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21 Mar 2008

Dark Chocolate for Easter

I normally do not eat much chocolate, but around Easter, when supermarkets are filled with Easter eggs and other chocolate treats, I suddenly get the urge to buy all the dark, organic chocolate I can find. The up side is that dark chocolate, with a high cocoa content, is healthy for you, but the downside is that all chocolate is high in calories/kilojoules so should be eaten in moderation.

Reading labels is important with all chocolate, even dark chocolate, as many manufacturers add butterfat. Cocoa butter and chocolate do not raise blood cholesterol but butterfat does, plus it is not suitable for Vegans. Pure dark chocolate lowers blood pressure.

Chocolate contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, pantothenic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. It also contains polyphenols with antioxidant properties. It contains caffeine, but far less than is found in coffee, tea and cola drinks. Sugar-free or low sugar content dark chocolate has a low Glycaemic Index.

The one reason people love chocolate is not only for its wonderful taste but because it releases endorphins in the brain, which give a wonderful feeling of well being. The theobromine content in chocolate is a very mild stimulant with a mild diuretic action.

NOTE that theobromine is toxic to animals like dogs, cats, parrots and horses. Therefore never give your pets chocolate as a treat as you will be harming them.

Depending where you live, you might be lucky to get organic, raw, dark chocolate, but if unable to do so, choose the highest cocoa content. dark chocolate you can find and enjoy.

Happy Easter everyone.

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Chocolate Nests with Tiny Eggs
From VeganFamily

3 breakfast wheat biscuits (ie: weetabix), crumbled
1 large bar vegan chocolate (100g/3 and a half oz/half a cup)
mini eggs (or make your own with marzipan or vegan fondant icing)
patty or muffin tin
paper cake or muffin cases (10 to 20 depending how big you make the nests)

Place your paper cases in the tin. Melt the chocolate and stir into the crumbled weetabix. Put a spoonful of the mixture into each case and shape with the spoon into a rough 'nest' shape. How big or small you make these is entirely up to you! Leave to cool and set (in the fridge is fastest). Then place two or three mini eggs in each nest - simple!


Thick and Dreamy Chocolate Sauce
Karen Knowler Raw Food Coach

½ cup raw chocolate powder
½ cup dark agave nectar
½ cup raw cashew butter
1 tsp of vanilla essence

Simply place all ingredients into your food processor (this works better than a blender) and process into a thick runny chocolaty goo! It’s a miracle! About 2 minutes worth of pouring and whizzing for the most amazing creation ever.
TIPS:
This is awesome as it is – just by the teaspoon (!) – but could be used as a dip for fresh strawberries or other decadent fruits, or as a drizzle for a fruit salad or raw cake or fruit pie.
Freeze in ice-cube trays for instant cool chocolate chunks!
Add one frozen chunk to a smoothie or nut milk for instant choco-ness!
Why not add some raisins and/or nut pieces into the mixture for something a little more, um, “fruit ‘n’ nut”– like?
This mixture should keep well and happy in the fridge (covered) for a few days without any issues whatsoever.


Stuffed Dates, Chocolate Dipped
Cut choice dates open on one side and remove the seeds. Fill the open space in the dates with a strip of preserved ginger or pineapple, chopped nuts or chopped nuts mixed with chocolate fondant; press the dates into a compact form to keep in the filling, then dip them, one by one, in melted choclate. Put on sheet covered with grease paper to set.


Real Chocolate Ice-Cream
Karen Knowler Raw Food Coach
Serves 6 not-very-greedy people.

4 tbsps raw chocolate powder
16 Medjool dates
600ml / 2 1/2 cups of pure water
4 cups of cashews OR 4 tbsps raw cashew butter

Blend the cashews (or cashew butter) with the water to create cashew milk. Add in remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into an ice-cream maker and process until ready to eat OR pour into a freezable container with a lid and freeze. When your ice-cream is ready, serve, salivate and enjoy!


Vegan Low-Fat Chocolate Applesauce Cake
From Jolinda Hackett, Your Guide to Vegetarian Food at About.com

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups applesauce

Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Note: You can use other cake pans, but because this cake is a bit heavy, layered cake pans are not recommended. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

To get some fabuous, healthy, dessert recipes, visit Vitalita and download their FREE Desserts of Vitalita ebook.

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19 comments:

Marion said...

Happy Easter, Jackie...and thanks for a great post about one of my favourite treats. I did not know pure dark chocolate lowers blood pressure...even with that knowledge, however, a small square of dark chocolate is enough for me, after dinner.

aTxVegn said...

Happy Easter! I confess - I eat chocolate almost every night after dinner. Just a bit, then I'm done eating.

dreamy said...

Happy easter! I love chocolate! And honestly didn't know it got such vitamins haha...
It was not until becoming vegan that I ate dark chocolate and now I like it more than "milk" ones. The max dark I had is 85% and it's real good maybe because of the endophins u mentioned.

Marshamlow said...

Happy Easter! I always put a bit of cocoa powder in with the spices in my chili.

Mihl said...

Happy Easter! I eat way too much chocolate and I always tell myself that there are minerals and vitamins in it :)
Thank you for your fabulous recipes, I saved the chocolate ice cream one for trying.

Rural Vegan said...

Happy Easter! I didn't realize chocolate had all those vitamins and minerals. That's excellent!

bazu said...

I definitely indulged in dark chocolate on Easter- it was wonderful!

Urban Vegan said...

I have to say I'm not much of a chocholic. But I do love good dark chocolate now and again.

Seen This Scene That said...

I like dark chocolate. Now I know why they make me feel mildly high after a binge.

Thanks for sharing.

Health, Fitness, Science said...

thanks for this tips. Good thing I didn't gave them any kind of chocolate last sunday... Very interesting

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Happy Easter!

May I add you to my blogroll?

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Dark chocolate is a great treat - so glad that they found out that it was healthy, too!

Diane said...

I just wanted to say thank- you for sharing. Isn't it great to have such a yummy treat and not have to feel guilty about it?

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Jackie, those look like great chocolate recipes! You shouls post them on FohBoh....You have a section on your page for Blog Posts. There's also a chocolate group you could join and post them there.

Thanks again for joining and helping me out!

Good luck on our BotB Battle tonight!

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Hi again!
Just wanted to pass on this information ...

Boston Magazine recently published an article all about us this month - here is the link:

Oh So Soy!

If you have a few minutes to spare, could do us a huge favor and read the article and comment at the bottom of the page? We're very excited about getting such great press, especially from a magazine of this caliber. If everyone drops by and leaves a quick comment, soon there will be no doubt in any publisher's mind: YES, readers absolutely do want to know about vegan happenings and developments. Please don't hesitate to repost the article on your blog and spread the world!

Thanks!
Emily @ Wheeler's Frozen Desserts

Naomi said...

Hope you had a good Easter Jackie. Thanks for highlighting the benefits of good quality dark chocolate. That's the kind I always eat.

Anonymous said...

I am a strict vegetarian, grad student at University of California - Davis in Clinical Nutrition and I am attempting to eat vegan diet. Looking for recipes, I stumbled upon your site. I just wanted to tell you that your comment about coconut reducing HDL and LDL cholestrol levels may or may not be true, I have no idea. However, if one is persuing optimal according to recent scientific studies, I believe that raising the HDL levels would be wanted and decreasing the LDL levels would be preferred. It's hard to explain, as it's biochemestry of metabolism, but I think your statement may be misleading to others.

Jackie said...

You are right Anonymous. There is a lot of conflicting info about the levels amongst even the top medical sites.

snowdrop said...

yes, raw vegan ice cream rocks!
yummy!