Valentine’s Day: Love, health andhappiness

From the heart, good for the heart

Dark chocolate cherry almond bark
Dark chocolate cherry almond barkPHOTO: DEB LINDSEY FOR THE WASHINGTON POST

This is an easy-to-make healthy chocolate treat to enjoy yourself or with someone special

This recipe is a luscious way to celebrate your love, or at least your love of chocolate, in a way that loves you back.

It has just four easy-to-find ingredients, each lending its own sensuous element and remarkable health benefits.

Rich, dark chocolate, with its intoxicating melt-in-your-mouth quality; a touch of fragrant grated orange zest; a generous helping of crunchy almonds; and chewy, sweet tart-dried cherries all bring a considerable dose of antioxidants, along with their flavour.

The almonds and cherries add essential nutrients and longer- lasting satisfaction, to boot.

Making this candy is almost as easy as eating it - just melt the chocolate, stir in the zest, pour into a parchment-lined pan and scatter with the fruit and nuts.

Rich, dark chocolate, with its intoxicating melt-in-your-mouth quality; a touch of fragrant grated orange zest; a generous helping of crunchy almonds; and chewy, sweet tart-dried cherries all bring a considerable dose of antioxidants, along with their flavour.

You could swop in any nut and dried fruit you like or have on hand.

Let the candy set in the refrigerator for an hour, then break it into pieces.

It is a simple but delightful Valentine's Day gift that is good for your heart, in every sense of the word.

THE WASHINGTON POST

•Ellie Krieger is a nutritionist and cookbook author.

 


DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY ALMOND BARK

INGREDIENTS

1 cup whole almonds, skin-on

340g dark chocolate, finely chopped (60 to 70 per cent cocoa solids or bittersweet)

1/2 tsp finely-grated orange zest

1/3 cup tart-dried cherries, coarsely chopped if they are large

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg C.

2. Pleat a 56cm-long piece of parchment paper lengthwise to make a 23cm-wide strip. Fit it into a 23cm-by-33cm baking dish like a sling, pressing the paper into the corners to line the bottom and the two short sides of the pan. (The paper should overhang the two short sides.)

3. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for seven or eight minutes, until fragrant. Let them cool.

4. Place three-quarters of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot with a few centimetres of barely bubbling water, over medium or medium-low heat.

5. Heat and stir until the chocolate has melted. Transfer the bowl to a folded dish towel on the countertop.

6. Add the remaining chocolate, stirring until melted, then add the orange zest.

7. Pour the chocolate into the lined baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly.

8. Scatter the toasted almonds and dried cherries over the top. Refrigerate for one hour, to set.

9. Remove the chocolate from the baking dish and discard the parchment. Cut the bark into 24 pieces that are about the same size.

10. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days.


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving)

Calories: 120 kcal

Total fat: 8g

Saturated fat: 3g

Cholesterol: None

Sodium: None

Total carbohydrates: 11g

Dietary fibre: 2g

Sugar: 7g

Protein: 2g

SERVING: 24 pieces

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'From the heart, good for the heart'. Print Edition | Subscribe