We all look forward to Valentine’s Day as a time when we can show our loved ones that we care about them, and whatever way we choose to do so, it’s sure to be a special day. But this holiday can also be a time of nutritional decline, as we tend to indulge in high calorie treats and nice dinners at fancy restaurants. That’s why we love giving the gift of our vegan peanut butter cups–these not only have a decadent flavor profile and a low caloric content, but they also are packed full of solid nutrition that will leave you and your loved ones smiling with happiness. These chocolate goodies are filled with ingredients such as strawberries, chia seeds, and dark cacao, the latter of which is rich in magnesium, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, and antioxidants. Some studies have even shown a correlation between cacao and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke (1)! But keep in mind that moderation is key when consuming chocolate, as too much of a good thing can be bad. So go ahead and give the gift of healthy, chocolate-covered love this Valentine’s Day! It’s sure to be one dessert that will impress all of your loved ones.
Chocolate Peanut Butter & Strawberry Chia Jam Cups
9 oz 65% Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chocolate Chips, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil, unrefined
4 tablespoons strawberrry chia jam (see note)
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sorghum syrup (honey or maple syrup could be used)
3 tablespoons chia seeds
For the chocolate mixture:
In a mixing bowl, combine the melted cacao, peanut butter, and coconut oil and mix until well combined. Set aside.
For the Strawberry Chia Jam:
Chop the strawberries.
In a saucepan over medium heat, add the strawberries, vanilla extract, balsamic vinegar and sorghum syrup. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir and mash the fruit with the back of a spatula or a potato masher to your desired consistency.
Once the mixture is thick, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Add the chia seeds and stir thoroughly. For a smoother jam use a immersion blender or blender until desired consistency.
Let the jam sit for at least 5 minutes until it sets. Refrigerating the jam for 1 hour or overnight will produce a thicker jam.
Once the jam has cooled at room temperature place the mixture into a mason jar or a glass container and let it set for 5 minutes.
Use a mini muffin pan or heart shaped silicone pan to place the batter into. If using a mini muffin pan, mini paper liners would be make it easier to remove the finished product.
Fill 2.5 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture in the cup holder and transfer pan to the freezer until chocolate is set (about 10 minutes).
Add 1 teaspoon of the strawberry chia jam mixture on top and place in the freezer for 10 minutes until it is set.
Spoon 2.5 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture on top of the strawberry chia jam and freeze for 30 minutes until set. If desired, you can also leave them in the freezer overnight.
Remove chocolate peanut butter chia cups from the pan and serve immediately.
For the strawberry chia jam: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight jar for about 2 weeks. The jam can also be frozen for up to 3 months; it should be be thawed in the fridge before using.[br][br]If you don’t have time to make strawberry chia jam, you can use 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam, add 2 teaspoons of chia seeds and mix together for strawberry chia jam.[br][br]Disclosure: Triad to Wellness is a nutrition consultant for the Sorghum Checkoff.
(1) Cocoa and cardiovascular health. American Heart Association. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/10/1433.full
Triad to Wellness has provided nutrition communication services to The Sorghum Checkoff. However, we were not compensated for this post. All opinions are our own.