Troves of studies tout chocolate's ability to reduce heart disease risk. So go ahead and indulge in these dark delights.
U.S. standards require that unsweetened baking chocolate contain between 50 percent and 58 percent cocoa butter—the creamy plant fat that gives chocolate its characteristic melt. Stir grated, unsweetened chocolate into black-bean chili, or melt semisweet chocolate with almond milk and maple syrup for a simple ganache.
Try: Dagoba Organic Unsweetened Chocolate for Baking; Green & Black’s Organic Baking Bar
After cacao beans are fermented, roasted, husked, and partially crushed, crunchy cacao nibs are left behind. Sugar free and packed with antioxidants, nibs add nutty tang to baked goods, trail mix, and salads.
Try: Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Cacao Nibs; Endangered Species 72% Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs
Cocoa powder is made from grinding cocoa liquor and extracting almost all of its cocoa butter. Alkalized (called “Dutched”) cocoa has been treated to reduce pH, decreasing bitterness (but possibly destroying cocoa’s heart-healthy flavanols). Combine cocoa powder with sweetener and hot water; or create a spice rub by mixing with ground espresso and dried chile.
Try: Lake Champlain Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa; Rapunzel Organic Cocoa