Saturday, December 31, 2011

Custom Chocolate Candies Ideas For Wedding

It was just last year when I found out that M&M's actually have this kind of gimmick wherein you could customize or personalize each M&M candy. They have a separate website for it aside from their main M&M's website and there, you could play around with your M&M's candy and customize it to whatever you want it to look like. It's actually perfect for every occasion since candies are applicable to be given away in any occasion. If you visit their site, you could actually think of giving it away as a birthday gift, graduation gift, anniversary treat, giveaways for businesses, weddings or even just a snack for yourself.

As a wedding favor, I think this is actually perfect because this is something that the guests on your wedding could enjoy as they celebrate your marital bliss with you. Unlike giving away non - consumable favors, your guests would just end up stuffing it away when they get home from your wedding. Personalize M&M's for your wedding favor and match it with the color motif of your wedding. For a much more romantic factor, you can also have pictures and phrases printed on each candy. Expect your guests to be smiling when they see your custom M&M's wedding favor because they would end up looking and checking out each candy before they put it in their mouth. This way, your wedding won't come out to be boring and people would actually think that you guys are a cool couple for coming up with this kind of idea.

The custom M&M's site also offer packaging so that it's ready to be given away although it comes for an extra price. If you are on a tight budget, I suggest you order the bulk packaging that is suitable to the number of guests your having and pack it yourself. That way you can choose a cheaper packaging and control the amount of candies placed in each container. If you're artistic, you could even design your own wedding favor package and it will save you some bucks.

Wedding preparation is really stressful. As much as stress is concerned, choosing to have custom M&M's as your wedding favor would be the least stressful. You just have to go to their website, choose the color and design you want then have it shipped right to your doorstep. You also wouldn't have to worry about the candies melting because they ship it on a special packaging that would prevent it from melting. So if you want your guests to have fun in your wedding, the perfect wedding favor would be custom M&M's.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How To Make A Delicious Macaroons?

I've been making Chocolate Macaroons for my family for years. It's almost a no brain-er for me as I make them so often. But, apparently, there's lots of folks that don't know how to make them.

When talking to a bunch of friends not too long ago, they were quite surprised that I make them. Either they remember them from Grandma's or they thought it was a very complex recipe only a few could master.

I'm here to set things right!

Yes, you may remember them from Grandma's but they are not hard to make. I've been baking these little gems since I was a teenager and I'm not aware of many teens that make ANYTHING hard. Oh, I did get this recipe from my Grandma (who actually got it from her mother) but over the many years it has not lost its YUMMINESS.


14 oz. Sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) 
3 squares unsweetened chocolate 
¼ teaspoon salt 
8 oz. Shredded coconut 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tip: you can substitute baking cocoa for the chocolate. Just add about 9 tablespoons of baking cocoa and a little cooking oil instead.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a large baking sheet.

In the top of a double boiler, combine Sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and salt. Cook over boiling water until chocolate melts and it all thickens. Remove from heat.

Add Shredded coconut and vanilla. Mix well.

Drop onto baking sheet. Be sure the cookies are not touching or about 1" apart.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set.

Cool and ENJOY!

To make Coconut macaroons ( these are great for the holidays as you can add food coloring to them---with Halloween around the corner you could color these orange and serve with a plate of chocolate ones at the party or how about red and green for Christmas?)---


1 ½ cups Shredded coconut 
½ cup Sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
¼ teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking pan.

Combine all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Drop onto baking sheet. Be sure they are not touching and are approximately 1" apart. Press each cooky slightly with the back of a spoon.

Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Cool about 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

The recipe for Chocolate Macaroons make about 2 dozen and the recipe for Coconut Macaroons makes about 1 ½ dozen.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Five Wording Ideas for Custom Candies Wedding Favor

Personalized M&M's can be used for many occasions. One of which is having them given away as a wedding favor. You could change the color that matches your wedding color, put your picture on it and put short phrases on it. If you preferred to give away custom M&M's on your wedding, you have the option to put short phrases and short messages on each M&M candy. But your option is very limited because only up to 19 characters are allowed on each candy. So you might have to go informal in some way by using "text message" wordings.

