Chocolate could cover just about anything and it would be delicious. To date I have not found one thing covered in chocolate that I didn’t like. The most popular form of chocolate covered items are dried fruits, potato chips, candies, nuts and pretzels.
Chocolate generally comes in three forms; milk, dark and white. Dark chocolate is the closest to chocolate in its purest form. Dark chocolate can range from 100% pure cacao (or baker’s chocolate) to 65% cacao. The percentage level corresponds to the amount of fat and sugar that is added to the pure cacao. Milk chocolate is chocolate with added milk or cream and sugar. White chocolate is void of any cacao and is generally just a mixture of cocoa butter, sugar and milk.
Over the last couple of years my chocolate loving scale has moved from milk chocolate to the darkest of the dark chocolates. For me, the deeper and earthier the chocolate the better. On any given day, I can be seen snacking on straight up 85% or 90% dark chocolate.
While I do not need an excuse to eat dark chocolate everyday, it is helpful to note that dark chocolate has many health benefits. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidant, fiber and healthy mineral content. It has been known to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, improve brain function and balance out cholesterol levels.
When it comes to finding good quality, dark chocolate covered items in the stores, I generally come up short. I consistently find dark chocolate covered items that have added stabilizer, preservatives and coatings. I also find that while these items are dark chocolate they have a ton of added sugar. Since I am not fond of these added items I decided to make my own chocolate covered treats.
One of my favorite chocolate covered items is dark chocolate covered almonds. I love the salty and sweet balance along with the crunch of the almond. I also love that dark chocolate almonds combine two amazingly healthy ingredients into one perfect, guilty pleasure snack.
Since I am not a fan of added sugar I have created this recipe to include stevia instead of traditional table sugar. However, if you are not a stevia lover, then table sugar (or any other type of sugar) can be used in its place. Since stevia is sweeter then sugar, you will need to use a larger amount of sugar to achieve the same sweetness level. Please note that this recipe is the base line for sweetness. You can adjust the stevia or sugar level to your liking.
Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds
2 cups roasted and salted almonds (I prefer to use almonds that have no added oils)
8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (aka baker’s chocolate)
1/2 tsp stevia (or 2 tablespoons table sugar)
In a microwavable bowl add the 2 blocks of unsweetened chocolate. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the chocolate. Continue to microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted.
Add the stevia (or sugar) to the melted chocolate and mix to incorporate. Slowly add the almonds to the melted chocolate and continuously stir to cover all the almonds. Pour the covered almonds out onto some parchment paper and allow to dry. Store the almonds in an airtight container at room temp for 2 weeks. For longer storage place them in the refrigerator or better yet store them in the freezer (my personal favorite).