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Love Bites* for Valentine’s Day

* that’s “bites” in the sense of, “little tidbits that can be eaten in one mouthful,” rather than the sense of, “really sucks” (as in, “reality bites”) or even “little nibbles on the flesh of the one you love” (though, to paraphrase our most famous Prime Minister, DDD has no business in the kitchens of the nation–go ahead and nibble your sweetie, if you so please!).

[Two ACD-friendly confections: chocolate fudge on the left, carob-speckled halvah on the right (halvah recipe adapted from the one in Sweet Freedom)]

Well, it’s almost V-Day again.  So, got any plans? 

Over here in the DDD household, the HH and I long ago abandoned romance.  Or perhaps I should rephrase that:  the HH abandoned romance.  I, on the other hand (nerd alert! nerd alert!) am the kind of gal who would swim in a river of romance if I could find one.  I’d eat a triple-decker Banana Split of romance.  I’d paint a billboard of romance. I’d crochet a three-piece suit of romance. I’d sleep on a duvet of romance.  (“Mum, we’d sleep on a duvet of romance, too, you know.  Except you won’t let us on the furniture.”)

I’d–well, you get the idea. Basically, I’m just a big blob of schmaltz (in the figurative sense, that is.  I’m only a half blob of schmaltz in the literal sense, what will all that weight loss and everything). 

In our house, my approach to Valentine’s Day goes something like this:

February 17, 2009: start thinking about ideas for next year’s V-Day.

July 12, 2009:  while enjoying the outdoor jazz festival at the Beaches, surreptitiously write down all the HH’s favorite musicians so I can buy CDs for Valentine’s Day.

November 4, 2009:  Stop at craft store to select yarn to knit a romantic scarf for the HH for V-Day. If I start knitting now, I’ll have it for Feb 14th. 

January 15, 2010: So many cards for Valentine’s Day–which should I buy?  Can’t decide.  Buy two.

January 28, 2010: Browse through a plethora of blogs and magazines to find the perfect, romantic meal to cook up for Valentine’s Day. Consult existing list (alphabetized by course) to see which dishes would work best for the Big Feb One-Four.

February 2, 2010:  Forget the groundhog! Must choose the perfect ribbon to wrap the HH’s Valentine’s Day gift!

February 9, 2010: Consider how best to deliver the HH’s gifts for the Day of Hearts–only five days away!  Should I wrap each one separately, and hide them throughout the house in a kind of scavenger hunt?  Should I put them all in the same box, and wrap it as one gift?  Such decisions!

February 11, 2010: Pretend I’m baking for a TV spot when I am really secretly cooking up various kinds of chocolate truffles to include in my gift for the HH.

February 14, 2010:  Fill a shoebox with mini teddy bear, hand-knit scarf, bag of cinnamon hearts, boxes of homemade truffles, key chain with “I heart You” on it, Miles Davis CD and Card #1 (the sappy one).  Spend a couple of hours painstakingly drawing hearts and flowers plus line drawings of Ricki and the HH, in various shades of pink and red, on the outside of the shoebox, then wrapping with blue satin ribbon; stick Card #2 (the funny one) on the outside of the box. Set table with best linens (well, polyester made to look like linen, anyway), china, wine glasses and candlelight.  Play something soft and romantic like Satie’s Petite Overture a Danser, and wait for the romance to unfold.

The HH’s approach? Goes something like this:

February 14, 2010:  “So, is today one of those holidays where I have to get you a card or you get mad at me?”

Okay, I exaggerate.  He usually asks me that question on February thirteenth.

Well, for anyone with similar romantic aspirations to mine, I present you with little bites of chocolate fudge–ACD friendly.  These are an adaptation of the super-successful Fudge Two Ways I made a couple of years ago (and feel free to use that recipe if you can consume other sweeteners).  The communion of unsweetened chocolate, yacon syrup and stevia creates an irresistible flavor, a bittersweet blend of cacao underscored with subtle hints of molasses. 

Whether or not you’re hoping for romance this V-Day, these little bites will definitely bring some alluring chocolate into your life.  In fact, you may just fall in love.

I’ve also submitted this recipe to Ellen’s “I Am Gluten Free” list of treats (both sweet and savory) for Valentine’s Day--hop over to take a look.

Love Bites (ACD-Friendly Chocolate Fudge–suitable for Phase I or II)

[Little white dots of cashew and macadamia nut are visible throughout, a result of my home-ground nut butters; the storebought kind won’t have these same speckles.]

