A quick and easy summer treat
Sometimes it’s the simple things – and never more so than with this amazing summer treat you can eat straight from the fridge.
Let’s face it, most of us crave a little sweet something after dinner. And if it’s a square or two of dark chocolate, then the feel-good factor alone would make it pretty healthy. If it’s really good quality dark chocolate with a nice earthy/bitter aftertaste, then you’ll be getting a little dose of antioxidants too. As antioxidants run around the body protecting you from free-radical damage (think premature ageing and even cancer cell formation) then that’s a good thing!
As amazing as they are though, the antioxidants in chocolate do taste bitter, so if your chocolate doesn’t bite back then it’s no good. To all the Dairy Milk lovers out there, sorry for the bad news!
I do have good news though … if dark chocolate isn’t quite sweet enough for you, you can try combining it with a little dried fruit for a naturally sugary lift. This recipe uses Medjool dates, which are larger, softer dates with more of a caramel flavour. Dried fruit is still sugary, but if you have a small portion (ie one date) then it’s perfectly acceptable.
If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of including protein whenever you have something on the sweeter side. This is because protein helps to steady sugar release, meaning you get more sustained energy release and less chance of a crash later on.
In this recipe, you remove the pit from the date, but replace it with almond (or cashew butter). This injects a little protein into your treat. You then roll it in melted chocolate and set it in the fridge (with a sprinkle of sea salt if you like that combo). So easy! An extra tip for you: if you remove the pit from the date and see any black dust, then discard it. Occasionally dates develop black mould (yikes!) which you shouldn’t eat. For this reason, I actually like to wash all dates (inside and outside) before using them and I never bite into one without cutting it open first! Don’t let that put you off though, it doesn’t happen often.
I’ve chosen almond or cashew butter for this recipe as the fats are healthier than those in peanut butter. However, if you HAVE to use peanut butter then do. Just make sure you find one that’s free from hydrogenated oils as these block the uptake of good fats in the body, as well as contribute to inflammation.
OK, enough of the chatter, here’s how to do it! Step by step pics on social media.
12 Medjool dates
6 to 12 tsps almond or cashew butter
1 bar dark chocolate
Sea salt (optional)
1. Slice your dates open but not in half completely. Remove the pits. Wash them inside and out, drying thoroughly.
2. Pop half-one teaspoon of nut butter into the middle of each date and pinch them together to close. Place on a baking sheet (lined with waxed paper) and freeze for an hour.
3. Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a glass or ceramic bowl in the microwave on ten-second bursts, until melted.
4. Remove the dates from the freezer, dip each one in dark chocolate and place back on the wax paper.
5. Sprinkle each one with sea salt (optional).
6. You can set these in the fridge or freeze them if you are in a hurry! Suggest you eat them from the fridge rather than the freezer though, as otherwise they will be too hard.
7. Enjoy. They are so good. (But one is enough!)
• Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram