Health Benefits of Chocolate and Truffle Recipe

Health Benefits of Chocolate + Truffle Recipe


Chocolate! We know how much we love it, but do you know how good it is for you?

The fact is dark chocolate enhances mood and memory, as well as cognitive and vascular functioning. In recent studies, cocoa consumption has been linked to higher scores on cognitive tests.  Chocolate can even help us deal with stress more effectively. A recent study involving stressed-out college students demonstrated that the students who ate about ¾ of a small chocolate bar every day for two weeks were better able to manage their stress.

As it turns out, chocolate increases the endorphins throughout the brain that give us those luxurious pleasurable feelings and a sense of well-being. It also contains phenylethylamine, which enhances mood, alertness, and the delightful, dizzy feeling of falling in love. Chocolate has a long history of being known as an aphrodisiac, from the Aztecs to the Romans. It is also anti-inflammatory, reduces blood pressure, and increases heart health and longevity.

The cocoa that gives dark chocolate that haunting, addictive flavor is loaded with memory-boosting antioxidants and powerful flavonoids.

Flavonoids, the largest nutrient family known to scientists, are endowed with uber antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antiviral properties, and also help maintain the health of small blood vessels and connective tissue. Examples of foods that are rich in flavonoids include onions, parsley, blueberries, bananas, red wine, and, to our point here, dark chocolate. And from our point of view, the most powerful aspect of flavonoids, which not many people talk about, is that this group pushes the yum further.

One caveat: milk interferes with the body’s ability to access the power of flavonoids, so these benefits don’t really apply to milk chocolate. You gotta learn how to eat it dark!

It also helps to eat chocolate slowly and mindfully. A 2016 study demonstrated that chocolate consumption improved the mood of study participants but the most benefit was achieved in those who ate their chocolate mindfully.

Enough of the science! Let’s get to the recipe.

These easy-to-make truffles contain other smart, brain-boosting ingredients including dates, cherries, walnuts, toasted coconut and curry powder.  The dates act as the sweeteners, but they’re not only sweet, they’re loaded with fiber. Whenever you’ve got fiber with sweet you’re lowering the blood sugar rush. Studies suggest walnuts may boost memory. They’re also rolled in coconut with a little curry for a real grown-up treat.


Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles

Chocolate Cherry Walnut Truffles

Makes About 20 Truffles

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 1/4 hours


  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (64 to 72% cacao), very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup pitted and halved Medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup finely diced dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder


  1. Pour the boiling water over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 30 seconds. Then, use a small whisk to stir until the chocolate is fully melted and glossy.
  2. In a food processor, coarsely grind the walnuts. Add the cocoa powder, dates, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and process for about a minute.
  3. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the processor and blend until smooth, about another minute. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the diced cherries.
  4. Cover the bowl and chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, or in the freezer for 20 minutes, until firm.
  5. On a plate, mix the shredded coconut, curry powder, and a pinch of salt. Scoop about 2 teaspoons of the chilled chocolate mixture and roll it into a smooth ball between your palms. Then, roll the ball in the coconut-curry mixture to coat.
  6. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture, then place the truffles in an airtight container and chill thoroughly before serving.

Cook's Note: For a golden hue, toast the coconut in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. For a more distinctive flavor, add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder.

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