Posts Tagged ‘Dark Chocolate’

From The ChocolateDoctor Dark Chocolate Consumption Reduces Stress and Inflammation

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

We have been detailing the benefits of incorporating a limited amount of premium dark chocolate—low in sugar, rich in flavanols and antioxidants—in one’s daily diet. There are over 300 beneficial chemical compounds in chocolate that have a wealth of health benefits according to Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. 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. These new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation and now this research represents the first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions.

Findings from two studies presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.

Dr. Lee S. Berk, associate dean of research affairs, School of Allied Health Professions and a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology and food science from Loma Linda University, served as principal investigator on both studies.

“For years, we have looked at the influence of dark chocolate on neurological functions from the standpoint of sugar content – the more sugar, the happier we are,” Berk said. “This is the first time that we have looked at the impact of large amounts of cacao in doses as small as a regular-sized chocolate bar in humans over short or long periods of time and are encouraged by the findings. These studies show us that the higher the concentration of cacao, the more positive the impact on cognition, memory, mood, immunity and other beneficial effects.”

The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, with known mechanisms beneficial for brain and cardiovascular health. The following results were presented during the Experimental Biology 2018 meeting:

  • Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao) Effects Human Gene Expression
  • Cacao Regulates Cellular Immune Response, Neural Signaling, and Sensory Perception

This pilot feasibility experimental trial examined the impact of 70 percent cacao chocolate consumption on human immune and dendritic cell gene expression, with focus on pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Study findings show cacao consumption up-regulates multiple intracellular signaling pathways involved in T-cell activation, cellular immune response and genes involved in neural signaling and sensory perception – the latter potentially associated with the phenomena of brain hyper-plasticity.

Dark Chocolate (70% Organic Cacao) Increases Acute and Chronic EEG Power Spectral Density (μv2) Response of Gamma Frequency (25-40Hz) for Brain Health: Enhancement of Neuroplasticity, Neural Synchrony, Cognitive Processing, Learning, Memory, Recall, and Mindfulness Meditation.

This study assessed the electroencephalography (EEG) response to consuming 48 g of dark chocolate (70% cacao) after an acute period of time (30 mins) and after a chronic period of time (120 minutes), on modulating brain frequencies 0-40Hz, specifically beneficial gamma frequency (25-40Hz). Findings show that this superfood of 70 percent cacao enhances neuroplasticity for behavioral and brain health benefits.

Berk said the studies require further investigation, specifically to determine the significance of these effects for immune cells and the brain in larger study populations. Further research is in progress to elaborate on the mechanisms that may be involved in the cause-and-effect brain-behavior relationship with cacao at this high concentration.

Choclatique Premium Dark Chocolate Highest in Flavanols and Antioxidants

Choclatique Q-91—our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass. It is a unique and complex blend of 23 different premium beans from Central and South America and Asia. When you let Q-91 melt lightly in your mouth to release the essence of ripe cherry and deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes held up by a solid, silky chocolate base you are getting the benefits that only come from chocolate. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long, bittersweet finish.

Choclatique Q-91 contains alkaloids such as Theobromine and Phenylethylamine, which are now said to have positive physiological effects on the body, including increased serotonin. Scientists claim that chocolate, eaten in moderation (half to one Choclatique Q-91 bar every day), can lower blood pressure and prevent tooth decay. Dark chocolate has substantial amounts of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals to reduce the effects of aging.

Choclatique Q-91 Features:

  • High in Cacao Mass – 91%
  • Great Tasting
  • Rich in Flavanols and Antioxidants
  • Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free
  • Never Brittle; Never Bitter
  • All Natural. No Preservatives, Artificial Colors or Flavors

One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Custard-Filled Profiteroles French-Style

Friday, February 24th, 2017
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

Profiteroles or choux à la crème is a cream puff (or some might call it a round éclair). It is a filled French choux pastry ball with a typically sweet and moist filling of whipped cream, custard, pastry cream or ice cream. The puffs or profiteroles may be decorated or left plain or garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or a dusting of powdered sugar. While it looks like a complicated French pastry dessert, it is amazingly easy to make.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 16 to 20 minutes
Cooling time: 20 minutes
Assembly time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12+ filled profiteroles

Ingredients:
For the pate choux pastry:

1/2 cup water
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the custard filling:
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3-1/2 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, well beaten

Directions:

  1. Preheat and oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat and add the flour all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added.
  5. Using an electric mixer beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the second or third egg until the first is fully incorporated.
  6. Add in the cinnamon and beat for another few seconds to combine.
  7. Transfer the choux pastry to a pastry bag equipped with a large straight tip and pipe 1-inch balls onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  8. When done dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each ball where the pastry bag released the dough.
  9. Be sure to leave at least 1-inch between each of the balls. They expand when baking.
  10. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack. Prick each roll on the side with a thin knife to let the steam out and leave them to finish cooling.