Here are 5 wordings that you can put on your personalized M&M's wedding favor:

1) Date of your wedding 
It could be in formats like mm/dd/yy or mm-dd-yyyy. The candies will end up being eaten but your guests will surely remember the date and how cute your personalized M&M's wedding favor was.

2) The couple's names 
Just the first names of course. It would not fit a single M&M candy if the complete name is used. For example, James & Gina, Rob & Tina, etc.

3) Together Forever! 
This phrase will surely spruce up the romance on your wedding. Your guests will definitely think of your wedding favor as something sweet and I'm not just talking about the taste. It may be a short, common and simple phrase. But it would truly show the strength of your relationship.

4) Thx 4 coming! 
Thank your guests for coming to your wedding. This may be a shortened phrase but they will still get the message and will truly appreciate it. You don't have to worry about informality at all once they put the M&M's candy in their mouth.

5) Mr & Mrs at last! 
Show your guests how happy you are to be bonded with each other. Who cares if it's cheesy or mushy? It's your wedding and you should care less about what others would think. The only important thing here is that you and your wife-to-be or husband-to-be are now one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How Hershey's Changed the Face of Chocolate in the USA?

When people talk about chocolate in the States it is a pretty safe bet they will be talking about Hershey's chocolate. Hershey's has become as synonymous with the candy as Kellogg's have with breakfast cereals.

Why is this? Why Hershey's as opposed to any other chocolate manufacturer in America? They are innovators and have been since Milton Hershey created the company in 1894. You only have to take a look at their extensive range of chocolate bars and chocolate related products to see that.

The first product was a chocolate covered caramel. The latest product with Hershey's branding is Hershey's Cookies and Creme bar introduced in 1994. In between there have been many, many more but perhaps the most famous is Hershey's Kisses, little drops of chocolate wrapped in silver foil and sold in bags. There are few people in the world, let alone the States, that haven't at least heard of Kisses.

Over the years Hershey has introduced many Hershey branded products, many of which are still in production today. These include Mr Goodbar, combining chocolate and peanuts, Hershey's Milk Chocolate, a plain milk chocolate bar also available in dark chocolate, or with almonds, and a few other varieties too.

Under the same brand name the company has also launched related products, like syrup for making chocolate milk, dessert toppings, cocoa powder, milkshakes and baking chocolate.

Of course, clever marketing has helped Hershey's stay on top, from the strong, instantly recognisable brand logo through advertising to what could be considered appreciated 'charity work'.

A prime example of this last effort is the company's production and supply of over one billion chocolate bars as rations for American troops during the Second World War. A wonderful gesture but also, perhaps cynically, a fantastic way of cementing the brand name in the minds of young men who would return home looking for Hershey's in peacetime.

The current Hershey's range has a more modern look. Air Delight is an air bubble filled bar like the Aero in the UK, Drops are round, almost UFO-like pieces of milk chocolate and Hershey's Miniatures provide bite sized pieces of most of the current range of bars.

However, in order to become truly dominant, the company has also introduced products under different brand names, most notable Reese's. Like Hershey's Kisses, there can be hardly anyone that hasn't at least heard of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

The Reese's range doesn't end there though. Yes, all of them provide a combination of peanut butter and chocolate but there are innovations here too. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, wafer bars, peanut butter, chocolate and nuts, cremes, crunchy versions and crispy versions. Not to mention the simple but remarkably successful tactic of offering the original Peanut Butter Cups in miniature and larger sizes.

The Hershey company was founded on innovation, when Milton combined chocolate and caramel, and it has never lost that ability to create something new and keep itself at the forefront of not only the American candy market but the minds of an entire nation and beyond too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ten More Reasons to Love Chocolate

We have previously outlined 10 Reasons to Love Chocolate. Well here are ten more!

10. There is an endless supply of it!

If you run out of chocolate all you need to do is go to your nearest shop to buy some more. If your nearest shop is not easy to get to you can always order your next fix of chocolate online and have it delivered straight to your work or home address.

9. Whatever your mood chocolate suits the occasion!

It doesn't matter if you are celebrating Christmas, relaxing in front of the TV or mourning the break up of a relationship, chocolate is perfect for the occasion.

