Recipes for Chocolates
Although chocolate can give us a rush of energy during long hours of work as well as some comfort during very stressful moments, it has a very bad reputation. We shun it because we are afraid of consuming the number of sinful calories that we can get from a chocolate bar. But, do you know that having a small amount of chocolate everyday can do wonders to our health?
Because dark chocolate has high levels of epicatechin, a flavonoid that regulates blood flow, can improve blood vessel function, preventing heart diseases and atherosclerosis, the stiffening of blood vessels. So, putting a dose of dark chocolate in your family dinner can complete your healthy meal. Here are some chocolate recipes for the Christmas season:
Chocolate Cake with Hazelnuts and Strawberries
What makes this chocolate recipe perfect is not just the wonderful combination of strawberries, hazelnuts and dark chocolate but the balance of Vitamin C, protein and epicatechin.
Serves 8, 3550 calories per cake, 443.75 calories per serving
100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
500g bag frozen strawberries
100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
3 eggs, separated
75g caster sugar
5 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
4 tbsp plain flour, sifted
50g roasted, chopped hazelnuts
icing sugar, to dust
1 cup double cream substitute
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Butter the base and sides of a 20-23cm/8-9in cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
- Heat the strawberries in a saucepan or microwave until soft. Press through a sieve with a wooden spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids, reserving the juice.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring. (Or you can do this in a microwave, but be careful not to overheat it.)
- Using a balloon whisk, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy. Sift in the cocoa powder and flour, followed by the melted chocolate and butter and mix together using a large metal spoon. Pour in HALF of the strawberry fruit juice then mix in the chopped hazelnuts.
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, fold into the chocolate mixture and spoon into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer or cocktail stick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the tin then turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar, cut into slices and serve with the rest of the summer fruit juice and double cream or crème fraîche, if desired.
Mexican Chocolate Soufflé Cakes
Perfect for the cold winter weather, cayenne pepper can help hasten a person's recovery from colds and flus. Even better, it can only increase the metabolism of fat because it can heighten body temperature.
Serves 6, 3107 calories per cake, 517 calories per serving
75g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
225g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1½ tsp instant espresso powder
6 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 egg whites
- Butter 6 individual soufflé dishes or ramekins (about 200ml capacity) and place on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or melt carefully in a microwave. Add the coffee powder and salt and stir to blend.
- Whisk the egg yolks and all but 1 tbsp of the sugar with the chilli powder and cinnamon in a large bowl until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Fold in the chocolate mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then whisk in the reserved tbsp sugar. Continue to whisk until firm, then fold into the chocolate mixture.
- Divide between the ramekins and bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are set and the centres are soft. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve
Of course, just because we've outlined reasons why you should give yourself a treat, it doesn't mean that you should eat too much of it. Remember that moderation is important. If you can deal with that, then you can use these recipes to make Christmas happen everyday.
© 2007 Shanti Rose