The ChocolateDoctor’s Fair-Stoppin’, Blue Ribbon Basic Cobbler

September 8th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Stone fruit in California started out really strong and is not at the tail end of the season. I hate to throw any food away, especially stone fruit and berries that are starting to get peaked. What do I do? I toss the fruit in a cobbler.

This was my friend Stu’s grandmother’s cobbler recipe from the 1940′s. It is the best only made better with some Choclatique White Chocolate Chips. She entered her cobbler in the California State Fair in Sacramento. Nana Barlet’s cobbler won First Place and Blue Ribbon Best In Show. Not too bad for a first-time entry.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes
Ready to eat in: 2 hours

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh berries, stone fruit chunks or apples
1/2 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking dish (I used an 8 x 13 baking dish).
  3. Whisk 1/2 cup of the sugar together with the flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk butter and vanilla extract until a batter forms.
  4. Scrape into the prepared baking dish. Add the fruit, chocolate chips and sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar. Pour in the water.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the batter has risen and the top is brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool before serving.
  6. Serve with a scoop of ice cream.

ChefSecret: Trust me, just pour the batter over the fruit – it works. This recipe doesn’t work well with all strawberries.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Ice Cream Soda

September 2nd, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Labor Day is here marking the end of summer-time treats. But here’s “One for the Gipper.” You hardly see them offered any more, but at the beginning of the 20th century ice cream sodas were the rage. That’s when you could visit the counter of your favorite drug store that served malts, shakes, sundaes, cold effervescent fountain drinks and ice cream sodas. The fountain was truly a treasure and you owe it to yourself to step back in time and enjoy one of these wonderful old time treats.

Ice cream sodas were all prepared-to-order by well-trained soda jerks. Before you get upset and politically correct with me, he wasn’t stupid and he was a HE—girls need not apply. Here he made a delicious dark, rich chocolate soda… ahhh… the light bite of the fizzy soda water, the smoothness of the ice cream, the pleasure of the soft whipped cream, and of course, the cherry on the top.

After we made this recipe in the test kitchen it was even better than we were all told or remembered. So, when you’re in Los Angeles try getting a taste of yesteryear at:

Soda Jerks
At The Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
Adjacent to the Santa Monica Carousel at the foot of the pier

Bennett’s
Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles, California
Right next to Bob’s Doughnuts (where you can wash a doughnut down with a chocolate soda)

Better yet, make your Old-Fashioned Chocolate Soda. It only takes a few minutes.

Yield: 1 Old-Fashioned Chocolate Soda

You’re going to need:
1 frosted 16 ounce thick-walled soda glass or beer mug (stick it in the freezer until it’s very cold and frosty)
1 long iced tea spoon
1 long straw
1 small plate (it keeps the spill over under control)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Ganache Sauce
3 large scoops of vanilla ice cream (I use chocolate ice cream)
1 cup cold club soda to fill the glass (old timers will remember the soda jerk used seltzer water)
A big squirt of whipped cream (store bought Reddi-wip is perfect)
1 red maraschino, cherry stem on

Directions:

  1. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a tall 16-ounce frosty glass.
  2. Stir in the chocolate ganache sauce.
  3. Add in 2 scoops of ice cream and lightly mix.
  4. Carefully add enough soda water almost to the top of glass (it may run over, that’s okay).
  5. Place the last scoop of ice cream straddling the rim of the glass.
  6. Top with whipped cream and a cherry.
  7. Serve with a long spoon and a big straw.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Kladdkaka (Sticky Swedish Chocolate Cake)

August 25th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

I first tasted this cake when we opened our sister company office in Stockholm. Kladdkaka is one of the most popular chocolate cakes in Sweden. It is easy to make and deliciously gooey with a distinctive sticky texture. The secret for getting this unique stickiness is the short baking time. You may be tempted to bake it longer, but DON’T. The texture is something between a pudding cake and a brownie with a gooey center and a crackly crust.