8. It is an addiction you won't get arrested for!

Chocolate can be addictive as it contains stimulant substances like caffeine, theobromine and methylxantinesand and in some people it actually works like a drug. Making them feel happier and more relaxed. Unlike other addictions however chocolate is unlikely to get you arrested. So you can possess or consume several pounds of it with the fear of being sent to jail.

7. Chocolate is good for you!

Well dark chocolate is anyway. Recent studies suggest that chocolate, and especially dark chocolate, contains chemicals that lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. Flavanoids and antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to make a discernible difference in cardiovascular health. Until recently, tea was considered the main source for these chemicals. But now, scientists recommend that you have a chocolate cookie or biscuit with black tea so your body gets more of those life-lengthening chemicals.

6. You can base your holidays around it!

There are several countries around the world that make a fantastic chocolate holiday destination. You might not have necessarily thought of it amongst their other tourist attractions but a trip to New York, Paris, St Lucia or Brussels can include a taste and exploration of some of the best chocolate in the world.

5. It makes a great gift!

Everybody loves chocolate so if you're ever unsure of what to get someone for their birthday, Christmas, retirement, graduation or any celebration or occasion at all, a chocolate gift box is bound to be well received.

4. Chocolate is cheaper than Prozac!

Let's face it we all know chocolate improves our mood. And I know what I would rather have prescribed to me.

3. You can take it anywhere you go!

It doesn't matter where you go - on a flight, on the commute to work, to the cinema, park, beach or on an errand - you can take a chocolate with you to any destination. The same can't be said for other things you cherish. (Try taking your cat/dog to the cinema or your favourite Slipknot CD to work).

2. You can get paid to eat chocolate!

Most chocolate companies employ tasters to monitor the quality of their produce. Generally these tasters possess no formal qualifications in chocolate production but they do have an acute sense of taste and smell. If this is you then a dream job like this one at Green and Black's awaits. Who wouldn't want to make a living eating something they love!

How Chocolate Can Help You?

In a perfect world a dieter, all meals will include chocolate. For years researchers have been trying to convince us that chocolate is beneficial to our health. Chocoholics a lot of running with this idea and began to eat chocolate like crazy, do not change very well for some. Researchers recently found that chocolate is actually very beneficial to many areas of the body including the heart and brain. This does not mean that we can walk to the nearest store and buy five candy; key to chocolate that is beneficial to eat in moderation and eating the chocolate, the darker the purest form possible.

Recent research studies have shown that regularly eating chocolate can reduce both the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two major risk factors for heart attack, stroke and heart disease. Chocolate contains polyphenols which are antioxidants that help produce nitric oxide. Increased nitric oxide can help with circulation and blood flow in general, which then lowers blood pressure. Chocolate is also rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants have been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Chocolate has also been shown to help heal emotional stress. Consumption of one half ounce of dark chocolate for two consecutive weeks has shown to lower stress levels greatly.

If you plan on adding chocolate to your diet for reasons beneficial to always remember; now more cocoa in chocolate treats whatever you enjoy, the better. Most of the fat found in chocolate is the coco butter. Coco butter consists of oleic and stearic acid, has a diet that contains foods that have acid in them two have been known to lower cholesterol. Some people may question the sugar found in chocolate. Sugar is bound to be present, but what some do not understand is that there are about ten to fifteen grams of sugar per serving dark chocolate. Most fruit juices contain three times the amount of sugar in one eight-ounce glasses.

At the end of the day, chocolate is still chocolate. It has been proven to do great things but if you go too far you could end up doing more harm than good. As stated before, if you decide to add chocolate to your diet, make sure you choose a healthier form of a tasty treat.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

6 Way How to Keep Chocolate at Its Best

Living in a country like Australia whose weather fluctuates wildly between extreme heat or monsoon, chocolate lovers are always faced with the tricky dilemma of how to keep their chocolate fresh and at its mouth wateringly best. The obvious answer is to eat it as soon as you get it. But for those with more self control, who find themselves needing to store their chocolate for a particular length of time I have outlined below a few useful tips that will enable you to prolong your chocolate effectively.

