Do you want to make a healthy dessert recipe for your Valentine’s Day sweetie that has both good looks and good taste? Because let’s face it; when it comes to dessert, especially on Valentine’s Day, looks matter just as much as taste! Luckily, the easiest & most beautiful healthy dessert recipe in the world–hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries—tastes decadent and looks splashy, fun and romantic. It’s a simple classic everybody loves.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries Can Be the Perfect Healthy Dessert Recipe…. IF You Make a Healthy Chocolate Sauce!
Although you wouldn’t think the strawberries could really be improved upon health-wise, I do suggest you go the organic extra mile with these fruits since strawberries are actually considered among the “Dirty Dozen” by the Environmental Working Group, which means when conventionally grown they tested positive for at least 47 different chemicals, something sweetie could surely do without.
After you clean things up by buying organic strawberries you can start the fun part—chocolate dipping! But of course the chocolate part of the chocolate covered strawberries is where people get into trouble…
If you are buying chocolate covered strawberries pre-made (which I suggest you not do) you are most certainly getting a less-than healthy chocolate sauce. The strawberries most likely won’t be all that fresh either. And I seriously doubt they will be organic. Not to mention the chocolate sauce is most likely a nutritional nightmare.
More often than not commercial chocolate sauces contain heavy cream and / or partially hydrogenated oils. In fact, 2 “red flag” ingredients to avoid when buying chocolate is partially hydrogenated oils and milk fat or milk solids.
If you make your own chocolate covered strawberries the typical recipe calls for you to just melt a bunch of chocolate, which at least gives you the control of buying the absolute very best, highest quality chocolate. And of course the healthiest chocolate is dark chocolate that contains 75% to 80% cocoa and is made with cocoa butter rather than milk fat or hydrogenated oils. By the way, cocoa, a main ingredient in chocolate, is made from beans of the cacao plant. All plant foods are rich in anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting phytonutrients, and the cacao plant is no exception. Raw cacao is particularly rich in a class of phytonutrients known as flavanols (which are also found in red wine, tea and certain fruits). However, processing techniques such as roasting, which occur during the manufacturing of a chocolate bar or chocolate candy, can substantially decrease flavanol levels, which is just one of the reasons why making your own chocolate sauce from scratch, from raw cacao powder is a healthier idea. The recipe below for hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries is made with raw cacao powder, zero dairy and no processed/ refined sugar (note: the small amount of pure maple syrup called for in the recipe is also a plant food and although it is certainly not a “superfood”, it does have phytonutrients!)
P.S. I made the sauce 2 days ago before I bought the strawberries and so I dipped my fresh raspberries in instead…delish! You might want to consider doing chocolate dipped fresh raspberries too? Just a thought…
Healthy Dessert Recipe for Valentine’s Day: Classic Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil (such as Barlean’s)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon raw organic cacao powder (such as Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Powder)
- 15 large organic strawberries, washed and dried, stems left on (note: be sure to dry strawberries very, very well!)
Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized, microwave-safe mixing bowl add the lime juice and coconut oil; heat in the microwave for 1 minute, or until oil is melted. Immediately stir in the maple syrup and cacao powder. Mix to combine well.
Take a strawberry, and dip it completely into the chocolate. Twirl it around to get it completely coated. Put it on the cookie sheet to cool. Repeat until all the strawberries are covered. Refrigerate strawberries for 1 hour, or until chocolate hardens.
Note: Chocolate dipped strawberries are best if made no more than 48 hours before serving.