It's True - Dark Chocolate Is Healthy Chocolate!
It's The Best Medical News In
prestigious scientific journals say dark chocolate is healthy
Dark Chocolate -
not white chocolate or milk chocolate - is good for you.
As there is no question that chocolate procures
pleasure for those who eat it, you never need to feel guilty
If you enjoy chocolate, eat a little daily - but make it
the dark kind.
Eating 2 ounces (50 grams) a day of plain
chocolate with a minimum content of 70% chocolate solids can be
beneficial to health, providing protection against heart disease,
high blood pressure, and many other health hazards as well as
essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium and
potassium, and vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E and it's a lot tastier
than boring old vitamin pills too.
A 1 1/2-ounce square of chocolate may have as
many cancer-fighting antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red
About 50% of all food cravings are for
chocolate, far more than cravings for "something sweet" (16%),
salty foods (12%), Baked goods (11%), and fruit (4%). Some people
go so far as saying they are addicted to chocolate. But that's no
license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can
help lower blood pressure. Remember, you do have to balance the
extra calories by eating less of other things.
What is it that makes chocolate so
irresistible? A large part of chocolate's allure, of course, lies
in the taste - a deliciously rich concoction that satisfies the
most intense craving. But several chemical reactions are
also at work. For one thing, chocolate stimulates the secretion of
endorphins, producing a pleasurable sensation similar to the
"runner's high" a jogger feels after running several
miles. The question arises: Why is chocolate such a
powerful food? And what makes it the most commonly craved food?
(About 40% of women and 15% of men report chocolate cravings.)
A new study by market research publisher
Packaged Facts titled Market Trends: The U.S. Market for
Gourmet Chocolate reports that the higher cocoa, lower sugar
content and antioxidant properties of premium dark chocolate are
making it a more attractive treat for health-conscious Americans,
especially those counting carbs. The potential health benefits of
premium dark chocolate versus
higher sugar, higher fat mass-market counterparts are causing
consumers to reevaluate their attitudes toward the gourmet
A word of
caution: Not all chocolate is heart healthy. White
chocolate, which a Harvard researcher points out is "not really
chocolate at all," and milk chocolate may expand the hips
rather than help blood flow. And none of the instant cocoa mixes
in the local grocery store contain the flavonoids that improve
blood vessel function.
Short History of Chocolate Aztec Indian legend held that cacao
seeds had been brought from Paradise and that wisdom and power came
from eating the fruit of the cacao tree. Because of a spelling
error, probably by English traders long ago, the cacao beans became
know as the cocoa beans. The Spanish general, Hernando Cortes,
landed in Mexico in 1519. The Aztecs believed he was the
reincarnation of one of their lost gods. They honored him by serving
him an unusual drink, presented in a cup of pure gold. This unusual
drink was called "chocolatl" by the Aztecs. When Cortes returned to
Spain, he took the cocoa bean with him and there is was mixed with
sugar and vanilla. this sweet drink became fashionable and soon
there were chocolate houses in all the capitals of Europe. A
delicate tree, cacao is only grown in rain forests in the tropics,
usually on large plantations, where it must be protected from wind
and intense sunlight. The tree is harvested twice a year. Milk
chocolate was invented in 1876 by a Swiss chocolatier, Daniel Peter
(1836-1919) of Vevey, Geneva. Daniel Peter successfully combined
chocolate with powdered milk to produce the first milk chocolate.
Today, the finest chocolate is still made in Switzerland, and the
consumption of milk chocolate far outweighs that of plain chocolate.
Chocolate was introduced to the United States in 1765 when John
Hanan brought cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester,
Massachusetts, to refine them with the help of Dr. James Baker. The
first chocolate factory in the country was established there.
It is also called baking, plain or bitter
chocolate. Since no sugar has been added
to the chocolate it has a strong, bitter taste that is used in
cooking and baking but is never eaten out of hand.