1. Where possible keep the chocolate in a cool, dry place. The ideal storage location is around about 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity. Although a range of approximately 10% in either direction will not have any adverse effect. A normal air conditioned room should provide adequate protection.

2. Under no circumstances should you ever store your chocolate near a major heat source or in direct sunlight. The light will fade the colour and the elevated temperature will cause tackiness and melting. Really this should be a no brainer but it is amazing the number of people who seem oblivious to the risks of doing so.

3. Chocolate readily absorbs other flavours and odours. So avoid storing it near anything with a strong smell like chemicals, plastic, cleaning solvents, perfumes or air freshener. Those who have ever eaten a chocolate that has been stuck in a plastic bag for a month you will attest to the reasons why!

4. Chocolate may be frozen for up to six months. If frozen outside of its original packaging, the chocolates should be wrapped double in air-tight sealed plastic freezer bags or cling film. When thawing the chocolates should remain in the bags or cling film until, and only until, they return to room temperature. This will keep moisture from condensing on the chocolate.

5. Never let moisture get directly onto the chocolate. High humidity or moisture may cause a white haze or spots, known as 'bloom' on the surface of the chocolate. As well as not looking especially appetising the chocolate taste can become somewhat rancid over time.

6. To reduce the risk of 'blooming' avoid transferring your chocolate from extremes in temperature. In other words do not move it from a warm place to a cool place to a warm place again on a regular basis. This will merely accentuate the process of blooming.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookie Recipes For the Chocoholic in You

Chocolate, now who doesn't love chocolate? And cookies are on of our favorite things from our toddler days to the grave! Chocolate and cookies; two of our favorite things. The recipes in this article will bring the two together for some awesome cookie treats! Whether you like your chocolate in chunks, or chips, there is a recipe here for you! The Mocha Chocolate Chips are made with a healthier cookie in mind. They have both all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, less sugar, and healthy walnuts. Yet they are delicious!

1/2 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/2 cup quick oats 
1 1/4 cups chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

Into a small bowl sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the creamy mixture, beating constantly. Stir in the oats and chocolate chunks.

Spoon dough by tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool 1 minute on the baking sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 
1 tsp baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 cup butter, softened 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup Splenda Granulated 
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 cup instant coffee powder* 
2 squares (1-oz each) unsweetened baking chocolate 
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water and cook, stirring often, until melted; remove and allow to cool.

Mix the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with the sugar and Splenda, with mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, coffee powder and then add the melted chocolate; beat until blended.

With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture just until blended. With a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls, two inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies puff up and the dough loses its shine. Allow to cool 1 minute before removing from the cookie sheet to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Three Healthy Ways to Enjoy Chocolate

If my observations at coffee shops, airports, and checkout counters are accurate, many of us are wild about the flavor of chocolate. And yes, I'm one of them. If you are too, I have great news: You do not--do not!--have to swear off your favorite treat to remain committed to healthful eating.

But not all chocolate is equal. Milk chocolate, the basis of most candy bars, offers little or no benefit. Typical candy-bar chocolate tends to be overprocessed, which destroys many nutrients, and loaded with added fat, sugar, and preservatives that negate its good qualities. Milk chocolate might satisfy your sweet tooth, but it's not something that should be a regular part of your diet.

Fortunately, your choices don't end there. Read on for three of my favorite ways to enjoy the rich flavor of chocolate--and get disease-prevention and energy benefits as well.

1) Raw Organic Cacao Powder

Anything that even remotely relates to chocolate has my vote, but the original cacao bean can't be beat. As the source of all chocolate and cocoa products, there's no more pure chocolate than this.

Cacao is a time-tested beneficial food. South American cultures have enjoyed its healthful and invigorating properties for thousands of years. Modern science tells us why: Cacao is naturally rich with antioxidants, magnesium, and fiber.

The only trick to getting your best boost from natural chocolate is to be sure you get the raw, organic product. I recommend buying raw organic cacao in a powdered form because it's so easy to incorporate into all kinds of food. I add cacao powder to smoothies, desserts, and sauces when I want a chocolate flavor. (And when don't I? So, every day!)

2) Natural Chocolate Flavored Drink Powder

Yes, getting fresh fruits and vegetables is always best, but consider adding a whopping extra 5 to 9 daily servings of fruits and veggies right into your breakfast using a nutritional drink powder. These convenient formulas can be mixed into fruit and yogurt smoothies or added directly to almond milk or water.

When you compare brands, look for a formula with an alkaline to optimize your body's pH level. Also look for enzymes and probiotics that aid digestion and absorption. Remember it's always best to choose products that are raw, organic, and sugar-free. And, of course, choose a flavor that suits your taste. Chocolate, anyone?

Energy and nutrition drink powders are available in most health food stores, but you may find it more convenient to comparison-shop for these products online. Just type "chocolate flavor natural drink powder" into your favorite search engine to get started.

3) Chocolate-Covered Cacao Nibs

Bursting with real chocolate flavor, just a few of these tiny morsels are enough to quell a chocolate craving fast. Even better: They are packed with healthful antioxidants.

When you shop for these treats, look for a brand made of 100% dark cacao nibs, covered in dark chocolate--that is, a chocolate with 70% or more pure cacao content.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to Make Chocolate Peanuts, Turtles and Other Chocolate Covered Products?

One of the most interesting ways chocolate candy is made is a modern method that involves a machine called an "enrober". Imagine a cupcake cup in which you place a pretzel. Fill the cup up with warm chocolate. Then make slits or slots on all four sides so that the extra chocolate will run out of the cup and into a catching tray.

Now when you flood the cup with chocolate it coats the pretzel, but as the chocolate flows back out of the cup the pretzel remains coated. If you move this cup on a belt through a cooling tunnel the chocolate will harden to its final form. Suppose there are 12 cups in a row on a conveyor line, all filled with pretzels. The cups pass beneath a nozzle that fills the cups with chocolate. The overflow runs out through the slits in the cup.

The above method would not be perfect if you need to have chocolate on the bottom of the piece. When you make chocolates in an enrober that needs a chocolate bottom first, before you place an item in the cup you add a small amount of chocolate in the cup bottom. The cup then passes through a chilling tunnel where the bottom sets. The cup is then filled with a nut or fruit center. Then the cup is top flooded with chocolate. The entire piece passes through a cooling tunnel to make the final hard set. Often this is the way production chocolate pieces are made for the large companies.

The excess chocolate recirculates and is used again to flood the next cups with chocolate. This is an enrobing line and you can always tell enrobing because there is a flat bottom on the chocolate item.

Smaller chocolate makers hand dip the chocolates - one at a time - and this is slower but more individualized. An enrober give constant quality, appearance, and large volume of products.

This method of chocolate coating is machinery intensive and requires expensive equipment. A normal plant might make 2,000 pounds of enrobed chocolate pieces on a typical production run!

Have you ever wondered how it is that we can dip nuts into chocolate so that the chocolate comes out distributed evenly all around the nut?

When the nut is coated commercially it goes through an enrobing process. If you had a cup and poured a little chocolate in it and set the chocolate, then placed a nut in the cup on the chocolate bottom, and then flowed chocolate over the nut with the excess flowing out of the cup, you would be enrobing. The finished coated nut goes through cooling tunnels to harden the chocolate and is then popped out of the cup.

You can not do that at home. About the best you can do is to pour chocolate in a mold and then push the nut into the center. As it sets the nut will form a core. Sometimes you can buy these molds at cake decorating specialty shops. They are usually made of flexible rubber or plastic.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why You Should Consider Eating Sugar Free Candy?

As much as most people love candy, for some folks, sugar is not an option due to medical reasons such as diabetes. For those affected by this disease, consuming excess sugar leads to unbalanced blood sugar levels. This in turn can do long term damage to kidneys, eyes nerves and the cardiovascular system. For healthy people, candy is often avoided because sugar can put a major dent in their waistlines if not consumed in moderation. Thankfully, there is an alternative out there for those adverse to consuming candy due to health or dietary issues. With no sugar versions candy no longer needs to be the proverbial forbidden fruit. Instead, everyone can enjoy an occasional sweet treat without putting their health at risk.

