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Category Archives: Chocolate

The healthiest protein shake you can easily make at home

Your faithful correspondent is getting ready for the holiday bulge and sigh, yes, on a “diet.” There are no gimmicks here. Just eating more lean proteins and more vegetables and cutting back on that delicious elixir we know as wine. It is depressing. But I refuse to eat “diet” foods — there will be no SlimFast, no LeanCuisine, nothing of that sort. If I’m going to eat something, it has to taste good and be real food.

So when I looked for a good snack and browsed my nearest Whole Foods for a protein shake, I was floored. Read the ingredient list of your typical supermarket protein shake and you’re likely to end up befuddled, confused, maybe even scared. I was. What is in this stuff, I thought! This is the entire ingredient list of the Slim-Fast Protein shake:

Ingredients

WHEY PROTEIN ISOLATE (MILK), SUGAR, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), SUNFLOWER OIL, GUM ARABIC, MALTODEXTRIN, CELLULOSE GEL, BUTTERMILK POWDER, SOY FIBER, SOYBEAN LECITHIN, XANTHAN GUM, SALT, CARRAGEENAN, POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, DEXTROSE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (A NONNUTRITIVE SWEETENER), ASPARTAME AND GUAR GUM. VITAMINS AND MINERALS: CALCIUM CARBONATE, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, CALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, VITAMIN E ACETATE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, NIACINAMIDE, ZINC OXIDE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, MANGANESE SULFATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CHROMIUM CHLORIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, BIOTIN, COPPER GLUCONATE, FOLIC ACID, SODIUM MOLYBDATE, SODIUM SELENITE, PHYTONADIONE (VITAMIN K1), POTASSIUM IODIDE, CHOLECALCIFEROL (VITAMIN D3) AND CYANOCOBALAMIN (VITAMIN B12). PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE. SWEETENED WITH NUTRITIVE SWEETENERS AND A NONNUTRITIVE SWEETENER. MAY CONTAIN WHEAT.
Granted, a lot of those are vitamins, but still… gum arabic? Xanthax gum? Cellulose gel? (check out this great book, Twinkie, Deconstructed, on where these types of ingredients hail from — cellulose gel comes from cotton). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, when you are downing a Slim-Fast to help trim that behind, you are consuming cotton.
So how can you get something that is somewhat natural and will tame your hunger cravings? It could not be easier. For protein, I rely on sugarless soy milk from Edensoy and pure whey from Bob’s Red Mill. For flavor, Penzey’s dark cocoa is unbeatable, and for a sweetener, you have your pick. You could do agave, which is supposed to be digested by your body more slowly and thus doesn’t lead to a sugar rush and crash. You could do honey. If you really want to make this sugar-free, you could use Splenda. That is up to you.

The Fork It Over Four Ingredient Chocolate Protein Shake

1 Tbsp Penzey’s Cocoa (you can use the Dutch process for a less bitter flavor)
Agave, honey or Splenda to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a jar, close the jar tightly, and shake thoroughly. You can also blend them together in a blender or using an immersion blender.
Total protein: 28 grams.
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Posted by on December 6, 2010 in Breakfast, Chocolate

 

English Marmalade Chocolate Cake

When I was in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago, I made this lovely chocolate cake filled with orange marmalade as a special treat. It’s not quite as dense as a Sacher torte, but rather has a nice, fluffy crumb and a deep chocolate flavor. Super easy to make.

Adapted from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla V. Saulsbury

English Marmalade Chocolate Cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

8 oz of canned pumpkin, butternut squash or prune puree

3 Tbsp water

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp grated orange rind

2 eggs

1 oz finely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate

1/2 cup jarred orange marmalade

*********

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together buttermilk, canned pumpkin, water, vanilla, orange zest, and eggs until well-blended. Using an electric mixer set on low, mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

4. Place the unsweetened chocolate in a small cup and microwave 45 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth and add to the batter. Beat the batter until blended and smooth.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. When cool, invert the cake onto a cake platter or plate and slice in half horizontally. Spread orange marmalade on bottom layer. Replace top. Feel free to frost with your favorite chocolate frosting!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2009 in Chocolate, Cupcakes and Cakes

 

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A Twist on Holiday Cookies: Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Let’s face it: everyone is sick of sugar cookies. Yeah, they’re beautiful, but by the time the 10th coworker brings some into your office, you can take it no more. Please, you beg, bake something else.

