Make your own chocolate candies this holiday season. These have half the fat of traditional store bought chocolate candies, so you can feel great about giving them to little ones, gifting them to loved ones, and having a few yourself. In place of excess saturated fat, sugar, and calories; these treats offer antioxidants and iron from the dried fruit, healthy unsaturated oils, Vitamin E, and minerals (like Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc) from the nuts. Hap-pea Holidays!
- 8oz semi-sweet or dark chocolate
(50-70% cocoa, chips, or chopped)
- 1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
(substitute with dried cranberries or apricots)
- 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted (substitute with chopped hazelnuts or walnuts)
- 1 cup crispy rice cereal
- fleur de sel or other finishing salt
Prepare one 3-foot-long piece of parchment or waxed paper with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Combine the dried fruit, nuts and crispy rice cereal in a medium-sized bowl. If using chocolate bars, chop the chocolate into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. Melt the chocolate by heating gently either in the microwave or a double boiler, stirring regularly until fully melted, about 100 degrees F. Continue stirring the melted chocolate using a folding spatula.
Fold the fruit mixture gently into the melted chocolate. Once all the fruit mixture is covered, working quickly with two small spoons, drop heaping teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared pieces of paper. Before they set, sprinkle a few grains of fleur de sel onto each cluster. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to a few days.