3/4 cup (130 g) chopped good-quality unsweetened chocolate (I used Cocoa Camino); or use unsweetened carob chips for ACD Phase I

1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic (USE ONLY with carob option)

1/4 cup (60 ml) natural smooth cashew-macadamia butter (I just mixed together half cashew, half macadamia nut butter); or use all-macadamia for ACD Phase I

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

2 Tbsp (30 ml) yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, or a combination

10-20 drops plain, vanilla, or chocolate stevia liquid, depending on the brand and your desired sweetness level

1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1/4 cup (30 g) coarsely chopped walnuts, if desired

Lightly grease a 6 inch (15 cm) loaf pan, or line with plastic wrap.

In a large glass or metal bowl set over a smaller pot of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), stir the chocolate (or chips and coconut oil, if using carob chips) until melted and completely smooth.  Add the nut butter and salt and stir again until combined. Remove from the heat.

Add the yacon syrup, stevia, vanilla and nuts and stir well.  Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

Chill until set, about an hour; then cover with more plastic wrap and chill until very firm, 2 hours to overnight.  Turn out onto a cutting board, peel away the plastic wrap, and cut into small squares.  Makes 12-20 love bites.  Will keep, wrapped in the refrigerator, up to 2 weeks. May be frozen.

Last Year at this Time: Featured in Clean Eating!

Two Years Ago: My Mother’s Potato-Corn Chowder

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


35 comments to Love Bites* for Valentine’s Day

  • My goodness, that looks tasty!


  • you know what they say – you are what you eat and you are certainly very sweet – I like to do something for valentines day but as E is a bit more like HH I don’t get too worked up


  • Aw, happy V-Day! I hope the HH appreciates all your sweet (literally) efforts!


  • I hope you get surprised with something spectacular for V-day. Personally, my boyfriend is a bit more romantic than I am. I’m usually the one who has to think of something last minute.

    Any suggestions for replacing the coconut in this recipe? I’m a bit sensitive to it. 🙁


  • Your HH sounds more and more like my hubby as you share stories. 😉 Hopefully they both do something wonderful this V-Day!

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My hubby is a true chocaholic. I think this will make his day. Thanks so much for sharing!



  • Oooh, these look so good. I want to make them now, but unfortunately I’m blog-reading at work (shhh).

    Wonder if subbing carob powder for the chips would work, if I added a bit more coconut oil (for the smoothness). I can only find carob chips with dairy (??) at my store, and am too lazy to order some online.


  • Ricki, I love your beautiful, enthusiastic approach to Valentine’s Day! Thank you for making me feel as though it is OK after all to get excited about V-day… 🙂 I love it too, but I get a lot of teasing as a result… 🙂 I am truly inspired by your wonderfully romantic outlook! The HH is very lucky indeed… 🙂

    Your fudge looks sooo heavenly… I’m in love already, just gazing at the gorgeous photos and the incredible recipe! 🙂


  • Metta

    I just love Valentine’s Day – there seems to be a bit of an extra smile in the air on that day.

    The recipe looks so good! How did you grind your own nuts to make the butter? I can’t find the premade butter in my store, but would like to try making my own. Just using the food processor, and were the nuts raw? I’ve not yet successfully made raw almond butter (always end up with mealy mush). Raw macadamia nuts seem to be a bit more oily than raw almonds so they might turn into butter more easily, but not so sure about raw cashews.


  • as always, that looks incredible. What a treat!


  • whoa the fudge and halvah look amazing!!


  • Happy Valentine’s Day, Ricki – and keep that romantic stuff going!


  • You already know what I think about the fudge (yum!) – but carob-speckled halvah? That must be delicious! Brilliant!


  • Iris,
    The coconut oil isn’t 100% essential–I use it with the carob option because carob usually has less fat than chocolate. If you use the chocolate option, you don’t need it at all. You could try 1 tsp (5 ml) sunflower oil instead of the 1 Tbsp (15 ml) coconut oil and see how that works!

    It’s easy to make nut butter if you have a food processor. I toast the nuts, then cool them, then process until they form a ball and start rolling around the processor bowl. Keep going for another 5 minutes or so after that, and it turns into nut butter. No added oil necessary (though to speed up the process you could add about 1 tsp/5 ml if you like). But it does take patience! And yes, the macadamias have more oil than cashews, so when you blend them together, it works out beautifully. For a post about how to make nut butters, click here.


  • Thanks for the v-day laughs. You never know, he may surprise you this year 😉


  • Ali

    Oh my, these look absolutely fabulous Ricki! Maybe I DO need to make some sort of chocolate indulgence this weekend after all!

