Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charmingly Chocolate, Ideas For Mothers Day Presents

Charmingly Chocolate

Welcome to Chocolate Candy Mall's monthly chocolate candy newsletter,
Charmingly Chocolate.
Here you'll find some lovely ideas for Mother's Day presents for you to consider for your mother, wife, grandmother, sister, or friend.

This is my very first Mother's Day without my darling mother, so I'm finding it a little bit challenging. But, I've decided to treat some of the other ladies in my life who mean a lot to me.

Let's start with a simple but delicious Mother's Day recipe that is both sweet and refreshing....

White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Stewed Fruit

Photo by Allerina & Glen MacLarty
ideas for mothers day presents white chocolate panna cotta
Have you ever tasted panna cotta? It's so creamy and smooth you just can't help but roll your tongue around the flavor. Panna Cotta stands for "cooked cream," so you can imagine how yummy this Mother's Day recipe will be.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 6 ounces of chopped white chocolate (180 grams)
  • 2 cups of heavy (or thickened) cream
  • 1 Tbsp. of fine sugar (caster sugar)
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract (or paste)
  • 1 Tbsp. of boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. of gelatin powder
For the sauce:
  • 1/4 lb. of your choice of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. of fine sugar (caster)
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
Here's how to put it together:
  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the cream, sugar, chocolate, and vanilla until completely melted and smooth.
  2. In a small bowl place the boiling water and then sprinkle the gelatin over it and stir until it's dissolved.
  3. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the chocolate mixture thoroughly.
  4. Pour 1/2 cup of chocolate mixture into espresso cups, ramekins, or (my favorite) pretty tea cups and chill for about 4 hours or until completely set.
  5. Prepare the sauce for topping by simmering the fruit, sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan for 3-5 minutes. You can use frozen berries if you prefer, just be sure to simmer until berries are soft.
  6. Chill the sauce until ready to serve.
  7. Spoon a bit of the berry fruit sauce on top of each white chocolate panna cotta before serving.
Yum! Now, don't you think anyone would be impressed with such a refreshing treat on Mother's Day? Go ahead and give it a try! Take some photos and show them off if you're feeling a bit proud of yourself. I'd love to see them. You can add them here

Ideas for Mother's Day Presents

Photo by Tara Dennis
ideas for mothers day presents chocolate coffee beans in teacup
Here are a few good ideas for Mother's Day presents that you can modify to suit your own lady's favorite likes and tastes. I think any one of these Mother's Day gifts would make your mom feel loved.
  1. Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans In A Teacup - Buy a really pretty teacup and saucer (or if you're mom's the "mug type" go for that). Fill the cup to the brim with delicious chocolate covered coffee or espresso beans. Wrap the whole thing in a sheet of cellophane and tie with a pretty ribbon.

    This is a really flexible idea because if your mother doesn't like coffee, you can fill the cup with her own favorite chocolate candy, selection of herbal teas, or something else you know she'll love.

    ideas for mothers day presents chocolate covered strawberries
  2. Chocolate Covered Strawberries - My brother used to treat my mother to some really gourmet chocolate covered strawberries for Mother's Day. They were incredible!

    You can order some gourmet strawberries, like those in the photo, for your mom at Shari's Berries. Don't they look fantastic?

    But, if you can get your hands on some fresh strawberries, it's a cinch to make your own chocolate covered strawberries.

    • Wash and dry the strawberries.
    • Melt your chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Melt contrasting colors so you can drizzle over the strawberries to really make them look fancy.
    • Hold the strawberry by the stem and roll it around in the chocolate allowing the excess to drip off. If you'd like to add some pizazz, you can also roll the dipped strawberries in chopped nuts or coconut before placing them on a piece of waxed paper to set.
    • Place the contrasting color melted chocolate in a plastic baggie, snip off the corner and drizzle across the strawberries as desired.
  3. Magazine Subscription - Although it's not necessarily chocolate related, I'm a big fan of magazine subscriptions as Mother's Day gifts. You could certainly get something yummy like "Cooking With Paula Deen" or "Every Day With Rachael Ray."

