Cakes & Bakes

Rachel Taylor

Foods that are good!

Dark chocolate is good for your skin, your heart and can help you to lose weight.

Dark chocolate is good for your skin, your heart and can help you to lose weight.

AFTER researching a bit for last week on all of the benefits of bananas, I decided to go a little further and see what I could find out about some of our other common snack foods that get bad press.

Let’s start with the biggie – chocolate. Dark chocolate that is.

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Milk chocolate I’m sorry to say just doesn’t have the same nutritional benefits as its much more bitter friend.

I never was a big fan of it, but I definitely enjoy it now a little more than I used to.

So let’s explore a few good points of this treat. I should say here that we are looking at just a few squares of dark chocolate with 70 per-cent plus cocoa solids in it – not three bars of Dairy.

Milk!

Firstly – it’s good for the skin, helping to protect it from sun damage.

Secondly- it’s good for the heart by stopping white blood cells sticking to and clogging up arteries; and also helps to prevent stroke. Next, dark chocolate contains potassium, zinc, selenium and a third of your daily iron intake.

Finally, it can help you to lose weight. Taking a square of chocolate 20 minutes before a meal helps your body to realise when it is full, cutting down your portion size. I must try that one out!

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Peanut butter

This is the subject of much confusion!

Peanut butter can be a great snack food, as long as you choose the correct sort that is. Go for a natural peanut butter and check on the label that there are no trans fats, high fructose or corn syrup levels or high salt/sodium levels.

The fats found in peanut butter are mono and polyunsaturated types which are healthier for the heart. It is also high in protein, vitamin E and folic acid.

Technically not a snack but definitely the weakness of many – coffee! If you drink coffee in moderation (by moderation I mean one decent sized cup in the morning) then you are actually doing your body some good. Coffee contains lots of antioxidants helping to boost your immune system and fight off diseases as well as reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

So there you have it, it’s not all bad folks! I am just adding in a wee recipe here for the dark chocolate for you to try out.

Enjoy…happy baking!

INGREDIENTS
• 110g butter
• 55g caster sugar
• 110g plain flour
• 20g cocoa powder
• 50g dark chocolate chips

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan)
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and smooth. Add in flour, cocoa and chocolate chips.  You may need to use your hands to help.
3. Roll into a sausage shape on a floured worktop and cut 16 discs. Place each disc onto a baking tray, leaving space between each one. Bake for 12-15 minutes.