October 2011

Chocolate and Salt Combo - An Amazing Sensation!

"Of course, I'm a big fan of sweet and salty mixed together"

I love chocolate so much sometimes I just crave it. One of my favorite types of chocolate is Lindt Chocolate, especially the truffle balls and the Excellence Bars! For months, I have been tempted by the Lindt Excellence bar that contains a touch of salt. However, I wasn't quite sure if I liked that idea. Finally, I broke down recently and tried one and I'm here to tell you it is going to be one of favorites from now on.

Chocolate for Breakfast

An Excuse to eat Dessert First

 

Chocolate can be added to pretty much anything to give it a kick that your sweet tooth will love. Chocolate in anything for breakfast used to be a way to coax children into eating breakfast, for example: chocolate chip pancakes, chocolate chip muffins, chocolate banana bread, chocolate chip scones, and of course, chocolate scones. Chocolate has even become popular in drinks that might be had with breakfast: hot chocolate, mocha lattes, and even white mocha coffee.

Chocolate is paired well with breakfast items that have characteristics of pastries. For this reason alone, chocolate goes well with breakfast items that have the texture of bread and same consistency.

Pancakes existed at the beginnings of bread and pastry. Pancakes are usually made out of any kind of batter, fried or baked in a skillet, on a griddle, or on any hot surface. If you take these and add in chocolate chips, it’s the perfect addition to this doughy bread breakfast favorite.

Healthy Chocolate Treats for Halloween

"Look for dark chocolate offerings since dark chocolate includes added nutrients and antioxidants"

This Halloween you can please all the ghosts, goblins, witches, and monsters that come to your door and still hand out healthy chocolate treats. Here are some of the healthiest chocolate treats available on the market today and they will still light up the eyes of even the most particular vampire, action hero, or princess.

Look for small sized portions of chocolate since they will have the fewest calories and sugar. Hershey’s assorted miniatures, for example, have only 4.4 grams of sugar and Hershey’s Nuggets Dark Chocolate with Almonds weigh in at an even lower 4 grams of sugar. Compare these to full size candy bars that can have as many as 200 calories and 10 or more grams of sugar. Look for dark chocolate offerings since dark chocolate includes added nutrients and antioxidants. Most chocolate vendors now have dark chocolate offerings and many of them also wear the “Fair Trade” label.

Some examples of excellent treats are the 3 Musketeers Minis offering only 24 calories and less than 1 gram of fat, or Hershey’s Kisses, 3 of which add up to 67 calories and 4 grams of fat. The original Tootsie Roll serves up only 26 calories and .5 grams of fat.


Another great way to hand out healthy treats this year is to consider the Clif Organic Zbars for children. Available in 7 flavors the Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Chip flavors make excellent treats serving up 12 essential vitamins and minerals and low in fat.

More Than Just Chocolate Chip?

How Chocolate has Become a Favorite for Cookies.

The most famous American classic cookie is chocolate chip. It is good for any age or occasion and especially enjoyed with a tall glass of milk. The traditional recipe combines a dough made of butter and both white and brown sugar with semi-sweet chocolate chips. There are many variations on this recipe, which includes other types of chocolate or additional ingredients such as nuts or oatmeal. For the best chocolate chip recipe, check out Alice's chocolate chip cookie recipe for crispy edges with a super soft center.

If you're more of a chocoholic, try checking out this top secret recipe for chocolate chocolate chip cookies. With chocolate dough made from cocoa powder, these are sure to hit your sweet tooth in just the right way.

If you want to keep it sweet but add in a little something, try chocolate white chocolate chunk cookies. The white chocolate will add a sweetness separate from the chocolate and create a completely different taste from just chocolate cookies.

October 15th is Sweetest Day

A Chocolate Diet for Woman and Chocolate Beer for Men!

This year the best gift you can provide your loved one is that old stand by, Chocolate. Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Medicine in Stockholm, Sweden report that woman who ate the equivalent of two chocolate bars per week had a 20 percent lower risk of stroke.