    But if your lady is more comfortable in the garden or golf course than the kitchen, there are magazines for her too. offers subscriptions to all of the most popular magazines in dozens of categories.

    When you give a magazine subscription, you give a gift that can be enjoyed all year round.

  4. ideas for mothers day presents gourmet chocolateGourmet Chocolate Gift - Traditional boxed chocolate has long been a favorite of mothers around the world. You can step it up a notch and treat the greatest lady in your life to some top-of-the-line gourmet chocolates from

    These are the classiest chocolate gifts I've ever seen when it comes to your traditional boxed chocolates. Just look at the fine wooden cases that house these delicious morsels. It's a not-to-be-forgotten gift!
Well, those are a few ideas for Mother's Day presents to get you started. Don't delay! Mother's Day is May 9, 2010, and just around the corner. What you must do, do quickly! :) Happy Mother's Day!

I hope you enjoyed this issue of Charmingly Chocolate with the creamy and delicious White Chocolate Panna Cotta recipe and the gift ideas for Mother's Day. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mississippi Mud Bars


4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pecans, (walnuts)chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chunky peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies


Beat eggs, add sugar and mix well. Add margarine, cocoa, flour, and vanilla. Fold in nuts. Spread in greased jelly roll pan(15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1 inch.)
Bake 25 minutes at 350. While warm, spread marshmallow cream over bars. In double boiler or heavy pan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together. Add Rice Krispies and spread over marshmallow cream. Allow to cool before cutting. If using a heavy pan, use very low heat and stir continuously to keep from burning.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pork Chops With Coffee And White Chocolate Sauce

Meat In Chocolate-Related Recipes

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when ever you hear the word chocolate?  For parents it may be kids' hyperactivity, or for kids a really delightful treat, or for young adults and grown-ups a serving of some delectable desserts, right? While it is true that most chocolates are a staple in creating wonderful desserts, it may also be used as part of any meat recipe. Yes! You got it right. You do not need to be a professional chef to concoct chocolate-related recipes. Just research for some enjoyable chocolate recipes that would be a sure treat for friends and families!

You can start by trying some meat-chocolate recipes that have been around many home and restaurant kitchens for many, many years. In fact in countries like Mexico, which are very well known or famous for "mole" recipes, chocolates are just as important in some of their best dishes as much as chilis and tomatoes are needed. They treat chocolates as an indispensable part of their recipes that will be shared from generation to generation. Here is a truly wonderful recipe that has been a constant companion of gourmet chefs and regular home cooks from all walks of life and continue to be a favorite recipe of people from different countries! Now, enjoy the sweet taste of chocolates as a main ingredient, combined with meat for a definitely hearty meal!


3 tablespoons of butter
3 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
1 cup of broth
2 oz (60 g) of white chocolate
3 tablespoons of butter
4 boneless of pork chops
6 tablespoons of finely ground coffee for dredging
a dash of salt and pepper

Cooking Procedures

First, you have to make the white chocolate sauce for the recipe, then proceed to cook the meat:

1.  In a clean saucepan, melt your butter on medium fire and continue to stir in the flour after the butter has melted. Mix it very well.

2. You have the choice of using either plain water or some broth. You have he option to choose from powder broth, the pork cube or bouillon, to the already prepared canned broth. Stir to make sure that the flour is completely dissolved.

3. Then leave the sauce to cook on low heat. Do it for approximately 15 minutes while you stir regularly. Then add some salt.

 4. Remove the saucepan from heat and put the white chocolate in, stirring until it    has melted.

 5.  Melt at least 3 tablespoons of butter in your nonstick pan using medium heat while  marinating your pork chop in salt, pepper, and ground coffee.

When cooked already, you may serve it with rice, or fried plantains or bananas, mango chutney, and white chocolate sauce to bring out the unique taste of this recipe. Who would have ever thought that these chocolates, the mature seed pods found from the cacao trees can be an indispensable ingredient to some of the wildest yet most mouth-watering and appetizing recipes known to the whole world!

