February 8, 2021
Chocolate is like the little black dress of the culinary world. It’s versatile (have you tried it in chicken mole?), appropriate for any occasion (did someone say birthday cake?) and a classic indulgence that never goes out of style (ahem, warm chocolate chip cookies). And the best thing of all? Chocolate might actually make you happier. Researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia discovered that certain components of chocolate—likely tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the brain make serotonin—may boost your mood. We think that’s reason enough to celebrate, which is why we’re here to take care of all your Valentine’s Day chocolate needs.
Let’s chat more about the health benefits of chocolate, especially its mood-boosting powers. Dark chocolate provides nutrients like magnesium, iron, fiber, and zinc, and may help support healthy blood pressure too. And because of the high concentration of cocoa, a little goes a long way, so even savoring a small square allows you to feel satisfied. Cardiovascular health is another potential benefit of adding dark chocolate to your diet. Researchers who studied the Kuna tribe in coastal Panama found little to no heart-related diseases, including arterial hypertension. It’s believed the local diet—which can include up to five cups of liquid cocoa per day—may play a role.
As far as lasting relationships go, Valentine’s Day and chocolate have been together a while. Cacao beans were once a luxury item in Mayan and Aztec cultures, and by the early 1600s, chocolate houses were all the rage in Europe. In America, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day started around the turn of the 20th century, when Milton Hershey (of Hershey Chocolate fame) launched his teardrop chocolate “kisses” in 1907. Two decades later, commercial chocolate continued rising in popularity, especially when Russel Stover opened a factory selling heart-shaped boxes to department stores.
From cookies made with brown butter (you’re welcome) to after-school snacks for the kids (and kids at heart), chocoholics will want to bookmark this post and return to it long after Valentine’s Day has come and gone.
Meet one of our most popular recipes: Black Bean Brownie Bites. You won’t be able to detect the legumes in this chocolatey confection made with good-for-you ingredients like chia seeds, coconut oil, and black beans, of course.
Cassy Joy Garcia’s make-ahead bark uses only five ingredients. Graham crackers, dark chocolate, and dried cherries give you the perfect sweet and salty bite every time.
You can’t go wrong with PB and chocolate, especially when it involves a dairy-free cheesecake filling and crunchy quinoa base.
You’ll love this fancy and fluffy confection that’s made with a whipped marshmallow topping and rich chocolate ganache. Think of it as an elevated take on a fireside favorite.
Here’s a gluten-free dessert option that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Buttery, flaky pastry is the vessel for melted chocolate, crunchy almonds, and cacao nibs.
Put your trusty Instant Pot to work on the dessert course. This gooey lava cake is keto-friendly and the batter comes together quickly using heavy cream, vanilla, cacao powder, and a sugar replacement.
A breakfast in bed kind of morning calls for coconut flour crepes—especially when they’re slathered with hazelnut spread and topped with cacao nibs. The recipe is diet-friendly too, working for dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian lifestyles.
If you have your eye on the crepes, use your own homemade nutella to make them extra special. This vegan, paleo, and gluten-free spread is also ideal for simple snacks like sliced apples.
You won’t believe how easy this three-ingredient recipe is. All you need on hand is quinoa, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. Be sure to add the decorative swirl on top—it’ll make this homemade treat look even more impressive.
In addition to being keto-friendly, this DIY almond joy recipe is gluten-free and vegan too. Plus, the ingredients (like coconut butter, coconut oil, and sugar alternatives) are better than what you’ll find in the grocery store version.
This is one of those classic candy recipes you can easily make at home. The almond butter filling is sweetened with maple syrup and raw honey for a paleo-friendly treat the whole family will love.
If peanut butter is your jam, you’ll be delighted to learn how easy it is to make these sweet and portable cups using your favorite nut butter, strawberry jam, and dark chocolate.
Who says your Valentine’s Day chocolate dessert recipe has to involve cookies or cake? These three recipes make the case for a drinkable ending to your meal.
Superfoods abound in this dairy-free drink featuring mushroom and cacao powders, macadamia milk, and maple syrup for sweetness. If it’s an adults-only night, add a splash of peppermint schnapps to the best hot chocolate recipe we know.
Alcoholic hot chocolate drinks are definitely a thing. Get cozy with your favorite someone and sip this spiked cacao made with cinnamon, cardamom, and superfood fungi.
