Guilt-free Chocolate Delights
The single most craved food here on Calorie Count is Chocolate. We love the flavor and the melting texture but we hate the extra calories and fat it can add. There's good news about chocolate, as mentioned in the following About.com article: Chocolate as a Health Food. Dark chocolate contains flavenol which acts as an antioxidant to protect the body from free radicals. It can lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The taste stimulates endorphins, producing feelings of pleasure while the presence of serotonin helps us to relax.
Chocolate comes from cacao beans, the fruit of the tropical tree Theobroma cacao. After long processing, cocoa butter and chocolate liquor are produced. From these the familiar cocoa powder and chocolate bars are made. Cocoa butter is also used in cosmetics. Dark chocolate with 65% or higher content of pure cocoa contains the most of these health benefits. How sweet it is depends on the maker and on your taste buds.
We have a dilemma. How can we enjoy the dark chocolate we love and avoid the excess calories? One way to enjoy chocolate is to eat just small amounts occasionally. The high calorie content means we can't afford to overindulge, but a little chocolate in moderation can satisfy. One way to achieve this is to divide your chocolate into 100 calorie portions, wrap them separately and freeze. Thaw only one piece and enjoy it completely. Cocoa powder itself is not high in fat and contains no sugar. It's very bitter and needs to be sweetened to be palateable, but there are ways to use it in delicious treats.
An individual mug of hot chocolate is easy to make. We suggest using a 2 cup glass measuring cup to do this in the microwave, since the cocoa gets very hot and will boil over. Put 1/4 cup of water into your 2 cup measure. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pure cocoa powder and sweeten with either sugar or artificial sweetener. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the power of your microwave, until it boils and foams up. Remove from the microwave and heat 3/4 cup of milk in a large mug. Add the hot cocoa syrup to the warm milk, and you have a low calorie, very satisfying cup of hot chocolate. Experiment with amounts until you find the quantity of cocoa and sugar that pleases you.
We turn to Calorie Count members and the many creative recipes they have entered into the Recipe Analyzer. We hope you will enjoy making chocolate treats.
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