I hope you all enjoyed the turmeric chicken recipe from last week. This week’s recipe features my favorite thing in life – dark chocolate!
Dark chocolate is produced from the seed of the Theobroma cacao tree. These intensely bitter seeds must be fermented, then roasted and then ground to improve their flavour. The cultivation of the cacao tree dates back to at least 1990 B.C. in MesoAmerica and the Aztecs, who were fond of drinking cocoa, believed that it had mystical powers making the seeds so highly prized that they were used as a form of currency.
Good quality dark chocolate is created by adding fat and sugar to cocoa, and contains no milk; it is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that can positively affect your health. It contains a reasonable amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals including iron, magnesium and copper. However, as with most dessert items, it does contain fat so be careful how much you consume if you are not an active person or you might wind up accidentally gaining weight!
Studies indicate that it has the capacity to lower blood pressure and can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes. It is also reported to reduce plaque in arteries thereby lowering the risk of coronary disease and may also assist with cognitive functions in the elderly (but there seems to be some debate as to whether it is the cocoa or the caffeine that it contains that is assisting with memory).
I have adapted this brownie recipe from a version that I found on www.droz.com – do not be put off by the black beans, the brownies are absolutely delicious and contain no dairy or processed sugar:
1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed with fresh water
½ cup agave syrup
½ flour (I used all purpose but I think whole wheat would be good too)
¼ unsweetened cocoa
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. baking powder
6 tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8” x 8” pan with cooking spray. Using a food processor, or an electric hand held wand, puree the black beans into a smooth paste. Add all of the other ingredients except the chips and stir until fully incorporated. Add the chips and stir until mixed throughout.
Bake for about 20 minutes – bake slightly less time for gooey brownies, and slightly more time for cake like brownies. Cool completely and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 16 brownies.
* For further reading on chocolate click here