You might not know it but these chocolates are soured for several days to make the Chocó tang evident. Thanks to these cacao tree pods, if not for them we would not have discovered the wonderful gift of chocolates and of course, these wonderful to prepare home cooking chocolate-related recipes! Really, what could the world look like without any of these chocolates?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

This delicious chocolate mousse recipe was given to me by my friend Marian. It serves 6, but you can adjust the measurements to make more or less as you desire.

  • 300 g (12 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups of thickened cream
  • 6 tsp. castor sugar

  • Melt chocolate over a double boiler. You can use the microwave if you are careful and stir every 30 seconds.

  • To the chocolate add the egg yolks and cream and whisk until smoooth.

  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and beat until dissolved.

  • Gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and scoop it into your chosen glasses or goblets. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

  • Top with cream, fresh berries, or grated chocolate (why not all three?), and serve.

  • recipes courtesy of


    Friday, April 16, 2010

    White Chocolate Cheesecake

    White Chocolate Cheesecake

    1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
    3 Tablespoons Butter melted
    24 Ounces Cream Cheese softened
    1/2 Cup Sugar
    1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
    3 Eggs
    1/2 Pound White Chocolate melted

    heat oven to 350F.

    Photo courtesy of
    Mix crumbs and butter and press onto bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
    Bake for 10 minutes.

    Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium until well blended. Add
    eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the white
    chocolate. Pour over crust.

    Bake for 35 minutes and turn oven off and let cool in oven for at least
    an hour. Loosen cake from rim of pan and continue cooling. Refrigerate
    for at least 2 hours (best if over night). I like to garnish this with
    dollops of whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed chcoclate cookies.


    Dark Chocolate Fudge

    Dark Chocolate Fudge


    1 square unsweetened baking chocolate square -- (1oz)
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    1 tablespoon butter
    4 packages artificial sweetener

    you can use a sauce pan if you want, I use a bowl in the microwave, put
    butter and chocolate together heat till melted to liquid slowly poor in
    cream, better if at room temperature so it doesn't set the chocolate up to
    quick, while still liquid mix in sweetener (all or to taste) pour on a buttered

    courtesy of 

    455 Calories (kcal); 49g Total Fat; (86% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 113mg Cholesterol; 143mg Sodium.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Strawberry Chocolate Cake


    4 level tbs cocoa
    8 oz soya margarine
    1/2 pt soya yoghurt
    8 oz self raising wholemeal flour
    3 tsp baking powder
    4 tsp arrowroot
    8 oz caster sugar
    pinch of salt

    2 oz vegan margarine
    1 tbs cocoa
    3 oz icing sugar
    1 tbs whisky
    2 tbs strawberry jam


    6 oz vegan chocolate
    1 shot whisky
    2 fl oz orange juice
    1/4 pt soya cream

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Whisk all cake ingredients together and pour into two sandwich tins. Bake immediatley for 30 mins until well risen and a cocktail stick poked in comes out clean. For the filling - mix cocoa, icing sugar, whisky and margarine together. When cake has cooked spread jam on one middle side and chocolate filling on the other then sandwich together. For the topping - melt chocolate with whisky and orange juice. Pour hot sauce over cake. Drizzle soya cream in a zigzag over the cake and serve.

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    Get kids cooking at half term

    Running out of ways to keep the children busy? Get cooking!
    Amanda Grant's inspiring recipes are a great way to bond with your kids in the kitchen. Teach the young 'uns some recipes and have fun in the process with five savoury and five sweet dishes, including tarts and tortillas, muffins, cookies and coconut ice.
    Or why not create homemade pizzas, using Francesco Mazzei's recipe? Franceso is the suave Italian chef-patron of London restaurant L’Anima, who's not afraid to roll up his sleeves and teach children how to make a proper Italian pizza from scratch.