Kladdkaka is made with Choclatique cocoa powder—no chocolate is used in the making of this cake. Of course if it’s not rich enough for you can always add a little chocolate. I use 1/4 cup of Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips).

I should also tell you that the recipe below is a base recipe and you can add spice (cinnamon, allspice, and/or 2 tablespoon of aquavit, whisky, Scotch, Guinness) and others goodies to your personal taste. Don’t be timid, experiment. You never know what great recipe you can come up with.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 18 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups plain all-purpose flour
4 level tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
1-1/4 firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cardamom
6 ounces unsalted butter
3 large eggs, room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Line an 8-inch springform pan on the base and sides with parchment paper.
  3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk them together with the brown sugar, baking powder and cardamom (and other spices if using).
  5. Beat the melted butter and eggs together.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in the butter mixture in two steps making sure to get all the flour at the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 18 minutes.
  8. The top will be set but the center still be a bit wobbly.
  9. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  10. Remove from the pan, cut into wedges and serve topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.

ChefSecret: Cardamom is a common ingredient often used in baking in the Nordic countries, like in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, where it is used in traditional Scandinavian bread. Cardamom has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous hop-like fragrance.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Triple-Layer Salted, Crispy Chocolate-Caramel Toffee Bars

August 19th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

This is one of the easiest bar recipes you will ever make. Crispy texture, creamy caramel and yummy chocolate—nothing could be better. The recipe calls for butter crackers, but you can easily substitute saltine crackers, wafer-cream cookies, or even Oreos with or without the filling. The salt sprinkle on the top layer of chocolate takes the edge off of what might otherwise be a little too sweet.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total time: roughly about 1hour, 25 minutes
Yield: 48 servings

Ingredients:
90 buttery rectangular crackers (Town House, light & Buttery Original Crackers, 13.8 oz. by Keebler)
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips
1/4 tablespoon course sea salt

Directions:

  1. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil leaving small overhang. Spray the foil with pan release.
  2. Place 30 crackers on bottom of pan.
  3. In a 2-quart saucepan, mix the condensed milk, sugar, butter, salt and milk. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring frequently.
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a slow boil cooking for 5 minutes while stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Working quickly while the caramel is hot, pour one-third of the caramel mixture over the crackers in pan. Arrange the next 30 crackers over caramel. Top with one-third of the remaining caramel mixture. Repeat with remaining crackers and caramel.
  7. In small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on high 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and very smooth. Pour over the top layer of caramel and spread the chocolate evenly with an offset spatula.
  8. Lightly sprinkle the chocolate topping with the course salt.
  9. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until set.
  10. Using the foil end lift out of the pan; trim the edges and cut into 6 by 8 rows. Store covered for up to 4 days, if it lasts that long.

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The Chocolate Doctor’s Chocolate Corn Muffins—Why Not?

August 4th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

We were celebrating Helen’s 1 year anniversary today here at Choclatique and 3 of us were going out for lunch. Helen and MaryJo are our top bakers and test all the wonderful recipes that come out of our test kitchen to populate our blog. While in the elevator going down to the car I asked, have either of you ever heard of Chocolate Corn Muffins. I got a couple of wrinkled noses and a look of “Are you crazy?” Then they said, “Well, why not?” So here for the first time anywhere is the Choclatique version of Chocolate Corn Muffins. Why not?

Prep time: 5 minutes

Inactive time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 12 to 16 medium muffins

Ingredients:
1 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup medium cornmeal
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1teaspoons salt
1-1/3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup tablespoon honey
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
3 tablespoons crystalline sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. In large bowl whisk the flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vanilla extract, honey, melted butter, chocolate and eggs.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and hand-stir until they are just blended. Do not over mix.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top.
  8. Evenly sprinkle the crystalline sugar over the tops of each muffin.
  9. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan. Serve warm.

ChefSecret: You can melt the butter and chocolate in the same bowl at the same time.