One of the reasons we love this recipe is because the dry mix can be made ahead (and doubled or tripled) so you can whip up this frozen beverage in a snap.
Everyone needs one (or two) reliable homemade chocolate cake recipes. But there are no basic chocolate cakes here—we use a few secret ingredients to transform classic recipes into vegan, paleo, and dairy-free dream desserts.
Anyone who loves chocolate will devour a slice of this cake—regardless of diet. Traditional lava cakes are already light on flour, so it’s easy to adapt for paleo lifestyles using almond flour for structure.
Decadent, gluten-free, and vegan—can you ask for anything more in a chocolate cake? Almond flour makes for a light crumb, and coconut oil keeps every bite moist.
You’ll never believe this cake is vegan. It has birthday parties written all over it, especially when each fluffy slice is coated in a silky buttercream made with avocados instead of butter.
Here’s another surprise ingredient for your chocolate cake repertoire: beets. Adding puréed root vegetables makes the finished product extra moist, and our two-tone frosting adds an ombre effect that’ll be the talk of the table.
This torte has a delicate texture thanks to a light meringue that’s gently folded into the batter. Scatter the top with shaved dark chocolate and sliced cherries to put this dish over the top.
Transform your cake into fun and festive cake pops dunked in dairy-free frosting made with creamy avocado, powdered sugar, and dark chocolate. (This is a task your littles can help with—just be prepared for some finger-licking in the kitchen.)
Is there ever an occasion when a chocolate chip cookie isn’t appropriate? We can’t think of one.
This gluten-free shortbread recipe is a celiac-safe option of one of the internet’s most viral cookie recipes. Every bite is studded with plenty of chocolate chips and tastes perfectly buttery.
If you’re already melting butter for a recipe, you might as well brown it. This step adds depth of flavor to our cookies that are gooey, gluten-free and made with chunks of fair trade chocolate.
Toasting your walnuts lends extra nutty flavor to these light and chewy cookies that are finished with flaky salt to enhance every bite.
Cookies aren’t that complicated, but to make dessert even simpler, try this show-stopping skillet cookie you can serve in slices.
If you’re on team cookie dough, grab a spoon. This recipe nixes flour, eggs, butter, and granulated sugar and opts for chewy dates, almond butter, and almond milk instead. Plus, wholesome ingredients like chickpeas and collagen add extra nutrition while going undetected.
On its own, chocolate isn’t necessarily unhealthy…it all depends on what you pair it with. Consider these recipes your cheat sheet for enjoying even more chocolate alongside better-for-you ingredients, including a savory chicken dinner dish.
Your search for Valentine’s Day dinner recipes stops here. Chicken mole will be a homerun, especially since it layers in chocolate with savory ingredients like tomato paste, nutritious bone broth, and warm spices.
Amp up your jar of almond butter with raw cacao powder, coconut oil, maple syrup, and the soft crunch of rice cereal. The recipe only takes 15 minutes to make—just chill it in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy.
Need a Valentine’s Day breakfast idea? Whip up a batch of gluten-free muffins made with grated zucchini and a handful of chocolate chips for good measure.
Coconut oil, maple syrup, and cacao powder make the base for these chewy bites, which get extra superfood nutrition from chlorella powder. Don’t skip rolling them in the toasted coconut flakes—it adds a satisfying crunch.
As a post-workout snack or mid-morning pick-me-up, this simple recipe featuring protein powder, dates, almond flour, and vegan chocolate chips will give you a boost.
Here’s one more recipe you can keep in the fridge for an anytime snack or healthy dessert. The chocolate bombs have a melt-in-your-mouth quality thanks to cream cheese, cacao powder, collagen peptides, and coconut oil.
If your Valentine’s Day plans involve a leisurely brunch, you’re going to want to make these pancakes. The batter comes together with chocolate protein powder, nut milk, oats, and a pinch of cinnamon.
An elegant flavor combo makes for a beautiful, chilled dessert. Silky coconut milk swirls with olive oil, rosemary, sea salt, and cocoa in this make-ahead treat that comes together in only 10 minutes.
To make this modern chocolate milk, pick your favorite nut milk base and add cacao powder, maca powder, ashwagandha powder, and raw honey for a touch of sweetness. Enjoy it chilled anytime you need an energizing boost.
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