While the holiday season seems to begin earlier and earlier every year, and now I see holiday-themed items to buy in the stores as early as September, I still always think of the holiday season beginning in December.
And not even early December, either. My sister’s birthday is December 10, so my mom always made sure that we didn’t do anything even remotely Christmassy until after that.
Consequently, we were always the last family on the block to get our Christmas tree, put up our holiday decorations, or go see Santa.
Now, I have a December baby – my son’s birthday is tomorrow! – and I will adhere to the same tradition. We’ll be in full-blown holiday mode for sure, but not until next week.
But, one thing I have already gotten started on is the eating!
It all starts in October with the leftover Halloween candy. And continues right on through November with the gluttony of Thanksgiving. And then in December, BAM! It’s a full-on feast!
Here’s a great snack idea that allows you all of the indulgence but none of the guilt. You can take this to your holiday gatherings, or just make a batch for yourself to eat at home in your jammies!
If you like peanut butter and chocolate (like I do!), this is a great snack for you. It uses almond butter and cacao instead, but still packs in that delicious chocolaty, nutty flavor. It tastes amaze-balls, there’s no baking involved so it’s super easy to make, AND an added bonus is that the ingredients are fertility-friendly!
Decadent Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- Sea salt (optional, for garnish – I personally like the combination of sweet and salty, so I include it)
For the filling:
- ½ raw, unsalted creamy almond butter (I like either Artisana brand or Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1 tsp pure, organic vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp maca root powder
- Line a mini-cupcake pan with liners.
- Combine almond butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon and maca root. Set aside.
- Melt coconut oil using a double boiler. Whisk melted coconut oil with cacao powder and maple syrup.
- Spoon a little bit of chocolate mixture on the bottom of the paper liners. Place in freezer for 10 minutes to harden.
- After 10 minutes, add a spoonful of almond butter filling to each cup, then cover completely with additional chocolate mixture.
- Return cupcake pan to freezer for a few minutes to let it harden slightly, then sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Return to freezer to harden completely, at least 30 minutes. Best if made a day ahead.
- These will keep in the freezer in an airtight container for 6 months, if they last that long!
Where to begin on this snack?
Coconut oil is a great choice for baking if you’re conscious of your fertility. Despite what you may have heard about fat, fat intake is absolutely vital to our healthy fertility. While we want to limit certain types of fats in our diet, like trans fats, we want to make sure we get adequate amounts of other fats, called saturated fats.
Saturated fats help with hormone balance, which is necessary for healthy fertility. As I’ve shared in the past, hormone imbalances lead to problems with ovulation, which is the number one cause of female infertility.
A great source of the saturated fats we so desperately need? You guessed it! Coconut oil! Coconut oil has also been shown to balance metabolism, improve heart health and cellular health, including our precious egg cells.
Like coconut oil, almond butter is another source of healthy fat. Almonds and other nuts are also a great source of plant-based protein so they always make a great snack. The landmark Harvard Nurse’s Study found that people who are trying to conceive have greater success if they diversify protein sources in their diet rather than getting it all from animals, and one ounce of almonds contains 6 grams of protein.
Cacao powder contains minerals like zinc, manganese and calcium, as well as powerful antioxidants, all of which are important for egg health and healthy ovulation. They also help protect the health of the uterine lining. Make sure you use cacao, not cocoa. Cocoa is heavily processed and therefore most of the nutritional value is destroyed. So that transposition of the last 2 letters makes a big difference!
Finally, maca root powder has long been known to improve fertility, especially male fertility. It nourishes the endocrine system, thereby facilitating strong hormone production, and has been shown to boost sperm counts and overall sperm health.
So, it’s official: you can indulge in rich, decadent deliciousness AND boost your fertility at the same time! Who’da thunk!
I’d love to hear how you like these! Give it a try and leave a comment below!
Lots of fertile love to you,
[originally appeared at B Fit, B Fertile on December 1, 2016]