Chocolate Variety Tips

Read these 18 Chocolate Variety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Chocolate tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Best chocolate for preventing disease

Research has shown that chocolate contains a significant amount of catechins, the same antioxidants that make green tea useful in fighting against heart attacks and cancer. While green tea (and black tea, for that matter) provide antioxidants, it can't hurt to add a little Godiva chocolate into your regular health regimen. For maximum benefit choose darker varieties, as they have been proven to be the best chocolate in terms of catechins.

   
Why is it important to wrap a chocolate?

Keeping Chocolate Under Wraps

The beautiful sheen you see when you unwrap a fine chocolate indicates that it has been “tempered” correctly. Tempering chocolate is a process of melting and cooling chocolate at certain temperatures to stabilize its ingredients. This allows the cocoa butter to solidify as a suspension, so the chocolate hardens properly and develops a gloss. It then needs to be stored properly to protect the temper.

The beautiful sheen you see when you unwrap a fine chocolate indicates that it has been “tempered” correctly. Tempering chocolate is a process of melting and cooling chocolate at certain temperatures to stabilize its ingredients. This allows the cocoa butter to solidify as a suspension, so the chocolate hardens properly and develops a gloss. It then needs to be stored properly to protect the temper.

Chocolates that are left unwrapped will lose their stability and ‘bloom' when in direct contact with moisture, light or cold temperatures. The bloom looks like a light colored film or streak on the outside of the chocolate. That's the cocoa butter separating from the rest of the chocolate. And, as it separates, it floats to the surface of your chocolate, discoloring it. This happens because cocoa butter is a fat, and fat absorbs heat at a different rate than the other ingredients in chocolate.

Another reason to keep your chocolates under wrap is because they absorb external odors and tastes. Dark and milk chocolates contain some anti-oxidents that slow down the absorption process, but white chocolate does not contain anti-oxidents and so are more sensitive to odors and tastes.

Chocolates should always be stored in a cool dry place away from light and air to prolong their shelf life. According to finedarkchocolate.com, the ideal temperature for storing chocolate is between 54 and 68 degrees. To protect them against moisture, store them where the maximum humidity is 70 percent.

   

The best chocolate recipes

Of course, the best chocolate recipe is the one you like the best. In order to find that out, you should try as many top-rated chocolate recipes as you can. Several cooking Web sites and Web sites of individual chocolate makers provide top ten lists of chocolate recipes that are rated by casual cooks and experts alike. For those of us who prefer to leave the cooking to the others a trip to the Godiva chocolate shop is the best chocolate strategy.

   

Best chocolate recipe substitutions

Because different types of chocolate have different chemicals in them, it's always best to follow your chocolate recipes exactly. But if you get halfway through a recipe and realize you don't have the exact ingredient, don't panic. The following combinations can be substituted for each other for similar effect:

One square of unsweetened baking chocolate
One packet of pre-melted chocolate
Three tablespoons of cocoa powder mixed with one tablespoon of oil

   

Best chocolate for dieters

With sugar-free varieties of chocolate getting better and better all the time, people with special food restrictions, such as diabetics and low-carb dieters, no longer need to worry about giving up their favorite treat. Dark chocolate, which is higher in chocolate liquor and lower in sugar, is also a good choice for dieters as long as it's eaten in moderation.

   

Follow your chocolate recipe

All chocolate is not created equally. It's important to read a chocolate candy or truffle recipe thoroughly so you know you have the best chocolate for your recipe. Substituting one for the other could have disastrous effect on your homemade chocolate candies and truffles.

Unsweetened chocolate contains only chocolate liquor—no cocoa butter. It is rarely used in chocolate candies, but more often is an ingredient in cakes and cookies.

Bittersweet chocolate is comprised of half chocolate liquor and half cocoa butter and sugar. Check the label to make sure before you buy.

Milk Chocolate is for eating. Only a third of it should be actual chocolate liquor. The rest of it is cocoa butter, sugar and milk.

Candy bars are a last resort for cooking because they often don't reveal ingredient percentages on the labels. Feel free to eat liberally, however.

Chocolate chips often contain extra ingredients to help them maintain their shape. They are sold in bittersweet, semi-sweet and milk chocolate varieties. These are adequate for melting and covering truffles, but not for making the actual truffle candy.

White chocolate is not technically chocolate at all, although cocoa butter should be the second ingredient listed on the label. Often corn syrup solids are substituted for cocoa butter, making it difficult to find good quality white chocolate.

   

The best chocolate research

Before you get too excited about the latest research study showing that chocolate cures everything from cancer to athlete's foot, consider the source. Many chocolate health studies are conducted by chocolate companies that have an interest in promoting their product. In the end, although chocolate does have some nutrients and a few beneficial chemicals, the best chocolate strategy is one of moderation.

   
Can any good brand of chocolate be used for dipping strawberries and still set up hard when cool? If not, can anything be done to it or added to the melted chocolate to ensure it will set up hard to the touch?

Chocolate for Dipping Strawberries

Almost any type of chocolate can be used for dipping strawberries; milk, dark, or white. Some prefer bittersweet or semi-sweet in chip form for easier melting. Most add some sort of fat to help it melt smoothly and harden during cooling. Shortning or butter are the usual additions.
Keep berries at room temperature and store leftovers in the refrigerator is not eaten the same day.

   

Know what your chocolate is worth

A 16th century Spanish account of life among the Mayans relates that the Mayan people used cocoa beans as money. The account states that a mule was worth 50 cocoa beans, but a rabbit was worth only ten. It makes you wonder how much today's best chocolate might have gotten you.

   

Best-selling chocolate company

The chocolate company that sells the most chocolate annually is Mars Incorporated. The next four highest sellers from best chocolate sales downward are: Nestle, Hershey Foods, Cadbury Schweppes and Ferrero.

   

Get out of your chocolate comfort zone

With the wide variety of chocolate available today, there's no reason to keep eating the same old chocolate bar day after day. Treat yourself to a deliciously extravagant Godiva chocolate. Try a new chocolate recipe featuring mint chocolate chips or peanut butter chips in a chocolate cookie. Try a new truffle flavor, or treat yourself to one of the many new types of gourmet hot chocolate on the market. After all, there are few things worse than a chocolate rut.

   

Chocolate nutrition

Curling up on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate, making your favorite chocolate recipe, or detouring into the Godiva chocolate store while out shopping can actually be good for your health. Chocolate contains riboflavin, calcium, iron and protein. Add a few nuts or make it a milk chocolate bar for even more nutrients. Give your regular milk a boost by adding chocolate to up your intake of zinc, potassium, and niacin.

   

A chocolate a day keeps the doctor away

Forget apples—chocolate may be the next health food. Research has shown that people who eat a moderate amount of chocolate actually live longer than those who eat other candies or who eschew sweets altogether. The theory is that phenols contained in chocolate protect against heart disease, much like the phenols in red wine. However, the best chocolate strategy is to eat it moderately as too much chocolate can contribute to obesity, which significantly raises your chances of heart disease.

   

Easy chocolate pie

For those intense chocolate cravings, try this chocolate recipe for easy chocolate pie. Prepare a packet of instant chocolate pudding according to the directions on the box. Pour pudding into a prepared chocolate crust (these are available in the baking section of your grocery store). Top with whipped cream and chocolate chips. This is chocolate recipe will cure your cravings in a snap.

   

Best chocolate for healthy teeth

It is no longer considered true that chocolate is always bad for your teeth. In fact, some research indicates that chocolate contains chemicals that prevent the oral bacteria that causes tooth decay. To maximize the dental benefits of your chocolate habit, choose milk chocolate as its phosphates and minerals seem make it the best chocolate for slowing bacterial growth. And don't forget to brush your teeth.

   
Can you tel me if carob chips have oxalates (Kidney stone causing substance) in them?

Oxalates in carob, chocolate, and cocoa

Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate in candy and baked goods. Carob, chocolate and cocoa all contain substantial amounts of oxalates. These food items should be avoided if you have been prescribed a low oxalate diet for medical reasons.

   

Best chocolate for your skin

When you were a teenager you were probably warned that eating chocolate could be bad for your skin. New research shows the opposite. Chocolate's natural antioxidants prevent wrinkles. It's just another reason to pull out your favorite chocolate recipe and indulge.

   

The easiest gourmet hot chocolate recipe ever

Gourmet flavored hot chocolate is a great way to reward yourself any time of day. Give your hot chocolate some personality with a few drops of peppermint, cinnamon or vanilla extract. Put your feet up and enjoy!

   
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Sherril Steele-Carlin