I just realized recently that in my very first blog post, I noted that I would probably be writing some posts that had something to do with chocolate, and that I have failed to follow through on this comment. This is a sad thing considering how much I love chocolate, so I decided to devote an entire post to it. I'll give just a few reasons why I am a self-professed chocoholic. :)
Just the thought of chocolate makes me smile but one thing about chocolate that makes it appealing to everyone is that it's scientifically proven to make us happy. Chocolate affects the release of neurotransmitters, which transmit signals between neurons in the brain. The particular types of neurotransmitters that chocolate affects are ones that make us happy, like endorphines and serotonin. These can lower our stress level, relieve depression, and makes us alert and excited. Some of the neurotransmitters triggered can get us feeling similar to being high and even in love! I always knew I was in love in chocolate for a reason. :p
Besides giving us the temporary feeling of happiness, chocolate can also have health benefits when consumed in a reasonable amount. Dark chocolate in particular is full of antioxidants which studies have shown can help reduce blood pressure and improve your heart's health. Some studies are even showing evidence that chocolate could help to prevent cancer. These benefits lie mainly in the cacao, so the higher the percentage of cacao in the chocolate, the better for you it is. This works out pretty well for me because I prefer the rich taste of dark chocolate to milk chocolate any day.
Semi sweet chocolate is dark chocolate with a high sugar content. This works very well for chocolate chips because it has the richness and nutrients of the high cacao percentage, but also the high sugar content to keep it extra sweet. I prefer using semi sweet chocolate chips over milk chocolate ones when baking for these reasons. Generally this is the popular way to go, mainly because of the difference in taste in my opinion. When it comes to baking desserts with chocolate involved, I think the richer, the better!
A Way To Satisfy Your Chocolate Craving
I think it would be just a bit rude of me to have all this talk about chocolate and not leave you with some sort of recipe. I've decided to keep it simple and classic by sharing my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, by Alton Brown. If you're like me and like your measurements in cups rather than ounces, you can use the same recipe with this minor variation. There will always be debates about the best chocolate chip cookie recipe but this one is my favorite because I love how they turn out chewy, slightly crispy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. I also love that the recipe is extremely precise and detailed. All of Alton Brown's recipes are this way.
This post might not make you a chocoholic like me, but perhaps I have been able to remind you of why chocolate is and should always be one of the best choices to relieve your sweet tooth. The next time you need to do this, I suggest trying the chocolate chip cookie recipe. I know just talking about all this is making me hungry! Now, where did I put the rest of that dark chocolate bunny?.... :)