Adventures with Chocolate

Peanut Butter and Chocolate No Bake Cookies

I'll admit it: I have a pretty insatiable sweet tooth, especially when it comes to chocolate. I like to have at least a little piece of chocolate every day.

Chocolate, however, is not often extremely healthful. A small piece of dark chocolate, yes. The dark chocolate brownies with a layer of cream cheese in the middle that I made a couple weeks ago, not so much.

Food, at it's basic level, powers our bodies. So, when I consume food, I prefer to have a big bang for my caloric intake. If I'm going to consume a bunch of calories, they better fuel my body for a while. Unfortunately, many chocolate-based recipes are full of sugar, butter, and white flour that doesn't give us a big bang for the high caloric intake.

So, I thought I would spotlight three chocolate-based recipes I've made recently that do have an awesome nutrition profile as well as the delicious chocolate factor.

1. Oil-free Chocolate Zucchini Walnut Muffins 
These magnificent muffins use a "flax egg" instead of a regular chicken egg. A flax egg is simply ground flax seed mixed with a little water. Both flax seed and chia seed can be used to replace eggs in most baked goods. This reduces the calories and increases awesome things like omega-3 fatty acids, which help our brains work better.

Adding zucchini to baked goods is nothing new but something I've been neglecting for too long. Zucchini adds a wonderful moist texture.

Instead of all purpose flour, these little gems use whole wheat pastry flour (the key word being "pastry"), which produces a similar texture to all purpose flour while adding the nutritional benefits of a whole grain.

I made these mini-muffin size, which were just perfect for snacking on throughout the day. Plus, they are healthier than their traditional chocolate walnut muffin counterparts.

2. Double Chocolate Torte with Pecan Crust

So, this is not a low-calorie or a low-fat dessert. However, it has awesome ingredients in it to keep you fueled for longer than the traditional dairy-laden dessert. The main ingredient in this torte is avocados. Crazy, I know, but it works. Instead of butter, eggs, and whipping cream, this recipe uses avocados, almond butter, and almond milk.

I love the creamy texture of the chocolate mousse and how well it contrasts with the salty pecan crust. I also love the fact that the only equipment I need to make this are a food processor and a freezer.

I topped each serving with a dollop of whipped coconut milk and raspberries.

Here's how the avocado-based torte compares nutritionally with a traditional chocolate torte:

3. Cocoa-Almond Baked Breakfast Quinoa

Breakfast bars can be healthy, but typically chocolate breakfast bars are not. Here, quinoa provides a huge nutritional boost - even compared to healthy oats. Plus, this recipe eliminates the need for eggs or butter and instead uses healthy hulled hemp seeds and almond milk (or hemp milk if you can find it).

The texture reminds me of a bowl of grits more than a granola bar, but the chocolate flavor that is sweetened with dates takes over quickly and soon I'm wondering if I can eat another one.

When I made this, I did not use my blender as the instructions indicated. Bad mistake. I thought that since I was already using my food processor to grind the almonds, that I could just use it to make the batter. Not so. Soon I was covered in chocolate and so was the rest of my kitchen. Uffda! So, here's my advice: grind the almonds in a food processor and transfer to a small bowl. Then, add the dates to the food processor and chop finely. Lastly, follow the recipe's directions to add all the batter ingredients to a blender and blend well. This will work much better - trust me.

By the way, I was in the mood for a change, so I hope you like the new look to this blog!