Slather the muffins with butter (you can never have enough butter) and enjoy or cut in them half and turn these chocolate corn muffins into strawberry “corn” cakes piled high with plenty of whipped cream… like a strawberry short cake only much better.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Molten Lava Chocolate Cake

July 29th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

You can thank the French for this culinary inspiration. People in the know, know this typically continental dessert was first made by 1Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who is known for the reinvention of the French flourless chocolate cake which has become one of America’s most popular desserts.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cakes are small, rich, moist desserts that contains a warm flowing, intensely chocolate-flavored surprise center when cut chocolate seeps from within. This dessert can be made two ways—my book recipe prescribes a chocolate ganache ball drop into the middle of the batter or under baking the cake as noted in this recipe. Either way, it’s chocolate—so, what could be better?

This recipe is a restaurant operation’s ideal a la minute hot, made–to-order dessert. It is also as easy to make at home for those special/romantic (and not so special) dinners. The batter can be made well ahead, then cooked on demand just before serving.

A well-stock larder will have these basic ingredients on hand—Choclatique Chocolate, eggs, butter, granulated and confectioner’s sugar, and a small amount of flour.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
Unsalted butter as needed to grease ramekins
2 large eggs
2 egg large yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3-1/2 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

    1. Liberally butter the inside of 4 to 6 3-inch ramekins. Place them in a glass baking dish.
    2. Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar in a bowl until light, foamy, and lemon colored.
    3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals at 50% power, stirring after each melting, 2 to 5 minutes. If it burns toss it away and start over. Let this mixture cool so you don’t cook the eggs.
    4. Stir warm the chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture until combined.
    5. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture; stir to combine.
    6. Sift the flour and salt into the mixture; stir to combine into a batter.
    7. Stir vanilla extract into the batter.
    8. Fill a re-sealable plastic bag (or disposable pastry bag) with the batter; snip off one corner of the bag with scissors to create a tip.
    9. Making lazy circles divide the batter evenly between the prepared ramekins; tap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
    10. Chill the ramekins in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking.
    11. Preheat an oven to 425°F.
    12. Arrange the ramekins in a baking dish pouring enough hot tap water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
    13. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
    14. Loosen the edges from the ramekin with a knife. Invert each cake onto a plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve while still warm.

Note: What happens if the cakes break apart on the plate? Simply top with confectioner’s sugar with authority and pretend that’s the way you meant it to be. 

ChefSecret: If you overbake the cakes you’ll have flourless chocolate cake instead of a wonderful oozing center. If under baked, the cake will not properly demold.

Another version, which is in my cookbook, Choclatique-150 Simply Elegant Desserts you can make a failure-proof liquid center by inserting a chocolate ganache ball in the center of a higher-flour content batter.

Don’t be two-dimensional—add a touch of cinnamon, honey, espresso, some almond extract or orange flavors to bring out the full potential of this dessert.


1I was interested to learn that Chef Jean-Georges is from Alsace, France. That is where my ancestral Celtic family is from. I have been there many times. Alsace is the beautiful northeastern French region on the Rhine River plain bordering Germany and Switzerland. Due to the spoils of war it has gone between German and French control over the centuries and reflects a mix of both cultures. Its capital, Strasbourg, is centered on the Ill River’s Grand Ïle Island, bordered by canals and home to the magnificent Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, with its animated astronomical clock. Alsace is known for some of the best food in all of France. Alsatian cuisine incorporates many Germanic culinary traditions and is marked by the use of pork (fantastic sausages) in various forms. The region is also known for its wine and beer. Some of the more traditional dishes include baeckeoffe, flammekueche, choucroute, and fleischnacka.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Midnight Chocolate-Almond Cake

July 21st, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Julia Child’s brought her famous Almond Cake to the taping of The Food Show one Saturday morning for our crew to enjoy. So thoughtful of her—we always loved having Miss Julia as a guest. It was a great cake, but something was missing. What could it be? Maybe a little chocolate? In this recipe I have enhanced Julia’s masterpiece with a little bit of own—Choclatique Chocolate—well, maybe a lot of Choclatique Chocolate.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sanding sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour 9-inch pie plate or loose bottom tart pan.
  3. Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, almond extract and salt in a large bowl until frothy and pale; about 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour and cocoa powder and stir until incorporated.
  5. Pour into prepared pie plate or pan. Top with the almonds and sanding sugar.
  6. Bake the cake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool slightly before serving.