    Get his PizzaExpress Calabrese pizza recipe now – it's online for one month only.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    Banana Chocolate Cake

    Banana Chocolate Cake


    61/2 oz plain flour
    2 tbs cocoa
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp baking powder
    5 oz sugar
    2 tbs golden syrup
    2 tbs soya flour
    1/4 pt vegetable oil
    1/4 pt soya milk + 2-3 tsp
    2 mashed bananas
    7" round cake tin, greased and floured
    Beat all the ingredients together and bake for 30-35 mins at 160 degrees C/325 degrees

    Chocolate Cake Recipe

    Diet Restrictions And Chocolate-Related Recipes

    Delectable, smooth, sweet, calming… ahhhh, that's the goodness chocolate can bring. Be it a bar or a drink, chocolate can indeed make a person's day complete. From toddlers to grandmothers, chocolate is truly a treat to beat. It is not called "happy hormones" for nothing. However, there are people who have health conditions or dietary preferences that forbid them to enjoy chocolate. But there are chocolate-related recipes we may be unaware of that would be heaven sent for people with specific health conditions.

    Making Chocolates Health-Sensitive

    Most chocolate-related recipes make use of the typical and readily-available chocolate in stores, plain, sugar-loaded dairy products. Because of this, the market of the chocolate products is limited to people without restrictions in their diet. However, with today's relatively unhealthy population, the chocolate industry may be missing out a lot if they do not make their products health-sensitive.

    Apparently, the marketing and product development geniuses of these chocolate companies are aware of this and they are not about to give up their share of health-friendly chocolate products in the market. The recent years have witnessed the birth of many health-conscious chocolate products or chocolate recipes which are not just limited to the usual sugar-free and diabetic-friendly ones, but also those which address other health concerns as well.

    Allergies to Milk or Chocolates

    Those who have allergic reactions to milk can now enjoy fresh cup of Milk-Free Hot Chocolate. Just make sure to purchase a chocolate mix that is dairy-free such as Vance's. This dairy-free mixture is a corn derivative. To add creaminess to your drink, you may add in vanilla extract or marshmallows.

    If brownie bar is a dream which you can not reach because of its corn, dairy and wheat content or even gluten, then wake up from that dream now. You may now bake batch after batch of allergy-free brownies by substituting bananas, vegetable oil, potato and brown rice flour instead to the usual ingredients used in baking brownies.

    Chocolates for Vegetarians

    Photos courtesy of

    Vegetarians say they can not eat chocolate because it is a dairy food and it contains eggs. There are chocolates which are now commercially available that claims to be vegetarian friendly as they do not contain eggs and dairy food. These chocolates are diabetic friendly as well and are available in different flavors such as mint, spicy, pure dark, vanilla bean, citrus, chocolate coconut, pink peppercorn, chocolate crispies, chocolate toasted almond and pure dark organic.

    Chocolates, A Natural Anti-Oxidant

    Chocolate is naturally an anti-oxidant. However, if you combine it with green tea, then its anti-oxidant power has surely doubled up. This is especially helpful to fight today's body intoxicating agents found in the various foods we eat.

    Green Chocolates
    Photos courtesy of Theo Chocolate

    There are also chocolates which claim to be "green". They are not only health friendly but environment friendly as well. These are chocolates from organically grown cocoa beans. Synthetic fertilizers are not part of processing these types of chocolates. Preservatives are not added as well just so its shelf life can be extended.

    Truly, chocolates have certain components which can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and can cause blood-thinning. It is so good that it gets even better with these healthy options which can be used in many other chocolate recipes. With the presence of these types of chocolates which are alternatives to the typical ones, chocolate is coming closer and closer to almost all people, even those who have special health conditions and dietary considerations. Now, why wouldn't you try concocting some chocolate-related recipes at home, right?

    Wednesday, April 07, 2010

    Why People Love Chocolate

    For so many years, men have put such great esteem for chocolates. There were moments in the history of chocolates that only the nobles were allowed to experience its wonderful taste. But those are the olden days, and gone were those days!

