If you or your Chocolate Date have dietary challenges with chocolate, you can find a wide assortment made to fit your needs. Treat yourself to sugar free, organic or kosher chocolates found in local stores (special diet aisle), organic specialty stores (where they carry fair trade chocolates) and local Chocolatiers (also available online for purchase).
“There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles.” – Anonymous
Chocolate Liquor or Cocoa Paste
The name ‘liquor’ can be deceiving, however there is no alcohol in ‘chocolate liquor’. This pure liquid form of chocolate is ground directly from the center of the cocoa bean, or the nib, and contains cocoa butter, a pale yellow edible natural fat, and cocoa solids, the nonfat component.
Is the creamy, buttery, pale, yellow vegetable fat extracted from the chocolate liquor.
Is the nonfat cocoa solids in the chocolate liquor once they are separated from the cocoa butter. This popular powdered form of unsweetened chocolate is usually used in hot chocolate and as an ingredient in low fat desserts like brownies and cookies.
Solidified chocolate liquor with the highest cocoa content, also known as bitter or baking chocolate, is the base component that gives chocolate the deep flavor and dark brown color. With its bitter taste, it is best used in cooking and baking.
Unsweetened chocolate or chocolate liquor made from approximately 1/3 sugar and vanilla (used for flavoring). It contains anywhere from 35% – 80% chocolate liquor with a minimum of 32% cocoa solids. You will find this chocolate more bitter than semi-sweet as it has a higher content of chocolate liquor and less sugar.
Normally found in chocolate chips or in baking squares for desserts, semisweet chocolate is a combination of unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and flavorings. It has a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor and is sweeter than bittersweet chocolate, but darker than sweet dark chocolate.
Also known as ‘sweet dark chocolate’ contains chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla and an emulsifier. There are no milk solids in dark chocolate. With higher amounts of sugar and cocoa solids ranging from 30% to 80%, it is sweeter than other dark chocolates and is normally used for everyday consumption.
Chocolate with Milk products:
Sweeter and creamier tasting than all the dark chocolates as it contains milk products (dry milk solids or condensed milk), higher sugar content, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and flavorings (usually vanilla).
The common debate as to whether or not white chocolate is considered chocolate is due to the cocoa butter content. White chocolate lacks the cocoa liquor and solids that give it the familiar flavor and brown color. This creamy treat contains extra milk products and some brands have a vanilla taste.
Often used as a low-calorie health alternative to chocolate and containing similar nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus, this dark brown powder is made from the mashed fruit of a Mediterranean pine tree. It is often used for those with allergies to chocolate and can be found in solid form (chips) or powder at organic specialty stores.
Treats like chocolate covered strawberries are a chocolate lover’s delight! These can be conveniently bought from your local bakery, patisserie, chocolatier or even online such as Berries.com. But it is always fun to make your own to savor them yourself or feed these to your Chocolate Date as a surprise treat during a romantic rendezvous.
The easiest and most pleasurable part is dipping your favorite treat into the melted chocolate. Seeing the melted chocolate coat your treat as you lift it up with the anticipation of enjoying it later. For beginners and first timers, the hardest part is melting the chocolate properly to avoid burning, crumbling or thickening.
One of the common mistakes people make is adding water when it becomes thick and pasty. Like oil and water, chocolate and water do not mix. At that stage, only oil or shortening can help thin the mixture.
To make the whole process fun and easy, check out the following resources. Pick the one that works and start dipping away! Have fun!
We love to hear how your progress went. Post your comments below or on our The Chocolate Date Facebook page. If you have pictures, be sure to post them as well.
Chocolate and cookies, biscotti, fruits, or candy. Raspberry or orange jells are some more of the many normal customer favorites. Try the smooth pungent flavor of a soft peppermint stick or the smooth, rich buttery flavor of a homemade vanilla caramel when enrobed in chocolate is pure delight to many who like to savor this chewy delight. The list of delicacies, which combined with chocolate, is based only on each and everyone’s personal preferences.
Milk, dark or white chocolate – which is your personal favorite? For a designer treat though, without the designer price tag, you can even use 2 or 3 chocolate varieties on each coated piece, whether it is candy or cookies or anything else. Dip 1/2 of your pretzel twist in milk chocolate, dip the other 1/2 in dark chocolate and drizzle white chocolate over the top for a unique look to make a chocoholics dream come true.
