Remember that post about how much chocolate is good for you? Well, here’s one way to enjoy it! The combination is delightful, and any serious chocolate lover will enjoy the deep flavor balanced by the sweetness of the dates, chewiness of the cherries, and the salty crunchiness of the pistachios. Feel free to vary your proportions and ingredients, but keep in mind the fruit provides the only sweetness balancing the bitterness of the chocolate.

Great tasting chocolate is key to creating wonderful desserts like these. Start with the highest class of baking chocolate that your budget can afford– I’ve had the best success with Schaffen-Berger and Dagoba (soy and dairy free).

Pistachio Cherry Chocolates

Yields about 12

2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 t coconut oil (butter might work too)
12 dates
1/4 c dried cherries
3 T pistachios, toasted and salted

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave, stirring often. Thinly slice the dates crosswise into rounds. Chop the pistachios and dried cherries. Mix the dried fruit and pistachios until well blended, and spread thinly on a piece of waxed paper in a rectangle. See the photo. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the rectangle, fold the edges of the paper over each side, and press down to remove air and distribute the chocolate. Freeze for about 20 minutes, or refrigerate until firm. Slice into squares or rectangles.

*Want shiny chocolate? You’ll have to be sure that you start with tempered chocolate. Instead of melting all of it, melt half and finely chop half. Stir the finely chopped half into the melted portion immediately before pouring over the filling(s). The chopped part of the chocolate will change the structure of the chocolate molecules to maintain the shine. I don’t bother, usually, but there are those who do care.

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