Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Semi-Healthy Truffles

Truffles are known for being very naughty little treats. I came across a recipe recently in Family Fun, my favorite magazine. They had a recipe for truffles that used vanilla soy milk instead of heavy cream. I have been wanted to make good truffles ever since my friend Bonnie made them for me. She makes the best truffles. My 2 older kids and I made them for their teachers as an end of the year present. They turned out great! Here is the recipe. After the recipe I will put some benefits of dark chocolate.

1 1/3 C semi-sweet chocolate chips or some dark chocolate
1/3 C vanilla soy milk

Make a double boiler by taking a pot and filling 1/2 full of water, then place a glass or plastic bowl on top. Bring water to a simmer and stir chocolate and soy milk until melted together and glossy. Add one of the following flavors or leave plain: 1 teaspoon peppermint extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 1 teaspoon orange extract.
Or you can add a sprinkle of the following spices to make it really exotic tasting. Cheyenne, Cinnamon, ground cloves, star anise.

Put into freezer until it is hardened and doesn't look glossy anymore (don't freeze, just chill to a gnash).

Spray some oil on your hands and take a heaping teaspoon into your hands and roll. Then roll into one of the following toppings: chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds, sprinkles, cocoa powder.

Put on wax paper and refrigerate. Can be kept out for about 8 hours, but should be refrigerated beyond that.

Why is Dark Chocolate Good for Me?
  1. One study found that Dark Chocolate helped lower blood pressure. This is because chocolate has plant phenols in it. The darker the chocolate the better since darker chocolate has more of the plant phenols.
  2. Dark Chocolate has lots antioxidants. Antioxidants help get rid of free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress. Free radicals are like rust for the body. Antioxidants help get rid of the rust. Antioxidants are involved in the prevention of cellular damage -- the common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.
  3. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent.
  4. Dark Chocolate stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure.
  5. Dark Chocolate contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant.
  6. Dark Chocolate contains theobromine, caffeine and other substances which are stimulants (this is good if you are a sleep deprived mom of twins).
Keep in mind that milk chocolate doesn't have any of the above health benefits. You must stick with dark (semi-sweet is the same). This means 60% or more. Costco has a really yummy bag of chocolates that they sell. I haven't seen it in a few months, but it is Kirkland brand and it has 3 kinds of individually wrapped dark chocolates. Remember, chocolate still has calories in it, so you can't just eat as much as you want. A little goes a long ways. Also, if you buy dark chocolate with carmel in the middle, it doesn't count. Sugar and milk seem to cancel out many of the above health benefits. Guess that means my truffles are out? Not sure if soy milk has the same effect.

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