    I love your photo too. Did you use rose wrapping paper as the backdrop? cool idea! 🙂


  • Jes

    The fudge is beautiful! I just made some truffles for my new beau–hopefully he’ll appreciate them as much as I do. But he’s a chocoholic, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem. 🙂


  • Mom

    That looks so good! And off subject, chia ‘pudding’ is becoming a favorite morning treat thanks to your breakfast post way back. You have posted so many treats that are good for the body which makes them relatively guilt-free . . .


  • Ricki, be my Valentine! These look awesome 🙂


  • How pretty and festive these treats look! Just had a look at your weight loss progress, Ricki. I am more than impressed. Dunno how you do it w/out swearing off sweets.

    I like romance just fine (finished BBC’s “Emma” series – adorable), but asked for and got a Swiss Army watch (LOL!) fr/ hubby as an early V-Day gift.

    Big hugs to everyone on 2/14, especially for The Girls. : )


  • Mmm, I’m imagining these made with peanut butter instead of cashew/macadamia, since that’s what I have on hand… I think I’ll have to try that one out for myself!


  • This looks delicious! I made raw fudge using date paste, but I have a jar of yacon in the pantry and mmmmm yum 🙂

    Happy Valentine’s day!!


  • Both of these treats are beautiful! I am going to make the fudge for my Chocolate loving hubby for Valentines…..Thanks for the inspiration!


  • I REALLY want to make these! I LOVE fudge. I’ve got everything but the yacon syrup/vegetable glycerin. Is there anything else I could use?



    Ricki Reply:

    Voracious Vegan,
    You could always use agave nectar, or even maple syrup, as in the original recipe. This one was devised for those of us who can’t have higher glycemic sweeteners. 🙂


  • My husband asked me the exact same question. sigh.


  • I needed a good laugh this morning! Thank you! And I love these little love bites. I’ve never been one to be able to completely eliminate sweets from my life. For me, the key has been learning to enjoy little bites here and there – this recipe will most definitely fit the bill. And thank you for linking back to my post asking people to share their gluten free Valentine’s Day treats – much appreciation!



  • Aw, I have a feeling you’re not alone with the differences in your approach to the holiday 🙂 hope you enjoy the treats! i should go make some for myself 😉


  • LOL! I loved your countdown to Big Feb One-Four! Bad HH, though! 😀

    How did you manage to find two cards? I always have a hard time finding the right one, and every year I threaten Hallmark with promises to start making my own cards the following year. This happens every year! 😀


  • Wait!! I forgot to say that your sweet goodies, especially the fudge, look absolutely delicious! 🙂


  • River,
    I don’t have trouble finding funny cards as a rule. For the sappy one, I usually buy one with just a photo and maybe one line (“I love you now, forever, blah blah blah”) and then write my own message. So in a way, I guess I’m making it my own card, too. 🙂


  • What perfect little bites of fudge!


  • My husband is the same way! Except he’s like that with any gift-giving type of holiday. He’s even asked me already if he has to buy me something for my birthday.

    However, I’ve told him that I don’t expect him to buy me anything on those specific days (maybe be super nice to me on my birthday, though!) but I would like to be recognized SOMETIME throughout the year with some gesture of love.

    It sounds like you do an amazing job! Those treats look great. 🙂



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  • Ari

    Guess what? I’m now on the ACD bandwagon! Day 2! And I’m already looking for sweets! How sad! 🙂 lol. This looks delish, although I think it will take me some getting used to carob I think. Where/what brand unsweetened carob chips do you get? I can’t seem to find any GF unsweetened ones here. BTW, you are amazing, doing all this. I’m already dying and it’s only day two. Did you experience a lot of being hungry? I feel like I get full and then an hour or so later, I’m starving again? Maybe it will just take a while?


    Ricki Reply:

    Hi Ari–
    Congratulations on taking the plunge! To answer your question, YES, I experienced sugar cravings constantly for the first week or so, and then up until around month number six. But that is VERY unusual–most people’s cravings subside within 10 days to 2 weeks. And yes, I was hungry all the time (hmmm. . . often still am, ha ha!). It does get easier and you do lose the desire to eat everything in sight.
    Re: the carob, I am actually able to get GF, vegan unsweetened carob chips here. The only ingredients are palm kernel oil and carob. I don’t know how they make ’em, but I am sure happy they do. You could try carob powder and extra coconut oil instead. . . it might work.
    Good luck with it!! 😀


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