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This recipe contains ingredients that are so healthy for you, I think it should be considered a superfood! It is sugar-free-- contains only natural sweeteners-- is vegan, is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. It is certainly guilt-free! Use it as a snack for yourself or your kids, just by itself. Or, send it to school with the kids, or to work with you, in a container with equal parts peanut butter. This also makes a good frosting! Peanut butter and chocolate sandwich, anyone? Or, smooth over healthy waffles for a naughty-feeling breakfast or dessert. This also goes well with any fruits that go with chocolate, such as strawberries or blueberries, to make it even healthier! And, yes, it does go with ice cream...

Here are just some of the health benefits from eating this chocolate:

*Hemp seeds are a complete protein. This means that they have all of the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are parts of proteins that we have to take in-- our bodies don't make them, so we have to get them in our diet. Hemp seeds are one of the plant proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids.

 *Almonds are actually a seed. They contain healthy unsaturated fats, which are beneficial to our cardiovascular system and for our brain functioning. They also contain a lot of fiber, which helps decrease risk of colon cancer, help you feel full on fewer calories, and can lower cholesterol levels in our blood. They also contain many vitamins and minerals, such as biotin, Vitamins E and B2, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and potassium.

 *Dates are actually a fruit. They contain a lot of fiber, like most fruits and vegetables, and are known to be especially good for helping relieve constipation. They have a high content of both vitamins and minerals, including iron (so help prevent anemia, or anyone from feeling sluggish); they contain magnesium, copper, and manganese, all of which help prevent osteoporosis (brittle bone disease); they are also one of the only food sources of organic sulfur, which helps with allergies and asthma. 

 *Honey is a natural sweetener than contains many antioxidants, called nutraceuticals which fight cancer. We can't make all antioxidants in a lab (for multivitamins), so some we still have to get in foods. Honey is known to help decrease allergies; is thought to have antibiotic properties; contains Vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

 *Maple syrup is another natural sweetener and, like honey, contains many antioxidants. The ones in maple syrup are called polyphenols, which help fight cancer. It also has surprising high levels of zinc, which is great for your immune system, and helps prevent colds and flus.

 *Unsweetened Cocoa powder is the healthy part of dark chocolate. Cocoa is from a bean or seed, and contains antioxidants-- flavonoids that help prevent heart disease and inflammation. It is also loaded with minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

 *Avocado, which is known as a superfood, thanks to the numerous health benefits. Avocados are a source of healthy fats, which help prevent cardiovascular disease. They also help regulate blood sugar, so are beneficial for those with diabetes. They contain antioxidants called carotenoids which help with eyesight, and fighting diseases like cancer.

 *Sweet potato is loaded with Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is beneficial for eyesight, fights cancer, and helps with allergies. In fact, one medium sweet potato has more than your daily requirement for Vitamin A! It also contains Vitamins C, E, and B vitamins, and pantothenic acid, potassium, zinc, iron, folate, calcium, and manganese. It is also naturally sweet but doesn't raise blood sugar thanks to the natural sugars (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup) and the large amount of fiber, which helps decrease absorption rate of sugar.

 *Coconut oil, and olive oil if you prefer, are sources of healthy fats. Healthy fats decrease the risk of heart disease and help with brain function. Another benefit of adding one of these oils to this recipe is that fat is needed for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). So, if you eat a lot of Vitamin A (such as that in sweet potatoes), but eat no fat with it, you won't absorb much of the Vitamin A you consumed. So, adding a little fat along with the sweet potato means you are maximizing absorption of the vitamins contained in these ingredients.

1 cup dates, preferably medjool
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBS vanilla extract (optional)
1 TBS pure maple syrup
2 TBS honey
1 TBS coconut oil, or olive oil if you prefer
3 TBS avocado
1/2 cup sweet potato, baked, without skin

1. Pit dates, if needed. Then, soak them in hot water to soften them. Get the other ingredients ready while they soak.
2. Put the almonds and hemp seeds in a food processor, and process until decently smooth.
3. Add the dates, and process again until decently smooth.

4. Add the remaining ingredients, all at once, in order as listed (to minimize the "poof" of chocolate powder when you process them-- bury the chocolate powder as much as possible!). Blend until the mixture appears smooth. 
5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the processor, mix it as best you can with the spatula, scrape the chocolatey goodness off the spatula, and process again until it has a smooth consistency and no visible signs of unblended ingredients remain on the sides or bottom of the processor bowl.

6. Scoop out into a bowl, and refrigerate. Will last about a week in the refrigerator.

Yum, chocolate heaven!

Makes about 10 servings.

Nutritional Data Per Serving:
Calories: 183
Total Fat: 6 grams
    Saturated Fat: 2 grams
    Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 grams
    Monounsaturated Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 6 mg
Potassium: 374 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 31 grams
    Dietary Fiber: 5 grams
    Sugars: 23.7 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Vitamin A: 0.8%
Vitamin B12: 0%
Vitamin B6: 4.5%
Vitamin C: 0.6%
Vitamin D: 0%
Vitamin E: 5.3%
Calcium: 3.7%
Copper: 18%
Folate: 5%
Iron: 11.1%
Magnesium: 23%
Manganese: 23.5%
Niacin: 4.1%
Pantothenic Acid: 3%
Phosphorus: 13.2%
Riboflavin: 5.1%
Selenium: 1.5%
Thiamin: 6.1%
Zinc: 9.4%
*Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet (so percentages will be higher if you eat a lower calorie diet!).
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