If you asked people what their favorite treat is, nine out of ten would probably say chocolate. Who can resist the rich, deep, sweet and slightly bitter taste of good chocolate. However, not all chocolate is created equal but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid it. As if you needed more reasons to eat chocolate…but here’s a good reason: chocolate is health when you choose the right one. Instead of milk chocolate, indulge (in moderation) with dark chocolate. Flavanols, which are more prevalent in dark chocolate, have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve vascular function, possibly reducing the risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 65 percent or higher but of course, eat it in moderation because it still has significant calories (up to 450 calories for 3 ounces). For those times you do indulge, here are 10 divine ways to create delicious desserts with dark chocolate.

1. Make Your Own Dark Chocolate                


You don’t have to be Willy Wonka to make your own chocolate. All you need is something chocolate, something fat, and something sweet. For the chocolate flavor, use organic cacao powder. The fat can come from coconut oil or if you want to double the chocolate flavor, use cacao butter. The sweetness can come from maple syrup or agave nectar. A little bit of vanilla adds extra flavor. Once you know how to make your own chocolate, you can make variations of it by adding orange zest, nuts, fruit or whatever flavors you like. Combine ½ cup cacao butter, 2 Tbs. cacao powder, 1 or 2 Tbs. agave nectar, ½ tsp. vanilla and a pinch of sea salt over a double boiler. Mix until everything is smooth. Pour the chocolate into molds and refrigerate for a few hours. Then use it however you choose. For another recipe, check out How to Make Homemade Raw Dark Chocolate.

2. Pudding and Mousse

Raw-Vegan-and-Sugar-Free-Chocolate-Mousse (1) Raw-Vegan-and-Sugar-Free-Chocolate-Mousse (1)

My favorite way to eat chocolate is in the form of chocolate pudding. Ever since I was a kid, I loved getting that little can of pudding in my lunch box and now as an adult, I love rich, smooth puddings and mousses. To make your own Dark Chocolate Pudding: Whisk 2/3 cup of non-dairy milk with 3 Tbs. arrowroot powder in a bowl or mug. Set aside. Combine 3 1/3 cups milk, ½ cup cacao powder, ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan. Warm over medium heat until the chocolate has melted and is smooth. Whisk in the arrowroot/milk mixture. Cook for about 7 minutes over medium-low heat or until it thickens. Don’t let it get too thick. If it does, remove from the heat and stir in more milk until you have the creamy consistency you want. Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla. Pour into serving cups or bowls. Cover with plastic wrap touching the pudding so skin doesn’t form. Keep refrigerated until the pudding is well-chilled.

To make dark chocolate mousse, try this Raw Vegan and Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse, Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse, Raw Chocolate Mousse, and 8 Creamy Chocolate Mousse Recipes for National Chocolate Mousse Day.

3. Cake


Don’t even think about making cake from a mix. It’s easy to make your own and choose your own ingredients. You don’t need a special occasion to make these decadent chocolate cakes: Special Dark Chocolate Cake, Gianduja Chocolate Mousse Cake, Raw Vegan Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cake, Chocolate Marble Cake ‘Marbré au Chocolat’, Chocolate Spice Cake ‘Cake aux Épices, Raw Chocolatey Chocolate Brownies, Raw Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie Cake with Raspberries.

4. Pie


Ever hear the saying, “easy as pie?” I never used to believe that saying since I didn’t think making pie was all that easy. However, these amazing recipes proved me wrong. To indulge in some dark chocolate goodness, make this No-Bake Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, Snickers-Inspired Chocolate, Caramel, and Peanut Butter Pie, Vegan Chocolate Banana Cream Pie, and Raw Chocolate Banana Cream Pie with Whipped Coconut Cream.

5. Cookies


There is nothing like the smell of fresh-baked cookies. My Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies are simple yet delicious. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix 2 tsp. egg replacer with 6 Tbs. of water and set aside. In a bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Mix to combine. In a large bowl, add 1 cup softened vegan butter, 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix to combine all the ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and continue to mix until all the flour is incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons. Wet your hands and roll each scoop into a ball. Place the balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. You can eat one cookie dough ball. Just one. After all, you want to taste the dough to make sure it’s good. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes for chewy cookies or 15 for crispy cookies. They will still feel very soft when they are done. Remove the baking pans from the oven and let sit for 2 minutes. The cookies will firm up. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before eating (if you can). This recipe makes about 30 cookies.

For more cookie recipes, use dark chocolate to make these Perfect Vegan “Tollhouse” Cookies, Mexican Hot Chocolate Vegan Snickerdoodles, Secret Dark Chocolate Vegan Cookie Recipe, Orange Triple Chocolate Chocolate- Chip Cookies, and the Double Chocolate “Everything” Cookie.

