It’s Valentine’s Day- Do You Know Where Your Chocolate Is?
There’s one day of the year when you just HAVE to have chocolate. Let me help you out with an easy, plant-based cupcake, laced with cocoa, and slathered with a chocolate mousse. Most people will never imagine that the creamy, lush mousse is actually made from avocados, not cream or butter. For Valentine’s Day, I baked these tender treats in heart-shaped ramekins, but they are equally delicious when baked as regular cupcakes.
Cacao, Energizing and Healthful
The plant-based marvel of cacao has given us the sexiest sweet treat of all time. Chocolate has been associated with romance since the Aztec leader Montezuma drank multiple cups of chili-laced cocoa every day, to build strength and as an aphrodisiac. Cacao was reserved for soldiers and royalty, and beans were so valuable that they were used as money.
Dark chocolate and cocoa contain small quantities of vitamins such as riboflavin as well as trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, and copper. It’s also rich in the antioxidants catechin and epicatechin.
The energizing effects of chocolate come from caffeine, theobromine, and the amphetamine-like substance phenylethylamine. Chocolate also contains the cannabinoid molecule anandamide, which binds to the same receptors as Cannabis.
It’s All About the Flavor
The chemistry of chocolate is all well and good, but the truth is, we loooove the taste of chocolate. Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a luscious treat that delivers the cacao. These pretty little cakes are chocolate-y enough to thrill, but light enough to keep you from passing out on the couch.
Have a lovey, lovely holiday!
Chocolate Valentine’s Cupcakes with Avocado Mousse
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons finely ground golden flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/3 cup pureed baked winter squash or pumpkin
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 large avocados
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cups maple syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate melted
- Heavily grease 4 heart shaped ramekins or 6 muffins cups, or use paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt, and whisk to mix.
- In a medium bowl, combine the non-dairy milk and flax seeds and stir to mix well, then let stand for 5 minutes.
- When the flax is thickened, stir in the avocado oil and winter squash, then scrape the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop rounded 1/3 cup portions of batter into each ramekin, and divide and extra batter between them.Smooth the top and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes for smaller cupcakes, or 25 minutes for 4 heart-shaped cakes. When a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out with no wet batter clinging to it, move the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a food processor, place the avocado flesh. Puree, scraping down and repeating until very smooth. Add the cocoa, almond milk, vanilla and maple syrup and puree, scraping down and repeating until well-mixed and smooth.
- Working quickly, add the melted chocolate and puree before it hardens. When the mixture is smooth, with no streaks of chocolate or avocado, transfer to a bowl to chill. Cover and refrigerate until thickened, about an hour or up to a day.
- Transfer to a piping bag and decorate the cooled cakes. Garnish with fresh raspberries. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.