These chocolate candies are delightful. Not to mention healthy and easy to make. Coconut oil used to get a bad rap. It was the socially-awkward oil no one wanted to be friends with because of its saturated fat content. These days, we know that coconut oil is actually a healthy fat (highly processed seed oils like soybean and cottonseed oil are what we should really worry about), and it can and should be incorporated into your diet! And by incorporation, of course I mean waltzing into the kitchen right now and making some candies. It’s the right thing to do.
I had already been eating low-carb for quite some time before I discovered the amazing benefits of coconut oil. I was grocery shopping one day and came across a clearanced book bin with The Coconut Oil Miracle sitting on top (authored by Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and naturopathic doctor). I bought it out of curiosity and read the entire thing in two nights. There is definitely a lot of good information out on the interwebs, but I highly recommend picking up this book. Fife goes into great detail on the role of fat in the diet and of course, the positive health benefits of saturated fat. Natural unrefined coconut oil is where it’s at. Make sure to stay away from the nasty hydrogenated forms of it.
(A Few) Benefits of Coconut Oil
- Contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), and has been shown to increase good (HDL) cholesterol, improve blood pressure and boost brain function. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monolyceride that we use to destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria partying uninvited in our bodies.
- Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are easily digested and are quickly absorbed to be used for energy instead of being stored as fat. (MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are converted into energy.)
- Improves cognitive function and can stall or reverse neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s in its early stages.
- Coconut oil contains caprylic acid, a fatty acid that has been found to kill Candida fungus. This is particularly helpful to people who have experienced adverse reactions to antifungal medications.
- Promotes ketosis (a natural fat-burning state) and preserves muscle mass.
- Raises basal body temperature to promote thyroid health and boost metabolism.
- Helps to control blood sugar by improving the secretion of insulin and utilization of blood glucose.
- Improves skin diseases such as fungal infections, acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and keratosis pilaris.
- Works as a protective antioxidant for your skin and supports warding off harmful free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative diseases.
- Conditions and strengthens hair (it also improves dandruff and can be used as an alternative to lice medication).
- Makes you a more pleasant human being, because hey, look at that list of benefits. You’re bound to be in a better mood.
Have you been convinced to fully embrace this nutrient-dense oil? Time to get started with the recipe. The mix of spices gives a wonderful complexity to the chocolate, and the crushed almonds add texture, and then the little bit of fennel seeds add a nice bite. You won’t be disappointed! I use a silicone candy mold to make these into little madeleine shapes, but you can also use ice cube trays to get the party started. You might notice that this recipe calls for mango powder (also known as amchoor powder). I purchase mango powder from a local Indian grocery store, but you can also find it on Amazon. Amchoor powder is made from dried unripe green mangoes and has this really nice citrusy-sour note to it. Amchoor is also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and selenium. It brightens up the chocolate in a very subtle way, so try it out!
Store these chocolate delights in an air-tight container in the freezer (coconut oil has a melting point of 76 degrees!) The daily recommended dose of coconut oil for adults is 3.5 tablespoons. Why not take it in the form of little bites of goodness?
Learn More About Coconut Oil
- Melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds.
- Add cocoa powder and stir. Add coconut milk and stir. Add stevia, spices, almonds, and, and fennel seeds, stirring mixture. If mixture gets too thick, reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds.
- Spoon 1 teaspoon in to each candy mold.
- Freeze for at least 20 minutes, and then pop candies out of molds.
- Store in an air-tight container in the freezer.
- Recipe yields approximately (24) 1-teaspoon sized candies.
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