almond flour or almond meal (about 2 tablespoons, or more as needed) on a plate, and roll the balls in it to coat.
  5. Refrigerate the truffles for 30 minutes to set-up. They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer* until snack time!
Notes
*These healthy bites actually stay tender when frozen, so they can be eaten straight from the freezer and will keep there for a few months in an airtight plastic bag.
Healthy Pure Chocolate Truffle Snack Recipe + 5 Real Benefits of Dark Chocolate

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

24 Comments

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  3. I might try these–wish I had some Pascha chips right now, so I can make them for my son’s birthday. He turns 20 today, and has been both milk- and nut-allergic pretty much all of his life (applesauce at the ice-cream shop, et cetera.)
    Any ideas what to substitute for the ground almonds, for a contrast to roll the truffles in?

    • Hmm, I would hesitate on straight up seeds, but can he do oats? Perhaps a blend of oats and flaxseed would work nicely for the same kind of texture and contrast. The seeds would add a little rustic, but the powdered oats / oat flour would provide balance.

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  9. I love dark chocolate more than milk one. Knowing all these benefits just increased my love for it! Thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned in our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on culinaryflavors.gr ! I hope to see you there!

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