I have been making some variation of these chocolate haystacks for years now, and whenever I do, I feel a little sly because they are unexpectedly simple -- and more healthful than they let on.
A melt-in-your-mouth chocolate confection with a cookie-like crunch, the haystack comes across as exacting to make, yet all that's involved is coating shredded wheat cereal in melted chocolate and mounding the mixture into small piles onto a tray.
The haystacks also register as completely indulgent, but they are pretty healthful as candy goes. I sometimes add chewy dried fruit and/or toasted chopped nuts to the mix -- I particularly like them with dried cherries. Here, I took a more blatant Valentine's Day approach by sprinkling the tops with a pink shock of crushed, freeze-dried strawberries.
Wrap these festive haystacks in a cute box and gift them to someone you love. When you get raves about how good they taste, you can divulge how easy and good-for-you they really are, or you can keep quiet and relish that feeling of being just a tad sneaky.
• Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author who hosts public television's "Ellie's Real Good Food." She blogs and offers a weekly newsletter at www.elliekrieger.com.