Valentine’s Day and the fact that it’s American Heart Month makes February the ideal time to talk about the health benefits associated with dark chocolate. This super food is full of antioxidants and flavonoids that are heart healthy, cancer fighting, and have been found to lower blood pressure. Believe it or not, dark chocolate has more flavonoids than red wine and green tea! As an added bonus, eating dark chocolate triggers the release of endorphins: those feel-good hormones that you get from exercise. Be sure to choose a variety that is made from at least 70% cocoa to reap all the health benefits. Next time you’re craving something sweet, indulge in a little dark chocolate without any guilt!
Recipe of the month: Dark Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
18-20 large strawberries
8-10 ounces dark chocolate, chopped coarse
Wash strawberries and make sure to dry them completely. Line a tray with parchment or wax paper before setting up a double boiler. Fill a 4-5 quart saucepan with a few inches of water. Bring to a strong simmer. Place the dark chocolate in a small to medium stainless steel bowl that will fit just inside of the pan. Place bowl inside the pan and turn heat down to low. Melt chocolate slowly, stirring occasionally until smooth. Carefully holding a berry by the stem (or with a toothpick), dip and roll the berry in the melted chocolate. Allow excess chocolate to drip off and then turn the berry upside down for a few seconds to set. Place the berry on the lined tray. Store in the refrigerator or enjoy immediately!