Chocolate

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So Chocolate… hmm a very common name that all have heard, in-fact almost all of us eat it every single day, I know I do. So here is some history of Chocolate and my favourite recipe that I make very often.

Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavours in the world, and a vast number of foodstuffs involving chocolate have been created, particularly desserts including cakes, pudding, mousse, chocolate brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. Many candies are filled with or coated with sweetened chocolate, and bars of solid chocolate and candy bars coated in chocolate are eaten as snacks. Gifts of chocolate moulded into different shapes (e.g., eggs, hearts) have become traditional on certain Western holidays, such as Easter and Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages such as chocolate milk and hot chocolate and in some alcoholic drinks, such as creme de cacao.

Although cocoa originated in the Americas, recent years have seen African nations assuming a leading role in producing cocoa. Since the 2000s, Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, with Ivory Coast growing almost half of that. 

Chocolate is a typically sweet, usually brown food preparation of Theobroma cacao seeds, roasted and ground. It is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a block, or used as a flavouring ingredient in other foods. Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least three millennia in Mesoamerica. The earliest evidence of use traces to the Mokaya (Mexico and Guatemala), with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BCE. In fact, the majority of Mesoamericanpeople made chocolate beverages, including the Maya and Aztecs, who made it into a beverage known as xocolātl  a Nahuatl word meaning “bitter water”. The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop the flavour.

Types

Chocolate is commonly used as a coating for various fruits such as cherries and/or fillings, such as liqueurs.

Disk of chocolate (about 4cm in diameter), as sold in Central America, for making hot cocoa. Note that the chocolate pictured here is soft, can easily be crumbled by hand, and already has sugar added.

 

Several types of chocolate can be distinguished. Pure, unsweetened chocolate, often called “baking chocolate”, contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, which combines chocolate with sugar.

Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that also contains milk powder or condensed milk. In the UK and Ireland, milk chocolate must contain a minimum of 20% total dry cocoa solids; in the rest of the European Union, the minimum is 25%. “White chocolate” contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa solids. Chocolate contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects in humans, but the presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals, such as dogs and cats. Chocolate contains “brain cannabinoids” such as anandamide, N-oleoylethanolamine and N-linoleoylethanolamine. Dark chocolate has been promoted for unproven health benefits.

White chocolate, although similar in texture to that of milk and dark chocolate, does not contain any cocoa solids. Because of this, many countries do not consider white chocolate as chocolate at all. Because it does not contain any cocoa solids, white chocolate does not contain any theobromine, so it can be consumed by animals.

Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to the cacao mixture. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration calls this “sweet chocolate”, and requires a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. Semisweet chocolate is a dark chocolate with a low sugar content. Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla, and sometimes lecithin have been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking.

Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, also known as bitter or baking chocolate. It is unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavor. It is typically used in baking or other products to which sugar and other ingredients are added. Raw chocolate, often referred to as raw cacao, is always dark and a minimum of 75% cacao.

Poorly tempered chocolate may have whitish spots on the dark chocolate part, called chocolate bloom; it is an indication that sugar and/or fat has separated due to poor storage. It is not toxic and can be safely consumed.

Nutrition and research

Candies, milk chocolate
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 2,240 kJ (540 kcal)
Carbohydrates
59.4
Sugars 51.5
Dietary fiber 3.4 g
Fat
29.7
Protein
7.6
Vitamins
Vitamin A 195 IU
Thiamine (B1)
(9%)

0.1 mg

Riboflavin (B2)
(25%)

0.3 mg

Niacin (B3)
(3%)

0.4 mg

Vitamin B6
(0%)

0.0 mg

Folate (B9)
(3%)

11 μg

Vitamin B12
(29%)

0.7 μg

Choline
(9%)

46.1 mg

Vitamin C
(0%)

0 mg

Vitamin E
(3%)

0.5 mg

Vitamin K
(5%)

5.7 μg

Minerals
Calcium
(19%)

189 mg

Iron
(18%)

2.4 mg

Magnesium
(18%)

63 mg

Manganese
(24%)

0.5 mg

Phosphorus
(30%)

208 mg

Potassium
(8%)

372 mg

Sodium
(5%)

79 mg

Zinc
(24%)

2.3 mg

Other constituents
Water 1.5 g
Caffeine 20 mg
Cholesterol 23 mg
theobromine 205 mg
Units
  • μg = micrograms
  •  mg = milligrams
  • IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Nutrition

A 100 gram serving of milk chocolate supplies 540 calories. It is 59% carbohydrates(52% as sugar and 3% as dietary fibre), 30% fat and 8% protein (table). Approximately 65% of the fat in milk chocolate is saturated, composed mainly of palmitic acid and stearic acid, while the predominant unsaturated fat is oleic acid (table, see USDA reference for full report).

In 100 gram amounts, milk chocolate is an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of riboflavin, vitamin B12 and the dietary minerals, manganese, phosphorus and zinc (table). Chocolate is a good source (10-19% DV) of calcium, magnesium and iron(table).

Effects on health

Chocolate may be a factor for heartburn in some people because one of its constituents, theobromine, may affect the oesophageal sphincter muscle, hence permitting stomach acidic contents to enter into the oesophagus. Theobromine is also toxic to some animals unable to metabolise it (see theobromine poisoning).

Excessive consumption of large quantities of any energy-rich food, such as chocolate, without a corresponding increase in activity to expend the associated calories, can increase the risk of weight gain and possibly obesity. Raw chocolate is high in cocoa butter, a fat which is removed during chocolate refining, then added back in varying proportions during the manufacturing process. Manufacturers may add other fats, sugars, and milk as well, all of which increase the caloric content of chocolate.

Chocolate and cocoa contain moderate to high amounts of oxalate, which may increase risk for kidney stones. During cultivation and production, chocolate may absorb lead from the environment, but the total amounts typically eaten are less than the tolerable daily limit for lead consumption, according to a World Health Organisation report from 2010. However, reports from 2014 indicate that “chocolate might be a significant source” of lead ingestion for children if consumption is high and “one 10 g cube of dark chocolate may contain as much as 20% of the daily lead oral limit.”

A few studies have documented allergic reactions from chocolate in children.

Research

Chocolate and cocoa are under preliminary research to determine if consumption affects the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases or cognitive abilities.

 

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

SERVES:

6-8 Single Cups Serving

PREPARATION TIME:

40 Minutes

 

Over Night Untouched

Ingredients 

 

 

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 50g cocoa cooking chocolate, grated
  • 50g chopped walnuts
  • 1tablespoons gelatin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1cups cream (unsweetened)
  • 1cup hot water
  • whipped cream (for decorating)
  • finely grated chocolate (for garnishing)

Directions

  1. Dissolve gelatine in hot water.
  2. Add cocoa powder to one cup of milk and heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. to make a smooth paste.
  4. Add the gelatine, walnuts, chocolate, the other cup of milk and the condensed milk.
  5. Mix very nicely and keep aside.
  6. Whisk cream in another bowl and fold in the chocolate mixture.
  7. Serve chilled with cream and grated chocolate.