Chocolate helps you beat the winter blues

Chocolate can be healthy.

While very active people could have chocolate without any fear, it was a luxury sedentary people could ill afford. Luxury is the word; chocolate has always been considered a luxury for the palate and it had a certain air of wickedness. Not any more, according to the latest research, a daily dose of chocolate could also help to prevent heart disease if the chocolate is dark. A daily dose of chocolate could help people lift their mood when cold, depressed, or extremely tired, as long as the portion is adjusted to suit their level of activity and weight.

Why we crave chocolate

Have you ever heard someone say that they just have to have chocolate at certain times? Maybe they are stressed or wanting something sweet. The first food they reach for is made of chocolate. There is a reason and a good one (besides loving it intensely).

In recent years, chocolate has been studied as more than just a satisfying dessert fare. Researchers have found that chocolate also has health benefits. Eating dark chocolate can help reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure.

You don't need much. About an ounce of chocolate a day will help you receive these benefits without packing on the pounds. And, this is best accomplished with dark chocolate. It contains the highest percentage of cocoa. This is where the benefits derive – the cocoa bean.

The cocoa bean contains antioxidants. The specific one is a flavonoid called flavonol. As we know, antioxidants do wonders for the body. They combat the signs of aging on the inside so we look and live better on the outside.

Coffee flavored chocolate cream recipe

This chocolate cream puts a delicious end to any meal. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, fan shaped strawberries, canned tangerine segments, chopped toasted nuts, or whipped cream.

3 egg yolks
6 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
3 oz dark chocolate, about half a tablet of the cooking sort
1 Tbs cocoa powder, level
3/4 c milk
1 cup pound cake, crumbled
6 Tbs coffee

Distribute the crumbled cake between 6 glass ramekins and pour 1 Tbs coffee on top of the cake. Let it soak while you prepare the rest. In a sauce pan, mix cocoa powder with a little milk, stirring to prevent lumps. Slowly, add rest of milk, coffee and chocolate pieces. Mix well and heat up to the boiling point, but don't let it boil.

In another pan, beat egg yolks with sugar in another bowl. Add cornstarch and mix. Drip the hot chocolate and milk mixture on top of the eggs. Start cooking on low heat. Cook gently, whisking continuously. When the cream begins to thicken, take it off the heat and whisk vigorously for a couple of minutes. Return to the heat and cook a few minutes more, don't stop the whisk, again up to the boiling point. Turn off the heat, and keep stirring 2-3 minutes more. Pour the cream on top of the coffee soaked cake. Let it cool down. Garnish and serve.

Servings: 6

Cooking Tips

  • Heat the cream up to the boiling point, but don't let it boil. Take it off the heat source before it happens.
  • Use very low heat. To prevent the taste of un-cooked cornstarch, try the cream just when it starts to thicken and try it again later, when it has cooked for 2-3 minutes. You will notice the difference.
  • For coffee chocolate cream with a twist, try to use coffee liquor instead of coffee or a mix of both.

Easy chocolate almond cookies recipe

No baking in this chocolate almond cookies recipe, and very suitable to let the kids cook with you.

3 oz slivered almonds, great if you find them organic ones
4 oz organic corn flakes
10 oz organic chocolate to cover

Toast the slivered almond in a fry pan -no need to add any cooking oil- for a couple of minutes. Mix them with corn flakes. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Let it cool down and thicken and then melt again. Mix the melted chocolate with the almonds and corn flakes.

Layer baking parchment on top of a tray, set a 3 in ring on top. Fill the ring with 2 Tbs of the mix, pressing down slightly to shape it. Repeat until you have 12 cookies. Let it cool down. It will take about 2 hours at room temperature.

Servings: 6

Cooking Tips

  • If you don't have a weight at hand, 3 oz slivered almonds are about 3 Tbs, heaped - 4 oz cornflakes are 3-4 cups, depending on the brand - 10 oz chocolate are about 21/2 cups, grated.
  • Make three batches, one with dark chocolate, one using milk chocolate and a third using white chocolate. A real treat!