On the ever-changing list of curatives said to smooth fine lines and revitalise tired skin, chocolate is not a cosmetic remedy often cited by skincare brands. Indeed, a sticky application of Cadbury’s over dark circles is unlikely to do much by way of lending vibrancy to your visage.
However, recent research conducted by Korean dermatologists at Seoul National University has found that, when ingested in its purest form, a little choc treatment can undo years of epidermic damage.
And this is just one of the recent benefits identified in our deliciously rich friend.
According to two new studies presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego, consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (a minimum of 70% cacao) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity.
Cacao contains potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents called flavonoids, known to help brain and heart health.
"These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects," says principle investigator of both studies, Dr Lee S Berk.
So now that we've more than justified this indulgent cheat meal (as if you needed an excuse), we've scoured the foodie landscape for a nutritious, raw, and most importantly delicious recipe to get you involved in World Chocolate Day celebrations. Luckily, pediatric nutritionist and author of Wholesome Child, Mandy Sacher, is here to save the day/week/month.
½ cup (40g) desiccated coconut
1 cup (240g) Medjool dates, pitted
½ cup (60g) almond meal
1 tbs chia seeds
1 cup (280g) organic crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar or vegetable oil)
1 1/3 cups (320g) soft Medjool dates, pitted
3 tbs maple syrup
1 cup (75g) shredded coconut (optional)
2 tbs cacao power
2 tbs carob powder
Himalayan rock salt
1 tbs vanilla powder or 1 vanilla pod
2 tbs coconut oil, melted
2-4 tbs almond milk (4tbs if not using maple syrup)
1 cup (250ml) coconut oil, melted
½ cup cacao powder
½ cup maple syrup
For the base:
Line a 20x20 square cake tin with baking paper.
Place all ingredients in a food process until it reaches a fine but still crumbly consistency. Firmly press mixture into the cake tin and place in the freezer.
For the caramel:
Place all caramel ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Pour mixture evenly on top of the base and put back in the freezer.
For the chocolate:
Whisk all chocolate ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
Pour chocolate on top of the caramel layer and put back in the freezer for at least an hour before cutting into slices and serving.
Serving and storing leftovers
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Tip: If your dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for 5-10 mins before using. Swap almond milk with coconut milk or milk of choice.