For folks who just cannot bear the thought of life without candy, candy versions are definitely something to consider. The main benefit to going the candy route is that they are less caloric than their sugar-laden counterparts. Now granted, just because you save some calories because of the absence of sugar does not mean you can eat the entire bag in one sitting. Chocolates still have calories from fat so while they are waistline friendlier, they will pack on the pounds if eaten to excess. Non-chocolate sugar free candy gives you a bit more play in the calorie department, though as they do not usually have a high fat content. On average, sugar free candy has an average of 40% less calories than their regular counterparts.

Another benefit to taking the sugar free candy route is that Xylitol, the chemical used to sweeten many of these treats, has some positives things going for it as far as your health is concerned. Xylitol is a 100% natural sweetener that is found in berries, fruits, and vegetables. It is not an artificial sweetener like saccharine or aspartame. Xylitol is also naturally found in our bodies with the average adult manufacturing up to 16 grams of it during metabolism. Pure Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar. On food labels, Xylitol is classified as both a carbohydrate and more narrowly as a sugar alcohol or polyol, which can be confusing because it is considered a sugar free sweetener.

The main benefit of Xylitol sweetened candies is that they have 40% less calories and 75% fewer carbs than regular sugar. Xylitol will not raise blood sugar so candy sweetened with it is safe for diabetics.

Folks who chew sugarless gum sweetened with Xylitol also benefit because this it has been found to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay happens because sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth, which causes them to multiply. This metabolic process then produces acids that cause cavities to form. Using gum or mints with Xylitol stops this acid attack for over a half hour. This is because mouth bacteria cannot ferment xylitol in their metabolism, thus reducing their growth, inhibiting acid formation and keeping the pH of saliva steady.

Another reason to opt for candy is on par with the old beer commercial tag line "tastes great, less filling." While in the past anything labeled sugar free had that medicinal, chemical aftertaste, advances in how today's products are made have improved the taste significantly. The use of xylitol, stevia, or Sucralose as sweeteners puts these candies on par with their sugar-laden counterparts so the taste factor is no longer a valid reason to shun candies This is great news for people who cannot consume sugar, as they are no longer stuck with subpar products.

So now that the benefits of candy are clear, and you are considering making the switch, it is time to explore just what kinds of confections are out there. For folks in need of a chocolate fix, movie theater favorites like chocolate covered peanuts or raisins are two great choices. Delicious milk chocolate will satisfy your craving just as well as the classic Goobers or Raisinets but with less calories and no sugar to bust your belt.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Five Trends in Chocolate in 2012

There really is no bad or out of season chocolates. We all love those little bite size morsels wrapped in silver foil. However, chocolatiers are now catering to adult palates. They are true artisans of gourmet chocolate that are developing visual and sensual delights. These are not mass produced candies.

The top trends of 2012 are:

1. Dark chocolate combined with super fruits: Dark chocolate in itself has been proven to be "healthy". With its antioxidants it is said to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and help keep the cardiovascular system running properly. To make it even more desirable to health conscious consumers it is being combined with super fruits that also contain these antioxidants.

2. Artisan Chocolates: These chocolates are true works of art. Homemade treasures. They are not the chocolate that is poured into a heart mold and popped out. The cocoa is selected for aroma and texture. It is quality versus quantity. The chocolates are hand decorated or filled with high quality ingredients. Some look too good to bite into.

3. Chocolate covered tropical fruit: Strawberries are not the only fruit for dipping anymore. These gourmet chocolates bring you to the islands. They are sweet and tangy. Varieties include coconut, orange, passion fruit, and guava. You can hear the ocean when you bite into them. You can hear the breezes of a tropical rainforest.

4. Salt in Chocolate: Sea Salt from around the world has become a specialty food. Gourmet chocolate bars, truffles, wafers are all being sprinkled with finishing salts. Salts from all around the world are being used. Pink salt looks beautiful on white chocolate. The flavor is unique that satisfies both the sweet and salty craving.

5. Spicy: Hot! Hot! Hot! Chocolates are combing spicy jalapenos, chili powder, and smoky chipotles to name a few. As you smell the aroma and chew into the creamy chocolate the spice is the last to come. It is an eye opening surprise. You may want to have a big glass of milk on the side.

Friday, November 25, 2011

How To Make Chocolate Truffles Out Of Leftover Cake?

Fancy having home made truffles that are freshly made? You can make them yourself. Easily.

There are many ways to make your own chocolate truffles.

For example, if you have left over cake, you can turn that old cake into chocolate truffles.

This is a fun activity for the kids, to keep them out of mischief. Make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before they start.

You will need.

Leftover cake.
A large bar of your favourite chocolate.
Chopped nuts.
Kids Kitchen Activities - Making Chocolate Truffles

Crush up the cake into crumbs in a bowl. (The kids can do this)
Line a tray with baking paper.
Spread chopped nuts on the baking paper.
Melt chocolate. (You do this. Melt the chocolate on the high setting for 1 second in a microwave oven)
Pour the melted chocolate into the cake crumbs
Stir until thoroughly mixed. (Kids can do the mixing)
Wash and dry hands thoroughly. (Everyone, please do this if you don't want to get stomach upset.)
Shape the cake crumb chocolate mix into balls. (I'd bet this would be the kids' favourite activity)
Roll these balls in chopped nuts. (Let the kids do this too.)
Let the truffle balls set on the lined tray.
Serve to anyone who loves chocolate truffles.
You can make variations to this recipe with flavourings and chocolate syrup. Here's another version of cake chocolate truffles.

How to make flavoured chocolate truffles

Here's another version, using a melon scoop instead of your hands to form the truffle balls.

Leftover cake
A large bar of your favourite chocolate.
Peppermint flavouring or vanilla essence.
Rainbow sprinkles.
Crush up the cake into crumbs in a bowl.
Line a tray with baking paper.
Melt chocolate. Melt the chocolate on the high setting for 1 second in a microwave oven. Stir to make sure it is fully melted. If it is still solid, microwave it for another 1 second on high setting.
Pour the melted chocolate into the cake crumbs
Add 1 teaspoon of peppermint essence or vanilla essence, whichever flavour you prefer.
Stir until thoroughly mixed. (Kids can do the mixing)
Scoop up a ball of truffle mix.
Use a teaspoon to ease that ball out of the melon scoop and onto the tray.
Sprinkle rainbow sprinkles over the truffle balls.
Let the truffle balls set on the lined tray.
Serve to anyone who loves chocolate truffles.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Coffee and Cacao Beans is Rich Sources of Phytonutrients

Sub Titled- Singing the Praises of the World's Healthiest Beans

While we have talked about the health benefits of dark chocolate and brewed cacao products in a previous article, we did not get in to much detail. This article may be considered as too scientific by some, but it is very important to know what is healthy and unhealthy for our bodies. Typically, when our medical doctor prescribes a pill, we take it without reservation. Is that wise? When we buy prepared food and drinks at the grocery store, we assume that our government only allows healthy products to be sold in our stores. Is that true? The answer to both questions is sadly no.

Note: This article serves to inform you of the healthful benefits found in both caffeine and cacao beans so that you can make informed decisions regarding your diet and habits. We are not suggesting you change your diet drastically or stop taking prescribed medication without discussing it with your doctor.

What are phytochemicals?

Most people are familiar with the basic nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Less often discussed are phytochemicals, which are classified as "nonessential nutrients" There are thousands of phytochemicals that we are aware of and thousands more to be discovered, each with their own healing properties

Both the coffee and cacao beans are rich sources of phytochemicals. Caffeine and theobromine, provided by these beans, are photochemical alkaloids with numerous health benefits. Caffeine is widely known and is found in coffee, some teas, and over the counter medications. Theobromine, which is not as commonly known as caffeine, is found in dark chocolate and cacao brews. The photochemical alkaloids caffeine and theobromine are beneficial to the human body.

