With about double the antioxidant capacity of red wine and nearly three times that of green tea, cocoa tops the healthful food charts. The easiest way to get the benefits of cocoa is by eating dark chocolatethe darker the better. (The milk in milk chocolate reduces its antioxidant content.) A 2007 report in The Journal of the American Medical Association cites studies showing that procyanidins and epicatechins, the main flavonols in cocoa, can improve heart health by reducing both blood pressure and cholesterol levelsand these compounds may also lift your mood.
Choose It & Use It
Look for brands of dark chocolate with no less than 70 percent cocoa. Choose cocoa powders that are not Dutch processedthe Dutch process destroys some of the flavonols. Recommended “dosages” range from 1 ounce of dark chocolate to a steaming cup of hot cocoa a day, but health experts agree on one thing: the purer the cocoa source, the better the chocolate is for you.
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Triple Dark Chocolate Tart
Cocoa nibs are roasted cocoa beans that have been crushed into small pieces.more
Chocolate Ganache Truffles
This recipe offers an introduction to making ganache, a combination of cream and chocolate used for candy fillings, cake frostings, and pastry glazes.more
Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Matzo Bark
Forget chocolate-covered pretzels. These slightly salty slabs are much more elegant—no dipping required.more
Dark Chocolate and Banana Panini
Ooey-gooey and oh so delicious, these treats aren’t as sinful as they taste. If you don’t have a panini maker, cook the sandwiches in a skillet, using a second heavy pan to flatten them as they cook.more
Dark Chocolate-Caramel Sorbet
The caramelized sugar syrup that is the base for this decadent chocolate sorbet adds to its depth and richness. There are very few ingredients for the recipe, so the quality of the chocolate and cocoa really count.more