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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Giving In to Our Chocolate Desires

Brownies with chocolate glaze.Image via Wikipedia
By Anya Shiela Richards

Who doesn't know what chocolates are? This may be the most well known confection that was discovered! They are found everywhere, from candies, drinks, cupcake recipes, cupcake frosting, cakes, ice-creams and now even on non edible products such as colognes. A little fact about our beloved treat is that the chocolate has been a part of our history probably more than we know. One of the most notable explanations about the origin of its name is that it came from the Nahuatl (Aztec language) word "xocolatl" which then became "chocolatl" to chocolate. Chocolate comes from the cacao bean which is being grown in Central and South America. It was used to serve ceremonial purposes before becoming an everyday treat for us.

Of course, the chocolate that we all know and love today is mostly sweet and has a very different taste from what the Aztecs or Mayans would have been familiar with. The first solid chocolate bars were produced in 1847 by Joseph Fry & Son, and since then the world has seen the introduction of a wide range of varieties, from white chocolate (not considered as chocolate at all by many) to pure, dark chocolate. Dark chocolate possesses certain health benefits, such as antioxidants, which inhibit the growth of free radicals, and it is thought to be good for the heart.

If you're craving for chocolate, might as well try these simple chocolate finds:

Chocolate Brownies
Brownies are so good and all you need to make one is cocoa powder, eggs, shortening, egg, sugar, pecans, vanilla essence, flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Melt the shortening and then add the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat. Mix the sugar and eggs together and then slowly add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the pecans lastly. Bake for half an hour and leave to cool before cutting into squares. You can top it off with chocolate ganache, chocolate glaze or even ice-cream.

Chocolate cupcakes
Those cupcakes with luscious cupcake frostings in bakeshops are simply mouthwatering. You yourself can definitely make your own cupcakes, you can find a variety of chocolate cupcake recipes in the Internet and video tutorials on how to do it too, simple ingredients can be bought in the grocery as well as those cupcake papers and toppings. You can also customize your cupcake recipe by adding your own frostings.

Chocolate cupcakes
You can find a variety of chocolate cupcake recipes in the Internet and even find a ready made mix in the grocery. To make your own however, you'll just need cocoa powder, hot water, flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence. Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs. Fold in the flour and then the cocoa until the mixture is smooth. Then spoon the batter into cupcake papers and bake.

Once done, it's time to add your favorite cupcake frosting. A cupcake recipe won't be complete without it. Find a recipe and choose from buttercream, royal icing, cooked or the classic glaze frosting.

Adding chocolate in a recipe not only adds flavor but also gives the recipe that sophisticated touch. One can really become addicted to this confection and who could be blamed? However, as heavenly as this chocolate is, too much is still bad. We should still eat things in moderation so we won't have to suffer consequences.

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