Friday, October 28, 2011

Hip, Hip, Hooray It's National Chocolate Day!

Could it come on a better day?  All the Halloween parties, the trick-or-treaters, the decorations just make it feel like the right day for National Chocolate Day!!!

So just to make you feel a little bit better about your chocolate indulgences this weekend, I'm going to share a few facts from my new cookbook about chocolate . . . or maybe it's just to help me justify the Hail Merry Miracle Chocolate Tart I just bought at Central Market (they are vegan, GF, raw and absolutely addicting!). . . 

What ever the motivation, here is some info that I found so impressive it made me add cacao to my list of OMG! Nutritional All-Stars!

Raw cacao is now considered the most powerful antioxidant in the world due to its content of flavanols (a flavanoid only found in chocolate)!  And it alone maintains all of its antioxidant power even when exposed to air during processing and storage!  Raw cacao and dark chocolate’s antioxidant benefits have been linked to stroke prevention, protection of LDL against oxidation, regulating blood pressure, cancer prevention and tooth decay (as long as it doesn’t contain too much sugar)!  Cacao contains more magnesium than any other plant as well as serotonin for mood stabilization, which is why women crave it during their monthly cycles. 

So if you were looking for an excuse to eat some chocolate, well my recommendation is to use raw cacao powder mixed with stevia and agave nectar in your favorite recipes!  Or make some Chocolate Brownies . . . Here's a quick GF version from my first cookbook!


There are instances where packaged mixes are the best option—and when it comes to Namaste's Chocolate Brownie Mix  it is unbeatable and a snap to make.  Adding a few key ingredients produces one of the best brownies around—and no one ever guesses they are gluten free!  Plus the walnuts, walnut oil and flax seeds boost the nutrition and the fiber so you can feel even better about your chocolate indulgence!

Namaste brand GF Chocolate Brownie Mix 
1 organic egg lightly beaten or egg replacer
1/2 cup walnut oil 
1/4 cup strongly brewed Teechino or coffee
3/4 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts 
1/2 cup Tropical Source chocolate chips 
3 TBS flax seeds

Arrange oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square pan and dust with cocoa powder. (When baking anything chocolate, always dust the pan with cocoa rather then flour so that your baked goods will have no white powder flour residue.) Sprinkle the flax seeds evenly over the bottom of the pan.  I know this sounds a little strange, but they make a delicious little crust on the bottom of the brownies.

In a mixing bowl add all ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well incorpo- rated, but do not over mix—over mixing will produce a cake like brownie rather than a fudgy brownie.

Bake in the center of the oven for approximately 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. DO NOT OVERBAKE.

Remove from oven and cool in the pans until just warm. Cut into 2 inch squares.

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