Chocolate : History,Health Benefits, and Favorite Recipes
IN LOVE WITH CHOCOLATE AND IT'S OKAY!
Copyright DMCA by Jackie D. Kimball
Most of us today have had a love affair with chocolate since we were toddlers. Teachers attest to the fact that if you give a kid a choice of chocolate milk or regular milk at school, more than half will select the silky chocolate beverage. Since the Mayans and the Olmec and later the Aztecs cultured the cacao bean and drank it as a bitter drink, chocolate in every form has been revered.
Olmecs and Mayans
In fact ,the bean was so valued that it could be used as currency. An ancient document from the mid 1500s was found that showed that a tomato was worth one cacao bean, while a turkey was valued at 100 cacao beans. History indicates that at that time only the wealthy could consume the bitter, frothy beverage.
About this same time, the first Europeans in Spaniard King Phillip’s court began to consume the bitter chocolate drink, soon adding honey to make it more palatable. By the seventeenth century, the now sweet drink had become known through much of Europe, though still not affordable by many.
The late 1700s saw chocolate in the colonies, still a beverage of the elite. By the mid 1800s chocolate was being made into a sweet edible concoction, the first prototype of the modern candy bar. From the drink, to candy, to syrup, to chocolate chips ,chocolate has become one of the most popular sweet treats worldwide. The love affair continues.
Good News About Chocolate
If asked, many people will share their favorite way to consume chocolate, be it hot chocolate, candy, brownies, cakes, pies, cookies, or Easter bunnies.
For years, chocolate was forbidden or only given rarely as a treat to children because it was thought to be an unhealthy treat. Now there is good news for self -proclaimed chocoholics. In moderation, chocolate-especially dark chocolate, has numerous health benefits.
Know why some say chocolate makes them happy? There are actually scientific studies that collaborate this claim. The body produces endomorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in larger amounts. Serotonin levels increase, which can counteract depression and anxiety.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has been found to have large amounts of antioxidants which aid the body in ridding the body of free radicals. Dark chocolate has more antioxidants that green tea and red wine, and other well known foods that are rich in antioxidants.
Magnesium in chocolate is said to be heart healthy, can reduce inflammatory diseases and aids in preventing type two diabetes.
Additionally, some antioxidants called flavanols have other amazing properties. The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (J.B.B.), Tufts University, Boston, Mass., reported that “Consumption of flavanols that are rich in dark chocolate has been shown to decrease blood pressure and and insulin resistance in healthy subjects."
The reason is that the flavanols relax the blood vessels. Another study indicated that that the flavanoids, when relaxing the blood vessels prevents by inhibiting the inflammatory enzymes.
There is even good news for expectant mothers. Pre-eclampsia is drastically reduced by about 50% with just three servings (one ounce) of dark chocolate a week. The endomorphins produced are thought to lower pain sensitivity.
American Academy of Neurology's reported on a study with 44,000 subjects .Participants who ate one weekly serving of dark chocolate reduced strokes by 22 percent less than the subjects who didn’t eat chocolate.
Chocolate Fudge Pie
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
Gather these ingredients:
1 1/2 stick of butter, unsalted
4 medium eggs
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken
6 tablespoons of self rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 baked pie crust
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Filling: Melt the butter and chocolate, stirring to blend, and then remove from heat. Let this cool to room temperature.
(1)Beat the eggs and, then gradually add the dry ingredients. (sugar, flour and salt)
(2)Using a whisk, add the vanilla to the cooled chocolate.
(3)Mix the chocolate mixture to the other ingredients and stir.
(4)Pour the filling into the baked piecrust and bake for 35-40 minutes. The pie is done if an a knife inserted one inch can be clean when pulled out
(5) Cool the pie on a rack to avoid sweating on the bottom
Top with your favorite toppings such as whipped cream with shaved chocolate, whipped topping with maraschino cherries, or perhaps an icing of peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar.
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
This is a popular snack in Louisiana, and I have no idea who originally created this cookie. I know that it has been a favorite in my family for over thirty years.
Gather These Ingredients:
1/3 cup plus one tablespoon of cocoa (not instant)
2 cups sugar
¾ stick of butter (not margarine)
1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
One teaspoon of pure vanilla
Tiny pinch of salt (about 1/6 of a teaspoon)
3 cups quick-cooking oats
(1) In a large boiler or pot add sugar and cocoa and stir. Add milk and stir.
(2) Add butter and stir, then add the pinch of salt.
(3) Place on low to medium heat and continue too stir, being careful not to let mixture stick to the pan.
(4) When the mixture has completely melted, turn stove to medium heat and stir.
(5) At the point that the chocolate comes to a FULL boil, cook exactly four minutes.
(6) Remove from heat. Now add the oatmeal and vanilla and nuts if desired. (I like to add 4 T of crunchy peanut butter. (stephick's recipe for homemade peanutbutter cups.)
(7)Stir immediately and drop by teaspoon on the wax paper and let them cool.
Here is another hubbers no bake chocolate cookies recipe that is almost the same as mine, but uses cocoa. I have served these many times, and they are a hit with every one.Just click the highlighted words! Rich No Bake Cookies
The 2Patricias have a hub Chocolate For All Occasions. ENJOY!
My Mama said,"Life is like a box of chocolates.You never know what you're gonna get." ~~Forest Gump.
The good news is that chocolate, especially dark varieties, has many healthy benefits. However, chocolate should be consumed in moderation. The sugars, fat and calorie dense ways that chocolate is consumed makes it a cautionary treat.
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This article is copyrighted 10/16/2010
By Jackie D. Kimball / all rights reserved by DMCA
Want to know More About the History of Chocolate?
A Passion For Chocolate!
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