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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Studies: Chocolate does a body good

Thursday, January 24, 2002

The Atlanta Journal Constitution

We don't need a scientific report to convince us that chocolate can make us feel better. One bite of any of these desserts will do the trick.

Sin City Cake Layers With Wicked Chocolate Frosting
Makes 16 servings
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

This dark, satisfying confection from ''Chocolate Cake: 150 Recipes From Simple to Sublime'' by Michele Urvater (Broadway Books, $35) may be filled with pastry cream or pudding and frosted with ganache, buttercream or other icings given in the book. But this classic combination makes an appealing, old-fashioned chocolate layer cake.

2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (1 pound) superfine sugar
4 large eggs
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups water or prepared coffee (regular, not double strength)

For filling and frosting:

1 pound confectioners' sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
About 6 tablespoons cream or milk

To make the cake: Position a rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour 3 (9-by-1 1/2-inch) round cake pans, tap out the excess flour, and line bottoms with parchment or greased and floured wax paper circles.

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt twice, and set aside.

With an electric mixer on low speed (or with a stationary mixer fitted with paddle attachment), beat butter for 1 minute or until light. Still beating, slowly add sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and when all of it has been added, continue to beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl as needed. The mixture will look like fluffy wet sand.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating for 10 seconds between additions, or until absorbed by the butter. Add chocolate, scrape down beaters and sides of bowl, and beat for 1 minute longer, or until light and smooth.
With a large rubber spatula, fold sifted ingredients into batter in 4 additions, alternating with water or coffee in 3 additions. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, or until mixture looks smooth.
Transfer batter to prepared pans, smooth tops with a rubber or small offset spatula, and rap pans sharply on the counter to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out dry.

Remove cakes from oven and cool to room temperature in their pans on a wire rack. Unmold, peel off paper circles, and fill and frost.

To make the filling and frosting: Sift confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl. Add butter, and combine with a wooden spoon. Add chocolate and vanilla, and combine. Warm cream or milk in a microwave or on the stove and add it to the frosting.

With an electric mixer on low speed (use the paddle attachment), beat frosting for 1 to 2 minutes, or until well blended and light. If the consistency is too loose, add more sugar; if too firm, add more cream or milk.
Set 1 cake layer on a cardboard round cut slightly larger than the cake, and spread it thinly with some of the frosting. Set second cake layer upside down over this, and spread with more frosting. Set last layer right side up over frosting.

Frost sides and top of cake, taking care to patch up any gaping holes between the layers so that the sides are nice and straight.

Per serving: 596 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 6 grams protein, 78 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 34 grams fat, 107 milligrams cholesterol, 130 milligrams sodium.

Sour Cream Chocolate Icing
Makes about 1 3/4 cups, or enough to frost a 2-layer cake
Preparation, melting and cooling time: 15 minutes

California cookbook author Helen Worth is believed to have originated this terrific frosting recipe more than 50 years ago. You can use it as an alternative to the Wicked Chocolate Frosting in the Sin City Cake. To thickly ice a 3-layer cake, double the recipe.

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (see note)
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Melt chocolate in a microwave, in a mixing bowl or on top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Transfer melted chocolate to a clean bowl and cool for 10 minutes.

Beat in sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, and add vanilla. If icing is too soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm enough to spread.

Note: Eight ounces of chocolate chips, which is 3/4 of a 12-ounce bag, may be substituted.

Per tablespoon: 58 calories (percent of calories from fat, 80), 1 gram protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 5 grams fat, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 4 milligrams sodium.

The Original Hot Chocolate
Makes 2 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

In some ways, this is the most chocolatey of hot cocoas, because there's nothing to stand in the way of the full bittersweet chocolate flavor. Be sure to use good quality bittersweet chocolate. Pierre Herme recommends Valrhona Noir Gastronomie and a Dutch-processed cocoa, preferably Valrhona. If you need to mellow the flavor, add a splash of milk or cream. The drink can be made 2 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

2 cups water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the chocolate and cocoa; the mixture will bubble up, whisk quickly to combine. Removed from heat and whip the mixture for one minute with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender. Serve immediately.

Adapted from ''Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme'' (Little, Brown & Co., $40)

Per serving: 457 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 7 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 28 grams fat, no cholesterol, 6 milligrams sodium.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 8-9 minutes

Claudia Fleming promises that you can't eat just one of her signature cookies. The recipe is from ''The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern'' by Claudia Fleming with Melissa Clark (Random House, $40).