To make the custard filling and assemble the profiteroles:

  1. Combine the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  2. Add the sugar, chocolate and butter to the milk and cream and mix thoroughly until it melts.
  3. Temper the eggs by adding a little of the hot mixture to the eggs and mix well.
  4. Add the rest if beaten eggs and return to the heat just long enough to thicken.
  5. Let the mixture cool.
  6. Make a small cut on each puffed profiterole and fill it with the chocolate cream.
  7. Top with the chocolate sauce of your choice. You can never have too much chocolate. Or, just dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you must.
  8. Can be served with the filling warm or chilled.

ChefSecret: Tempering the eggs in a little of the chocolate mixture prevent the egg from scrambling and leaving large lumps. If that happens strain the custard before filling the pastry.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

The ChocolateDoctor’s Double Chocolate-Orange Pound Cake

Friday, January 13th, 2017
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press

Everyone loves a good pound cake. Yes, I said everyone! What makes a good pound cake even better? CHOCOLATE, of course.

History tells us that pound cakes were made on the great western migration when the prairies were crossed by covered wagon. This was an easy cake to bake in a Dutch oven over a campfire and got its name because the pound cake required a pound of butter, a pound of flour, a pound of sugar and a pound of eggs. There have been many variations made to the traditional recipe, but even after all these years it’s still one of the most beloved cakes around.

My Double Chocolate-Orange Pound Cake is a cocoa and chocolate chip version of an old-fashioned pound cake. It’s not too sweet and is sprinkled with chocolate chips throughout. I serve it “naked” with a light dusting of powdered sugar or with ice cream or whipped cream. It’s also great toasted and buttered for breakfast.

Many pound cakes are from old-fashioned recipes handed down from generation to generation. This one is fresh from the ChocolateDoctor; my somewhat dense chocolate pound cake is baked in a 10-inch Bundt pan or two (2) loaf pans.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 45 to 60 minutes
Yields: 1 large 10-inch tube cake (angel food cake pan) or 2-10-inch x 5-1/2-inch loaf cake

Ingredients:
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons more for coating the pan(s)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 tablespoons Choclatique Black Onyx Powder, sifted
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk
8 tablespoons orange juice (or 4 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh orange zest, finely grated
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Options for toppings:
Confectioner’s Sugar
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Chocolate ice cream, for serving
Grand Marnier whipped cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heavily coat a 10-inch tube pan with butter.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powders together. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and the shortening with the sugar until fluffy about five minutes.
  5. Combine the milk and the orange juice together.
  6. Add the eggs one a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed gradually add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with the flour.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and the orange zest.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Check the progress by inserting a toothpick into the cake until it comes out nearly clean.
  10. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Slice the cake and serve topped with any of the options above.

ChefSecret: You can easily cut this recipe in half; check you bake times.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

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

Friday, 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

________________________________________

[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.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

The ChocolateDoctor’s Miraculous “Fivers” Chocolate Chippers

Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Take a look at the beautifully layered texture of this giant chocolate chip cookie. Isn’t it beautiful and luscious? This is more lumps of chocolate lightly held together with a little crisp cookie dough. If you love chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, then this is the real ‘Got Milk?’ cookie. The name is a misnomer as it is really a chocolate wafer cookie rather than a chip.

Use Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles for best results.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 24 hours
Bake time: 18 to 20 minutes
Yield: 20 5-inch cookies

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
3-1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1-1/4 pounds Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles
Sea salt for lightly sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light, fluffy about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until combined.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix.
  5. Using a rubber spatula scrape down bowl again.

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder and salt over dough and mix it until fully combined. (More on this later—see ChefSecrets below)
  2. Add the flour all at once and mix it in short bursts until it almost completely disappears. Do not overmix the dough. Overmixing the dough at this point will make a tougher cookie.
  3. Fold in the chocolate pastilles without breaking them. You want to see those beautiful layers.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The cookie dough will hold well for up to 4 days.
  5. Preheat an oven to 325° F. Be prepared to bake in small batches—6 cookies to a large tray.
  6. Line two large baking sheets with parchment baking paper or Silpat baking mats.
  7. Form the dough into 3-1/2-ounce balls (100 gram)—weigh them out. These will be larger than golf balls, but don’t let that scare you. If any chocolate pieces are exposed cross the tops or sides of the balls of dough, try to push them back in it.
  8. Arrange the dough balls far enough apart on the baking sheets as they will spread out to at least 5-inches as they bake. Using the bottom of a large glass dipped in water gently push them down to flatten.
  9. Lightly dust the tops of each cookie with a few grains of sea salt.
  10. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven), until no darker than golden brown.
  11. Check the cookies often after the first 15 minutes. Do not over bake.
  12. Cool the cookies on the baking trays for 10 minutes they will continue to cook; then transfer them to racks.

