Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Serves 6 – 8
For the Fondue:
½ cup Skim Milk
8 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 quarts Whole Strawberries (or other seasonal fruit, liked sliced pears)
Long toothpicks or Kebab Sticks
Finely Chopped Nuts (optional)
Course Ground Coffee (optional)
Heat the milk in a double boiler. When the milk begins to bubble around the edges, turn off the heat, and whisk in the dark chocolate chips. When melted, mix in the vanilla. Be careful not to burn the chocolate! Keep it on very low heat or in a double boiler. Pour into a fondue pot, keep on low, stirring occasionally. Spear each strawberry or piece of fruit with a long toothpick or kebab stick, and dip into the chocolate. If desired, roll in a bowl of chopped nuts, granola – or for the adults: course ground coffee for “mocha” dipped strawberries. To harden the chocolate, place each chocolate-dipped strawberry separately on parchment paper and let cool. About 160 calories per serving, which is 1/8 of the recipe. The strawberries are only 2 to 6 calories each, depending on their size.
Is it true that a chocolate a day will keep the doctor away?
The cacao bean, grown mainly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, is loaded with beneficial compounds. In fact, its early uses, dating back 3,000 years were mainly medicinal. It has been highly prized for centuries, which is reflected in its scientific name, Theobroma cacao, meaning “Food of the Gods.”
Cocoa, if high in flavanols, the beneficial plant compounds scientists believe impart most of cocoa’s benefits, may help maintain a healthy vascular system, relax blood vessels, reduce blood clotting – an aspirin-like affect –reduce oxidative damage, inflammation, and improve blood flow. All of which reduces heart disease risk.
If you’re eating chocolate for health benefits, you’ll need to be very discriminating in your selections. You’ll get more flavanols, and therefore health benefits, with less processing. The first choice is cocoa, which isn’t Dutch processed – as when cocoa is “Dutch processed with alkali” the flavanols are reduced. Look for chocolate which has the highest percentage of cocoa as possible and to save calories, look for chocolate with lower fat and sugar levels. In general, cocoa is your best first choice. Second choice is a semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with a high cocoa percentage. Some chocolates go as high as 85% cocoa, but legally can be as low as 35%. I recommend no more than an ounce a day, which may be about 110 – 150 calories, depending on the chocolate. Any more than that and you’re probably going to take in too many calories for weight control.
Did you know that there are 200 seeds on each strawberry?
Strawberries are members of the Rose family and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says Janie Hibler in “The Berry Bible.”
Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, yet they are low in calories, so you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange. Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol,” according to David Grotto in “101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.”
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