    Today, huge chocolate factories and small but respected confectionaries allow the public to enjoy as much chocolate as they want, in amazing colors and flavors, partnered with other inventive recipes as though eating a meal is unnatural without chocolates. Let's examine exactly why chocolate lovers will never get enough of this addictive treat.

    The Royal Sweetness

    Chocolates go as far back as pre-recorded history when Aztec royalties indulged themselves with chocolates which they called "xocoatl". Cocoa pods were ground and processed to produce a dark, bitter sweet drink that they believed top give them power and fertility. The regular folks wanted to taste them, obviously they were not allowed to lest they endure the wrath of the kings.
    Long after chocolates were introduced to Spain, this reverence for chocolate continued, evident in the fact that Spaniards kept the chocolate secret for almost a hundred years from other nations until Dominican monks pilled the beans. After its invasion of Europe, chocolates slowly trickled down to the public, but at a high value.

    It is human nature to want what is prestigious and uncommon, and since chocolates have been treated most specially over history, its respect and value has not diminished. Today, you can get chocolates everywhere, but it is undeniable that people still look at chocolates as food for the indulgent – a luxury, something you eat on special occasions.

    Dark, Sweet and Sexy
    Historical accounts of chocolates' aphrodisiac quality are everywhere. There were studies that proved how chocolate eaters have more sex than non-eaters. The principle behind this is quite obvious really – chocolates get us in a good mood. There are even stimulants in chocolates such as phenyl ethylamine (PEA), much like THC, that acts as "uppers". PEA is actually released in the body during orgasm. This raises dopamine levels in the blood thereby giving a feeling of pleasure.

    Chocolates may make you happy, but there's a negative effect in your health if you eat too much of it. But what gives us a feeling of contentment when we put a tiny piece of that melty, bittersweet goodness in out mouths? Besides the chemical factors that keep people coming back for more, the unmistakable decadence is just almost to die for.

    Men have waged many hours in the past trying their best to achieve that smooth, creamy goodness we now know today. Thanks for the modern techniques nowadays, they have enabled us to use chocolates in other recipes, involving many cooking methods which are guaranteed to show some results to a countless flavors.

    The world can never ever be the same without chocolates. Chocolates are a glorious treat for everyone who loves to eat sweets, especially the chocolate lovers. Men and women buy them for many reasons but there is no denying that there is an innate chocolate lover in all of us. We are all born to love and adore chocolates. Yes, it is almost addictive and alluring in many cases, but the experience of eating them, delighting in its flavor is always different every time. Perhaps, that is exactly the reason why we keep coming back for more.

    Sunday, April 04, 2010

    Chocolate Recipes for Pasta

    courtesy of

    Chocolate Recipes for Pasta, Anyone?

    You heard it right, chocolate pasta has been around for many years and was developed in European countries. Have you ever tried nugel kugel, a German dish that combines flat noodles, cinnamon, raisins, pot cheese and sugar? The Italians have recipes quite like that using lasagna and chunks of fruits and not to mention chocolates which really give an awesome unique flavor to the recipe.

    Uniqueness of Chocolate Pasta Recipes

    These chocolate-related pasta recipes will truly liven up your taste buds, stimulate your very appetite, and really entice you to indulging in it! You will have to try them at least once in your life and I am pretty sure, you will really enjoy it. If you are really interested in chocolate pastas, you can always find one of those special recipes and do them either in your homes, or food establishments such as restaurants.

    Knowing the Health Benefits of Both Chocolate and Pasta

    But come to think of it, it would be good to also know the health benefits of both pasta and chocolate especially if you are planning to do these delectable and easy-to-do chocolate-pasta recipes!

    Anti-oxidants in Chocolates

    Yes, there are countless studies conducted to confirm that chocolate contains antioxidants. And many of them have established that antioxidants in chocolates are comparatively high in both quantity and quality. This alone proved that indeed, there are significant health benefits to these sweet goodies.

