Food of Angels

Chocolate is officially a food group. Move over Fruit and Veg, I'm in need of something stronger :)

There has been loads of research into Chocolate; does it really give you zits? (of course not), Is it full of vitamins and minerals (of course yes), and did the Incas know something we didnt?

The cacao tree is native to the Americas. It may have originated in the foothills of the Andes in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America where today, examples of wild cacao still can be found. It may have been introduced into Central America by the ancient Maya, and cultivated in Mexico by the Olmecs, then by the Toltecs and later by the Aztecs.

It is now cultivated across Africa, and along the Ivory Coast.

Cocoa solids contain alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have physiological effects on the body. It has been linked to serotonin (this is the happy feeling chemical) levels in the brain. Some research found that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. (This is especially true of dark chocolate which contains more than 70% cocoa solids. it can be bitter but also contains Vitamin A).

Theobromine is toxic to animals: especially dogs and cats. In this case, sharing is not caring.

The basis of cocoa powder, which has become the staple for cooking chocolate products nowadays was first born in 1828 when a dutch chemist Johannes Van Houten came across a way to separate the cocoa butter from the cocoa mass.

These shade loving plants produce cocoa pods which house a number of small cocoa beans. (These are not to be confused with the Coca plant which is used to make cocaine).

The pods take about 6 months to develop and cocoa can be harvested about twice a year.

After the beans are removed from the pod they need to undergo fermentation, as they are incredibly bitter.

After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted.
The beans are shelled and then referred to as cocoa nibs.

These nibs are then ground to a powder known as cocoa mass, which is also liquefied and referred to as cocoa liquer, a viscous liquid which is a very rough form of chocolate. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids to make powder and cocoa butter which is the fat part of the bean.

The resulting mixture is conched (stirring) and tempered (temperature control) after adding the ingredients to make it into a certain type of choclate. It is then pipped, or filled, shaped or cut and left to set into its desired shape.

Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, which is a mixture of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar.
Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and therefore is not really a true chocolate).

The first bar of chocolate was made and sold in 1975- Swiss chocolate of course.
The rest, is history, as they say.

Chunky chocolate fudgy style slices

2 packets of Marie Biscuits or Tennis Biscuits
500g Icing Sugar
2 Eggs
250g butter
+/- 3 Tbsp Cocoa powder

Method
Crush Marie Biscuits but not to crumbs. Sift cocoa and icing sugar. Melt butter,
Add eggs

(I like to heat the eggs over a bain marie for 4 minutes until the eggs are slightly thickened as this cooks off any bacteria present in the raw eggs, and gives a creamy taste. This must be done slowly and over a low heat, otherwise the eggs will scramble and you will need to start again).
add melted butter to icing sugar and cocoa.
Mix until a smooth paste is formed.
Add biscuits, stir until biscuits are coated.
Press into dish about 1.5 to 2cm thick and place in fridge to set.
Cut into squares just before they are set.
Serve chilled.

2 comments:

  1. Im gonna try this out and il let u know it turns out..sounds wonderfully simple and yummy!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You might want to double the recipe make a superbig batch if you have chocoholics in the family ;)

    ReplyDelete