I love chocolate. Dark chocolate that is. I'm not a fan of milk chocolate. It's great that science now supports that dark chocolate can be healthy, in moderation. Some research shows that eating dark chocolate may be associated with decreased rates of stroke, lower blood pressure and reduced rates of cardiovascular disease. A number of different compounds with cocoa and cocoa butter are thought to be at least partly responsible for these effects, including flavonoids (especially catechins, epicatechins, and procyanidins), sterols, fiber, minerals, and fat. The fats in cocoa butter present an interesting story. Stearic acid is one of the primary fats in cocoa butter. Even though it is a saturated fat which should be limited in one's diet, the stearic fatty acid in cocoa butter is unusual in that it has been shown not to elevate blood cholesteol levels like other saturated fats do.
I typically eat one square (about 1/2 an ounce) of Trader Joe's dark chocolate a day. There are 40 squares in one pound-plus chocolate bar (17.6 ounces) that sells for $4.99 in my market. That equates to only 12.5 cents for one square. And it is so good. Trader Joe's get there chocolate from Belgium. And, for me, one square is just enough to satisfy my chocolate cravings.
My recipe for this month's Recipe Redux is Deep Dark Chocolate Almond Sauce. The sauce can be eaten any time of day and is great on bagels, toast, pancakes, and waffles. Or use it as a dip for strawberries or other fruit or as a topping for lowfat ice cream. The recipe goes together very quickly and if you're like me, you've got the ingredients on hand and can whip up a batch on short notice. The chocolate sauce has just a hint of coffee because it complements the dark chocolate so well and gives it a deeper, stronger flavor, in my opinion.
I start with Trader Joe's dark chocolate (without nuts). With a pointed sharp knife and cutting board, I break it up into small chunks. Then the toasted almond slices and chocolate chunks are ground together in a food processor until they are finely ground.
Next, a small amount of cream, brewed coffee, agave syrup and salt are brought just to a boil and then added to the chocolate-nut miture in the food processor. This all gets mixed together. You remove it to a bowl and stir in almond extract. Voila! You have a wonderful deep dark chocolate almond sauce that is ready to spread on bagels, toast, or whatevr. Any leftover sauce (if there is any) can be stored in the refrigerator.
Here's the full recipe:
Deep Dark Chocolate Almond Sauce
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp light agave syrup
1 Tbsp brewed coffee or expresso
Pinch of salt (less than 1/8 tsp)
1/4 tsp almond extract
Combine toasted almonds and chocolate in bowl of food processor. Pulse, scraping down sides of bowl 2 to 3 minutes, until chocolate and nuts are finely ground.
Combine cream, agave syrup, coffee, and salt in a small saucepan; bring just to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. With motor running on food processor, pour cream mixture through feed tube and process, scraping down sides of bowl, 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in almond extract.
Makes 8 servings (about 2 tablespoons per serving)
Nutrition Information per Serving:
145 calories, 11 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g protein, and 36 mg sodium.
Cost per Serving: $0.46
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at "regular" prices.
Here is the chocolate sauce on whole grain toast. Yum!
Click here to download and print a copy of Deep Dark Chocolate Almond Sauce.
Be sure to check out these other chocolate recipes from fellow Recipe Reduxers.