Still dark, but a little sweeter than unsweetened. It
is unsweetened chocolate to which sugar, more cocoa butter,
lecithin, and vanilla has been added. It has less sugar and more
liquor than semisweet chocolate but the two are interchangeable in
baking. Bittersweet has become the sophisticated choice of chefs. It
contains a high percentage (up to 75%) of cocoa solids, and little
(or no) added sugar.
Slightly sweetened during processing,
and most often used in frostings, sauces, fillings, and mousses.
They are interchangeable in most recipes. The favorite of most home
bakers. It contains a high percentage (up to 75%) of cocoa
solids, and little (or no) added sugar.
Dark, but sweeter than semisweet.
German chocolate is the predecessor to bittersweet. It has no
connection to Germany; it was developed by a man named German.
Chocolate or Sweet Chocolate:
chocolate. Chocolate to which whole and/or skim milk powder has been
added. Rarely used in cooking because the protein in the added milk
solids interferes with the texture of the baked products. It
contains approximately 20 percent cocoa solids.
Many people might
argue that white chocolate is not really chocolate. It is made from
sweetened cocoa butter mixed with milk solids, sometimes with
vanilla added. Since cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean,
then we can only conclude that real white chocolate is indeed
A term generally used
to describe high-quality chocolate used by professional bakers in
confectionery and baked products. The word means "to cover" or "to
coat." It has more cocoa butter than regular chocolate. It's
specially formulated for dipping and coating things like truffles.
Chocolate of this quality is often compared to tasting fine wine
because subtleties in taste are often apparent, especially when you
taste a variety of semisweet and bittersweet couvertures with
different percentages of sugar and chocolate liquor.
How Chocolate Is Made
Cacao trees are often interplanted with tall shade
trees to protect them from direct sunlight. Pods grow on the trunks
and larger branches of the trees and take five to six months to
ripen. Fruit on the higher branches are harvested with blades on
long handles and lower branches are cut with machetes.
The pods are cut open with machetes to
reveal between 20 to 40 beans each, surrounded by a mass of stickly,
white pulp. Traditionally, this was done immediately after harvest;
today, pods are sometimes first stored whole for a few days to prime
them for fermentation.
Fermenting begins when the beans come
into contact with the air. Here, a workrt uses a stick to gauge the
depth of the mass in a vara, or measuring box, to determine the wage
of the harvester, before transferring it to the fermentation bin.
During fermentation, the pulp disintegrates, producing steamy heat
and a pervasive, yeasty, sour smell. It is at this point that the
beans first develop thier complex characteristics.
Drying of the beans after fermentation
is done on slatted wooden trays in the open air. The beans are
spread out evenly and raked periodically so that they dry uniformly.
As the beans dry, their colors deepen, turning them into a carpet of
sepia, umber, and mocha.
Aeration of the dried beans during
storage is important to prevent the formation of mold. A worker
tosses beans with a shovel to expose them evenly to the air.
Grading of the beans is done
mechanically at the larger farms; smaller producers do it by hand.
From baskets, the dried beans are transferred to burlap bags and
transported to local selling stations, where they may be bought by
large companies for export.
Arriving at the chocolate mills, the
beans undergo a thorough cleaning, followed by the roasting which
brings out the particular flavor of each variety. Throughout this
process, a constant and exact temperature must be maintained.
Correct roasting is exceedingly important since under-roasting
leaves a raw taste and over-roasting results in a high pungent or
even burnt flavor.
Now comes the cooling, shelling, and
winnowing, from which the cocoa beans emerge cleaned and ready for
blending. This important process requires expert knowledge and
skill. Not only must the beans be selected which will produce the
best chocolate flavor, but uniformity of blend must be preserved
year in and year out.
After the blending, the cocoa beans
are milled or slowly ground between great heated millstones. Under
heat and tremendous pressure, the cocoa butter melts and mixes with
other parts of the beans forming the ruddy chocolate liquor. The
fragrant chocolate odor is now noticeable.
