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The Essential Ingredients For Amazing Chocolate Creations

  • By
  • Teresa Cutter

When I was 9 years old I picked up a copy of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from the school library. Ever since reading it, I’ve had a love affair with chocolate and have always imagined having my own chocolate factory surrounded by marble and copper pots.

A love affair with chocolate

My love affair with chocolate still goes on; I love indulging in a little chocolate therapy with a few good pieces of good quality dark chocolate or sip on a mug of Healthy Chef Naked Chocolate mixed with homemade almond milk. There’s just something so pleasurable in surrendering to this velvety indulgence.

When buying chocolate either to eat or to use in my recipes, I make sure I buy quality; that they are not filled with emulsifiers, hydrogenated vegetable oils and cheap fillers – the darker the better. If I’m using cocoa powder for baking, I use a good quality dark cocoa powder. You can read more about the benefits and uses of chocolate in my Ultimate Guide To Chocolate.

I love indulging in a little chocolate therapy with a few good pieces of good quality dark chocolate or sip on a mug of Healthy Chef Naked Chocolate mixed with homemade almond milk.

My secret ingredients

Along with a good quality cocoa powder, I have a few essential ingredients that complement and even enhance, cocoa’s delicious taste profile that I use in many of my chocolate creations. A lot of these recipes are in my new cookbook, Healthy Baking.

 

What’s great about these ingredients is that they also have amazing health benefits and can be used in many baking treats without grains, gluten, dairy and refined sugar. These ingredients are also found in my Naked Chocolat products, which I designed so people could enjoy healthy and delicious creations without added sugar.

 

1. COCOA

Cocoa is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the high flavonoid content of cocoa has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.It’s also rich in magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and essential micronutrients for health and vitality.

One of my favourite benefits of this amazing superfood is its ability to relieve stress. Cocoa is rich in a compound called resveratrol, the same that’s found in red wine. Resveratrol helps to control inflammation and protects your brain as well as calm the nervous system. Research also suggests that resveratrol can support mental health by increasing the brain’s production of endorphins, also known as natural opiates, and serotonin, a mood-altering chemical targeted by antidepressants.

Resveratrol helps to control inflammation and protects your brain as well as calm the nervous system. Research also suggests that resveratrol can support mental health by increasing the brain’s production of endorphins, also known as natural opiates, and serotonin, a mood-altering chemical targeted by antidepressants.

2. CAROB

This naturally sweet superfood contains high levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients like vitamins A, E, B6 and D as well as calcium and iron. A good source of soluble fibre, carob naturally helps to regulate blood sugar levels and helps lower cholesterol. I love adding carob to cocoa and chocolate recipes that require a smoother silkier flavour profile. It is naturally sweet and caffeine-free, so kids love the taste too!

A good source of soluble fibre, carob naturally helps to regulate blood sugar levels and helps lower cholesterol.

 3. MACA

A Peruvian herb used to promote energy and stamina. Maca supports the immune system, adrenal and thyroid function and stabilises hormone levels. It has antioxidant properties and is a wonderful herb to support the body during periods of stress. Maca is rich in zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins C and E. I add a touch of maca to my drinking chocolate which makes it a wonderful recovery formula for athletes. The magnesium content of maca as well as cocoa helps support muscle and cardiovascular health.

 

4. VANILLA BEAN

Pure and fragrant vanilla bean powder helps relax the nervous system and reduce inflammation. Pure vanilla bean was one of the first ingredients I needed to add to my drinking chocolate when designing it, not only because it tastes so good, but because it is rich in antioxidants and also enhances mental performance. The velvety aroma and taste of vanilla are a beautiful addition to baking, smoothies, hot chocolates and creamy cold desserts. Vanilla also helps relax the nervous system and enhances mental performance.

 

The velvety aroma and taste of vanilla is a beautiful addition to baking, smoothies, hot chocolates and creamy cold desserts. I always add a touch of vanilla to my nut milks and smoothies which makes them taste irrisistable.

 

5. CINNAMON

Cinnamon is another key ingredient that I use liberally in many of my recipes – including chocolate. Adding a generous sprinkle will improve insulin’s efficiency, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can also help boost brain activity. Cinnamon also supports digestion and can also help relieve nausea. Its naturally sweet taste is a marvellous addition to smoothies, cakes and raw treats. Try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon with your next tnaked urmeric latte or hot chocolate. 

 

6. FRENCH ARTISAN SEA SALT

I chose to add French Artisan Sea Salt into my Naked Drinking Chocolate because it not only enhances its natural flavour, but it is rich in 84 sea minerals including magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, iodine and potassium. So it helps support optimum health and wellbeing.  This salt is hand harvested using traditional Celtic methods in France which I absolutely love.

The iodine content in sea salt helps keep the body’s electrolytes in balance and is essential for proper cell functioning.

Sea salt is salt naturally obtained from the sea that does not go through high heat or processing so it’s rich in minerals such as magnesium, potassium and zinc. The iodine content in sea salt helps keep the body’s electrolytes in balance and is essential for proper cell functioning. Iodine is also needed for healthy thyroid function.

 

 

 


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