Sweets for your Sweetie: Delicious Benefits of Dark Chocolate
February 10, 2016
Didn’t think your favorite sweet treat could get any sweeter? Think again! Research shows that chocolate can actually be good for your health and well-being! Aside from being packed with flavor, dark chocolate also contains a ton of antioxidants and key vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, iron and potassium.
Did you know that coffee and dark chocolate also have the same positive effects on cognitive functions and mood? Dark chocolate provides an instant boost in concentration and mood and even improves blood flow to the brain, helping you feel more vibrant and energized. Skip the sugary milk chocolate blends and go directly for the darkest organic (highest percentage of cocoa) chocolate you can.
At Savor Fresh Catering, our chefs use only the finest ingredients (including chocolate!) to create delicious treats! From gourmet chocolate brownie sundae cupcakes to tuxedo chocolate dipped strawberry pops and fresh caramel filled chocolate drop doughnuts, Savor has something for every chocoholic, and our unique and creative displays fit any theme!
Here are a few more delicious benefits of dark chocolate-
Harvard researchers found that when older adults with diabetes or hypertension and impaired blood flow to the brain drank two cups of hot cocoa daily for 30 days, 89 percent saw an improvement in blood flow during tests of memory and thinking skills, suggesting that cocoa may also reverse some of the cognitive changes that come with age or vascular disease.
Lower Blood Pressure
A daily dose of dark chocolate may help lower BP. In one small 2014 study, researchers found that when subjects ages 18 to 23 ate about a third of an ounce of dark chocolate (that was more than 75 percent cocoa) daily for a month, they experienced a decrease in blood pressure and arterial stiffness. Why? Chocolate may improve blood flow by relaxing arteries.
Better Stress Control
If you often reach for the sweet stuff when you’re under pressure, don’t beat yourself up. A recent Swiss study found that dark chocolate may help suppress the production of stress hormones from the adrenal glands in anxiety-inducing situations.Consider this permission to keep a little dark chocolate stashed in your desk drawer.
Double-baked chocolate meringue brownie
For the brownie
- 250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 350g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 300g light muscovado sugar
- 5 large eggs, separated
For the chocolate meringue
- 4 egg whites
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 50g pure cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Grease a 22cm diameter spring form tin and line with baking paper, making sure it comes at least 5cm above the rim of the cake tin.
- To make the brownie, melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl. Add the sugar, stirring until it has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks; stir gently to combine.
- In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold a couple of tablespoons of the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites using a rubber spatula. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate meringue. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, adding the sugar a little at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Sift the corn flour and cocoa powder together, then fold into the meringue until the mixture is even and glossy.
- Remove the chocolate brownie from the oven and cover the top with the meringue. Return to the oven for a further 25 minutes, or until the meringue puffs up and a crust forms on the top but the center is still soft. Leave to cool in the tin. The center will collapse slightly. Serve warm with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
– Recipe from Chocolat by French pâtissier and celebrity chef Eric Lanlard.