For my fellow dark chocolate lovers, this might just be my best recipe yet. However, before we get to the recipe, let’s discuss some health reasons to indulge in dark chocolate, my three tips for selecting a healthy dark chocolate (for those who would rather indulge in store-bought) and then finally I'll show you how to make your own healthy Dark Chocolates with Smoked Sea Salt!
“The first death by chocolate occurred in the 17th Century in Mexico. The people were so addicted to chocolate they refused to adhere to a chocolate ban that forbid them from eating it during church services. The Bishop who passed the law was later found dead due to poison being mixed into his daily cup of chocolate.”
Just a fun fact you can share with your friends and family while serving them today’s recipe for healthy Dark Chocolates with Smoked Sea Salt. One bite and you will think you’ve died and gone to chocolate heaven.
Healthy Reasons to Indulge in Dark Chocolate
In recent years, dark chocolate earned “super food” status, due to its high polyphenol content. The polyphenols in dark chocolate have been reported to:
- Combat inflammation
- Reduce blood pressure
- Inhibit oxidation of cholesterol
- Improve blood flow
- Increase levels of serotonin in the brain
Now, before you reach for a Hershey's Special Dark, understand, the health benefits of chocolate do not come in packages loaded with sugar or milk. Milk chocolate, by the way, has far less, if any of the health-promoting properties of dark chocolate. In fact, studies done on the health benefits of chocolate, use cocoa powder or dark chocolate with a high cocoa content.
3 Tips for Selecting Healthy Dark Chocolate
With a large number of chocolate options available, it can be confusing to understand which chocolate bars offer health benefits, and which are little more than extra sugar and fat. Don’t be misled by the advertising on milk chocolate products claiming the health benefits of dark chocolate consumption.
1. When shopping for dark chocolate, look for 80% or higher, cocoa content. Typically, the higher the cocoa percentage, the less sugar in the bar.
2. Like coffee, if you are concerned about fair wages and working conditions, look for chocolate that is fair trade. Pesticide use is widespread on cocoa farms. Organic chocolate starts the process off right by using cocoa beans grown without the use of pesticides.
3. To get the most for your chocolate buck, check the ingredient label, there should be three maybe four ingredients; cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla.
Make Your Own Dark Chocolate
I freely admit, I am a dark chocolate snob (I'm a coffee snob as well). I have sampled my fair share of 80-99% dark chocolates and if I had to pick my all-time favorite, it would be Alter Eco 85% Dark Chocolate Blackout. I usually pick up a few, okay, more like four, bars, each week on our Saturday shopping trip to Whole Foods. No, it's not all for me, my husband indulges in daily dark chocolate as well.
The past two weeks, WF has been out and our local co-op doesn't carry this brand. So, I took it as a sign. No, not to abstain from chocolate, but to finally use the huge block of raw cocoa butter I picked up some time ago (for this very purpose).
I've made different variations of dark chocolate several times, combining ghee and coconut oil, however, never experimented with raw cocoa butter. Boy, even though I adore my other recipes, using cocoa butter amps it up to a whole new level. I am hooked. I even got my husband hooked. Oh, and by the way, the addition of smoked Celtic sea salt, is out of this world.
Just like selecting a healthy dark chocolate bar, making homemade healthy dark chocolate starts with high quality ingredients. Be sure to click on the hyperlinks provided in the recipe below for the products I used.
One last word to the wise, the best way to enjoy dark chocolate is to put it in your mouth and let it melt. I introduced a friend to 90% dark chocolate once and she took a bite and promptly spit it out. Said it tasted like dirt. It's kind of like drinking wine versus water, sip and enjoy, don't chug.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz