So it’s Halloween and every year I try really hard to not eat the sugar ridden crap that we hand out to the kiddies every year but I don’t believe in deprivation either so tonight I made a healthy version of the ever popular Reese Peanut Butter Cup. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate which is what I choose to use it for these unbelievably delicious and nutritious treats, if you prefer a milk chocolate that’s ok too but remember the darker the chocolate the better it is for you.
How is dark chocolate nutritious? WELL….it contains a large number of antioxidants, (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries) which protect the body from aging caused by free radicals; it contains flavonoids which help relax blood pressure (through the production of nitric oxide) and balance certain hormones in the body; it also has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent; it taste good so therefore it stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure; it contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant; and it contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are also stimulants.
Although chocolate has a high fat content only 1/3 of it is a “bad” fat, the other 2/3 do not impact your cholesterol. The break down goes like this:
1/3 Oleic Acid: a healthy monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil.
1/3 Stearic Acid: a saturated fat but one which research is shows has a neutral effect on cholesterol.
1/3 Palmitic Acid: also a saturated fat, one which raises cholesterol and heart disease risk.
Trick or Treat?! 😉
Cup Cake liners, 9 medium or 12 small.
1/2 cup Almond butter
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Icing Sugar
Pinch fine Sea Salt
Heavy bottomed pot, medium/low heat:
1 1/4 cups Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces (50-70% cocoa*)
Mix almond butter with sea salt, vanilla, and just enough icing sugar (approximately 2 tablespoons) so that it is still very soft but knead-able. Set aside.
Use muffin tin as support for the cup cake liners or, double up on the liners.
Slowly, while stirring, melt the chocolate – feel free to use a microwave to melt your chocolate instead (personally, I am anti- microwave but It would work quite well in this instant).
Spoon a heaping teaspoon of melted chocolate into each liner, imagine how thick you want the bottom of your chocolate. Set in fridge to harden slightly while you get the almond butter ready.
Divide your almond paste into equal portions, roll into balls and then lightly flatten into discs almost as wide as the bottom of the liners.
By now your 1/4 filled chocolate-cups have had a bit of time to firm-up a little. You want to be able to push the almond butter discs gently into the chocolate cups but not so much that they sink to the bottom.
Spoon more melted chocolate over each now and softly level chocolate over each with your spoon.
Refrigerate cups in the fridge to firm up then remove the liners and eat or, keep stored in a sealed container in the fridge for later.