Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Heart Healthy Valentine Treats

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Valentine's Day is less than a month away. I love giving away homemade gifts for this holiday to friends and family. I am trying to make healthier choices and I thought these heart healthy chocolates would be the perfect treat for my friends and myself. 

*I want to start off by saying that I am not a nutritionist, doctor, nor health practitioner. When I say "heart healthy" I am referring to the dark chocolate (as a treat) as a better alternative to some other treats on the market. I also think the term heart healthy is appropriate, because (as cheesy as it sounds) these treats are so cute and so fun to give that they warm my heart. 

My beautiful friend, Lauren, started me on the chocolate bark with nuts (which I will feature later) about a year ago. Thank you Lauren. I took her recipe and added a cute twist with the heart molds for the Valentine's season. 

For this project, you will need:

The first step is to break off the chocolate bark into pieces and place the pieces into the microwave safe bowl. Then microwave the chocolate in the bowl for 30 seconds. 

Take the bowl out and stir the chocolate with the spoon. Place the chocolate back in the microwave for 30 more seconds. Take the bowl out and stir the chocolate with the spoon. Repeat this process until your chocolate is almost melted (some chocolate chunks should still be present). Each microwave setting is different, but my microwave took me four times at 30 seconds to melt the chocolate to the consistency I liked. It is important not to do more than 30 seconds at a time, because you don't want to burn the chocolate. Steady and slow is key to creating the right consistency. 

Spoon the melted chocolate into the heart-shaped molds. Keep some space at the top for the nuts and dried fruit. This process is messy. These molds are dishwasher safe so don't worry about making a mess. 

Roughly chop the dried fruit and mixed nuts. Then sprinkle the nut and fruit mixture onto the melted chocolate heart-shaped molds. Ensure that every nut and fruit piece is sticking to the chocolate so they freeze with the chocolate. 

After this step, place the baking pan directly into the freezer. Wait 2-3 hours, and your chocolate treats should be frozen. Once frozen the chocolate treats will pop right out of the silicone baking molds. 

Once you pop them out don't over handle them, because the heat from your hand may cause them to melt. Package and label them. Then store them in the freezer before you gift them, or before you enjoy them. I hope you enjoy making these "heart healthy" treats. 

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