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon brewed espresso
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whip eggs to break them up. Add sugar, espresso and vanilla and beat on high speed for 15 minutes, until thick.

While eggs are whipping, place butter in the top of a double boiler or in a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water and scatter the extra-bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate on top. Heat until butter and chocolate melt. Remove boiler top from over the water and stir chocolate and butter until smooth.

Gently fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add flour mixture to batter and carefully fold it in. Fold in the chocolate chips. If batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 9 minutes. (Testing note: Ours did not always crack, but they still garnered raves.) Cool on a wire rack before removing from the baking sheets.

Note: To make ice-cream sandwiches, place scoops of ice cream between 2 cookies and freeze until set.

Per cookie: 65 calories (percent of calories from fat, 55), 1 gram protein, 8 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams fat, 14 milligrams cholesterol, 22 milligrams sodium.

Chocolate-Raspberry Potpies
Makes 12 servings
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cooking time: 14-16 minutes

Pastry chef Gale Gand calls this recipe "the surest crowd-pleaser" in her book "Gale Gand's Just a Bite." After trying it for ourselves we can see why. These little "potpies" have a warm, creamy flourless chocolate cake center with a flaky dark-chocolate cookie crust on top, plus a surprise --- juicy fresh raspberries hidden in the filling. Use ramekins with a 3 to 4 ounce capacity.

For the crust:
Scant 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for rolling
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

6 egg yolks
4 eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
18 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raspberries
Whipped cream for serving (optional)

To prepare the crust: In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and set aside. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a using hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix. Scrape the sides and mix again. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides and mix again. Transfer dough to plastic wrap, form into a thin disc and chill for 1 hour. When the dough is chilled, dust a work surface with cocoa. Take out 12 ramekins. Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick on the dusted work surface, then cut rounds to fit the tops of the ramekins. Cover tops with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

To prepare the filling: In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or using a hand mixer, combine the yolks, eggs and the sugar and whip until fluffy and light, about 2 minutes. Stir the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Stir in the melted butter. Use a ladle or small measuring cup to spoon the filling into the ramekins. Gently push 3 raspberries down into each ramekin. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Remove the tray, leaving the oven on. Top each pie with a round of chocolate crust and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until crisp. Let the pies cool slightly and serve with whipped cream. Or cool completely and rewarm in the oven or microwave right before serving.

Adapted from "Gale Gand's Just a Bite" by Gale Gand and Julia Moskin (Clarkson Potter, 2001, $32.50)

Per serving: 522 calories (percent of calories from fat, 60), 8 grams protein, 52 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 35 grams fat, 233 milligrams cholesterol, 88 milligrams sodium.

3,236 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You couldn't be more right Nancy. In the February issue of Chatelaine, a French magazine, I was attracted to a title in big bold letters:

Six Good Reasons To Eat Chocolate

Sept fabulous recipes

I couldn't wait to find out what those reasons. You'll have to forgive the home made translation.

1. Chocolate cheers you up. Chocolate acts on chemical components of the body that improove mood like serotonines, endorphines and phenylethylamine. Not very romantic you say? you couldn't be more wrong. This last substance is the same one that a person in love makes.

2. Chocolate is goof for the hearth. According to quite a few s the flavonoides present in chocolate have an antitoxin effect: These prevent the formation of blood clot and blockage of arteries.

3. Chocolate help fight benign diseases. According to a research at the University of Westminster in London, chocolate stimulate the immune system. The research consisted of having smell delicious and delicate cocoa aromas to men and women. Surprise! Only the men showed an increase of antibodies in their saliva. Morality? Men should also get chocolate on Valentine day.

4. Chocolate is nourishing and energising. Fifty grams of milk chocolate contain: 265 calories that represents 14% of the need of an average size woman. Also found in chocolate are calcium, iron and magnesium. Many researches established a link between PMS and a lack of magnesium. This would explain the chocolate craving some women experience before their period.

5. Chocolate will not increase your cholesterol. A saturated fat, potentially damaging present in chocolate the palmitic acid, is neutralised by a "good fat" the oeilic acid.

6. Chocolate do not cause cavities. True chocolate contains sugar but it also contains some substances that slow down the formation of plaque, a source of cavities.

And frankly the seven recipes were disappointing....
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