Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Free and "Healthy" Chocolate? I'll take it!


When I stumbled across Blake's of Blake Makes group of taste testing food bloggers, the Sooper Heroes, I couldn't wait to join. If a food company wanted to send me some free food to taste and test, I would gladly give it a shot. I love trying anything new and different. Last week as I was walking out of my apartment, I stumbled across the cutest little box of CHOCOLATE!!!! My first give-a-way had come!!! Amano Artisan Chocolate had sent me three bars of high quality delicious chocolate. For this chocolate lover, I was hooked...

But then, I stared at the bars, Ocumare, Madagascar, and Cuyagua. They just stared back at me, threatening me to destroy my healthy pledge and devour them in all one sitting. I could not decide how to go about this...should I research how to preform an official taste test and get my roommates involved? But wait one does not like dark chocolate and the other went home for the weekend... Ok, should I bake something with them? I had been looking at an amazing brioche recipe that besides the three sticks of butter would not be that bad...oh, yes, healthy! But then, as I find happens often in blogging world, I stumbled across the perfect post...the fabulous Mandy from Fresh from the Oven wrote and beautifully photographed about her Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola...I knew what I would make!

Lately, I have been making a huge effort to become healthier. I started working out more regularly and modified my diet a little bit. I've managed to lose some weight, feeling overall healthier and happier. My diet, however, could still use some work. Although, I tend to eat with moderation, I have my days of gluttony. Thankfully, dark chocolate is supposed to be very healthy and thus a perfect addition to a granola. Honestly, I just googled "dark chocolate"...try it! The first four website are links to article proclaiming the health benefits of dark chocolate. I mean, if the internet says it, it must be true!

Of course, my final problem was which of the bars to use or maybe a mixture of the three. So, I took a piece of each and determined which I liked the best. I found Cayagua to be very mild and smooth dark chocolate. The Madagscar was the strongest and fruitiest. The Ocumare was strong but not too powerful and definitely my favorite. The chocolate really is delicious! I chopped up the Cayagua for the granola since I did not want something too overpowering for my next couple breakfasts. I really like it! Thank you Mandy for the idea, Amano for the chocolate and Blake for the creating the Sooper Heroes!

Almond and Dark Chocolate Granola
(adapted from Mandy of Fresh from the Oven and inspired by this recipe)

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tbsp light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp mild honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 block of 3.5oz 70% chocolate or more, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a food processor, coffee grinder or blender, grind half the oats to a fine powder.

In a large bowl, combine the grinded oats, oats, almonds, brown sugar, and salt. Stir well to blend.

Zap the honey, maple syrup and oil over in the microwave for 15 seconds –until the honey is loose, this should not take long, about 15 seconds. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well.

Spread the mixture evenly on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Stirring the granola half way through for even baking. When it’s ready, remove the pan from the oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and cool completely.

When cool, transfer the granola to a large bowl, storage jar, or zipper-lock plastic bag. Add the chocolate, and stir (or shake, if using a jar or bag) to mix.

Makes about 5 cups.

P.S. Check out Mandy's blog Fresh from the Oven. She is a wonderful baker and a fantastic photographer!

10 comments:

Kevin said...

Free chocolate is always good! :) I like the sound of adding it to granola.

VeggieGirl said...

free chocolate + amazing granola recipe = perfection.

Manggy said...

Nice find Ginny! I don't know what I'd do with all 5 cups of granola, haha :)

Ah, the all-powerful chocolate lobby! Just keep it in moderation :)

Mandy said...

oh Ginny, you are making me blushed! I am very envious of your free artisan chocolates! I need to go out and buy myself some. :D

LyB said...

Ginny, that looks delicious! I've just found some Scharffen Berger dark chocolate and I haven't even tasted it yet, I can't bring myself to open the packet; I bought it on a whim, it was a wee bit expensive! :)

Ginny said...

kevin- I highly recommend it!

veggiegirl- thanks! hehe!

manggy- um...eat it? haha! :)

mandy- thank you for your inspiration! It is quite good!

lyb- Oh, I have definitely done that before...you deserve to splurge every once and a while!

Deborah said...

I have been trying to think of what to use my chocolate on - this sounds like a great way!

Jules said...

I never turn down free chocolate!

linda said...

Free chocolate is even better ;)
I just made my first batch of granola ever yesterday. Not your recipe though but maybe next time I will, it looks and sounds delicious!

Ginny said...

deborah- it is very good! I recommend it!

jules- you and me both! hehe!

linda- oh what was it? I would love to check it out?