Rich, creamy, smooth, velvety…how would you describe your favorite kind of chocolate? Does it have hints of raisins or cherries or is it infused with lavender, chilies, or ginger? Perhaps dark is your favorite with the rich, strong, cocoa taste or the creaminess of milk chocolate that just seems to melt in your mouth. There is something special about biting into a piece of chocolate and tasting all the special notes that it has to offer. I’ve tasted a variety of chocolate bars, and it always amazes me how different and unique each chocolate bar is depending upon where the chocolate is from (Guatemala, Madagascar, Peru, etc.)
As you take a bite of your next piece of chocolate, here’s something to think about…it’s good for the heart. Chocolate (specifically 70% or higher) has so many nutritional benefits. Chocolate is high in magnesium, chromium, iron, protein, and fiber, along with many antioxidants and flavonols. In various studies, it’s been shown to reduce blood pressure and blood clotting, and improve circulation.
When choosing chocolate, avoid varieties that contain high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or any other additives. Soy lecithin may be added to some varieties to keep a smooth consistency to the chocolate, although some varieties do not use this ingredient leaving the chocolate with a bit more texture to it.
I’d love to hear about your favorite brand of chocolate and/or your favorite way of enjoying it. Do you enjoy it plain, just savoring it, or in a favorite recipe (creamy pudding, gooey brownies, truffles, etc). Here’s a recipe that I really enjoy…
Cooking: 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes to chill
Makes: 16 servings
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or other milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 package of organic silken or firm tofu
- ¼ cup brown rice syrup or sweetener of choice
Combine chocolate, milk, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Place on medium-low heat and stir until chocolate melts and turns shiny. Blend tofu in a food processor or blender until smooth. Next add melted chocolate and sweetener. Process until smooth.
Chill in refrigerator until set about 1 hour or more.
Recipe by Ami Karnosh, PCC Cooks Instructor. http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/pcc/recipes/chocolate-mousse.