Valentine’s Day Chocolate Pudding

February is heart health month and on Valentine’s Day, give your heart what it deserves! Treat the ones you love and yourself with a heart-healthy dessert.

I created this nutritious chocolate pudding with cashew cream, pure cacao powder, dates, maple syrup and freshly squeezed orange juice. Made with raw ingredients, there’s no white sugar and no dairy products in this pudding. It’s creamy, nutritious and oh-so-delicious! You can read about the health benefits of cashew cream and how to make it here.

Dates are a great substitute to white sugar because, like many fruit, they are good for your heart. They’re fat-free and they don’t affect your cholesterol. They’re also packed with fibre, minerals and vitamins. Dates have a low-glycemic index, which means that they won’t cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar after you eat them.

Pure maple syrup is also a great alternative to white sugar. The syrup contains minerals, vitamins and a host of antioxidants. However, if you’re diabetic, bear in mind that dates and maple syrup are high in natural sugars and carbohydrate and shouldn’t be used as a treatment for diabetes. In addition, people with diabetes need to moderate their fruit juice intake. With carbohydrate counting and glucose monitoring, dates, maple syrup and fruit juice can be safely incorporated in a diabetic diet.

Not only is this chocolate pudding healthy and delicious, it’s also simple to make. To make it even more heart-healthy, top it up with pomegranate seeds or other fresh seasonal fruit. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

Creamy Chocolate Pudding
Serves 4-6
Ingredients

  •  2¼ cups cashew cream*
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 4 tbsps pure cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup pure or freshly squeezed pink grapefruit or orange juice (no sugar added)
  • Pomegranate seeds or other seasonal fruit (for topping)

*After you make the cream, you may end up with a little more than 2¼ cups and it’s fine if you put all of it in because the cream will thicken and reduce.

Procedure

In a small and narrow pot on stove top, heat the cashew cream, pitted dates and maple syrup. Bring to the boil and quickly reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken whilst stirring and banging the dates with a wooden spoon until they dissolve.

Add the fresh orange juice and cacao powder and stir on low heat for one minute.

Remove from heat and slightly process the pudding directly in the pot with a handheld blender to make it very smooth.

Pour into 4 or 5 ramekins or small cups and let cool at room temperature. Put in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. Serve topped with fresh fruit or a topping of your choice.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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