Store: This cake can be made one day ahead wrapped (un-iced) in food film and stored at room temperature. About an hour before serving, ice it up and let it set before cutting.

ChefSecret: Fancy it up. Yes, everything tastes better with chocolate. You can make the perfect icing as a topper for this perfect cake in either Dark or White Chocolate.

Ingredients:
For the chocolate icing:

4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped (for a white chocolate icing use Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate)
4 tablespoons rum (for white chocolate icing substitute orange liquor, like Grand Marnier)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed

Directions:
To make the icing:

  1. Combine the chopped chocolate and liquor in a small bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir continuously as the chocolate melts and remove from heat as soon as it’s smooth.
  2. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time and use a whisk to beat it into the chocolate. Whisk until creamy and smooth.
  3. Let the icing cool to a drizzling consistency, stirring it every 5 minutes or so. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Drizzle the icing on top of the cooled cake and spread it to cover.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Orange-Blueberry-Marble Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

July 15th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours (or overnight)
Total Time: 4+ hours
Yield: 10 bars

Ingredients:
For the base:

Butter, for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup orange marmalade

For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons of vanilla or vanilla flavored yogurt
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate ganache (or store-bought chocolate sauce)

For the dark chocolate ganache (makes about 2 pounds—reserve the rest for other uses):
1-1/4 cups water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/4 pounds Choclatique Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped

For the topping:
1-1/4 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted for dusting


Directions:
For the base:

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  2. Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place a layer of aluminum foil over the top, pressing down at the corners allowing enough foil to facilitate easy lifting of the finished bars. Lightly butter the foil as well.
  3. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs.
  4. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate.
  5. Pour the crumbs into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass.
  6. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done, set aside to cool.
  7. Evenly spread the orange marmalade over the baked crust.

For the filling:

  1. Add cream cheese, eggs, orange zest, orange juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency.
  2. Divide the filling in half and add the warmed dark chocolate ganache to half, blending thoroughly.
  3. Pour the chocolate filling onto the cooled base and then add the blueberries that have been lightly dusted with flour to prevent the blueberries from bleeding.
  4. Top with the white base.
  5. Using the tines of a fork run it through the mixed fillings to create a marble effect.
  6. The blueberries will rise slightly so they may still be half exposed.
  7. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours.
  9. Once set, remove from pan using the foil lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

For the ganache:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Pour the heated mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 1 hour to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache emulsified.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date, and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

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Myth-Melting Study Finds: Chocolate Burns Belly Fat, Improves Cholesterol

July 8th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

To our loyal Choclatique blog followers: It isn’t too often that I forward a scientific study to our website. In this case I will make an exception. While I follow most of them, many are very boring, but this one caught my attention.  That said, I must point out that this was a pilot study with a very small sample size (just 15 people) and a very short duration (just 1 week).  The results and conclusions, while instructive, are not projectable to the population at large.

We have known for years that chocolate has over 300 beneficial chemical compounds. Now, a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has shown that chocolate can improve markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

When we originally formulated Choclatique Q-91, our functional chocolate, we knew that it was developed and formulated with many healthful benefits in mind.

  • Choclatique Q-91 is a premium dark chocolate rich in flavanols and antioxidants.
  • Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass.
  • One of the most pleasant effects of eating Choclatique Q-91 is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.
  • Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • Dark chocolate is a known to be a safe stimulant (and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac).
  • Choclatique Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

Now grab a piece of dark chocolate and read on to see what the researchers have to say about the potential benefits of chocolate.

