Pete Evans and Dr. Mercola recently joined forces and created a new cookbook, “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook.” In this book you’ll discover easy and delicious recipes, along with practical tips on how to follow a ketogenic eating plan. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.
Many people just can’t end a meal without dessert. After all, a satisfying dessert refreshes your palate and gives your lunch or dinner a sweet ending. Most people, however, would reach for a bowl of ice cream or a slice of cake to satiate their sweet tooth — but why do so when there are healthier dessert options to choose from? Case in point: these delicious cherry bites from Australian celebrity chef Pete Evans, with whom I co-wrote “The Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook.”
This easy dessert recipe combines the freshness and tartness of cherries with the bitter taste of raw cacao chocolate and the mild sweetness of coconut flakes, giving you a deep burst of flavor in every bite.
Dark Choco-Dipped Cherry Bites Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Serving Size: 15 cherry bites
- 1/2 pound fresh cherries, pitted and cut into halves
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 fresh dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 pound raw cacao chocolate, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the pitted and halved cherries on a pastry paper-lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Keep the cherry stems aside in a separate bowl. Allow the cherries to cool.
- Place the baked cherries, honey, dates, coconut flakes and coconut oil in a food processor and pulse briefly until mixture is combined.
- Roll the mixture into cherry-sized balls, and insert a cherry stem into the center of each ball at the base.
- Continue rolling between the palms of your hands until they form perfect balls. Place each directly onto another tray prelined with baking paper. Transfer the tray to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes or until the cherry balls are firm.
- Meanwhile, place the raw cacao chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan filled to 3/4 with simmering water and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Remove the melted chocolate from the heat.
- Dip the chilled cherry balls into the chocolate until they are completely coated, then return them to the paper-lined tray. When all the cherry balls have been dipped and coated, return the tray to the refrigerator and chill for another five minutes or until the chocolate sets.
Three Cheers for Cherries!
Fresh cherries are a favorite fruit during the summer season, not only because of their luscious flavor but their versatility as well. You can use cherries in different recipes: baked in pastries, added to fruit salads or even to complement the saltiness of sauces and gravies.
However, did you know that there are two classifications of cherries, in the form of either sweet or tart (sour)? The former is often eaten fresh, while sour ones are usually frozen, sold dried or made into juice. They also form a deeper and fuller flavor when cooked, which makes them more preferable in baked desserts. Nevertheless, both tart and sweet cherries are loaded with various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which all give them their amazing health benefits, such as:
May help relieve gout and arthritis — This is thanks to the anthocyanins and bioflavonoids that slow down enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 and -2, therefore providing relief for these conditions.
Promoting healthy sleep — Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which plays a vital role not just in sleep but also in curbing free radicals and cancer prevention.
Based on research, consuming tart cherry juice helped increase melatonin levels and improved total sleep time and sleep efficiency.1
Reducing your stroke risk — Consuming tart cherries activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) in your tissues, which have a beneficial effect on your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and may help reduce risk of not only stroke but other diseases.
Improving risk factors of heart disease and diabetes — Quercetin, one of the most potent antioxidants in cherries, has been found to improve cardiovascular health by managing blood pressure levels.2
Meanwhile, another animal study where rats were given tart cherry powder with a high-fat diet gained less weight and had less body fat than rats that were not. Lower levels of triglycerides and inflammation were also noted.3
Reducing risk of dementia — Polyphenols in cherries help combat inflammation and oxidative stress, which both play a role in dementia.4
Lowering risk of colon cancer — Cherries are found to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds like heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs).
One study found that when added to hamburger patties, cherries had anywhere between 69 and 78.5 percent less HAAs after cooking, compared to patties that did not use the fruit.5
The Best Way to Store Fresh Cherries
For this recipe, it’s best to use fresh cherries. However, you must take note of certain factors when storing them to prevent them from going to waste. Ideally, they should be consumed within two days, if at room temperature, for maximum flavor. You can also store cherries in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Do not wash them before storing to prevent speeding up their deterioration. Instead, wash them before eating or using in recipes.
The Health Merits of Raw Cacao Chocolate
The health benefits of dark chocolate are mainly attributed to cacao’s naturally occurring compounds, like epicatechin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and resveratrol, known for its neuroprotective effects. Numerous studies have confirmed that cacao can benefit your blood vessels, heart, nervous system and brain, and that it can help combat diabetes and other inflammation-related conditions.
However, remember there’s good chocolate, and there’s bad chocolate — if you’re picturing the usual sweet candy bars sold everywhere, then you’re thinking of the latter. For you to truly reap the benefits of chocolate, you must make sure you’re getting one that has a high cacao content, and is low in sugar.
Basically, the higher the cacao content, the darker the chocolate. However, cacao is very bitter owing to the beneficial polyphenols it contains. Hence, if you’re looking for chocolate to obtain its health benefits, choose organic dark chocolate that has a raw cacao percentage of 70 or higher.
If You Suffer From Insulin Resistance, Eat This Dessert in Moderation
These cherry bites are a wonderful alternative to the usual processed, sugar-loaded concoctions you see in stores, but take note that they still contain fructose — mainly because of the cherries, dates and honey used. If you are struggling with obesity or any condition related to insulin resistance, moderate your consumption of this dessert to prevent wreaking havoc on your health.
About Pete Evans
Pete Evans is an internationally renowned chef who has joined forces with Dr. Mercola to create a healthy cookbook that’s loaded with delicious, unique Keto recipes, ideal for people who want to switch to a ketogenic diet. The “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” is the perfect tool to help get you started on your ketogenic journey. CLICK HERE to order your copy now.
Pete has had numerous noteworthy contributions to the culinary world. He has not only cooked for the general public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart, and even represented his hometown at the gala GʼDay USA dinner for 600 in New York City.
Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room with many TV appearances including Lifestyle channel’s “Home” show, “Postcards from Home,” “FISH,” “My Kitchen Rules” and “A Moveable Feast.”
+ Sources and References