Celebrate Valentine’s Day All Year Round: Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

A Valentine note from Chef Hilary Schwab, the Edible Garden Girl: This past year, I am thrilled to report that I met my forever boyfriend. Finding love in your 50’s after a failed marriage and raising your kids is a special thing. When I finally took reproducing, finding my voice, and figuring out what I truly want from this life of mine — I was at last able to hone in on the perfect mate.

This has been very empowering, to say the least. For me, I wanted a life partner who would help make me a better me—someone whose values I respected and whose company makes me relax and be myself. I am thrilled to report that love, laughter, and calm fills my life now. My hope for everyone is to find this special place in their own lives.

If you have found that perfect someone — and want to show that special man or woman how much you love and appreciate them — nothing says I love you more than a homemade healthy, delicious treat. This chocolate-dipped apricot recipe has a knock-out presentation. These treats are so easy to make — but look like you slaved all day for your honey. Scroll down for the recipe below.

Now go wow your significant other!

What you’ll need: Makes 30 candies

  • 1/3 cup sugar 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 30 dried apricots
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet
  • Bakers chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons peeled chopped pistachio nuts

Here’s how:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set it aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon stick, and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the apricots.
  4. Simmer the apricots in the sugar mixture for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove apricots with a slotted spoon and place them on the parchment paper so they are not touching.
  6. Melt chocolate in a small microwave dish. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then mix.
  7. Return to microwave at 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (This usually takes 2-3 minutes total.)
  8. Dip each apricot individually into the melted chocolate halfway, sprinkle some chopped nuts on top of the chocolate and return the apricot to the parchment paper. Once all of the apricots have been dipped, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 60 minutes to set the chocolate.

Why this treat is so good for you:

  • The healing power of chocolate: Considered a “food of the gods,” the medicinal benefits of chocolate have been recognized for millennia. Science now explains why. According to research published by the National Institutes of Health by Donatella Lippi, “Chocolate in History: Food Medicine Medi-Food,” we know: 
    • Chocolate can help boost the immune system, lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and perhaps even increase your lifespan. That’s because 1.5 ounces of high-quality chocolate contains the same amount of antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of wine, but without the side effects of alcohol.
    • Chocolate is packed with mood-enhancing ingredients, including phenylethylamine, which is considered the “love drug,” as well as serotonin.
    • The ingredients in chocolate can also relieve a host of ailments, including depression, fatigue, pain, and PMS. It may also help rev up your sex drive.
  • Apricots do a body good: Registered Dietitian and the founder of Taste of Nutrition Katey Davidson, MScFN, RD, explains that apricots are a great source of many antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins A, C, and E. They are high in a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. And, all dried fruit contains the same nutritional qualities as the original fresh version. Weight for weight the dried form contains more of the antioxidants, minerals, and fiber than the raw original.

So enjoy, and have a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Hilary