Date: June 27, 2016

Natural Health, Natural Medicine

A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has revealed something quite counterintuitive about chocolate, one of the world’s most prized ‘high-fat’ foods. This strangely medicinal ‘sweat treat,’ which ironically you find in the candy aisle at the pharmacy, improved markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.

Researchers from the Department of Neuroscience, Division of Human Nutrition, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, in a paper titled ‘Effects of dark chocolate in a population of Normal Weight Obese women: a pilot study,’ describe the effects of 100 gram of dark chocolate taken for one week (approximately a 3 ounce bar) in so-called ‘normal weight obese (NWO)’ syndrome subjects.

NWO syndrome is defined as ‘an excessive body fat associated with a normal body mass index and characterized by a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,’ and has been found to be associated with a 2.2 fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in women compared with those with low body fat.[1] Generally, those with NWO have 30% or more total body fat mass percentage and significantly higher values of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α.[2] [3] [4]

The study looked at the effects of dark chocolate consumption on the following:

  • Blood lipid profiles
  • Biochemical parameters (e.g. interleukins)
  • Blood pressure
  • Abdominal circumference (i.e. ‘belly fat’)

A modest sample size of 15 women with NWO syndrome, aged 20-40 years, were included in the study. They received 100 grams of dark chocolate (DC) containing 70% cocoa for 7-days. Dual energy-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure body composition. Blood pressure, anthropometric measurements, biochemical parameters and plasma levels of some cytokines were measured before and after DC consumption.

The results were described as follows:

After DC [dark chocolate] consumption, we observed a significant increase in the HDL cholesterol level (Delta% = +10.41±13,53; p ≤ 0.05), a significant decrease of total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta %= -11.45±7.03; p ≤ 0.05), LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta % = -11.70±8.91; p ≤ 0.05), and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) (Delta % = -32.99±3.84; p ≤ 0.05). In addition, a reduction in abdomen circumference was observed. We also found a positive correlation between changes in atherogenic indices, and IL-1Ra, abdomen reduction.

The authors concluded:

Our findings suggest that regular consumption of DC could be useful in maintaining a good atherogenic profile, due to the favorable effects on HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein ratios and inflammation markers.

Discussion

This study should debunk several myths regarding chocolate consumption, such as ‘it makes you fat,’ ‘it clogs your arteries,’ or ‘it is bad for blood sugar.’ While low-cocoa chocolate, which is often high in sugar and may contain cow’s milk products, preservatives and lower quality fats, may not translate into the benefits observed in this study, a high-quality, high-cocoa chocolate may go quite a long way in enhancing general health and well-being. This is especially so if one chooses organically-produced, fair-trade and preferably raw chocolate. The raw part is especially important as the potent antioxidant compounds in cocoa are found at much higher and physiologically relevant concentrations in the non-heated and unprocessed forms. Indeed, according to the authors of this study, “[the] health properties of cocoa consumption were mainly related [in previous research] to the antioxidant properties of polyphenolic compounds, among others monomeric flavanols, epicatechin, catechin and oligomeric, procyanidins.”

The specific sample of dark chocolate used in this study was assayed to contain the following compounds:

It is believed that one of the primary lipid-modulating, and HDL-raising compounds in high-quality chocolate is the saturated stearic acid found in the cocoa butter. This is also a counterintuitive finding since many decades of propaganda has convinced the mainstream that ‘saturated’ fats are bad and ‘unsaturated’ fats are good. As the researchers state:

Because of its high saturated fat content, chocolate is often postulated to have a hypercholesterolemic effect. However, the high content of stearic acid (~30% of fatty acids) is considered to be neutral with respect to total and LDL cholesterol, and positive on serum concentration of HDL.”

