For full disclosure, I admit I have a weakness for chocolate. My love for it determined me to find a way to eat it without the guilt of ingesting junk food. Since most of the chocolate on the market is unbearable sweet, I had to come up with a healthier version of the store-bought, loaded with sugar chocolates.

When I first made these chocolate clusters, I did what I like the most: open the cupboard, get out about ten possible ingredients, and start improvising. Of course, I eyeballed everything, but got a pretty good first version. They were so delicious, with the taste of real cacao, that a week later, with the excuse that I need to come up with a recipe, I made them again!

This fast and easy recipe is ideal if you want to have handy a healthy snack. You will get some precious nutrients, such as beta carotene and soluble fibre in the dried apricots, while the dark chocolate and pecans provide you with polyphenols, magnesium and iron.

Also, these rich bites may help with blood sugar regulation and give your brain a boost.

Yields: 20 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup pecans, halved, raw or lightly toasted
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup 85% dark chocolate, melted
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Chocolates_detail

Directions:

  • Cut the dried apricots in halves or thirds, depending on how big they are.
  • Use a skillet to toast pecans on the stove at medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Mix continuously until they start to brown on one side and are fragrant.
  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it together with the coconut oil in a double boiler. This is simply a heatproof bowl sitting on top of a saucepan that has about one inch of boiling water. Make sure the bowl is not in contact with the water.
  • Stir the mix a couple of times and remove from heat when just little pieces are left unmelt.
  • Let it aside for 3-4 minutes and mix a couple of times.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Take 1 piece of apricot, 1 half pecan and make small clusters on the tray. Add a few sunflower seeds and repeat. Save some seeds for later.
  • Pour the chocolate over each cluster carefully. Depending on the bowl, it may be easier to use a spoon.
  • Place in the fridge and let cool for half an hour. 

Ideally, a couple of pieces would suffice, but who can stop?! With all the goodness and quality ingredients, you shouldn’t feel guilty for a bit of indulgence once in a while.

Enjoy these heavenly little clusters of happiness with your favourite hot beverage. For me, this means dark, fresh roasted coffee or espresso. Preferable in Italy!

Source of: vitamins A and C, minerals, fiber, polyphenols (antioxidants)

 Supports: blood sugar regulation, mental health and depression

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