ChefSecrets: I found that you will get a better texture when adding the baking soda, baking powder and salt after the dough comes together. If you are using an electric oven, you might want to consider double panning your trays to prevent the cookies from getting too dark or burning on the bottom.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

The ChocolateDoctor’s Prescription to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally with Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s the end of January—the holidays are behind us, yet the holiday bills lay before you. Vacations are over, the back-to-work grind is wearing on your patience, and two weeks into the New Year you’ve already failed on your resolutions, whatever they might be.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason these are the most depressing days of the year.

Here’s the solution? Eat more chocolate. I’m not kidding. There’s no better food to connect the dots between mind and body than the deliciously emotional, palpably physical response we all have to eating pure chocolate,” writes Will Cower, PhD, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist in his new book, Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. As gimmicky as it might sound, eating chocolate might be the best natural remedy for anxiety you’re not using and science has shown that it goes beyond the mere mood –elevating buzz you get from gobbling up a Crunch bar on the way home from work.

Cortisol and Cocoa
You’ve seen those awful weight-loss commercials. The part that is true is that stress prompts your body to produce cortisol. Research has shown that heavier women have higher levels of cortisol than women of normal weight. Cortisol also triggers the accumulation of abdominal, or visceral, fat, which builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke.

In a 2009 study it was reported that people who ate about an ounce of chocolate a day for two weeks saw decreases in cortisol in their systems compared to its levels at the start of the study. Another study a year later showed that, over the course of 30 days, people who ate cocoa daily had 10 percent lower levels of anxiety and considered themselves 10 percent calmer than they had been at the start of the study.

The key to success is prevention, not reaction. Studies finding that chocolate has a positive impact on mood and anxiety all looked at consumption over the course of 30 days, while studies looking at people who consume chocolate in response to stress found those people generally feel as depressed after their chocolate fix as they did before it. They experience a short “mood elevation” that lasts about three minutes, and then disappears. That’s just about long enough to reach for another chocolate bar.

Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight
There are over 300 positive chemical compounds in chocolate. Eating chocolate over time allows one’s body to build up levels of cocoa’s polyphenols, which are responsible for regulating stress hormones. The cocoa polyphenols don’t immediately boost mood, satisfaction, calmness or contentedness. This happens only when chocolate is eaten slowly and steadily over a period of time. In other words, a patient chocolate eater is a happy chocolate eater.

Eat It Right
You won’t reap the mood-boosting benefits of chocolate by reaching for that bag full of fun-size caramels and nougats, or even by eating a chocolate bar a day. If you want chocolate to truly make a difference and leave you happy and less stressed, your approach to eating it needs to be a little more nuanced.

Dark vs. Milk
Dark chocolate is less stressful than milk chocolate, for lots of reasons. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other additives, while also being devoid of most of cocoa’s healthier components. The milk in milk chocolate tends to blocks the body’s absorption of the antidepressant antioxidants. Studies analyzing the healthfulness of chocolate rely on dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cacao or even unsweetened 100-percent cocoa powder. Functional chocolates such as Choclatique Q-91 or Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76%) are perfect for this need.

Eat Small Amounts
Once you find a chocolate you like, take it in small doses. To battle stress and anxiety—take one ounce a day for at least eight weeks. But divide that one ounce into five portions a day. That will be roughly the size of the end joint on your thumb. Stick with an ounce a day. There isn’t any evidence that eating more is a benefit that will make you feel even better.

Eat It Slowly
Don’t chew, or even suck on, your chocolate pieces. Savor the flavor by letting the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt slowly. The added time you spend slowly tasting your chocolate is time you’re not popping more into your mouth. The flavor lingers and your brain thinks you’re eating the entire time so you’re less likely to overindulge.

Choclatique Dark Chocolates are low in sugar and high in cocoa mass. They are slowly-roasted all the way through. There in no “green” left in the bean. This leaves a very pleasant, fruity flavor in your mouth with cherry, berry, and fruit wine notes—it is never bitter or brittle. Even Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cacao), used primary for baking and cooking, has a tolerable flavor. But, if you’re not into dark chocolates, try using cocoa powder like Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. About half cup, or eight tablespoons, of 100 percent unsweetened cocoa powder will give you the same nutrients and mood lift as the one ounce of dark chocolate a day. Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, use a few teaspoons in your favorite vinaigrette, or cook with it. Avoid “Dutch” cocoa, which has been heavily processed which loses many of the benefits you are looking for.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


Stressed

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s nearly the end of the year… just a few short weeks from Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. You just got a cancellation notice on your health insurance and your expected year-end commission has been cut in half. Are you feeling stressed?

