High Quality Dark Chocolate - Let Food Be Thy Medicine
There has been a lot of attention lately in the media about the benefits of dark chocolate.
According to a recent study published in Circulation, "Regular dietary intake of plant-derived foods and beverages reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Among many ingredients, cocoa might be an important mediator. Recent research demonstrates a beneficial effect of cocoa on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and vascular and platelet function."
HIGH QUALITY DARK CHOCOLATE - LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE
With Valentine's Day right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite dark chocolate recipes with our beloved readers.
DARK CHOCOLATE CREME ANGLAISE
Recipe by Chef William Guthrie
Creme Anglaise is a highly versatile custard that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you can pour it into a baked pastry shell and top with strawberries or raspberries. Or you can eat it as a pudding by simply serving as is with a little whipped cream.
1½ cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whisk sugar into egg yolks until sugar is dissolved. Heat milk and cream in noncorroding saucepan just to a boil.
Take it off the heat and add some of the hot liquid to the yolks, whisking constantly. Keep adding more hot liquid a little at a time while whisking constantly, until all of it is transferred to the eggs.
Transfer the mixture to a double-boiler and cook, stirring constantly until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It's ready when you can draw a trail across the back of the spoon and the edges don't run together.
Add vanilla. One teaspoon of Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste will add wonderful flavor and vanilla bean specks.
Strain into a glass bowl sitting in a larger bowel of ice cubes to quickly cool it down and stop the cooking.
Cover and refrigerate. Some recipes call for covering the creme itself in plastic wrap.
"It can lower blood sugar and increase 'good' HDL cholesterol. That's proven scientifically. But the operative words here are 'high quality','' says one expert.
"Cheap chocolate is cut with things like PGPR (polyglycerol polyricinoleate) that don't get you where you want to go," she says.
The best way to have a healthy relationship with chocolate is to choose bars that have a cacao content of 70 percent or higher, and try to get organic, fair trade wherever possible.
And finally, don't eat a lot of it. You want to think of it more like a supplement as opposed to the main course.
BERRY BERRY CHOCOLATE
1 cup organic strawberries
1 cup organic blueberries
100g cacao powder
1 ounce pecans
1 ounce walnuts
1-2 tsp raw honey for drizzling
This recipe is high in antioxidants and omega 3s from the nuts. This easily replaces breakfast cereal for those looking for less processed, gluten-free morning meals.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT BITES
1/2 cup raw cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup crushed raw pecans
2/3 cup raw, shredded and unsweetened coconut flakes
Mix all ingredients. Roll into 1/2-inch balls, and roll in the extra coconut to coat.
PERFECT PEPPERMINT MORNING MOCHA
6 ounces whole organic, pastured milk
1/8 teaspoon pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic, fair trade turbinado sugar
Dash organic chili powder
In a pot, bring milk to a boil then turn down to low heat. Stir in cocoa, vanilla extract, sugar and spices. Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes then turn heat off. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.