Chocolate cravings. They hit me on a pretty regular basis. If I’m prepared, I already have a bar of my favorite 85% organic chocolate at the ready – a few squares with a small glass of red wine and I’m good. If I’m not prepared, I’m left staring down the ancient pint of rocky road ice cream in my freezer – I know it’s old and will make my stomach ache, but what the heck? …I always regret that decision.
A few nights ago I decided to do something a little different. I anticipated my chocolate cravings and had some culinary fun too. I combined savory and salty heat with some sweet. I melted 60% dark chocolate chips with chili powder and sea salt. I toss pecan halves in the melted goodness, dropped into bite-sized pieces, sprinkled with unsweetened shredded coconut, and put in the fridge until hardened.
They are delish, pretty close to healthy, and will definitely help keep you away from diving into the nearest pint of rocky road.
To help ease your conscious even more, here are some of the top benefits of dark chocolate:
• Lowers blood pressure due to the cocoa plant phenols.
• Antioxidants help protect against heart disease.
• Theobromine (compound similar to caffeine) and phenethylamine (make you feel you’re in love) can help elevate your mood.
Most importantly, remember these two things:
1. The higher the percentage of coco the better.
2. All things in moderation.
dark chocolate chili pecan clusters
Makes approximately 24 clusters
2 cups pecan halves
1 & ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% coco)
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T chili powder
1 T sea salt
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
Heat your dark chocolate chips via a double boiler or the microwave until they are melted smooth. [In the microwave, heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted – stirring constantly].
Add the chili, sea salt, and pecans to the chocolate and stir until combined evenly.
If it seems too dry, add more melted chocolate.
Drop clusters of the chocolate pecans onto the wax paper with a spoon.
Sprinkle with a pinch of the unsweetened shredded coconut.
Put in the refrigerator for approximately 45 minutes (or until hardened).
Note: Keep in a cool area. Countertops work well for a day or so. If you are going to store them longer, I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator.
Time: Assembly: 10 minutes; Setting in refrigerator: 45 minutes