    Did you even know that it is the cocoa that leads the choco pack, followed by the dark chocolates and then lastly, the milk chocolates? It was even detailed out by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association that the dark chocolates have even higher antioxidant content, eight times over the antioxidant content of strawberries.

    Chocolates and Pasta Bring Higher HDL

    In November of 2001, a research team from Pennsylvania State University established that people who eat and drink greater amounts of cocoa and dark chocolates are found to acquire a little higher concentrations of the good cholesterol, also known as the HDL.

    Even pasta, the whole-grain energy foods that are commonly linked to heart disease risks are found to have higher concentrations of HDL which makes pasta boast of its ability to reduce risk factors by a significant 26%. Generally, foods rich in fiber like pasta and oats are often associated with lowering cholesterol and therefore protect people against developing coronary heart disease in both men and women.

    courtesy of
    Chocolates on Lower Blood Pressure

    Furthermore, there is another study printed in the Hypertension journal last August 2005, figured out that indeed dark chocolates have the capability to lower a person's blood pressure, especially those suffering from hypertension. The experts also found out that the levels of LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol we do not like, can actually be found in people who eat significant amounts of chocolates. So, what are all these things trying to tell us?

    Well, bottom line is chocolates are full of natural ingredients beneficial for people's health. It doesn't necessarily mean though that we will get maximum benefits from chocolate products that we will allow ourselves to eat too much! And the pasta? Are their health benefits at par with the benefits we can get from chocolates? The answer is yes. Now, isn't it a delightful chocolate-related recipe that you must try for your kids, your friends and your family? Try making it in your homes and see what a perfect bonding opportunity this is for you and your loved ones!

    Chocolate Pasta Fruit Sauce  [serves/makes 10]

    1 package (10 oz. size) chocolate pasta
    3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
    1 cup raspberry sauce
    1 pint whipping cream, whipped
    Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click]


    Combine raspberry sauce and Grand Marnier. Fold whipping cream into mixture.
    Cook pasta as directed and let cool. Serve over chilled pasta.

     Chocolate Pasta Fruit Sauce

    1 10 oz. package Chocoholics Chocolate Pasta
    3 tbsp. Grand Marnier
    1 cup raspberry sauce
    1 pint whipping cream, whipped
    Combine raspberry sauce and Grand Marnier.  Fold whipping cream into mixture. Cook pasta as directed and let cool.  Serve over chilled pasta.
    Chocolate Pasta Parfait Ingredients:

    1/2 lb     Chocolate Fettucini
        -(purchased or home-made)
    1 pk     Frozen raspberries, thawed.
    1 tb     Corn Starch
    1     Whipped Cream

    Chocolate Pasta Parfai

    Servings: 6 In a small saucepan, smash the raspberries.
    If they're packed in syrup, include that.
    If not sweeten to taste, and add a little water to make a syrup.
    Stir in a the corn starch and cook over low heat until thickened a little.
    Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente'.
    Drain and place the pasta in large wine glasses.
    Spoon the warm raspberry sauce over the pasta, and top with whipped cream.
    This is quite wonderful, and a distinct change of pace! If you like, you can substitute other fresh or frozen berries, or strain out the seeds.

    Chocolate Dessert Pasta
     SERVES 4
     8 ounces regular fettuccine or chocolate fettuccine, cooked and drained
    • 2 cups skim milk, divided
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup milk and cornstarch mixing until smooth.
    • Add cocoa, sugar, cinnamon and remaining milk.
    • Heat just until boiling, stirring constantly.
    • Cook one minute until sauce is thickened.
    • Pour sauce over pasta and combine.
    • Top each serving with your choice of creme fraiche, sour cream or vanilla yogurt.
    Chocolate Pasta

    In Italy there already exists a type of chocolate pasta, which is made with very bitter chocolate and is usually served with game sauce.

