Chocolate Covered Anything Day

dark-and-white-chocolate

Thursday, December 16, could be the happiest day of the year in this most wonderful time of year. Thursday is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

While the origin of this day is unknown, does that really matter or will it stop you from participating in the celebration? Probably not.

In the midst of baking for parties and anticipation of guests for the holidays, go ahead and indulge. After all, do you want to offer what you haven’t taste tested?

Which chocolate is best? Dark, milk or white? According to a study by the Health and Vascular Team at the Cleveland Clinic, dark chocolate is best because it is the least processed which means it contains the highest percentage of the flavonoid-filled cocoa bean.

The flavonoids in the cocoa bean help your heart by

* controlling cholesterol

* lowering blood pressure

* reducing your risk of blood clots

* inhibiting sticky platelets

* improving blood flow to your vital organs

Dark Chocolate, also called semi-sweet chocolate, has at least 35 percent cocoa to be called dark. The remainder is cocoa butter (the natural fat of the cocoa bean), sugar, an emulsifier (what holds ingredients together, often lecithin) and vanilla or other flavorings. Milk may be added to soften texture.

Nutrition, per 1 oz: 8-12 g fat; 0 g fat

Provides magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and trace amounts of vitamins

The FDA requires that Milk Chocolate contain at least 10 percent cocoa and at least 12 percent dry milk solids. Like dark chocolate, the remainder is cocoa butter, sugar, an emulsifier (often lecithin), and vanilla or other flavorings.

Nutrition, per 1 oz: 12+ g fat

Provides potassium and trace amounts of vitamins.

White Chocolate is a derivative of chocolate and made of 20 or more percent of cocoa butter and up to 55 percent sugar, plus milk solids, lecithin and vanilla or other flavorings.

Nutrition, per 1 oz: not that much as it’s mostly sugar and fat

Power in the Powder

Unsweetened chocolate is 100 percent cocoa. It is very bitter and only eaten as part of prepared bakery. Baking chocolate is often unsweetened too. Try using 100 percent cocoa powder in hot cocoa, homemade baked goods and recipes (replacing milk chocolate) or add it to a smoothie or coffee for a rich flavor.

So pour, drizzle, spread chocolate over cakes, cupcakes, pies, pancakes or waffles, nuts, raisins, even ants. Nothing is too extreme.

Source: www.clevelandclinic.org/HealthHub

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