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February is a great month to focus on matters of the heart. So in that spirit, here's a variety of heart-healthy recipes that are sure to beguile chocolate lovers and the romantic at heart.​


Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Choose large, fresh strawberries. Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. Dip each strawberry. Lay the dipped berries on a piece of wax paper while the chocolate cools. For a fancier, finishing touch, melt white chocolate chips, pour into a zip-lock bag. Cut one corner, making sure the opening is very small. Drizzle the white chocolate back and forth over the chocolate dipped strawberries.

Nutritional Information:
Serving size: 2 berries
Calories: 210
Protein:  1 g
Carbohydrate: 11 g
Fat: 4 g
Fiber: 1.5 g
Sodium: 2 mg.

Source: Network for a Healthy California, Central Valley Health and Nutrition Collaborative

Chocolate Angel Cake

A simple, low-fat, yet elegant dessert for your Valentine.

1 package of one-step angel food cake mix
2 Tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
16 oz. bag frozen red raspberries, thawed
Dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or more) for garnish

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine cocoa with the dry cake mix and prepare as directed on the package for an angel cake baked in a tube pan. Bake 37 to 47 minutes, or until the top is dark golden brown and cracks feel dry and not sticky. Cool as directed on package. To serve, cut into slices. Top each slice with thawed raspberries and a small piece of dark chocolate. (You may wish to melt the chocolate at 60 percent power in the microwave and drizzle it into a heart shape on waxed paper. Cool and use for decoration.)

Nutritional information:
Yield: 12 servings
Each piece: 150 calories
Fat: 0 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 mg
Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium: 320 mg
Carbohydrate: 34 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 3.4 g

Source: Iowa State University Extension

Instant Chocolate Pudding

Adjust the sweetening of this dish according to your own taste. A smaller amount will yield a more bittersweet chocolate flavor. A few berries, mint leaves, or mandarin oranges would make a lovely garnish; use your imagination.

One 12.3-ounce package low-fat firm silken tofu, drained
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In food processor or blender, combine all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate several hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

Nutritional information:
Yield: 4 servings
Total calories per serving: 108
Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 22 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Sodium: 57 mg
Fiber: 2 grams

Source: Mary Clifford, published in Vegetarian Journal, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203