Calling all chocolate lovers, families and friends, I have a lip-smackingly-good homemade treat for you, just in time for Easter.
Today I'm giving you a signed permission slip to eat chocolate.
No questions asked, or strings attached.
Are you surprised? confused?
Let’s take this back a step. Have you ever wondered what chocolate is and where it comes from?
Well, cacao is grown on trees in tropical areas of the Amazon. Cacao comes from beans that grow on the cacao tree. These beans are harvested and processed into cacao and cocoa products. Cacao powder is the raw version of cocoa and is full of essential vitamins and minerals.
Cocoa was traditionally used for its healing benefits, which is vastly different from the indulgent way we consume it nowadays. So, where did they get this idea from, and more importantly, how do we start eating more chocolate… for the health benefits… of course.
Here are my five favourite reasons to eat chocolate (not that you needed any 😉
- Cacao is packed full of antioxidants, which helps reduce bodily inflammation and fight off oxidative stress. Cocoa contains 50mg of polyphenols per gram; this means a single-serve of cocoa contains more antioxidants than the average person eats in a day! It turns out you can have your chocolate and eat it too.
- Chocolate improves your mood, and not just because it’s delicious. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a brain chemical released when we experience an emotional pleasure. No wonder we reach for the chocolate bar when we’re feeling down - it’s a natural pick-me-up!
- Against popular belief, dark chocolate can help with weight loss. Cacao is associated with suppressing our appetite and increasing fat oxidation. Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with lower body weight, which may be related to the antioxidant effect of chocolate. I’m not saying it’s time to scoff down several chocolate bars daily, but having a few squares of dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health and your waist-line.
- If you’re someone who struggles with sleep, chocolate could be your saving grace. Chocolate contains magnesium, a mineral that’s commonly deficient. Magnesium serves over 300 biochemical processes in the body, including looking after our bones, heart and energy levels. Magnesium is also beneficial for sleep, fatigue and muscle soreness.
- One of the key research areas with chocolate is its impact on cardiovascular health. Chocolate offers a rich source of antioxidants, that can be protective against damage to the lining of the arteries, improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure. In one study, women who were consuming 1-2 servings of chocolate per week had significantly lower rates of heart failure hospitalisation compared to those who didn’t eat chocolate.
Now that you’re officially convinced, it’s time to reap the benefits! Celebrate your love of chocolate... oh, and Easter, with my Swirly Easter Bunny Bark! It's full of essential fatty acids and antioxidants, and this chocolate bark is one for the whole family to love and enjoy.
These shards of deliciousness may not look perfect but I can absolutely guarantee that they taste amazing! It has something to do with the frozen berries I think, they make it incredible.
So why not marshall the troops at home during Covid-19 self-isolation, and hop onto this one, I promise you won't be disappointed with the outcome.
There will be no more hot cross bunnies in the house once they get their lips around this one, I can assure you.
Watch a video about how to make it here.
Swirly Easter Bunny Bark
Note, if you are cutting down on sugar/dairy or have allergies, you can make your own chocolate if you prefer. There is a recipe for white or dark chocolate here.
- 1 big block milk chocolate 70%
- 1 big block white chocolate
- 1/2 cup mixed nuts
- 1 tbs hemp seeds
- 1 tbs chia seeds
- 1 tbs pumpkin seeds
- 3 x tbs frozen berries
- Large pinch sea salt
Kids ask mum, dad or an adult for help with this first bit…
Bring two pans of water to the boil and add a bowl on top and melt the chocolate, the water should be simmering underneath. Stir each bowl using two spoons or spatulas to remove any clumps
Kids can line a small baking tray with baking parchment paper
Adults spoon the dark melted chocolate into the tray and spread it out evenly leaving about an inch space around the edge of the tray. Then repeat the process with the white chocolate
Kids you can now get a chopstick or skewer and swirl it around back and forth to make a pattern or whatever shapes you like
Now its time to add your toppings, you can scatter over the nuts, berries and seeds and sea salt, then once it is finished place in fridge to set, if you’re in a hurry to eat it you can put it in the freezer to speed things up
Decorate with extra Easter decorations if you like!
To eat, ask an adult to chop it up into pieces
This keeps for 2 weeks in the fridge if it lasts that long!
Make it and let me know what you think below 😉