Stress is a normal part of life, but we also need to find ways to relieve it. Two squares of dark chocolate—Choclatique Elephant or Q-91 Chocolate—could be just the prescription the doctor ordered to change your attitude by lowering your stress hormone levels.

Why do I we get so wound up when feeling stressed? Going back to our caveman instincts, stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones in our brains that prepare us for action to either fight or flee. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stress is very damaging to our bodies and minds.

As recently reported in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a group of Swiss researchers tracked volunteers that were highly stressed. In this study, strong evidence indicated that daily consumption of only 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate—low in sugar—during a period of two weeks was sufficient to modify the metabolism of the healthy human volunteers. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

Now you may ask, won’t chocolate make people fat? That’s certainly possible, but scientists at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, point out other positive benefits… dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health overall and other substances in chocolate appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol along with other medical conditions.

So take this as free advice from the doctor—The ChocolateDoctor… take two chocolate squares and call me in the morning. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and stress-free chocolate wishes for the holidays!

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Death by Chocolate Brownie

Friday, March 1st, 2013

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

At my waterfront Custom House Restaurants in Northern California we had the most luscious, chocolaty dessert that you would ever desire—Chocolate Sludge. It was a heated chocolate chip brownie topped with a scoop of homemade, dark chocolate ice cream, covered with hot fudge and crowned with chocolate whipped cream.

When writing my book, Choclatique, my head chocolatier and I remade this restaurant favorite. As it turned out, we kept going back to the brownie pan to cut little samples for ourselves. Wow, we discovered that this brownie needed nothing more than to be served naked—no ice cream, no frosting or no nothing other than just right out of the pan.

Death By Chocolate BrowniePrep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: 16 extra rich brownies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2/3 cup unsalted butter
2 cups Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips (yes, more chocolate chips)
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted walnuts, pecans or even whole pistachios (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 325º F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; whisk and set aside.
  3. Butter and flour a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  4. Combine the sugar, water and butter in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of the chocolate chips and the vanilla extract until the chocolate has melted.
  5. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl, and beat in the eggs one at a time until very smooth.
  6. Fold in the flour mixture until incorporated.
  7. Fold in the remaining bag of chocolate chips along with the nuts (if using).
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Yummy Dark Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Friday, December 7th, 2012

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

Choclatique Brownie MixOkay, here’s the story and I’m sticking with it. Joan wanted deep, double chocolate, chocolate chop cookies for her birthday. We were not near our test kitchen, but I had a bag of Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix with me. In just 15 minutes (allowing 30 minutes for cooling) I had the perfect cookie. These cookies are always soft and chewy and they are quick and simple to make. This is one time it’s okay to use my mix.

Brownie CookiesPrep Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 to 45 minutes
Yield 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 (24 ounce) package Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons water
3 large eggs
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Lightly butter a baking sheet.
  3. Combine the brownie mix, flour, melted butter, water, eggs and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Do not over mix.
  4. Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake in the oven until cookies are just set, 9 to 10 minutes. They’ll still feel soft to the touch.
  6. Let them cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely about 30 to 45 minutes.

ChefSecret: There’s never enough chocolate for me, but if you must, you can substitute chocolate chips with butterscotch or peanut butter chips, or your favorite candy-coated chocolate pieces like Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


Orange Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Muffins are the all-American quick bread that is baked in small portions usually in the shape of cupcakes. Usually they are not as sweet as cupcakes and generally are not frosted. They may be filled with sweet fillings, such as chocolate, toffee or fruit—the most common being blueberries.

My muffins are made with both dark and milk chocolate. They are rich and tender, high-rising, and deep chocolaty—both in color and flavor—kissed with the flavor of fresh orange zest. Serve them warm right from the oven; spread them with butter, jam or better yet one of my chocolate butters. You will soon discover they are the totally decadent way to start the day.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes
Yields 12 muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup Choclatique 72% Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles, melted
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with food release, or line with paper liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time along with the melted chocolate then stir in the orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and buttermilk.
  5. Pour into the flour mixture, and mix just until evenly moist.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon or scoop batter into muffin cups.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  9. Let muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

ChefSecret: To make sure the chocolate chips don’t drop down to the bottom of the muffin tin, lightly toss them in flour before folding into the batter and they will stay suspended in the middle of the muffin.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor