Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and minerals, and typically contains less sugar than milk chocolate. To celebrate our favorite sweet, there is not only National Hot Chocolate Day on the last day of January but also National Dark Chocolate Day on the first day of February.
Dark chocolate is chocolate that does not contain milk solids. The basic ingredients include cocoa beans, sugar, emulsifiers to preserve texture, and flavorings like vanilla. The more cocoa and less sugar a dark chocolate has, the more bitter it will taste, and small amounts are considered a healthy snack. The flavor also makes it a preferred chocolate for baking and melting for a variety of desserts.
Nutrition and Benefits of Dark Chocolate
The more cocoa dark chocolate has, the more nutritional value it has. High-quality dark chocolate with 70% to 85% cocoa is rich in fiber, copper, iron, magnesium and manganese. However, a 100-gram bar has about 600 calories, 43 grams of fat, and 24 grams of sugar, so you should still eat it in moderation. Dark chocolate also contains potent antioxidants that can increase blood flow, lower blood pressure and heart disease risk, and it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Dark Chocolate Uses
You can eat dark chocolate straight out of the package without preparing it or using it in recipes. It can be chopped, ground, scraped or melted and is preferred for ganache, glaze, mousse and pudding. It can also be found in any chocolate dessert. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are the most favorite chocolate chip cookies. Since dark chocolate does not contain dairy, it is also very useful in vegan recipes.
How to Cook With Dark Chocolate
When you need to melt the dark chocolate, do so slowly. It can be made in a double boiler on the stove or increased using the microwave. Chocolate chips are designed to resist melting, so they're not the best choice for melting, although it is possible.
Many recipes use weight as a measure for chocolate, and using a kitchen scale will ensure accuracy. Weigh it before cutting the chocolate. The baking square makes it easy to prepare chocolate according to your recipe. In fact, a square of chocolate equals 1 ounce and six of them equals 1 cup.
History of National Dark Chocolate Day
Chocolate may be associated with decadence and gluttony, but as far as dark chocolate is concerned, all you need is a little indulgence, especially when it's National Dark Chocolate Day. Made up of cocoa or cocoa beans, a little sugar, an emulsifier - such as soy lecithin - and sometimes added flavors, such as vanilla, dark chocolate contains no milk solids and is broken down according to the percentage of cocoa in its composition. The more cocoa, usually less sugar and more bitter.
Unsweetened chocolate is dark chocolate made up of 85-100% cocoa beans. This is the bitterest dark chocolate but also the healthiest. It is mainly used to make pies. Bitter chocolate is dark chocolate made up of 65–80% cocoa beans, although chocolate with 35%–65% cocoa is also sometimes considered bitter. It is commonly eaten, but can also be used for cooking. Bitter chocolate with a cocoa bean content of less than 65% is sometimes broken down into semi-sweet and sweet chocolate.
Dark chocolate has many health benefits, especially if it has at least 70% cocoa content. One type of flavonoids are antioxidants, found in chocolate and may reduce inflammation, increase blood flow, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase mental toughness, nervous system, helping to improve brain function. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, preventing oxidative stress, which happens when free radicals get out of control and start to damage the body. Dark chocolate is rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and fiber. Although it is healthy, it is high in calories and fat, and still has some sugar, so it should not be eaten in large quantities. But today is National Dark Chocolate Day, you should leave that advice until tomorrow.
How to celebrate National Dark Chocolate Day
Celebrate by eating dark chocolate! Choose a few to eat casually, or use some to bake a dessert. You can even make your own! You can spend the day focusing on the health benefits of dark chocolate, by eating a moderate amount with high cocoa content, or you can eat more than usual today and enjoy. Some formulas have a higher sugar content. It’s up to you!
Below is a recipe for Vegan Ganache With Dark Chocolate
Ganache, a combination of chocolate and cream, can be used to make truffles, toppings or icing. When dairy-free dark chocolate and coconut milk are used, this changeable and versatile confection that can be part of a dairy-free dessert will die. Remember that this vegan ganache recipe is only as good as the dark chocolate you choose, so make sure to use a high-quality dairy-free brand. A touch of vanilla extract adds another level of sweetness, and the coconut milk offers a subtle tropical twist.
Technically, dark chocolate must not contain any milk as it is simply made from cocoa beans and sugar. When milk is added, it becomes milk chocolate. However, you need to read labels carefully as some manufacturers may include dairy products. Also, remember to choose unsweetened coconut milk that comes in a can; the type packed in the carton is soft drink and will be watery.
16 ounces fine quality dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped
1 can coconut milk (15 ounces) (not the pale one)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare all Ingredients
- Coarsely cut dark chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
- Use a small saucepan over medium to high heat, heat the coconut milk until it starts to foam around the edges and steam rises from the surface.
- Pour hot coconut milk over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir the mixture of chocolate and coconut.
- Add vanilla extract and stir until combined. Serve warm or slightly cool.
How to Use Vegan Ganache
Top vegetarian ice cream with this chocolate ganache. Add nuts, a few vegan brownies, and fresh fruit. Or, turn into a split banana by adding a few scoops of ice cream and two sliced bananas, along with plenty of vegan ganache.
Prepare as directed, and let the ganache cool in the refrigerator until it is slightly soft but firm enough to roll into balls. After shaping the truffles, roll them in grated coconut or chopped nuts, or sprinkle with cocoa powder.
Get creative and add to your ganache-covered desserts with veggie chewy ginger or dried fruit like cherries or raisins.
ObservedNational Dark Chocolate Day has been observed annually on February 1st.
Saturday, February 1st, 2020
Monday, February 1st, 2021
Tuesday, February 1st, 2022
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Thursday, February 1st, 2024