How To Coat Foods In Chocolate
There really is no good reason to buy your chocolate coated treats. Making them yourself is fast, easy, convenient and so much cheaper on the wallet.
Actually, there is many ways today available on the market to facilitate the process of making chocolate coated treats. Pick any one, acquire the necessary supplies and “wow” the party guests, whether it be one or one hundred.
A chocolate tempering machine is a piece of equipment which is used more by the professional chef, the restaurant or a party planner. Any person who makes fine quality chocolates, often for re-sale, uses this piece of equipment to turn out a decorator piece of chocolate. This piece of equipment can roast, melt and stabilize the temperature setting to achieve perfection for optimal use and pleasure for the expert chocolatier.
A chocolate melter resembles the tempering machine without a few of the frills necessary to an experienced chocolatier. The chocolate melter may sometimes ask for the chocolate to be partially melted first and then poured into the melting pot. A slow, smooth even heat is then maintained to keep your chocolate at the ideal temperature for using or serving.
A fondue pot or chocolate fountain are both popular party centerpieces. Again it is advisable to melt your chocolate first and then add it to the already pre-heated machine.
A double boiler, part of an old-fashioned kitchen set of pots and pans can still be used today. Many people though are unfamiliar with this 2 piece pan set.It can be tricky to melt chocolate in a double boiler unit. Most people have problems with the steam rising around the rim of the top pan. All of this steam is water droplets rising. Much of what rises, eventually does fall right back into the pan of melting chocolate.
Chocolate is an oil-based product. Think back to your school’s chemistry days, and you will remember oil and water do not mix. Therefore when the water (steam) droplets fall back into your top pan of the double boiler, the chocolate will “seize”. This is a descriptive term stating your chocolate has become mud-like and very hard to stir. Eventually, with too much steam, your melting pan will become hard – thus the chocolate has “seized.”
Microwaving chocolate, especially confectionery chocolate, is the easiest way to prepare chocolate treats for the family. Alternatively, if you are preparing your treats in advance of the event, using the microwave can become as easy as fixing tonight’s dinner.With just a few easy utensils, a bowl (preferably plastic) and some melting wafers (the easiest way to purchase confectionery chocolate), you can have your chocolate at an ideal temperature for dipping within 5 to 10 minutes.
So coating your foods in chocolate can be done in multiple ways, just by deciding which you feel is the best for your purposes. A beginner is usually most comfortable with the microwave method. As your skills advance and you become more familiar with the process, often some people will enjoy working their way up the chain to using other methods for some quick and easy family treats.
How To Melt Chocolate The Quick And Easy Way
To make an assortment of family snacking treats, melting your own chocolate at home for a quick treat tonight is really very simple from your microwave. With a small thin-walled plastic bowl, a table knife to be used for stirring, and your melting chocolate, you can be having some homemade treats within the next 15 to 30 minutes.
Some quick how to directions are:
Place your chocolate (bars, wafers or block) in the small bowl until it is approximately 3/4 full. Place this in the microwave. Cook on high power (100%) for 60 seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir well with the table knife, taking care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well to loosen and move all of the chocolate. Return the bowl to the microwave, heat at medium power (50%) for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl again and stir well.
Repeat this procedure, 30 seconds heating on 1/2 power and remove to stir approximately 5-6 more times. Each time you remove the bowl, you will notice the chocolate is getting a little softer and easier to stir. Continue heating until the outside walls of the bowl are warm to the touch of your hands. By following this recurring procedure, your chocolate melts consistently without ever scorching.
In case you would prefer a thinner chocolate for dipping (thin chocolate is great for easier “run-off”), add 1 T. white Crisco shortening or a tsp of vegetable oil to thin. Stir it in well and heat one more time so it blends well.So with a few minutes of practice, you can become your own chocolatier by making an assortment of your family’s favorites with just a few short minutes of notice.
About the Author: Kathi Robinson
Looking for some suggestions what you can do in making your own candy and snack store favorites, then check at http://www.allergyfreeandsugarfreesnacks.com/candy-and-snacks-store.html
Chocolate is the world’s most indulgent and sinful delicacy, not only tantalizing the taste buds, but opening the hearts of everyone…especially women. Associated with romance, chocolate stimulates the delicious feeling of being in love, and according to scientific research, the pleasure of chocolate melting in your mouth increases brain activity while the heart rate increases even more than it does during passionate kissing. It’s not hard to see why it has become one of the most popular and best-known aphrodisiacs in the world. So, if you happen to be a less-than-perfect kisser, try adding chocolate to the mix!