So here you go. This is a recipe from Enlightened Chocolate by Camilla Saulsbury, quite possibly my favorite dessert book ever (and a wonderful gift from a fabulous friend in Baltimore, may I add). These cookies are a little spicy, a little cinnamon-y and utterly delicious. Bake a bunch for yourself, or be a good person and bring them to the office. Everyone will thank you profusely.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of salt

5 Tbsp butter

7 Tbsp unsweetened cococa powder (not Dutch-process)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1/3 cup plain low-fat or Greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

**********

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix the flours, spices and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the vanilla extract and yogurt.

3. Mix the sugar-butter mixture and flour mixtures until completely combined.

4. Drop by level tablespoons onto the cookie sheets and bake for about 8-10 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely and enjoy!!

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2008 in Chocolate, cookies, Holidays

 

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Quick Cookies, Muffins and Pancakes, Oh My!

I have recently become a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking and Pancake Mix (don’t live near a Trader Joe’s? Don’t fret — many health food stores have a similar multi-use baking mix on their shelves). Yearning for some healthy chocolate chip cookies? Want some pancakes or waffles on Sunday morning?

This mix makes baking super simple. It’s like using a pre-made cake or cookie mix, but because you add some of the ingredients, you can control how much sugar and fat you’re using. Plus, you control the mix-ins!

Thus far, I’ve made chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies, a multigrain fig quick bread, a blueberry coffeecake and chocolate-chip banana pancakes. Yes! All with one mix!

Here’s the deal: The mix includes flour, oats, baking soda and baking powder, a little oil, buttermilk, oat and wheat bran, a little sugar and salt. The basic ingredients for many healthy baked goods. You only need add a little more sugar, some butter/oil/applesauce for moisture and the goodies!

Here are some of my favorite recipes using this mix:

Blueberry Walnut Coffeecake

1 cup soymilk

Juice from one lime

1 egg

2 Tbsp Spectrum Spread or butter

2 and 1/2 cups of Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 and 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

1/2 cup walnuts

*****

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat an 8 by 8-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, add the lime juice to the soymilk until it curdles (if you don’t like soymilk, you can skip this step and just use 1 cup of buttermilk).

3. Stir the egg, melted butter/Spectrum Spread, and sugar into the soymilk mixture and mix well.

4. Add the Multigrain baking mix and stir until the flour mixture is barely moistened.

5. Fold in the blueberries and walnuts.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.

7. Allow the pan to cool for at least 15 minutes and serve!

*******

Chocolate-Chip Banana Pancakes

2 and 1/2 cups Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking Mix

1 cup soymilk

2 eggs

2 Tbsp melted butter or Spectrum Spread

1 mashed banana

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips

******

1. Preheat a saute pan or griddle on medium heat and lightly coat it with butter or oil.

2. Mix of the ingredients together, being careful not to overbeat, lest you want tough pancakes!

3. Using a spoon, carefully ladle about 2-3 Tbsp of batter into the pan to create a nice, round pancake. Keep the griddle on medium heat so that the pancakes don’t burn.

4. When a few bubbles appear on the top surface, flip the pancakes over. Your pancakes should be lightly golden brown and cooked on the inside. If you still have raw batter on the inside, cook a little longer before flipping.

5. Serve warm!

 
 

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You put WHAT in Chocolate?

I love lavender. Fragrant, reminiscent of a summer day in Provence, earthy.

I love chocolate. Luscious, creamy, sinful, dark. Need I say more?

One would think that a combination of the two would be delicious, no? Apparently a chocolate manufacturer (New Tree) thought so and created the “Tranquility” bar, “a milk chocolate containing an extract of lime blossoms, in addition to lavender.”

So I tried it. Lime blossoms? Lavender? In chocolate? BLEH!

Now that fine chocolates with exotic ingredients are becoming a la mode, there are myriad pairings out there. Chocolate with sea salt, chocolate with hot peppers, chocolate with curry.

Beware, my friends, beware the weird combinations. As the lavender-chocolate melted in my mouth, a memory of a soap bath came to mind. The chocolate flavor was completely lost in my mouth as I navigated the bath-and-body-works-like flavor and I was tempted to spit the nasty chocolate concoction right out. Never, ever again! BLEH!

There are some companies that have the whole chocolate fusion thing worked out, among them Vosges, one of my all-time favorite chocolate manufacturers. Based in Chicago, this boutique chocolate maker has such delicious delights as:

I can’t say I love their olive-chocolate bar and I haven’t tried the bacon-chocolate bar… I just believe some ingredients just don’t belong together. I, for instance, am not a fan of mint and chocolate and I know there are die-hard mint-chocolate-chip ice cream fans out there. So who knows! One chocolate lover’s trash may be another chocolate lover’s treasure!

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2008 in Chocolate

 

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