    • 3 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup (100 g) cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
    • Pinch of cinnamon
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    • 6 teaspoons good-quality, clear honey
    • 6 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
    • Sift the flour with the cocoa powder, and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix to a smooth dough.
    • Roll out the dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch (3 mm thick. With a pastry wheel cut the dough into strips 3/4 inch (2 cm)
    • wide and about 7 inches (18 cm) long. (If you have a pasta machine, you can use it to roll the dough out into the ribbons.)
    • Cook the pasta in unsalted, boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and divide between 4 warmed plates. Drizzle a generousteaspoon of honey and sprinkle 1 tablespoon pistachio nuts over each serving. 
    • Serves 4.

    Thursday, April 01, 2010

    Chocolate Lovers - Things To Ponder

    Chocolates have become one of the most popular confectioneries ever made and sold. Chocolate lovers, young and old, rich and poor, have found themselves being hooked with a confessing indulgence for it. Despite of the popularity chocolates have achieved, there are still questions and arguments that are being raised about its influence on the human health.

    Black and White Chocolates

    Chocolates have two faces under its name. One is white and the other is black, but of course, these variants represent benefits one can get from the other. Black chocolate, otherwise known as dark chocolate comprises sugar, cocoa mass and butter. On the other hand, white chocolate or milk chocolate has flavorings, vegetable fats and some milk solids. But whether white or black, dark or milk chocolate, chocolates still fascinate and give pleasure to anyone who eats it.

    Debating Nutritional Value of Chocolates

    For over the years, chocolates have made its way to being the favorite "confectionery" of all time. But despite the alluring images chocolates have created, debate and arguments have been raised and created on where chocolates should be placed. This is because as we know, chocolates still remain in the 'junk' category. Both proponents of each side have their positions as to what chocolate can do. But for ordinary chocolate lovers, chocolates will still be chocolates.

    But digging deep into it, lovers or non-lovers of chocolate should and must get a glimpse of these issues. Whichever side has a heavier and more relevant proof, should be taken into a better consideration.  Each bite leaves a soothing feeling that is hard to define, but renders a strong desire to experience.

    Chocolates as Aphrodisiac

    Aside from the sensation and delight it gives, chocolate also makes itself an aphrodisiac agent. As an energy booster, studies show that, it provides an adequate reserve of energy, especially when they have greater glucose content in them. Food industries have made chocolate an integral part of the global market, and thus, chocolates still remain top sellers in the market today since 600 AD, even from the time of the Mayans.

    Chocolates and Obesity

    Though the chocolate world has obtained valuable commendation, they also share a "veto" image just like any other product. These are the days when obesity has become a major word of mouth to every citizen around the globe. Obesity has not just become an ordinary irregularity of body mass, but also is considered as one of the critical causes of chronic diseases. Medical practitioners have spent time doing research to determine the root cause of this problem. From the long list of factors that could trigger obesity, chocolates are found included in the list.

    Obesity-Chocolate Link

    An independent study in the UK predicted that occurrences of obesity may rise to more than 50% by the year 2020. Statistics, lawmakers & the medical world have proposed that confectioners should not be sold anymore in the pharmacies as being practiced in many corners of the world. Aside from being linked to obesity, chocolates are also suspected to be one causative factor triggering diabetes. This proposition is still under consideration due to the vast studies that are still in progress to prove the same.

    Positive Reports on Chocolates

    On the other hand, good reports on chocolates are still being circulated and made. Studies also show that dark chocolates consumed moderately, can bestow cardiovascular benefits due to the presence of "flavanol" which plays a major role in the circulatory system. This increases the content of high density lipoprotein (HDL), more popularly known as the good cholesterol; thus preventing the occurrence of cardiovascular related diseases.

    The choice is ours and we are the ones who should decide if chocolates can someday be cheaper than therapy which never requires an appointment. Though a list of contradicting propositions follows, chocolates will still remain the most intimate confectionary close to a man's heart. And with the abounding chocolates in the market, making us crave for every bite, chocolates will forever be a delight for chocolate lovers like me! Now the battle is choosing between chocolates and obesity!