The Mayans of Mexico and Central America first discovered the cocoa bean and used it as an offering to the Gods by turning it into a luxurious, spicy drink used mainly in sacred ceremonies. It therefore, became known as the “Food of the Gods.” Later, when the Spanish came into contact with the Mayans, this luscious secret was shared first with royalty, then with the common man, becoming one of the world’s first delicacies.
This simple bean has transformed itself into so many wonderful and delicious treats with so many chocolate connoisseurs that it has now become a significant part of celebrations, holidays, festivals and competitions the world over.
“Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate!”
– Elaine Sherman, Book of Divine Indulgences
Chocolate continues to grow in popularity with ever-evolving new creations and flavors. Recently, scientific research revealed that chocolate is also good for you! Containing significant amounts of the same flavonoids that are found in wine, green tea, fruits and vegetables, it triggers the release of endorphins—those natural feel-good chemicals—when we eat it. While many men may not understand the pleasurable, and even orgasmic, sensations this little cocoa bean can bring to most women, or the fact that it can be a substitute for sex, just bringing chocolate as a tool to enhance the fun will have her wanting more. This, in turn, will make you her ‘hero’, because you now know one of her hot buttons.
Some of you who are reading this may wonder why would anyone not finish it in the first place. Well, in case these moments do happen, you want to ensure your chocolate is stored properly. Why?
Did you know… chocolate is like a sponge that will pick up other scents and aromas? If not properly stored, it will taste nothing like the first bite ruining your chocolate moment.
Prior to this knowledge, my chocolates were stored loosely in the pantry among boxed and canned food not realizing how much that would affect it. Shortly after, I wanted to indulge my sweet tooth. I pulled it from the pantry and placed a small piece in my mouth only to discover the most foul taste! Now empowered with this information, I vow never to repeat the same mistake again.
What to do?
Here are two resources that I have found with great valuable information on how to prevent this from happening.
Chocolate storing tips – How to store chocolate
Here is advice from chocolate expert and author Clay Gordon.
Article written by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar: 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.
Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar http://www.moolollybar.com.au The best online chocolate, lolly and confectionery store on the web!
“There are times when chocolate really can fix all your problems” Dark chocolate is a perfect food; it is as wholesome as it is delicious. Dark, rich and creamy it is one of our most accepted guilty-pleasures, so you may be surprised to learn that raw cocoa contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea and blueberries. In just one ounce of dark chocolate, you get the same beneficial plant chemicals as in a cup of brewed black tea. Not only can chocolate revitalize the appearance and texture of our skin, it can help protect it from sun damage, lower blood pressure, and increase circulation. It’s chocolate-loving-care for the whole body!
“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food” Dark chocolate contains a whole host of antioxidants, nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea. Antioxidants help to prevent cellular damage and disease by neutralizing free radicals, the destructive oddly-numbered molecules that act as scavengers of the human body. The antioxidants in cocoa are easily absorbed and are more stable and long-lasting than those found in other foods like Acai berries, blueberries, dark green vegetables, and legumes. Cocoa is also a source for essential trace elements, minerals, and vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E, and several nutrients. For that reason, dark chocolate is able to impart calming properties to the skin, diminish the physical signs of aging, absorb UV light, reduce inflammation, allergens, viruses and carcinogens, and balance certain hormones in the body.
“And above all…think chocolate!” Eating dark chocolate provides many noteworthy health benefits. Raw and unprocessed organic cocoa and dark chocolate made from raw and unprocessed organic cocoa are accepted as “healthy chocolate”. Not only does dark chocolate have antioxidants that can help reduce blood pressure, it also contains healthy fats like oleic acid; a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil and thought to raise the level of the “good cholesterol” known as HDL. Other beneficial compounds found in cocoa are similar to those found in red wine and can slow cardiovascular disease by preventing plaque formation in our arteries, which can lead to blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. Cocoa also improves skin’s texture, thickness, hydration, and blood flow.
“I am not overweight. I am chocolate-enriched” You may also be shocked to learn that dark chocolate can help you lose weight. Dark chocolate is actually a low-glycemic food and because it has appetite-suppressant properties, cocoa is often added to weight loss products to help control hunger. What about the sugar content? Well, the amount of flavanols in extra dark chocolate is so high that it offsets the amount of sugar added. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, will have the opposite effect seeing as the milk in milk chocolate impedes the absorption of antioxidants. The profuse amounts of sugar in milk chocolate reduce the benefits of cocoa by promoting inflammation, which in turn leads to a breakdown of tissue resulting in micro-scarring which eventually becomes macro-scarring, which to often results in facial lines and wrinkles.
