Posts Tagged ‘Comfort Food’

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Chocolate

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

If you’re like most women, you’re totally smitten with chocolate. People have been obsessing over this comfort food for thousands of years (the Mayans considered cacao a cure-all and the Aztecs used it as money). And all that obsessing has yielded some pretty surprising studies–and findings. Here are five things you need to know about your favorite indulgence.

sprinter

1. It Can Boost Your Workout
Skip the expensive sports drinks and protein shakes. Research shows chocolate milk is just as effective a recovery aid.

A study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism compared the effects of a recovery drink and chocolate milk on endurance athletes’ ability to recover after a series of bike sprints followed by an endurance ride the next day. They found that chocolate milk was just as effective at relieving muscle soreness after the sprints, and preparing the athletes to perform in the endurance test the next day. Better yet, everyone preferred the taste of chocolate milk.

pms

2. Your Period Doesn’t Make You Crave It
Half of American women experience chocolate cravings. Of those who do, about half crave it right around “that” time of the month.

And while it’s nice to have your menstrual cycle to blame when you find yourself noshing on half a package of chocolate chip cookies, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that menstrual hormones aren’t the culprit. They compared the cravings of pre- and post-menopausal women and didn’t find any change. They did, however, find a higher prevalence of cravings among women who suffer from PMS.

Why? Annmarie Kostyk, a chocolate expert who studied at the Professional School of Chocolate Arts, Ecole Chocolat, in Canada, says this has a lot to do with the psychology behind comfort foods. “Chocolate is sociologically considered a comfort food, and people crave comfort foods when they feel terrible,” she says.

time to wake up

3. It Won’t Wake You Up
It’s a common misconception that chocolate is packed with caffeine, says Kostyk. In reality, the amount of caffeine in chocolate is miniscule compared to what’s in your other daily pick-me-ups.

An ounce of dark chocolate contains about 20 milligrams of caffeine, while an ounce of milk chocolate contains about 5 milligrams–the same as an 8-ounce cup of decaf coffee. In comparison, a cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams and a cup of tea contains about 50 milligrams of caffeine.

4. It Contains Flavonoids
Flavowhats? Flavonoids are a type of phytochemical, or plant chemical, that are found naturally in chocolate. Due to their unique chemical structures, flavonoids can exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cell-protective effects, says Giana Angelo, Ph.D., a research associate who specializes in micronutrient research at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Consuming foods rich in flavonoids has also been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

To reap the benefits, stick to dark chocolate. The average commercial dark chocolate contains about 60 percent cocao and has been found to contain 536 milligrams of flavonoids per 1.4-ounce serving. Research has shown that as few as 80 milligrams of flavonoids a day can lower blood pressure.

theobromine

5. It’s Not All Bad for Your Teeth
How could a food that’s long been touted as a cavity-causer actually have teeth-protecting properties? It turns out that theobromine, an organic molecule that occurs naturally in cocoa, can help strengthen tooth enamel, according to research from Tulane University.

In fact, it takes 142 times less cocao extract to have about twice the protective benefits of fluoride, according to the American Dental Association. Unfortunately, theobromine isn’t too beneficial in chocolate bars, where the sugar and milk counteract the dental benefits. Enter Theodent, a fluoride-free mint toothpaste that packs a punch of theobromine.

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A Comfort Food—Authentically American

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Comfort FoodWhat would we do without our comfort foods? Well, we would be far less comfortable around the dining room table. Comfort Foods are prepared in a traditional manner and usually have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. They are often simply easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest, filling and rich in calories, nutrients or both. Comfort Foods come and go in popularity often affected by the financial climate. Most often in America Comfort Foods have a nostalgic element either to an individual, region or a specific culture like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and, of course, chocolate—Choclatique Chocolate. Comfort Foods pique emotions to relieve the negative psychological effects of stress or to increase positive feelings.

Comfort Foods have been the subject of many studies since the term was first coined in 1977. College-students divide Comfort Foods into four categories—nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods.

Stress EatingIn one study of American Comfort Food preferences, males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age. The consumption of Comfort Foods is triggered by positive emotions in men, and by negative emotions in women. The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women.

The recipe below is an Authentically American Comfort Food dessert that will trigger only the most beneficial emotions in men and women—both young and old and has the comfort elements of chocolate and peanuts.

Silky Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Butter Crunch

If you love the ”comforty” combination of chocolate and peanut butter you will fall in lust with this luscious, elegant, rich milk-chocolate dessert mousse crowned with a roasted-peanut cream and an addictively crunchy cornflake topping mixed with peanut butter, milk chocolate and peanuts.

Ingredients for the Peanut Cream:

3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped

Ingredients for the Mousse:

2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 pounds milk chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 ounces Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
9 large egg yolks

Ingredients for the Crunch:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 ounces Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions for the Peanut Cream:

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer with the chopped peanuts. Let the peanuts and cream stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Strain the peanut cream into a medium bowl; discard the chopped peanuts. Wipe out the saucepan, add back the cream and bring to a simmer.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin and chopped white chocolate until melted and well blended. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate the peanut cream until it is set, about 2 hours.

For the Mousse:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until boiling. Put the milk chocolate and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl and add the hot cream. Let stand until melted, then whisk until very smooth; let it cool.
  2. In another small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg yolks at high speed until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup while beating at high speed; be careful not to pour the syrup directly onto the beaters. Beat until the mixture is cool, pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture until no streaks remain. Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1-1/2 hours.

For the Crunch:

  1. Line a medium baking sheet with wax paper. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and chocolate at high power at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in the cornflakes and peanuts and spread the mixture on the baking sheet in a 1/2-inch layer. Freeze until firm, about 1-1/2 hours. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Spoon the mousse into 8 glasses or small serving bowls and top each with a scoop of the peanut cream. Sprinkle with the peanut crunch and serve.

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