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February 11, 2010     The Harris County Journal
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PAGE 6 BRIDES ~z VALENTINE'S EDITION - STAR-MERCURY PUBLISHING - FEBUARY 2010 Thinking Chocolates for Valentine's? The History of Chocolate and the Flavors All Love By JOHN KUYKENDALL When Valentine's Day rolls around, one of the most popular gifts has always been that red box filled with chocolates. Knowing which box to buy can be a problem, but not if you know your chocolate. Below is a little history lesson on chocolate and the favors that we have all learned to love. Hopefully, this will help you when you begin looking for that per- feet box of chocolate for that special someone in your life this Valentine's Day. CHOCOLATE IS one of the most popular confec- tions, as both men and women admit to craving. (About 40 percent of women and 15 per- cent of men report chocolate cravings, according to published studies.) But what do we really know about chocolate, other than it tastes really good. AZTEC INDIANS were some of the first people on record to - -.have enjoyed chocolate. Their leg- ends held that cacao seeds were brought from Paradise and that wisdom and power came from eat- hag the fruit of the cacao tree. Due to a spelling error, the cacao beans became know as the "cocoa" beans, probably by travel- ers who misinterpreted the Aztecs. COCOA WAS first consumed as a bitter beverage. It wasn't until English explorers brought the beans back to Europe and mixed it with sugar and milk that chocolate began to evolve. Today, there are a variety of chocolates to choose from for those with a sweet tooth. UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: This is pure cocoa that has no sugar added. It is commonly referred to as baking choco- late, and is bitter and not eaten right out of the package. BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE: While still bitter, bittersweet has some added sugar. Generally high in cocoa solids (up to 75 percent), bit- twersweet chocolate contains more cocoa butter than unsweetened vari- eties. SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE: This chocolate is slightly sweetened during processing. It may contain a little more sugar than bittersweet, but still a high percentage of cocoa solids. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are often interchangeable in recipes, but semisweet seems to be the preferred chocolate for bakers. MILK CHOCOLATE: This is the sweet- est varieW of chocolate with the most sugar, milk and least amount of cocoa solids (perhaps 20 percent). Milk chocolate is commonly used for candy bars. It is not good for baking because the milk protein can interfere in the texture of the finished baked product. WHITE CHOCOLATE: Some argue that white chocolate isn't real chocolate. That's because it is made from sweetened cocoa butter with added vanilla and milk solids, but cpnt~ no cocoa solids. Howev~ ~cA-it contains cocoa butter, which Come~-fr:6~'¢oeoa beans, it is a chocolate derivative. GERMAN CHOCOLATE: German chocolate actually has nothing to do with Germany, but with a man named "German" who created the confection. It is a dark chocolate but sweeter than semisweet. CONVETURE: A high-qu~ity baking chocolate that contains more cocoa butter than regular chocolate: Conveture means "to cover," and it is often used for coating truffles or in frost- hags. Now you know a little about the history of chocolate and the flavors of the confec- tion so maybe selecting the perfect box of chocolates for that special someone in your life will be a little easier this year. Oh yeaia guys, don't forget the flowers. You can't give your sweetheart chocolates without flowers on Valentine's Day. That's the law. Roses seem to be the flower of choice for Valentine's Day. However, almost any variety of flower is acceptable, as long as it comes with that box of chocolates or a nice piece of jewelry. Chocolate Does Have Health Benefits Submitted by Denis Tallini, Manager of The Wellness Center of URMC Chocolate, many love it but also fear the negative consequences of eating it. Don't despair, there is some good news! Customers! When cocoa is processed into chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce the naturally pungent taste caused by flavonoids (polyphenols). These flavonoids have been found to provide health benefits, however, the more chocolate is processed by fermentation, the are lost So, it is better to choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. What about all of the fat in chocolate? You may be surprised to find out that chocolate isn't as bad as once thought The fat in chocolate, from cocoa butter, is made up of equal amounts of heart-healthy monounsatu- rated fat and saturated fat Saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL (bad) cholesterol and risk for heart disease. Research indicates that monounsaturated fats appear to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, nei- ther raising nor lowering LDL-cholesterol levels. This, however, does not give us a license to con- sume as much dark choco- late as we'd like. You must be cautious about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmal- low-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option! The problem is primarily the calories these products contain. Second, there is no established serving size of chocolate to reap these heart healthy benefits. More research is need- ed to determine just how much chocolate we choco- late-lovers can eat in order to get the cardio-protective benefits. However, you no longer need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while. , J l ~ ~ J ,, • 'Al$o~, don~t, forget t o ~at a variety of other flavonoid- rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions or cran- berries. The Wellness Center of URMC invites you to join us for Open House and Chocolate Fondue on Thursday,, February 18th t~om 4-7pro.. Free tours and workouts all day. Call 706- 647-4466 or visit www. urm- cwellness.org/star for more information. QUAL!T,Y MEATS~,, FOOD OUTLET ]PliC, SAY] Treat Your Valentine to a Super ~/ Market CCl StManchester, 846-85 VI.sI GA 910 /o ,ion. Special Homemade Treat Valentine's Day is right around the cor- ner, and desserts are often part of the fes- tivities. Chocolate tops the list of preferred confections on this day of love and affec- Whether you're romancing a special someone, or simply want to give the mes- sage that you are a secret admirer, whip up a batch of these delightful treats. They're also perfectly acceptable to enjoy if you're spending Valentine's Day alone or with friends and desire a sweet pick-me-up. CHOCOLATE SCOTCHEROOS (Courtesy o£KELLOGG's® RICE KRISPIES® cemaD Yields 24 squares 1 cup light corn syrup 1 cup sugar 1 cup peanut butter 6 cups RICE KRISPIES® cereal or 6 cups COCOA KRISPIES® cereal 1 package (6 oz., 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate morsels 1 cup butterscotch chips Place corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mix- ture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add KELLOGG'S® RICE KRISPIES® cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13x9x2-inch pan coat- ed with cooking spray. Set aside. Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in I-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Let stand until firm. Cut into 2xl-inch bars when cool. Valentine's Day By the Numbers 1,198: The number of U.S. locations pro- ducing chocolate and cocoa products in 2005. California led the way, followed close- ly by Pennsylvania. $411 million: The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2006 for all flower-producing operations with $!00,000 or more in sales. (Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service) 2.2 ~: The number of marriages that take place in the United States annual- ly. That equals roughly 5,900 a day. 120: The number of single men in their 20s for every 100 women of the same age. 14: Number of U.S. places to live with qove"in their name: Loveland, Colo.; Lovejoy, Ga.; Loves Park, Ill.; Lovington, Ill.; Lovelock, Nev.; Loving, N.M.; Lovington, N.M.; Love Valley, N.C.; Loveland, Ohio; Loveland Park, Ohio; Love County, Okla.; Loveland, Okla.; Lovelady, Texas; Loving County, Texas.