By Marilyn Helton
Chocolate lovers everywhere delight in Americas favorite flavor. Few foods are the subject of as many food taboos or as many cravings as chocolate. And researchers are now saying that even if its not a health food, chocolate may not be as bad as some people say.
As adults, we may be concerned with any connection between chocolate and heart disease, because chocolate is often listed as a source of saturated fat, which raises blood cholesterol. Yet scientists have now established that stearic acid, which makes up 40 to 50 percent of the saturated fat in chocolate, has been shown not to raise blood cholesterol.
Even people with diabetes may not have to fear eating chocolate. One study found a chocolate bar had no greater effect on blood sugar than another more traditionally recommended snack, if calories were equal. Researchers speculate that this may be due to the fact that the body slows its absorption of sugar when eaten with fat.
And, a one ounce chocolate bar has been found to contain about the same amount of phenolic acid (a phytochemical) as a five-ounce glass of red wine. Laboratory evidence now suggests that phenolic substances can act as antioxidants, which may offer some protection from both heart disease and cancer.
If you cant live without your Valentine chocolate, skip other high fat foods or choose lower fat versions of milk, cheese, or salad dressing. You could also try a lower fat chocolate candy (remember to check the label for calories) or chocolate recipe.
Learning to balance high and low fat foods allows you to have the foods that are close to your heart, while keeping it healthy. Variety in your eating plan also helps you develop a plan you will love, and can be faithful to for the rest of your life!
1 (15 oz) can unseasoned black beans
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Place the beans in a colander and rinse thoroughly under running water to remove slime and set aside and drain.
Place the chocolate and light butter in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave for 60 to 90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth.
In a food processor blender, add the drained beans and 2 egg whites. Blend or process until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the bean purée, sugar, flour, espresso powder and remaining egg whites. With an electtric mixer, beat until well combined. Mix in the melted chocolate.
Pour the brownie mixture into a prepared pan. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the brownie batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the brownie pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars -- rows of six by five. Makes 30 (nice-size) Brownies.
Per Brownie: 106 Cal; 4gm Fat; 18gm Carb; 00mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium; 2gm Fiber. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Fat.
8 reduced fat chocolate wafer cookies,
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Sprinkle the chocolate cookie crumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan.
In a food processor blender, purée the cottage cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the tofu and pulse until the mixture is creamy. Add the cream cheese, sugar, and flour. Pulse until blended. Add the egg whites and vanilla and pulse just until blended, taking care not to overmix the egg whites or the cheesecake is more likely to crack.
Transfer half of the filling to a bowl; stir in the cocoa, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, almond extract, and espresso powder until well combined. Pour half of each batter mixture into the crust. Then repeat, pouring the remaining half of each batter into the crust. Using a small knife, gently swirl the two batters.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely, the cover and refrigerate. To serve, run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake; release the pan sides and cut into wedges. 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 236 Cal; 6gm Fat; 32gm Carb; 13mg Cholesterol; 274mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1-1/2 Protein; 1 Fat.
CHOCOLATE KAHLUA PIE
1 cup 2% low fat milk, cold
Pour cold milk into a medium bowl. Add pudding mix and coffee powder. Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Gently stir in 1-1/2 cups of the whipped topping and Kahlua liqueur or cold, brewed coffee. Spoon into crust.
Freeze 2 hours or until firm. Place pie in refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to soften. Top with remaining whipped topping. Store leftover pie in refrigerator. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 113 Cal; 4gm Fat; 13gm Carb; 2mg Cholesterol; 76mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 1 Fat.
FAT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1 cup Prune Purée (recipe follows) or
prepared prune butter
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat baking sheets with vegetable cooking spray. In large bowl, beat prune purée, sugars, egg whites and vanilla until well blended.
In small bowl, combine flours, baking soda and salt; mix into prune purée mixture until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart; flatten slightly. Bake in center of oven about 10 minutes, until lightly browned around edges. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 60 (2-1/4) cookies.
Per (2-Cookie) Serving: 143 Cal; 4gm Fat; 20gm Carb; 00mg Cholesterol; 128mg Sodium; 1gm Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1 Fat.
1-1/3 cups (8 oz) pitted prunes
Combine prunes and hot water in container of food processor or blender. Pulse on and off until prunes are finely chopped and smooth. Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
WINTER FRUIT PIE
1 large, sweet apple, peeled, cored &
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the fruits in a mixing bowl with the liqueur, dried fruit, and spices. Mix well. Transfer the mixture to the pie shell and top as evenly as possible with the chocolate chips, making sure to get them into the crevices around the edges as well.
Combine the oats with the wheat germ in a small bowl. Pour the melted margarine over them and stir until evenly coated. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the pie. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the oats are lightly browned, the fruit is done and the chocolate chips are melted. Serve warm. Makes 8 Servings.
