If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with chocolate, go for the dark variety. To chocolate fans’ delight, research has verified that health-protecting phytochemicals that abound in dark chocolate may contribute to heart health. Those compounds, called flavonoids, may boost antioxidant defenses.
Cocoa powder (though not the Dutch processed cocoa) ranks highest for flavonoid content, followed by dark chocolate and milk chocolate. White chocolate does not contain any of the flavonoid-containing cocoa bean solids, is high in fat and sugar and does not provide health benefits.
Researchers are investigating whether the phytochemicals in chocolate could be cancer-preventive.
Here is a brownie recipe that gives you the beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals of black beans plus a rich, chocolate taste and not much fat or many calories. See if your Valentine notices anything unusual when biting into these delicious, moist treats!
Black Bean Brownies
Canola oil spray
1 can (15 oz.) reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp. canola oil
1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1⁄2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2⁄3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 Tbsp. bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch baking pan with canola oil spray. In food processor, place beans, eggs, canola oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and brown sugar and blend until smooth. Remove blade and carefully stir in chocolate chips. Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a clean dry knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool before cutting into squares.
Makes 16 servings (1 brownie each).
Per serving: 110 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat),15 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 64 mg sodium.