Dark chocolate contains phytochemicals that may aid in the prevention of heart disease. When looking for dark chocolate, read the label to make sure that cacao is the first ingredient on the list rather than sugar.
Chocolate is considered a functional food ingredient. Cocoa products contain polyphenols, beneficial compounds found in fruit, vegetables, tea, and wine. Flavonoids, the types of polyphenols found in cocoa products, are particularly potent antioxidants, and make up over 10 percent of the weight of cocoa powder.
A growing body of research supports eating small portions of dark chocolate or cocoa for heart health benefits. Studies have linked chocolate with preventing blood clots, improving insulin resistance, supporting healthy blood vessel function, and lowering blood pressure, inflammation and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
Ranking Antioxidants in Chocolate
- Natural cocoa powder has the highest levels of polyphenols, mostly as flavonoids, and the most antioxidant power of any chocolate product. (But note that alkalized cocoa, also known as Dutch cocoa, is low.)
- Unsweetened baking chocolate
- Dark chocolate and
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Milk chocolate and Chocolate syrup (containing only about 10% of the polyphenols in natural cocoa powder.)
Bottom line is enjoy it in moderation and remember that those calories add up.
I received my latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine and came across a chocolate recipe…you can find the recipe here. I mostly followed the cake recipe but substituted my regular whipped topping recipe in place of theirs. I chose to use bittersweet chocolate to try to cut the sweetness. I used Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips.
Flour-less Chocolate Cake
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3/4 c sugar, divided
- 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61%-72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs
- 2 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tbsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly butter springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.
- Combine chocolate, oil, and butter in a large metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, stir until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove bowl from pan.
- Separate 4 eggs (yolks & white). To the bowl with yolks add 2 whole eggs, cocoa, vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until mixture is smooth.
- Whisk yolk mixture into chocolate to combine.
- Place egg whites in a clean and dry metal mixing bowl. Mix on high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar; beat until firm peaks form.
- Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture a little at a time. Fold just until incorporated, do not over mix. Pour batter into springform pan.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until cake is pulling away from edge of pan. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan (cake will collapse in the center and crack further as it cools).
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Add ingredients into electric mixer with beater attachment. Beat until cream forms stiff peaks.
This recipe is special because you make a meringue, which gets folded into the batter. Beating the egg whites and adding sugar helps to stabilize the foam, and increases the volume to create a lighter cake.
Any chocolate cravings will definitely be met with this cake 😀