These homemade dark chocolate hearts are a great way to say “I love you” without having to waste paper on the box.
Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day (behind Christmas) of the year for giving greeting cards–that number reaches a billion each year. February 14th is good for business, but it also represents a significant amount of waste and a negative impact on our environment. Whether it’s paper cards, chocolate boxes or extra wrapping paper that makes a gift that much more special, a little consideration can go a long way toward cutting waste and keeping it planet-friendly. So how can you cut down on waste and still make that special someone smile? How can we make this special day a green valentine? Here are few tips:
- Consider sending an e-card instead of paper–many e-cards are completely free, and you’ll save on postage, too.
- Buy cards made from recycled or “tree-free” paper; look for the logo on the back of the card.
- Avoid extra packaging and/or recycle wrapping paper and decorations from previous years.
- When selecting chocolates, opt for fair-trade and/or organic.
- Consider giving a live flowering plant in a pot, a symbol of love that will outlast cut flowers.
- When selecting cut flowers, opt for organic and/or locally grown.
- Make a romantic dinner at home using locally grown ingredients or visit a local restaurant that serves organic or locally-grown food.
- When selecting wine, opt for organic. See health benefits of red wine.
Homemade Chocolate Bars with Dried Fruit and Nuts
Here’s a simple recipe for making homemade chocolate hearts with dried fruit and raw nuts; it’s an easy recipe and they make a sweet, unique gift that’s healthier than most confections you’ll find in stores. We use bittersweet chocolate without additional sugar, since the sweetness comes from dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, cherries or pineapple, and the crunchy goodness comes from raw nuts like almonds, cashews and hazelnuts. Approximately an ounce and a half of dark chocolate a day is enough to provide its health benefits–and that’s exactly the amount we packed into each chocolate heart. And no cookie cutters needed-we make our own! Just tune to our latest demo episode to learn how to.
Ingredients (yields 4 chocolate hearts):
- 6 ounces dark (70-85% cocoa) chocolate
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, cherries or another favorite)
- ½ cup raw nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts or another favorite)
- Break chocolate bars into small pieces, add to cooking glass jar or small saucepan.
- Add olive oil.
- Heat water (do not boil) in a medium-sized saucepan, add saucepan with chocolate in water on very low heat until chocolate melts, stir occasionally.
- Arrange your heart forms on flat cutting board with wax or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle dried fruit and nuts inside each form as desired.
- Remove saucepan with melted chocolate from hot water, and set aside to cool down (or add to bowl with cold water for faster cooling).
- Once chocolate thickens so it’s not completely liquid, pour into prepared forms evenly.
- Garnish with almond halves or other decoration as desired.
- Set aside to cool down and harden into a solid bar, or refrigerate for faster cooling (approximately 20 minutes).
- Wrap in clear foil and tie with red ribbon.
And don’t forget to celebrate love every single day of the year, not just on Valentine’s day!