Per Serving: 284 Cal; 9 g Total Fat (3.5 g Sat Fat); 45 g Carb; 0 mg Cholesterol; 82 mg Sodium; 4 g Fiber; 5g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Starch/Bread; 1 Fruit; 2 Fat.
FLAKY BUTTERMILK PIE CRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp buttermilk, 2% fat
1/3 cup lower-fat margarine, such as Fleischmann's®
Mix flour and margarine in a food processor or use a pastry cutter or two forks. When mixture is uniformly granular, add cold buttermilk--just enough so mixture forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Flatten pastry dough between two sheets of wax paper, 12x12-inches. Gently roll out dough, turning over the wax paper-covered crust frequently while rolling, to prevent wrinkles. Yield: 1 9-inch pie crust.
2 Tbsp skim milk
Combine skim milk and candies in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 minutes, or until caramels melt and mixture is smooth, stirring with a wire whisk after every minute. Set aside.
Combine sweetened condensed milk and next 3 ingredients; stir well (batter will be VERY stiff). Coat bottom only of a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray; dust lightly with flour. Press two-thirds (2./3) of batter into prepared pan, using floured hands; pat evenly (layer will be thin).
Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Drizzle caramel mixture over chips; carefully drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over caramel mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 3 dozen (36) Brownies.
Note: If you use a baking pan with a dark surface, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Per Brownie: 122 Cal; 4 g Total Fat (1.6 g Sat Fat); 20 g Carb; 1 mg Cholesterol; 224 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch; 1 Fat.
1 cup all-purpose flour
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, and coffee granules in a large bowl.
Combine milk, oil, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring well. Pour batter into an 8-inch square pan coated with cooking spray.
Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp cocoa. Sprinkle over batter. Pour boiling water evenly over batter. (Do not stir)! Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Serve cake warm; topped with ice cream (1/4 cup per serving). Yield: 9 Servings.
Per Serving: 247 Cal; 7 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 43 g Carb; 5 mg Cholesterol; 191 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein. Exchanges: 3 Starch; 1 Fat; 1/2 Milk.
WHITE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine eggs, egg white, and vanilla; add to flour mixture, stirring until well blended (dough will be dry).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 7 or 8 times. Shape dough into a 16-inch long roll.
Place roll on a cookie sheet. which has been coated with cooking spray, and flatten roll to 1-inch thickness.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Remove roll from cookie sheet to a wire rack; cool 10 minutes.
Cut roll diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on cookie sheets. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over, and bake 10 additional minutes. (Cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from cookie sheets and cool completely on wire racks. Yield: 24 Cookies.
Per Cookie: 96 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 17 g Carb; 19 mg Cholesterol; 114 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 1 Starch.
1-1/2 cups firmly packed, dark brown sugar
Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat 4 minutes or until margarine melts and mixture is smooth; stir often.
Combine sugar mixture, vanilla, egg whites, and egg; beat at low speed of an electric mixer until smooth.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate morsels. Spread batter in a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 18 minutes; cool Cut into bars. Yield: 24 Bars.
Per Bar: 129 Cal; 4 g Total Fat (1 g Sat Fat); 23 g Carb; 9 mg Cholesterol; 105 mg Sodium; 2 g Protein. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1 Fat.
CHOCOLATE KAHLUA BALLS
1 (10-ounce) package teddy bear-shaped
chocolate graham cracker
Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add cookies. Process until mixture is a fine powder.
With processor running, add dates and next 3 ingredients to processor bowl through food chute; blend just until smooth. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls; roll in pecans. Cover and chill. Yield: 48 Cookie Balls.
Per Cookie: 42 Cal; 2 g Total Fat (Tr Sat Fat); 6 g Carb; 0 mg Cholesterol; 32 mg Sodium; 1 g Protein; 1/2 g Fiber. Exchanges: 1/2 Starch.
GERMAN CHOCOLATE SNACK CAKE
2 Tbsp light butter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the water. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Pour evenly into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the coconut, marshmallows, and pecans evenly over the melted sugar mixture.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the egg whites for 30 seconds, or just until frothy. Beat in the buttermilk, sour cream, and applesauce. Add the cake mix and beat on low speed for 30 seconds, or just until moistened. Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape into the pan, smoothing it evenly.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a rack. To serve, cut into squares and invert onto individual plates. Replace any loose topping. Serve warm or cool. Makes 16 Servings.
Hint: The topping for this cake sticks better when the cake is cooled almost to room temperature before cutting.
Per Serving: 244 Cal; 9 g Total Fat (2 g Sat Fat); 38 g Carb; 2 mg Cholesterol; 327 mg Sodium; 4 g Protein; 1 g Fiber. Exchanges: 2 Starch; 1/2 Very Lean Meat; 2 Fat.