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Does anybody else feel like this coooold March on the East Coast keeps dragging?  Well, it is still National Nutrition Month, so we might as well keep working on our summer bodies while we wait for the weather to warm up. Speaking of warm, I have another healthy, guilt-free substitute to feed cravings for CHOCOLATE.  This time, it’s a recipe for dessert!

Whether you are craving a bit of a treat after a savory meal OR you are entertaining for a dinner party, this dish will be a hit……hot chocolate fondue!   That melty, sweet, rich, and even a bit savory sensation will have you licking your bowls and fingers.  Not only is it guilt-free, it has many health benefits too!  (See below.)

I started with Barely Bread’s 100% Grain-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bagel.  I simply sliced, lightly toasted, and diced the bread.  (I used some berries for dipping as well to add flavor, antioxidants, and color.) Then I heated up the chocolate mixture over the stove.  And, that’s it-almost too easy:  A satisfying chocolate, health-conscious desert that is higher in protein, good fat and fiber than most traditional dishes, and has many more nutrition benefits than the original version.

Here some the health benefits of this recipe’s ingredients:

Barely Bread: Not only is it gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and have an amazing flavor, the higher protein and good fat content help you feel fuller longer than regular white bread.  It is also lighter and easier to digest than many traditional loaves or bagels.

Dark Chocolate:  Dark chocolate is a good source of soluble fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and also contains potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and selenium.  It contains a variety of strong antioxidants.  It may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.  It also can decrease bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and decrease overall cardiovascular disease risk.  Studies also show that it can improve blood flow to and hydration of the skin and protect against sun damage.  By increasing blood flow to the brain, it may improve cognitive function.  And let’s not forget how GREAT chocolate tastes!

Coconut Sugar: This sweetener is made by boiling and dehydrating the sap from the flowers of coconut trees.  It is all natural (with nothing artificial added), is NOT chemically altered, and earth friendly.  Coconut trees require small amounts of fuel and water and can produce this sugar for over 20 years (while sugar cane production requires a lot of fuel).  Although it does contain the same number of calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar, it has more nutrition benefits.  First, it is not as refined and altered as white sugar.  Second (unlike white sugar), it has small amounts of vitamin C, inositol (B vitamin), calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron, zinc, as well as phytonutrients and antioxidants.  Coconut sugar also has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, meaning it will cause less spikes in blood sugar.  It contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber beneficial to gut health.  It also has a lower fructose content than other sweeteners, such as agave and high fructose corn syrup.  (Fructose is the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit.  However, since it can turn to fat quickly, overconsumption in other foods is not recommended.) 

Coconut sugar also has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, meaning it will cause less spikes in blood sugar.  It contains inulin, a prebiotic fiber beneficial to gut health.  It also has a lower fructose content than other sweeteners, such as agave and high fructose corn syrup.  (Fructose is the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit.  However, since it can turn to fat quickly, overconsumption in other foods is not recommended.) 

Coconut Oil:  This healthy fat improves digestion and metabolism.  The type of fat it contains is called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).  Studies have shown these MCTs can burn calories quicker than other sources of fat, thus ultimately leading to weight loss over the long term.  They also keep you fuller longer and can reduce appetite and calorie intake, as well as decrease abdominal fat.  Coconut oil is also has antibacterial properties, is high in antioxidants, and Vitamin E, and is great for skin and hair. 

Chocolate Fondue
Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces (1 bar) of dark chocolate (I have used Eating Evolved, Hu Kitchen, and Juice Press. All are more than 70% cacao and sweetened with coconut sugar.)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (if desired OR you can use already salted chocolate)

Directions:

  1. Place coconut oil in a saucepan on VERY low heat and allow it to melt.
  2. Break apart chocolate bar and begin to stir continuously.
  3. Add vanilla and salt (if desired).
  4. Remove from heat immediately after all is melted and transfer to a glass or ceramic bowl.
  5. Using toothpicks (or traditional fondue sticks, or just a fork), dip Barely Bread chunks and fruit in chocolate as desired!****This warm chocolate would also taste great drizzled over pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, a smoothie, nut butter and toast, or anywhere else you would like to use chocolate.  ENJOY!!

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