It is truly remarkable that the dark chocolate was capable of raising the so-called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol 10% within only 7 days. This is a feat pharmaceutical lipid-modulating drugs can not accomplish, unless we are talking about patented forms of niacin (Niaspan) or fish oil (Lovaza), which really don’t count since they are really just glorified dietary supplements.

Previously, we looked at how chocolate – believe it or not – could replace the need for the $29 billion dollar plus cholesterol-lowering statin drug industry, by addressing and remedying the underlying pathology of the blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction) that leads to atherosclerosis and eventual cardiac morbidity and mortality. We feel the research, if you would like to peruse it, is remarkably compelling: Chocolate Gives Statins A $29 Billion Run For Their Money

When it is all said and done, chocolate should not be viewed simply as a natural “medicine,’ to suppress bodily symptoms or clinical parameters, as anyone who ‘loves’ the way it makes them feel can plainly tell. As my friend Marc David pointed out in his recent article on Vitamin P[leasure], the experience of joy within the enjoyment of chocolate is itself a highly medicinal ‘nutritional fact’ that will never make it onto the label of a product, nor will be easily (if ever) comprehended through clinical trials. Let the research support what most of us already know: food can be medicine, yes, but the point is to use it in moderate, culinary doses so that mega-dose, heroic ‘medicine’ will never become necessary. [this is one of the basic principles of my project with Tania Melkonian called EATomology]

For additional research on the health benefits of chocolate and/or cocoa please visit our research page dedicated to the topic: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/chocolate

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[1] ROMERO-CORRAL A, SOMERS VK, SIERRA-JOHNSON J, KORENFELDY, BOARIN S, KORINEK J, JENSEN MD, PARATI G, LOPEZJIMENEZ F. Normal weight obesity: a risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. Eur Heart J 2010; 31: 737-746.

[2] DI RENZO L, GLORIA-BOTTINI F, SACCUCCI P, BIGIONI M, ABENAVOLI L, GASBARRINI G, DE LORENZO A. Role of interleukin-15 receptor alpha polymorphisms in normal weight obese syndrome. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2009; 22: 105-113.

[3] DI RENZO L, GALVANO F, ORLANDI C, BIANCHI A, DI GIACOMO C, LA FAUCI L, ACQUAVIVA R, DE LORENZO A. Oxidative stress in normal-weight obese syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010; 18: 2125-2130.

[4] MEHRINFAR R, FRISHMAN WH. Flavanol-rich cocoa: a cardioprotective nutraceutical. Cardiol Rev 2008; 16: 109-115.

© June 27, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cinnamon-Cocoa-Grahams Chocolate Chippers

June 30th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Oh yum, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES! Not just any chocolate chip cookie; my chippers are a bit different with the texture of the crushed graham cracker combined with pools of milky chocolate chips. Eat them while they are still warm for a delicious and gooey treat. No lie, I make these cookies for EVERY occasion I can. You don’t even need to have a reason to bake these. They deserve to be around all day every day. Day old cookies can still have that fresh baked flavor and texture by popping them in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 7 to 8 minutes
Cool Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until creamy.
  4. Add the vanilla, almond extracts and egg and beat until well combined.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cocoa powder and salt.
  6. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until just combined.
  7. Hand-stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  8. Scoop tablespoon sizes dough balls and bake on a prepared pan for 7 minutes.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and place the pan on a cooling rack for five minutes. The cookies may appear to be under bakes, but wait—they will continue to bake while out of the oven and will set up nicely as they continue to cool.
  10. Eat them while they are still warm.

ChefSecret: For best result the longer you cream the butter and sugar together the better the texture—give it a full 5 minutes. Personally I love the flavor of milk chocolate chips in this recipe, but some of my co-workers in the test kitchen prefer the less sweet flavor of Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips. Either way, these are still a favorite. If they’re not sweet enough for your tastes or you have a group of Girl Scouts coming over you can easily turn these into a sort of S‘mores cookie by adding 1/2 cup of miniature marshmallows.

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