6. Truffles and Candy


It was a surprise to me how easy it is to make your own chocolate candy. Truffles are the most decadent of all chocolate candies to me and they are so much fun to decorate with different toppings. It’s also easier than you may think to make your own chocolate cups and other candies.  Once you learn to make your own chocolate candies, you may never buy them again. If you love truffles, try these Chocolate Coated Hazelnut Truffles, Clean Eating Pumpkin Truffles, Pistachio Chocolate Truffles, Raw Hazelnut Chocolate Truffles, Raw Cacao Truffles, Chocolate Truffles that Taste Like Nutella, Raw Strawberry Cream Chocolate Truffles, and Raw Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles.

Making other kinds of chocolate candies is very similar to making truffles. You can easily make balls without any molds, use mini-cupcake liners to make chocolate cups or use any molds you might have to make bars and other fun shapes. Try your hand at making your own chocolate candies like these Swedish Vegan Chocolate Balls, Hazelnut Chocolate Snowballs, Oreo Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Raw Snickers Candy Bars, Raw Dark Chocolate Cream Cups, Raw Cacao Sea Salt Caramel Cups, Vegan Ginger Chocolate Cups with Sesame-Cashew Butter and Caramel, Raw Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge and Wintery Mint Kisses.

7. Sauces, Glazes and Drizzles


Another way to enjoy dark chocolate is to slather it on top of everything in sight. Ok, maybe not everything but you would probably be hard-pressed to find many foods you wouldn’t want to top with a sauce, glaze or drizzle that is rich, sweet and decadent. Learn how to make an Easy Chocolate Glaze for Brownies and Desserts. To make a Dark Chocolate Drizzle, simply combine 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips, 3 Tbs. vegan butter, 2 Tbs. agave nectar, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a pinch of kosher salt in a medium saucepan. Over low heat, keep stirring until the chocolate melts and is smooth and glossy. If the chocolate is too thick, you can thin it out with a little non-dairy milk. Drizzle on whatever your heart desires.

Other examples of incredible ways to use chocolate sauce include this Pumpkin Cashew Cream Cake with Chocolate Sauce, Churros with Coconut Sugar and Chili Chocolate Sauce, Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Whipped Coconut Cream and Chocolate, and Hazelnut Chocolate Parfait. Drizzle chocolately goodness onto your desserts like this Pumpkin Breakfast Loaf with Chocolate Drizzle, Almond Biscotti with Chocolate Drizzle, Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle and Breakfast Berry Smoothie with Cacao Drizzle.

8. Frosting and Icing


While we’re topping desserts with chocolate, let’s also remember the frosting and icing. That’s my favorite part of any cake. In fact, I would rather eat the frosting than the cake itself. But don’t reserve the frosting just for cake; use it on cookies, cupcakes or whatever dessert you want. Enjoy these Chocolate Frosted Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies, Pancake Cake with Sweet Potato Chocolate Frosting, Beetroot Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Icing, and Almond Power Bars with Chocolate Topping.

9. Ice Cream


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream, especially dark chocolate ice cream. Check out the video Here’s 3 Easy Ways to Make Vegan Ice Cream and read how to make the Best Raw Vegan Ice Cream Ever and then make this Easy Banana Cacao Ice Cream, Decadent Banana Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream, and Raw Almond Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. Besides just ice cream, you can really indulge and make this Mindblowing Banana Chocolate Caramel Vegan Ice Cream Cake, Deep Dish Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake, Ultimate Raw Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches, Raw Banana Ice Cream Sundaes, and DQ-Style Vegan Ice Cream Cake.

10. Drinks


Besides all these incredible ways to eat chocolate, we can drink it as well. This Coconut Chocolate Chip Smoothie sounds amazing as does this “Caribbean” Chocolate with Coconut, Rum and Cacao. More chocolate smoothies include this Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie, Cacao Nibs Cherry Smoothie, Super Creamy Banana, Coconut and Chocolate Smoothie, and this Lucuma, Banana and Chocolate Sundae Smoothie. Enjoy a thick, rich milkshake like this Raw and Healthy Vegan Chocolate Smoothie Milkshake, Peppermint Chocolate Chip Holiday Shake, and this Nearly Raw Rad Vegan Chocolate Milkshake. If you prefer your chocolate drinks hot, you’ll love this Slow-Cooker Kahlua Mint Hot Chocolate and Slow-Cooker Valentine Bouquet Hot Chocolate.

There are so many ways to enjoy dark chocolate and because it’s healthy, you can feel good about it too. For even more ways to enjoy the benefits, check out 20 Superfood Vegan Recipes Made with Raw Cacao.

Lead Image Photo: Easy Vegan Chocolate Glaze for Brownies and Desserts