Monday, September 8

Good Eating Monday: Cocoa

Greetings! Another week in September! Finally got some much needed rain! It was funny, too--all the Box Turtles who live around my garden all suddenly popped out for a drink and a moisture bath! The baby one will be featured Wednesday. A set dedicated to our favorite Ninja Terrapin, Raphael for Tuesday.
And today, tidbits about the benefits of that ingredient so common in baking: cocoa!
And a Double Dark Chocolate Muffin recipe!
But before I get to that, an amusing story from our local "police blotter," in the weekly newspaper:
On August 24, 2014, a group of individuals traveling in a car together were detained at the Eglin Air Force Base East Gate and local police were contacted by base security. Apparently, these people mistook the base gate for a toll booth. (And would looke similar to the uninitiated.) 
On top of that: NOT of them had a valid driver's license either.
They were processed by the local police, then given rides to a local hotel.
You can bet they'll have to find another way home besides driving a vehicle!

Cocoa is the ingredient in chocolate that makes it chocolate tasting---and it's that unsweetened cocoa that's got all the health benefits!
It's full of something called, "Flavanols," which is a plant compound that can disarm cell damaging free radicals in the body, preserve cell membranes, protect DNA, prevent the formation of plague in arteries, improve blood flow to the heart & brain, lower high blood pressure and prevent blood clots.

But there is a trick to getting the best of these flavanols: 
You have to consume unsweetened cocoa either in baking, cooking or in DARK chocolate rated at minimum at 60% cocoa; preferably 74% cocoa. 
These flavanol benefits are NOT in milk chocolate. The milk added actually binds the flavanols. And definitely NOT in white chocolate, which doesn't have cocoa in it and isn't even chocolate at all.
And a process called, "dutching," also  reduces the flavanol, so you don't want that either.

One tablespoon of cocoa powder has about 20 calories, less then 1 gram of fat and approximately 1.8 grams of flavanols.
One can get the nutrient of the flavanols by consuming cocoa and NOT gain weight. This was tested in a study by Yale University on 44 overweight people drinking a cocoa beverage, either with or without sugar, daily for 6 weeks and they didn't gain any weight.

The basic rule with cocoa is: the higher the percentage of unsweetened cocoa, the better it is for you and richer tasting it is!

Double Chocolate Muffins:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar (or Sugar in the Raw) 
1 large egg
1 cup low-fat milk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
                                    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or butter)
                                    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  
                                    1 1/2 cups Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate                                     Chips.

In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt & cinnamon. In a large bowl whisk egg, milk, applesauce & vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry and stir to combine until just well mixed. Fold in dark chocolate chips. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin pan with 2 1/2 inch size cups. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. With a knife, tip muffins onto their sides in muffin tin & allow to cool. Then once cool, eat or store.  Makes approximately 12 muffins; more if muffin tin has smaller cups.
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

1 comment:

kelley jensen said...

I always knew choclate was good for you :)

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