Some chocolate for your healthy valentine

Have you noticed how just a piece or two of excellent chocolate is more satisfying than several pieces of mediocre chocolate

By: Faith Bahadurian
   My love affair with chocolate continued in the fall at New York’s eighth annual Chocolate Show, where a friend and I sampled our way through dozens of booths. I was especially impressed with the delicate chocolates from Lillie Belle Farms in Oregon and the chocolates flavored with wines from Unionville Vineyards made by J. Emanuel right up the road from us, in Chester.
   High content cacao is still the big thing. Look for up to 85 percent, with an intense fruity flavor. Those looking for something subtler might prefer to kick it down a notch to, say, between 65 and 75 percent.
   E. Guittard offered a "Single Origin Chocolate Tasting Kit," of 65 percent chocolate from Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Madagascar. And French chocolatier Pralus sold stacks of 10 gaily-wrapped squares of chocolate, each one 75 percent cacao and from a different country.
   Have you noticed how just a piece or two of excellent chocolate is more satisfying than several pieces of mediocre chocolate? Check the ingredients on that inexpensive box of truffles at the supermarket you may be surprised to see that tropical oils such as palm and coconut are listed before the cacao.
   I decided to address some health concerns in the recipes below. The chocolate angel food cake recipe is fairly low in fat, although not in sugar. The other recipes are for those who must control their blood sugar levels.
   The days of "no sugar ever" for diabetics have given way to exchanges and carbohydrate counting. The addition of a little fiber or fat helps slow down the speed at which carbohydrates are metabolized into sugar in the body. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor or nutritionist regarding your own dietary guidelines.
   Please don’t try sugar substitute, even Splenda, in the angel food cake recipe, as sugar is important to the structure of the cake.
adapted from
One 10-inch cake
   1½ cups sugar
   Scant 1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
   ¼ cup cocoa powder
   1 teaspoon baking soda
   ½ teaspoon salt
   1 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated (about ½ cup)
   12 large egg whites
   1 teaspoon cream of tartar
   1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
   ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Sift together ¾ cup sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add grated chocolate; set aside.
   In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. With machine running, add remaining ¾ cup sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating until fully incorporated, and stiff glossy peaks form. Add vanilla and almond extracts; beat to combine.
   Remove from mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, gently but thoroughly, folding into egg white mixture until fully combined. Pour into a 10-inch non-stick angel food cake pan. Tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until cake springs back when depressed with a finger, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, inverted, 1 hour before removing pan.
from "Diabetic Dream Desserts,"
(Sandra Woodruff, Avery 1996)
24 biscotti
   ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
   ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
   2/3 cup sugar
   ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
   2 teaspoons baking powder
   ¼ cup reduced-fat margarine or light butter, cut into pieces
   ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
   ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free egg substitute
   2 teaspoons vanilla extract
   Place the flours, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in a large bowl, and stir to mix well. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut in the margarine or butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the nuts. Add the egg substitute and vanilla extract, and stir just until the mixture holds together.
   Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, divide in half, and shape into two 9-x2-inch logs. Coat baking sheet with nonstick spray and place the logs on sheet, leaving 4 inches between them. Bake at 350 degrees about 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
   Cool logs at room temperature 10 minutes. Place on cutting board, and use serrated knife to slice diagonally into ½ -inch slices.
   Reduce oven to 300 degrees. Return slices to baking sheet, arranging in a single layer, cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and bake 10 more minutes, or until dry and crisp.
   Transfer biscotti to wire racks; cool completely. Serve immediately or store in airtight container.
from "Diabetic Dream Desserts"
6 servings
   1 cup skim milk, divided
   1 envelope unflavored gelatin
   ½ cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
   ¼ cup sugar
   1½ cups nonfat ricotta cheese
   ¼ cup coffee liqueur
   ¼ cup cocoa powder
   Sugar substitute equal to ¼ cup sugar
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
   1 cup light whipped topping
   ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons light whipped topping
   ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
   Place ½ cup milk in 1-quart pot. Sprinkle gelatin over milk; set aside for 2 minutes to allow gelatin to soften.
   Place gelatin mixture over low heat, and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Do not let boil. Remove from heat; stir in remaining ½ cup milk, nonfat dry milk, and sugar.
   Transfer gelatin mixture to medium mixing bowl, and chill about 25 minutes, or until it has the consistency of raw egg whites. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture at high speed about 4 minutes, until it resembles soft whipped cream.
   While gelatin mixture is chilling, place ricotta, liqueur, cocoa, sugar substitute, and vanilla in food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Gently fold ricotta mixture into whipped gelatin mixture. Then fold in whipped topping.
   Divide mousse among six 10-ounce balloon wine glasses. Chill at least 2 hours, until firm. When ready to serve, top each mousse with a tablespoon of light whipped topping and a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Serve immediately, refrigerating any leftovers.