How To Make Chocolate Rose Bark for a Healthy Heart
By Kristen Smith - February 11, 2016
Chocolate and roses... could there be a more romantic combination? Valentine's Day often conjures up images of bouquets of red roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates filled with all manner of sweet stuff and fluff. Store aisles are overrun with it all! Chocolate and roses are delightful, of course. The smell of fresh roses is just captivating. And chocolate? Could there be a food in the world with more adoration than chocolate? I think not! But what if you put the two together into one heart-healthy, indulgent, and glamorous treat that's just perfect for the ones you love? You can do just that with a fantastic Dark Chocolate Rose Bark!
Chocolate and Roses for Your HeartWe don't normally think of chocolate as being a heart-healthy food. And by all accounts, inexpensive milk chocolate is far from a healthy super food! It's often filled with processed dairy, excessive amounts of sugar, and even artificial flavors. But dark chocolate, on the other hand, can be fantastic for your heart and a wonderful guilt-free treat. Consider this:
In the last ten years, several epidemiological studies have been conducted in patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and no disease. Those eating the highest levels of chocolate had significantly lower rates of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, cardiovascular disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction, stroke, and diabetes. One of the ways that cocoa polyphenols are thought to modulate the risk of cardiovascular problems is by downregulating inflammatory mediators that exacerbate their development.  -"A Comprehensive Review of Cocoa and Its Health Benefits, History, and Nutritional Profile" HerbalClip Online, August 31, 2011. American Botanical Council (www.herbalgram.org). Dark chocolate is often labeled with a percentage of cacao or cocoa solids, and the higher the number, the greater health punch it offers. A bar of 90% cocoa chocolate (my favorite!) will offer a greater proportion of cocoa's health benefits while also having less sugar, while a 60% dark chocolate bar will offer less benefits and more sugar. However, that 60% cocoa bar is still a much better selection than milk chocolate! Rose petals are actually considered a cardiac tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, though we most often in Western herbalism think of roses benefiting our emotional "heart".  Rose essential oil, though extremely expensive, promotes calm and helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Dried rose petals, added to a homemade potpourri, can impart that incredible scent and allow you to take advantage of some of the benefits of rose essential oil without the heavy price tag.
How To Make Chocolate Rose Bark for a Healthy HeartDark Chocolate Rose Bark with Honey Roasted Pepitas This Dark Chocolate Rose Bark is an easy and heart-healthy treat to enjoy for Valentine's Day or anytime of the year when you want to share some love with those dear to you. Ingredients
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips (like these)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional; I like to add this if I'm melting chocolate with only 60-70% cacao)
- 1/3 cup chopped Honey Roasted Pepitas (dry roasted pumpkin seeds or shelled pistachios can be used as a substitute)
- 2 tablespoons dried rose petals
- In a double-boiler, or in a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water, place the chocolate chips and cocoa powder (if using). Allow to slowly melt while stirring.
- Cover a very small baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with coconut oil. Pour the melted chocolate into the pan.
- Sprinkle the Honey Roasted Pepitas (or dry roasted pumpkin seeds/shelled pistachios) evenly over the melted chocolate.
- Sprinkle the dried rose petals on the melted chocolate, slightly crushing them with your fingers as you sprinkle.
- Place in the refrigerator to cool, then remove from the pan and chop into sections for serving.
Have you ever used rose petals combined with chocolate before?References:
- Turkish Rose: A Review of the History, Ethnobotany, and Modern Uses of Rose Petals, Rose Oil, Rose Water, and Other Rose Products by K. Hüsnü Can Baser, PhD, Ayten Altintas, PhD, Mine Kürkçüoglu, PhD. HerbalGram. 2012. American Botanical Council.
- Healthy Ingredients: Damask Rose. American Botanical Council.
- The Herbarium Monographs: Rose. The Herbarium from the Herbal Academy of New England.