“Do not disturb: chocolate fantasy in progress” Indulge your craving for chocolate with delightful chocolate essences, all the while melting away dead skin cells leaving our skin glowing and nourished. Dark chocolate masks are pure and rich in natural ingredients like theobroma oil, commonly known as cocoa butter, and antioxidants. Chocolate facial masks not only leave our skin feeling nourished, firm, smooth, and deeply moisturized, but entice the senses as well.
“Chocolate isn’t a food, it’s a medicine – an anti-depressant” Not only are you improving the appearance of our skin, but by using true cocoa with added essential oils you receive aromatic and therapeutic rewards. The use of cocoa in facial treatments may trigger the brain’s pleasure centers. Chocolate contains caffeine and two other substances, tyramine and tryptophan, that are converted into the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin, which play a large role in the pleasure and reward mechanisms of our brain. Cocoa is also shown to stimulate endorphin production, which imparts a sense of pleasure. What better way to indulge our chocolate craving without adding calories and still feel sinfully fulfilled.
“I never met a chocolate I didn’t like” Cocoa is currently being studied to see if it helps prevent premature aging of the skin due to its high antioxidant content which helps improve circulation, as well as effectively absorb some harmful UV rays. When healthy dark chocolate is blended with ingredients like quinine, kojic acid and licorice extract, is shown to be useful when addressing pigmentation.
“A day without chocolate is a day without sunshine” Chocolate is a multifaceted food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite. There are four “dosage” recommendations of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate:
6.3 g (30 calories) per day, about the size of a Hershey’s Kiss morsel
6.7 grams of chocolate per day, the equivalent of a small square of chocolate two or three times a week
no more than 25 gram, or 2.5 squares of dark chocolate, a day
up to 1 serving (20 g) of dark chocolate every 3 days
All natural (non-dutched) cocoa products vary in dosage depending on the amount of natural cocoa in the product. If you like a hot chocolate with milk or cream, substitute rice milk or soy milk to ensure you are receiving the full benefit of the healthy antioxidants in each sip. Cocoa and chocolate should not be considered a substitute for medications as prescribed by your doctor.
Nourish Body and Soul with this Hot Cocoa recipe made with Pure Essential Oils!
HOT COCOA FLAVORED WITH PURE ESSENTIAL OILS – Try Cinnamon, Mint or Citrus!
1/2 Cup Raw Organic Sugar or Honey
1/4 Cup Cocoa
Dash of Salt
1/3 Cup Hot Water
4 Cups Milk
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 TBSP Sweetened Whipped Cream or Marshmallows
1-3 drops essential oil. (Cinnamon leaf, Peppermint or Sweet orange)
Blend dry ingredients in a medium sauce pan; slowly add hot water and heat thoroughly before adding milk, stirring constantly. Do not boil! Remove from heat and flavor with vanilla and essential oils. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows. Makes four 8-oz servings. Enjoy!
HEALTH BENEFITS of HOT COCOA and PURE ESSENTIAL OILS!
Recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that cocoa powder and dark chocolate are highly concentrated sources of natural flavanols. In general the higher the cocoa content, the greater the antioxidant potential.
Scientific studies show that naturally occurring flavanoid compounds from cocoa beans may deliver health benefits. Flavanoids act as antioxidants and are found in high concentrations in all plants.
It takes 1-4 cups or more of plant matter to make 1 single drop of pure essential oil, making essential oils an extremely high antioxidant source.
PLEASE NOTE: There are many cheap, synthetic copies of aromatic oils, but these are not recommended for therapeutic use. For best results purchase the highest quality oils you can possibly find. Use certified organic essential oils, or oils that have been tested and are pesticide free.
Aromatherapy is a gentle and noninvasive complementary health care system used for balancing and synchronizing your body, mind, spirit and emotions to enhance your health. Properly administered essential oils are a natural, safe and effective way to enhance your health and well-being and can produce satisfying results where other methods have failed. Please consult with your physician regarding serious health concerns and do not attempt to self diagnose.
KG Stiles is a certified aromatherapist practicing in Ashland, OR USA. PurePlant Essentials is her line of pure organic essential oils. Learn more about the health benefits of each of the recommended pure essential oils!