Health Benefits of Caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, which increases respiration and blood circulation by dilating your blood vessels. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic. Caffeine increases the body's circulation while stimulating the oxidation of fatty acids, contributing to weight reduction and better athletic performance. Caffeine is often combined with aspirin to treat headaches. Remember, moderation is the key to healthy caffeine consumption.

Caffeine Facts

Plants containing caffeine have been used by different cultures over centuries. Caffeinated teas were used to treat headaches, coughs, and even the plague. Interestingly enough, only in recent history is caffeine used to avoid slumber and relieve fatigue. Caffeine is now one of the most widely used phytochemicals. Contrary to popular beliefs, caffeine is not addictive, but it can be habit-forming. Normal levels of caffeine consumption are not toxic to humans but are very toxic to dogs, cats and horses.

Health Benefits of Theobromine

Theobromine has similar effects as caffeine but to a lesser degree, making it a healthy alternative to those with caffeine sensitivities.. Like caffeine, theobromine is a diuretic and a stimulant. Theobromine dilates your blood vessels, helping lower blood pressure. Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not affect the central nervous system yet remains a stimulant. Theobromine can also relax bronchia muscles in the lungs, making it beneficial for people with asthma and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Theobromine is also used as cough medicine. Studies show that theobromine acts positively on the vagus nerve, which runs from the lungs to the brain. Physicians in the Middle East recommend the consumption of 4 cups of coffee daily. They believe this limits heart disease and colorectal cancer, while reducing the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. There are also claims that coffee consumption reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, depression, and prostate cancer. Studies have also shown that high coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Researchers cannot determine what it is in coffee that produces these healthful benefits. We can only assume that coffee's positive effects are due to the high amount of phytochemicals found in every cup.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why Chocolate Contributes To Good Health?

So many of us LOVE chocolate, don't we? We love the bitter and sweet taste aspects, along with the creamy texture and the oh-so seductive aroma. All these qualities contribute to our love of chocolate. However, not all chocolate is created equally. White chocolate and milk chocolate do not possess the health benefits of deep, dark chocolate.

Deep, dark chocolate has several advantages over its paler counterparts. First, dark chocolate is lower in sugar and it comes with a higher percentage of cocoa and cocoa fat which is a healthy fat. That healthy fat is called monounsaturated oleic acid. It's the same kind of fat as you will find in olive oil. We have been hearing for years about the exceptional heart-healthy benefits of olive oil.

Another reason to choose dark chocolate is directly related to those who are lactose or casein intolerant. Dark chocolate is a better choice when it doesn't contain milk. Be sure to read the label carefully when looking for milk-free chocolate.

Dark chocolate is high in a special class of antioxidants called which are called flavonoids. These help keep free radicals, destructive substances formed as by-products from normal daily activities such as breathing, under control. Dark chocolate is high in a particular antioxidant called flavanol which has been shown to increase vascular health by lowering blood pressure. Flavanol also improves blood flow to the brain and heart. Another plus is that this powerhouse antioxidant can also make blood platelets less sticky. These all add up to making deep, dark chocolate a heart-healthy choice. You might even say, "The darker - the better," when it comes to chocolate.

There are a few folks who don't like the taste of chocolate or have an allergy to it. They can also receive the benefits of flavanol by eating cranberries, apples and onions. It is also found in several red wines and in tea. The best red wines with the highest antioxidant benefits are pinots, merlots, and syrahs. For those who do enjoy dark chocolate, these same red wine choices will pair very well with your chocolate. It's an indulgence that reaps health benefits!

Red wine and dark chocolate share another health benefit: the flavonoid resveretrol. This tongue twister is pronounced RES-VEER-ETRAWL. Along with having heart-healthy benefits, it is considered anti-aging. Plus, it has been found to lower blood sugar.

Perhaps you have not acquired a taste for the bitterness of dark, dark chocolate. There's still hope. A great way to start is by slowly increasing the percentage of cocoa found in the chocolate you purchase. Many milk chocolate choices have a 35 percent cocoa content. Anything over 70 percent is considered healthy. By slowly adding a few percentage points to your chocolate choices, you will slowly notice an increase in the taste tolerance you have for the more bitter varieties. Over time you will come to enjoy the darker chocolates and benefit from their health-enhancing qualities.