Healthy Dessert: Dark Chocolate

Satisfy your cravings while embracing the goodness of antioxidants and pure cocoa goodness. Indulge in a guilt-free rich dark chocolate treat that's as good for your taste buds as it is for your body.

By URLife Team
26 Aug 2023

Beyond its decadent allure, there’s a host of benefits that have led people to love dark chocolate for decades.  It has been a well-loved sweet treat starting from the 2000 BC, and various experimentations with its taste and flavour have only led to its mainstream popularity.


Abundant in essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc, dark chocolate emerges as a treasure trove of nourishment. Moreover, the cocoa nestled within dark chocolate boasts a wealth of antioxidants known as flavonoids, bestowing a potential array of health advantages.


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According to a 2022 study by Harvard School of Public Health, dark chocolate boasts a remarkable composition, encompassing a spectrum of 50 to 90 per cent cocoa solids, along with cocoa butter and sugar. On the other hand, milk chocolate, known for its creamy appeal, with a range of 10 to 50 per cent cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk (in various forms), and sugar. While dark chocolate is intended to be dairy-free, minute traces of milk might linger due to shared processing equipment used for both milk and dark chocolate production.


The true nutritional potency of dark chocolate lies within its cacao content.  These flavonoids, acting as robust antioxidants, grace dark chocolate with a greater abundance compared to its counterparts.  It's also important to ensure that dark chocolate holds a prominent position on the ingredient list. This careful consideration aligns with several mouth-watering chocolate desserts. 


When you are looking to incorporate dark chocolate further into your diet, there are many ways to go about it. Here are some simple recipes that you can take inspiration from the next time normal dark chocolate just doesn’t cut it.


Related story: 6 Healthy Reasons To Eat Dark Chocolate


Dark Chocolate Dessert Recipes

1. Fudgy Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

Fudgy and decadent, these dark chocolate zucchini cookies are a delightful fusion of dark chocolate and vegetables. This ingenious recipe ingeniously swaps out eggs for zucchini, bestowing both moisture and a luxuriously fudgy texture. This covert ingredient imparts a surprising source of vitamin C, adding a touch of nutritional flair to these dark chocolate cookies. With 3 ⁄ 4 cups of zucchini in tow, you'll savour 12 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C – a generous 13 per cent of your daily value, all while consuming a mere 20 calories.


Each cookie offers a balanced treat with 90 calories, 4 g of fat (with 3 g being saturated), 13 g of carbohydrates, and 2 g of protein.



  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks



  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Grate the zucchini and then squeeze it with a paper towel or clean cloth to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the butter-sugar mixture, and beat until well combined. Gradually add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
  4. Stir in the grated zucchini and dark chocolate chips or chunks until they are evenly distributed in the cookie dough.
  5. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, drop portions of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each cookie.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges but still slightly soft in the centre. Be careful not to overbake, as these cookies are meant to be fudgy.
  7. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Related story: Chocolate Recipes You can’t Say No To


2. Flourless Chocolate Olive Oil cakes

Indulge in a delightful dessert incorporates a surprising ingredient to elevate its moisture quotient and healthful essence: olive oil. This remarkable twist not only enhances the treat's moistness but also adds a beneficial touch to its nutritional profile.


The olive oil's composition of monounsaturated fats have the remarkable ability to lower both total cholesterol levels and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. Olive oil is known to reduce the risk of chronic ailments including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's. 



  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (almond flour)
  • Optional: Zest of 1 orange or a splash of orange liqueur (like Grand Marnier)
  • Optional: Powdered sugar or whipped cream for serving



  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour individual ramekins or a muffin tin, or line them with parchment paper for easy removal.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and granulated sugar until well combined.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the oil-sugar mixture. Beat well until the mixture is smooth and slightly pale.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Fold in the ground almonds (almond flour) until the batter is smooth and uniform.
  6. If using, gently fold in the orange zest or a splash of orange liqueur for added flavour.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins or muffin tin, filling each about two-thirds full.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until the cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the ramekins or muffin tin for a few minutes. Then, carefully remove them and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once the cakes are cool, you can dust them with powdered sugar for a decorative touch or serve them with a dollop of whipped cream.


Related story: 5 Reasons To Eat More Chocolate


3. Chocolate Cupcake and Avocado Frosting

A chocolate cupcake with an avocado twist. Avocado, the heart of this creation, stands as a veritable source of heart-healthy fats. Beyond its lipid profile, avocados offer a symphony of other nutrients, including fibre, potassium, folate, and a medley of vitamins – B6, C, and E.

As you savour these cupcakes, there has been a clever use of natural sweeteners - whole milk makes way for almond milk, turning these treats into vegan wonders while preserving their nutrient content. A single cup of almond milk boasts 451 mg of calcium, an impressive 35 per cent of your daily value, and 101 international units of vitamin D.

Chocolate Cupcakes:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup hot water


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing as you go, until the batter is smooth.
  6. Stir in the hot water until the batter is well mixed. The batter will be thin, but that's okay.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner about two-thirds full with batter.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Avocado Frosting:


  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the peeled and pitted avocados, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Blend the ingredients until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Taste the frosting and adjust the sweetness by adding more powdered sugar if desired.
  4. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them with the avocado frosting using a piping bag or a spatula.
  5. You can decorate the cupcakes with shaved chocolate, cocoa powder, or any other toppings you like.


Related story: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding To Try At Home


4. Dark Chocolate Bark

A canvas of melted dark chocolate sets the stage, upon which an ensemble of healthful ingredients – dried fruit, almonds, and chia seeds meet. Feel free to personalise the composition with your preferred nuts or dried fruits for the delightful combination of dried apricots, dried mangoes, and almonds, 6 grams of protein in a ¼ cup. 


Additionally, almonds offer a generous 4 grams of fibre within the same serving size, accounting for approximately 14 per cent of your daily value. But the nutritional balance doesn't end there; chia seeds contribute another 4 grams of fibre within a single tablespoon, followed by 96 calories, 8.6 grams of fat, 7.6 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.4 grams of protein.



  • 8 ounces (about 225 grams) dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher), chopped into small pieces
  • Toppings of your choice (nuts, dried fruits, seeds, sea salt, etc.)



  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. This will prevent the chocolate from sticking to the sheet.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl or using a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate. If using a microwave, heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. If using a double boiler, melt the chocolate over simmering water, stirring constantly.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread it into an even layer, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, depending on your preference.
  4. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle your choice of toppings over the surface. You can use chopped nuts (like almonds, pistachios, or walnuts), dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, apricots), seeds (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds), shredded coconut, or a sprinkle of sea salt for a sweet-savory contrast.
  5. Gently press the toppings into the chocolate so they adhere well.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chocolate is fully set and hardened.
  7. Once the chocolate bark is completely set, break it into pieces of your desired size. You can break it into irregular shards or cut it into neat squares or rectangles.
  8. Store the dark chocolate bark in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or the refrigerator, especially if your toppings are perishable.


So indulge in the dark chocolate dessert with a light heart where the fusion of health and indulgence co-exist. Forge a harmonious bond with chocolate, one founded on purpose and intention. A mindful connection with chocolate empowers you to relish its pleasures in moderation, embracing the joy it brings while honouring your well-being. This balance delights your senses and nurtures your body that encourages you to indulge with balance. 


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