In February, we shower our significant others with candy, specifically chocolate. While appreciated and ultimately devoured, it may not be the healthiest gift, right?
Actually, it can be. Studies have shown that dark, bittersweet chocolate between 60 to 70 percent cocoa is healthy for the heart. And in this month of love, it’s fitting to give something that is good for the heart and satisfies the sweet tooth.
Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, plant-based compounds with strong antioxidant properties that help keep blood vessels cleared of cholesterol and in good working order. As a result, they can aid in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Dark chocolate can also help lower blood pressure.
Remember though that even with this important benefit, dark chocolate still has calories and should be eaten in moderation, just like everything else.
If you don’t think you’re a fan of dark chocolate, try this recipe that combines dark chocolate with super healthy pistachios and dried cherries for a sweet treat that you’ll love to give, and receive.
Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and Cherry Bark
Makes one pound
3/4 c. shelled, dry roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 c. dried cherries
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 lb. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
In a small bowl, mix together pistachios, cherries and zest; toss to combine. Spread nut mixture in an 11-by-17-inch sided sheet pan. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate for 30 seconds; stir. Continue heating and stirring in 20 second intervals until chocolate is smooth. Spread melted chocolate over nut mixture. Chill until firm and then break into pieces.