    Cacao beans, from which we derive chocolate, are high in Flavanoids, which are high in antioxidants. According to Dr. Keith Scott Mumby, an expert in Alternative Medicine, “A small bar of chocolate can contain as many flavanoids as six apples, four and a half cups of tea, or two glasses of red wine.


    In collaboration with True Healthy Products, Dr. Mumby has developed The Simple Chocolate Diet. The SCD allows one to three pieces of healthy chocolate which will suppress the appetite and reduce the craving for junk food or eating between meals. The portion is a mere 20 calories per piece and is chocolate that is not weighed down with all the sugars and milk in processed chocolate. The chocolate is metabolized slowly and leaves one feeling satisfied after only a couple of pieces.


    For the man in your life there is now chocolate beer. Now that’s an invention I think we can all get behind. New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus, Wisconsin has just introduced a beer marrying the full bodied taste of a Belgium Dubbel with European Dark chocolate. The New Glarus Chocolate Abbey is made with European dark chocolate, English Maris otter malts, and four different types of hops. Deb Carey, founder and president of New Glarus Brewing. Deb and her husband, brewmaster Dan, drew inspiration for their Chocolate Abbey from a trip to Germany and the Czech Republic.

Take a Dip

How Dipping Food into Chocolate has made a Real Splash

Taking one food and dipping it into another to enhance the flavor, or create an overall new taste is not something that's new. Fondue, which is cheese is melted in a communal pot over a spirit lamp and eaten by taking a long-stemmed fork with bread on the end and dipping it into the cheese, has been around since the 1930s as a French or Swiss dish. By the time this craze hit North America, it already had a twist that developed around the 1950s, where individuals would melt other solids into liquids and proceed to dip other food items into it besides bread. One of the most recognized uses of fondue is as a dessert, using different food items dipped in chocolate.

To start off with basics, fruit dipped in chocolate. Most people think that fruit was dipped in chocolate to enhance the natural sweetness, which came out when being mixed with the sugary liquid however it is just the opposite. Fruit, which is in essence, sweet was dipped in chocolate, which used to be very bitter to create a very different taste than the one known to us today. Fruit dipped in chocolate has become a gourmet eatery in America, so much so, that entire companies can base their fortune off of this goldmine such as Edible Arrangements and Shari's Berries.

A Sweet Love Affair

Humans' Dependency on Chocolate

 

Humans’ dependency on chocolate dates back 4,000 years to the ancient Olmec civilization in Southern Chipas Mexico. Later followed by Mesoamerica, which is now present-day Mexico and Central America.

The Olmecs were the first people known to process and eat cacao (kakaw) beans. They primarily drank the cacao mixed with water but also devised fermenting, drying, roasting and grinding the beans as well. This was later passed to the Mayans.

In Mesoamerica, the Mayans began to flavor these beverages with chili or sweetened them with honey and vanilla. They made this into a frothy drink that somewhat resembles the drinks that we make today with chocolate. They would pour the mixture back and forth until the froth rose believing it to be closest to heaven. Some debate still exists but it has been said that Mayan chocolate was reserved to the elite, government officials and the warriors. They even used the cacao beans in human sacrifices, weddings, and other religious ceremonies.

Rare Chocolate Variety Discovered in Peru

Connoisseurs covet new and unique flavor source

The US Department of Agriculture this week announced that a rare cocoa bean tree has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands. Dr. Lyndel Meinhardt, a scientist with the USDA reported, “The DNA of this material is pure Nacional, These are very rare”.
    Nacional is a member of the Forastero family. The Forastero family is one of the three main genetic categories of cacao. Dr. Meinhardt goes on to state “Nacional cacao has a rare characteristic. Some of the beans are white and not purple. White beans are said to have fewer bitter anthocyanins, producing a more mellow tasting less acidic chocolate. White beans are mutations that happen when trees are left undisturbed for hundreds of years”.
    Usually, cacao trees are found along rivers, but these were found at a higher altitude than normal growing at an altitude above 3,500 ft while cacao rarely grows above 2,000 ft.. Peru's tropical conditions -- 60 percent of the country is covered in tropical forest -- make it ideal for producing cacao, and specialty chocolates.