Conscious Cook: Falling in love with chocolate

Love is in the air and with Valentine’s Day approaching, chocolate is the premier ingredient for February.  Dark chocolate, particularly, will provide lovers with a sensuous and satisfying taste sensation that offers many health benefits.

Dark chocolate contains Phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a chemical that your brain produces when you fall in love. How natural then, to share a bit of dark chocolate with your amour!  Superb dark chocolate can be found at many supermarkets, health food stores and specialty markets. For value and flavor, I particularly like the choices offered by Trader Joe’s.

For a simple, yet super-sexy Valentine dessert, assemble a tasting plate featuring squares of dark chocolate with increasingly high cacao content. Pretty up the plate with a handful of fresh raspberries and a mint leaf or two.  Take one small piece of each dark chocolate at a time, and let that miniature marvelousness melt slowly in your mouth.

While dark chocolate may capture the heart, there is some evidence that its copper and potassium content may help lower cardiovascular disease risk and reduce blood pressure levels. Its high magnesium content, could possibly lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Rich in iron, dark chocolate may boost resistance to anemia and iron deficiency. There is caffeine in dark chocolate, which if tolerated well, acts as a mild stimulant that can boost energy levels, providing the necessary verve for amorous pursuits!

Prepare a delicious life with dark chocolate this month and savor the joy of true love!  

Dark Chocolate Crispies

5-6 cups cornflakes

1 bar of Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate

½ cup dried cherries or finely chopped dried apricots or Medjool dates

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt (Maldon is perfect)


Chop or break chocolate into small pieces. Melt in a double boiler, or melt in a microwave, by cooking on medium-high power for 30 second intervals. Stir with a rubber spatula each time. Continue until chocolate is melted and stir until very smooth.


Place the cornflakes and dried fruit in a large bowl.  Add the melted chocolate and stir gently until cereal and fruit is well coated.  Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture to form individual cookies and place each scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sea salt. Let cool in the refrigerator.


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