Healthy Holiday Chocolate Desserts
Celebrate the holidays with these tasty and healthy treats!
Making healthy choices doesn’t have to mean giving up all delicious desserts. Desserts made with healthy ingredients can be a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while nourishing the body.
Cocoa contains a lot of beneficial antioxidants and nutrients. Because of this, it can be a valuable ingredient in a healthy diet. Cocoa is one of the best natural sources of magnesium and also contains plenty of iron, potassium, and zinc. Research has found that regularly eating cocoa can help to improve insulin resistance. This means that eating chocolate that is low in sugar may improve glucose metabolism and lessen the risks of developing diabetes.
Get all of the benefits of cocoa by including it in healthy homemade desserts. To get the health benefits of cocoa, it is important to eat it in foods that do not contain excessive amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats, which may counteract the benefits of the cocoa. These delicious chocolate desserts are the perfect treat for sharing with the family or taking to a holiday gathering.
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
This decadent Vegan Chocolate Pudding gets its silky texture from coconut milk.
- 4 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened organic cacao powder
- 1/3 cup raw sugar
- 13 ounces full fat coconut milk
- 1-1/4 cup almond or soy milk
- 2/3 cup vegan chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 pinch of salt
- Stir arrowroot flour, cacao powder, and sugar together in a medium-sized saucepan that is not on the stove. Add the coconut and almond or soy milk to the saucepan and stir to combine. It is alright if the cacao powder does not blend thoroughly with the milk; they will combine better once the mixture begins to heat.
- Place the pan on the stove over medium heat, whisking regularly to prevent the bottom from burning. The mixture will begin to thicken as it is whisked. Watch the mixture until it starts to come to a low boil, and then continue whisking the vegan chocolate pudding for approximately two more minutes until it is thick. Take the pan off the stove and add the chocolate, vanilla, and salt.
- Stir vigorously until chocolate is thoroughly melted and the mixture is smooth. Divide the pudding mixture between small ramekins or pudding cups. Refrigerate for a few hours until cool.
- If desired, decorate each ramekin with a cheerful bow, a fun name tag, or a snowflake to make it look more festive.
- Makes 8 servings
Gluten Free Chocolate Tart
- 1-1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 12 ounces chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and grease a 9-inch tart pan. The final results will look better if the tart pan is one with a removable bottom.
- Combine almond flour, coconut, and salt in a food processor and pulse the processor until the ingredients are smoothly ground. Add coconut oil and maple syrup to the food processor and pulse a few more times until the dough makes coarse lumps that combine easily when a small handful is pressed with one's fingers.
- Place the tart crust dough in the tart pan and press it firmly to create a smooth crust that covers the bottom and sides of the pan evenly. To make sure the bottom is evenly flat, press it with a measuring cup. Bake the tart crust in the oven for at least 15 minutes. It will be done when it is a rich gold color and is completely firm to the touch. Cool the tart crust for at least one hour before filling.
- To make the filling, place coconut milk, cocoa powder, and salt in a small saucepan and heat until it is simmering. While the coconut milk heats, put the chopped chocolate into a heatproof mixing bowl. Once the milk is simmering, pour it over the finely chopped chocolate. Let this mixture stand for about a minute so the coconut milk can warm the chocolate. Then, stir the mixture together until the chocolate melts completely and everything is smoothly combined. Finally, gently stir in the vanilla extract.
- Slowly pour the chocolate tart filling into the cooled tart shell and chill in a fridge for at least one hour. Serve once the tart filling has set.
- Makes 10 servings
Healthy Chocolate Cupcakes
These tasty Chocolate Cupcakes put a healthy spin on a holiday classic. Healthy ingredients like Greek yogurt, dates, and maple syrup make them fluffy and moist without relying on excessive sugar and oil.
- 1 cup whole wheat, unbleached flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 20 Medjool dates
- 1 cup nut butter
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 cup milk
- chocolate sprinkles for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees and prepare a 12-muffin tin by lining the cups with paper liners.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Mix together the softened butter, eggs, and vanilla in a separate large bowl until the mixture is creamy.
- Beat the Greek yogurt into the egg mixture and then slowly pour in the maple syrup while continuing to stir the mixture. Add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Repeat this step two more times until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Divide the chocolate cupcake batter between the cups in the tin. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The cupcakes will be done when they have risen and firmed. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake should be clean when pulled out. Remove the finished cupcakes from the oven and let them cool in the pan for five minutes. Take each cupcake out of the pan to let them cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, begin the frosting. Combine the dates, nut butter, cacao powder, and salt in a blender. Make sure the pits are removed from the dates. Pulse the mixture to combine, and then slowly pour in milk until a stiff frosting forms. Start with 3/4 cup of milk and add more if needed. Depending on humidity and temperature, a little extra milk can adjust the texture as desired.
- Use a spatula to remove frosting from blender and put it in a piping bag. Put the frosting in the fridge for at least an hour. This will help it pipe more easily. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool before frosting. Even slightly warm cupcakes will cause the frosting to melt. Pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake.
- Top with chocolate sprinkles if desired.
- Makes 12 servings
These three delicious recipes make it easy to enjoy tasty chocolate desserts while still getting the wonderful health benefits of cocoa. Each one can easily be altered with different sugar substitutes like agave or stevia, gluten-free flour, or dairy-free milk to meet any dietary requirements. Once they are finished, families can enjoy these delicious treats right away or take them to a holiday gathering to share.