The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on February 12, 2013
chocolate

 

With Valentines Day on a couple of days away, I thought I would talk about a topic near and dear to my heart, Chocolate.

Chocolate is plant-based food coming from the cacao beans, seeds of the fruit of the cacao tree. Chocolate has been around for thousands of years and the Mayans and Aztecs believed cacao beans had magical properties. Chocolate is brimming with a potent source of antioxidants, maybe they are the magical properties the Mayans and the Aztecs believed in.

Benefit:

  • Improves heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow and making blood platelets less sticky.
  • Helps to improve the quality of the skin, by promoting collagen production.
  • Improves mood by releasing endorphins.
  • Reduces risks of developing high blood pressure and stroke.
  • Helps to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces appetite by creating the feeling of satiety.
  • Decreases stress hormone levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, digestive problems and depression.
  • Helps the body utilize sugar better, reducing the risks and complications of diabetes.
  • Decreases inflammation associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
  • Reduces memory loss and can slow dementia.

Currently, there is on–going research into the benefits of chocolate. I am sure the list of benefits will grow. But for now, there are plenty of benefits to add chocolate in moderation to a healthy diet.

To reap all the healthful benefits of chocolate, look for dark chocolate that is minimally processed. Also, look for at least 65 percent cacao and cocoa powder that has not gone through Dutch processing. If you are lucky enough to receive chocolates for Valentine’s Day, go ahead and indulge.

♥ ♥

Lil\'Luna

Recipe Swap Blog Party – Chocolate Nut Cake

Antonia is a 22-year old nutrition student currently doing an internship in Munich. She started her blog as a creative outlet where she could share her favorite recipes with her family and friends while studying in England. She shares recipes for everything from traditional Austrian dishes which she learned to cook from her grandparents and mother to everyday favorites. In addition to posting recipes she shares snippets from her daily life, documenting the food she eats along the way.

Chocolate Nut Cake

by Antonia @ Health Inspirations on October 20, 2012.

Click Here for original post!

Since the recipe for my mom’s birthday was requested in an earlier post and I sort of forgot to post it I wanted to share the recipe today…better late than never. This isn’t exactly a light summer cake but it’s one of our family favorites and it can never be too hot for chocolate and nuts.

We usually bake it using a baking sheet and then cut the cake into squares, but you can adapt the recipe to make it fit into a cake pan. My sister for instance used this {very simplified} recipe the last time she was here to bake my aunt’s birthday cake.

The most important ingredient, without a doubt is the chocolate. We like mixing dark chocolate in with milk chocolate but if you prefer just one or the other the result will be the same. Also, here in Austria we can’t buy chocolate chunks, just chips, and those will be too small and tend to melt. With bigger chunks you’ll actually have chocolate bits left in the finished product.

 

Chocolate Nut Cake

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter, at room temperature
  • 250g powdered sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla sugar
  • 9 egg whites
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 300g ground hazelnuts (can be substituted with walnuts or almond if preferred)
  • 180g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 300g chocolate, cut into chunks (the most delicious results are achieved if you use 150g milk chocolate and 150g dark chocolate)
  • if needed: 3-4 tbsp. of milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add 50g sugar, 1 tbsp. at a time. Continue to beat the egg whites until they are stiff.
  3. In a separate bowl using your mixer, mix the powdered sugar and butter on high speed until the consistency is creamy. Add the egg yolks on at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the cinnamon, baking powder and 1 tbsp. of vanilla sugar.
  5. When everything is light and creamy add the nuts, mix well. Then add the chocolate chunks and again mix for 20 seconds or until they are well incorporated.
  6. Then using a spatula add the flour and fold it in with the batter.
  7. Only at the very end when the batter is fully prepared fold in the egg whites. Be careful not to mix it too heavily otherwise the cake will not end up being light and fluffy. If necessary you can add a few tbsp. of milk before folding in the egg whites. This will make it easier to incorporate the eggs.
  8. When you are all set transfer the batter onto a baking pan (40cm x 35 cm) lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely and then either sprinkle with powdered sugar or glaze with chocolate.

Thank you Antonia @ Health Inspirations
for your generous contributions!
Enjoy!
♥ ♥

Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on July 18, 2012

This is a modification of the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe.  🙂

2 ¼ cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup earth balance margarine

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine first three ingredients. In a separate bowl, blend together the margarine, flaxseeds, vanilla, and sugars.  Add eggs, one at a time, until blended.  Add the flour mixture until blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Spoon a tablespoon full of batter for each cookie, 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.  Bake 9-11 minutes

 ♥ ♥

 

 

Chocolate Nachos

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on April 4, 2012

Last Sunday, I went to party at my friend Mickey’s house to celebrate the new season of “The Killing”.  It was a fun night; we ate comfort food and watched the 2-hour season première. Continue reading

Chocolate Mint Trifle

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick’s to all!

I have a very quick recipe for you that requires mostly just assembling.  I think this sweet treat is lighter than most trifles and it is quite tasty. Enjoy!

Continue reading