The liquor is then treated according
to the product to be made. For unsweetened chocolate, the liquor is
poured into molds and cooled rapidly in refrigerating rooms. Then
the cacao emeres in familiar form, as bars of chocolate, ready to be
wrapped and sold.
Keep the chocolate in a
cool, dry place. Chocolate is best kept at around 68 to 72 degrees
Fahrenheit, the temperature of a pantry or dark cabinet. It has a
shelf life of approximately one year. The normal air conditioned
room provides adequate protection.
Freezing chocolate is not
recommended; when you freeze it and then thaw it out, it will have a
greater tendency to bloom.
is the white, filmy reside that can develop on chocolate. This
usually happens when the chocolate is stored in a warm place, but
can happen when you freeze it.
Using Unsweetened Cocoa
There are two styles of
cocoa - natural and "dutched." The difference is an additional
processing step. Natural cocoa is mildly acidic. Dutched cocoa
has been alkalized (so its supposed to be smoother, less bitter and
Rule of Thumb:
Dutch process is alkalized
and cocoa such as Hershey's cocoa is non-alkalized. If your recipe
calls for Dutch process cocoa and you don't have any and you want to
use Hershey cocoa, add a smidge of baking soda to even out the
alkalinity and keep the cake from being coarse and dry. And
vice versa - if you are baking a cake and it calls for regular cocoa
and all you have is Dutch-processed cocoa, just leave out any baking
soda in the recipe.
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chocolate really be the new dietary "miracle cure?"
Seventeenth-century European physicians though so, and they
may not have been far from the truth. Recent scientific
studies have shown astounding health benefits from the cacao
bean, the source of all chocolates. New scientific data is
rolling out as you read these words.
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Need a quick
substitution for chocolate? Here are some chocolate
substitutions, but remember not always do they work as well as
the original recipe ingredient:
1 (1-ounce) square semi-sweet baking chocolate for 1
(1-ounce) square bittersweet baking chocolate.
and semisweet chocolate may be used interchangeably in
recipes, but there may be slight differences in flavor and
tablespoons chocolate chips for every 1-ounce
semi-sweet baking chocolate.
bittersweet baking chocolate for every 1-ounce
semi-sweet bittersweet baking chocolate.
unsweetened baking chocolate and 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar for every 1-ounce semi-sweet baking
tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons
sugar and 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or shortening for
every 1 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate.
tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1
tablespoons unsalted butter or shortening, plus 3
Chocolate Chips, Semi-Sweet:
semi-sweet baking chocolate (chopped) for every 1 cup
(6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips.
sweet baking chocolate for every 1-ounce chocolate
unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoons sugar for
every 1-ounce chocolate chips
Chocolate, Sweet Baking (German's):
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
powder, 4 teaspoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter, shortening or vegetable oil for every 1-ounce
German's sweet baking chocolate.
1 ounce dark sweet chocolate for every 1 ounce German's sweet baking
tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and 1 tablespoon
butter, margarine or shortening for every 1-ounce
unsweetened baking chocolate.
3 level tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa plus 1
tablespoon shortening, butter, or oil for every 1-ounce
unsweetened baking chocolate.
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips or morsels
(unsweetened) - cut sugar by 1/4 cup and shortening by 1
tablespoon in your recipe.
equal amount of Dutch-processed cocoa for unsweetened
cocoa. Leave out any baking soda called for in the
tablespoon carob powder plus 2 tablespoons water for
every 1-ounce unsweetened cocoa.
substitute instant cocoa mix for unsweetened cocoa in any
3 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder plus a pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda for
every 1-ounce Dutch-Process Cocoa.
1 ounce unsweetened
chocolate plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda (reduce fat in
recipe by 1 tablespoon).
3 tablespoons carob powder
for every 1-ounce Dutch Process Cocoa.
Do not substitute chocolate syrup for melted
chocolate in any recipe.