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In honor of National Chocolate Day, I scoured the internet with a mission to find delicious, clean chocolate recipes that require five ingredients or less. My disclaimer is that I have not personally made any of these yet, but I made sure they looked like something I'd want to eat, looked like something that would quell a chocolate craving, looked easy to make, and required minimal ingredients (which is great from both a preparation and clean eating standpoint.)
Here are the recipes that got me the most excited.
What do you need? Coconut oil, cocoa or cacao powder, and maple syrup or honey. Chocolate molds will come in handy but mini muffin tins will work too.
What do you need? Peanut butter, coconut oil, and dark chocolate. This one's a little more complicated -- it uses a double boiler to melt the chocolate -- but the end result looks delicious.
What do you need? Oats, banana, cocoa powder, peanuts and dark chocolate chips. This recipe yields 6-8 cookies and requires just a little over 10 minutes.
What do you need? Banana, shredded coconut, and mini chocolate chips. This one isn't the cutest but it looks simple enough to make and yummy enough to make the grade.
What do you need? Cocoa powder, unsweetened applesauce, honey, vanilla extract, and raspberries. Keep these dark, rich treats in the fridge until you're ready to eat them.
What do you need? Coconut flakes, nut butter, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and mini chocolate chips. In addition to requiring only 5 ingredients, this cookie dough recipe only needs 5 minutes of preparation.
What do you need? Almond milk, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and raw sugar or stevia. It's nearly impossible to get a clean cup of hot chocolate; this is about as close as you'll get.
What do you need? Coconut oil, dark cocoa powder, honey and optional add-ins. You'll also need a loaf pan and wax paper. You can go as crazy with this one as you want by adding nuts, dried fruits, etc.
What do you need? Hazelnuts, dark chocolate, and maple syrup. You'll also need a blender or food processor as well as a double boiler. This is a clean, healthy alternative to Nutella and other hazelnuts spreads sold in stores.
What do you need? Avocado, cocoa, powder, honey, nut butter, a pinch of salt, and optional dark chocolate chips. You can mash this up in a bowl or give it a creamier texture by using a blender or food processor.
Now that I'm seven months into my own clean eating and fitness journey, I've realized that my cravings for both sugary and salty foods have dropped significantly since I've been in the habit of eating real food, drinking plenty of water and moving my body regularly. There are of course still times when it calls to me -- I could not WAIT to dive into our mini cake after the wedding -- but it no longer holds power over me the way it once did. I used to read about people who ate a square of dark chocolate a day and think the idea sounded absolutely laugh-out-loud ridiculous. One single square of chocolate -- and dark chocolate at that? But somewhere along the line, I became a convert. These days, there really is nothing more satisfying than that single square of 90% dark chocolate as part of my afternoon snack. And when I look at cupcakes in the display case at a bakery now, I'm less tempted to eat them as-is and more tempted to figure out a way to make them cleaner. These are huge personal victories for me as someone who once thought my cravings would always control my life.
You can have a sweet tooth and still live a healthy life. You can have a salty tooth, for that matter, and still live a healthy life. As always, it's a matter of balance. Of moderation. Going to town on a beautiful white cake after my wedding is literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whereas the candy that comes out of the cobwebs for Halloween will be back again next year -- for Halloween and Christmas and Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day and Easter and the 4th of July. It's a matter of choosing your moments -- when you want to indulge and when you want to scale back. And then there's something in between: indulging while being health-conscious, making treats that stick as close to nature as possible. I encourage a little of everything: occasionally eating something with no nutritional value whatsoever, sometimes saying no thanks to dessert and eating an apple instead, and sometimes making something sweet but making it in a way that doesn't involve tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar, butter and oil. There's always a healthier way. If it's one of those days when you're looking for something both sweet and clean, I hope this list inspires you.