Our challenge is finding decadent treats that truly feel like an extravagance, yet are still overtly healthy. Neither my husband nor I like to eat a lot of sugar and I eat a pretty low carb diet. That rules out a lot of conventional treats!
But, honestly, it bores me to focus on what I choose not to eat. Instead, I like to look at each meal, wondering how much delicious "food as medicine" I can pack in there.
The following syrup is antioxidant-rich, combining the known health benefits of cocoa with the beneficial medicine of elderberries and the nutrient-rich rosehips. Many of the ingredients are also aphrodisiacs and have been used for hundreds of years to spice up one's love life.
Drizzled over coconut pancakes and served with Astragalus and Reishi Chai, this can satisfy many of our indulgent cravings.
What's in the syrup
Chocolate lovers seldom need encouragement to indulge in a few dark squares but chocolate is not just a guilty pleasure. Pure cocoa is rich in antioxidants, helps to support heart health and increases libido. For the most health benefits get at least 70% cocoa products or use 100% cocoa powder.
Learn more about the history and benefits of cocoa here plus see my dark chocolate rose truffle recipe.
We often hear that elderberries are anti-viral and scientists say that it is the high flavonoid content that can disrupt viral activities. A diet rich in flavonoids promotes health in a myriad of ways such as supporting eye and heart health, reducing inflammation in the body and preventing cancer.
Another flavonoid-rich herb that also has high amounts of vitamin C. Roses have long been associated with the heart, passion and love.
Who doesn't love cinnamon? What a wonderfully sweet and deliciously spicy treat! It's amazing to me that such a taste comes from tree bark. Cinnamon is known for many health benefits, including its ability to regulate blood sugar. A wonderful addition to any sweet treat. Cinnamon can also help to regulate body temperature (great for those with cold hands and feet) and can relieve digestive complaints and even arthritic pain and menstrual cramping.
The nutmeg spice is the seed of the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg has long been used as a culinary spice as well as for its medicinal qualities. Nutmeg can promote digestion, be used as a sedative and to promote sexual health. Here is a very interesting blog post from Mountain Rose Herbs about nutmeg.
Here's how to make this luxurious treat!
Chocolate Syrup with Elderberries and Rose hips
1/2 cup of elderberries
1/2 cup of rose hips
2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder (look for organic, fair trade and 100% cocoa)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Honey to taste
Simmer the elderberries and rosehips in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain well.
Whisk in the cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add honey to taste while the mixture is still warm. Mix well.
This syrup can be drizzled on ice cream, bananas, or enjoyed on coconut flour pancakes...
Here's a recipe card you can download and print off!
Coconut Flour Pancakes
(a variation from Bruce Fife's book, Cooking with Coconut Flour)
2 tsp honey
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup crushed walnuts if desired
Whisk together the eggs, milk, honey and salt.
Add the baking powder and coconut flour. Mix well.
Add the melted coconut oil and the walnuts if desired.
Once your batter is mixed well, pour it onto a hot griddle in desired pancake sizes.
Enjoy these pancakes with freshly whipped cream (we shake cream in a mason jar until it is thoroughly "whipped") and a garnish of orange zest!
When you take your first bite of this delicacy please don't pay any attention to the fact that this meal can support your heart health, boost your immune system and prevent sickness or give a zing to your zoom. Just enjoy that incredibly flavor.