Last weekend, my husband and I shared a special dinner with friends at Elm Restaurant, where chef Brian Lewis showcases inventive and seasonally inspired cuisine. His menu changes each week depending on what’s fresh and in season, and he and his kitchen staff are meticulous in their preparation and presentation of each and every dish, down to the smallest details.
I’m a foodie at heart, so I love it when I get to sit back, relax and enjoy a delicious and beautifully prepared meal – what a treat! Sorry boys, I do love to cook for you, but Mom needs a break every once in a while ;).
At the end of our meal, we were presented with small dishes of cocoa dusted almonds (we were all too full to order dessert). What surprised me was that these little tidbits were not sweet – in fact, they had just a touch of salt. What a great idea I thought – who says chocolate covered almonds have to be sweet anyway.
This week, a group of bloggers is featuring Almonds as a Power Food. This weekly food blogging group features a different Power Food each week based on the book Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. Power Foods are foods that are outstanding in the amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and more, that help fight disease and promote good health.
These little tidbits of dark chocolate, cocoa, and almonds combined together are actually a heart healthy snack or treat when eaten in moderation (nuts and chocolate are high in fat, so keep portion sizes in check). Cocoa and dark chocolate (the darker the better; look for >70% cacao) contain flavonoids (procyanidins and epicatechins), and can improve heart health, reduce LDL cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots, increase blood flow in arteries, the heart and to the brain, and may lower high blood pressure. It may also improve blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, reducing diabetes risk.
And Almonds, our Power Food of the week, are good for heart health, support the immune system and may reduce cancer risk. So, what makes Almonds a Power Food?
- Almonds contain monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Almonds help fight inflammation and reduces the blood’s ability to clot, decreasing the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.
- Almonds are high in manganese, which helps the body form connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation, and is necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
- The skins of almonds contain flavonoids (anthocyanin and quercein) that may help prevent stroke and urinary tract infections, fight inflammation and reduce cancer risk.
- Almonds are high in protein and fiber.
- Almonds contain bone-strengthening magnesium and calcium, and blood-supporting iron.
- Almonds appear to decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar.
I love the last point – a few of these Cocoa Dusted Dark Chocolate Coated Almonds after dinner can actually help decrease after-meal rises in blood sugar.
Today, I’m sharing my version of Cocoa Dusted Dark Chocolate Coated Almonds, coated first with dark chocolate, before being tossed with unsweetened cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger cocoa that I found at Home Goods) and fleur de sel (for a little salty crunch). These are not sweet, but if you prefer a little sweetness, add a bit of coconut palm sugar (I made half a batch with a little coconut palm sugar to make these nuts more kid-friendly for my boys).
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up for this week’s Power Foods post: (If you’re interested in joining our group, contact Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits.)
Alyce – More Time at the Table
Ansh – Spice Roots,
Chaya – My Sweet and Savory
Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living
Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Minnie – The Lady 8 Home
Cocoa Dusted Dark Chocolate Coated Almonds
- 3.5 ounces organic dark chocolate I used Trader Joe's 73% cacao super dark
- 1 1/2 cups dry roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/2 cup sifted high quality unsweetened cocoa I used Scharffen Berger purchased from Home Goods, a discount store
- fleur de sel optional
- organic coconut palm sugar optional
Break dark chocolate into pieces and place in a small bowl. Heat for one minute on high in the microwave. Stir. Heat another minute and stir. Chocolate should be just melted. Alternatively, melt in double boiler.
Toss almonds with melted chocolate until evenly coated.
Place cocoa in a small bowl. If desired, add a pinch of fleur de sel and coconut palm sugar to taste. Add a large spoonful of almonds to the bowl of cocoa and toss gently with a dry spoon, being sure to separate almonds so each almond is coated with cocoa. Remove to a plate and let chocolate dry. Repeat until all almonds are dusted with cocoa.
Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients
The World’s Healthiest Foods: Almonds
University of Maryland Medical Center: Manganese
University of Michigan Integrative Medicine: Healing Foods Pyramid – Dark Chocolate
WebMD: Chocolate’s Dark Secret
This post has been linked up to Beyond the Peel’s Keep It Real Thursdays.
I absolutely love the idea of ending dinner with a dish like this instead of a sweet dessert! I am definitely going to make these!
Brian @ A Thought For Food says
Congrats on the great news about being nominated! Also, I love these chocolate almonds! They look like the perfect way to finish a meal.
What a marvelous finish to a meal. Just gorgeous!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
congrats girl! You deserve it. I am going to make these
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
What a great idea for an after-dinner treat (or maybe an after-school snack). Simple, and satisfying — and healthy, too!
Alyce Morgan says
I often buy these as a snack to bring in the car or on the plane; I’d love to make them myself. Thanks!
mireya @myhealthyeatinghabits says
I’ve never been wild about cocoa powder dusted sweets, but almonds with dark chocolate alone could be just as good as an end to a good meal. Great informative post!
Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts says
Oh, yes, I’d just love these! Thanks, Jeanette!
ea-the spicy rd says
yum, I’d love to have these around for some healthy munchin’!
I’ve been wondering about making my own chocolate covered nuts at home. These look wonderful, Jeanette!
Ansh | Spiceroots says
I just bought some Scharffen Berger . This would be perfect for the leftover coco powder I will have after my cake project. I might have to add the palm sugar for my husband too :))
Loved this recipe.
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) says
That is such a great treat to have around. I am making a batch of these and storing them in a mason jar. I may need to hide them from my husband though 😉
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies says
I have been wanting to find a way to make these–thank you for posting this! These used to be one of my favorite snacks, but then I found out the brand I was buying had artificial sweeteners so I haven’t had them in a few years…
So glad you all like these healthy treats! My son said these are addicting.
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
Now that is the perfect end to any meal!
France @ Beyond The Peel says
I love that they are salty!. My favorite chocolate right now is called salty sailor. Sea salted dark chocolate. I will give this a try. Probably way less expensive to make than what I paying right now for my little treat!
Anne Yeo says
Thank you for this recipe, I love the cocoa dusted chocolate coated almonds, but would greatly appreciate the source where you got the organic dark chocolate and the cocoa powder , hopefully easily available.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Anne (from Singapore)
Hi Anne, here are the sources for the chocolate and cocoa powder: http://www.amazon.com/Valrhona-Grand-Chocolate-Caraibe-Feves/dp/B00AGZVURG http://www.valrhona-chocolate.com/cocoa-powder-baking – hope you’re able to find these or something similar.
Great write up! Was wondering how long these can be stored for and what the best method would be?
Adam – I would store these in a closed container or jar – they should keep for a couple of weeks.
Patricia Jones says
I am eager to make these. Is palm sugar necessary? Can I substitute powdered sugar?
Coconut palm sugar has a crunchy texture, so you can substitute powdered sugar, but will just have a different finish