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Dark Chocolate And Its Growing Popularity In The World Of Cookies

April 14, 2011

The use of dark chocolate in baking, especially for homemade and online cookies, is gaining in popularity. Cookies and cookie bars made with dark chocolate, reduced trans-fats, and less sugars, appeal to individuals seeking a healthier diet. The chocolate provides the cookies with a deep, rich flavor while providing heart-healthy benefits.

Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. It has an ancient history, beginning with the Mayans and Aztecs around 600 B.C. The seeds of the cacao beans were roasted and ground into a paste, which was then incorporated into a hot drink. It was brought back to Spain in 1502 where its use in beverages and food grew into today’s wildly popular flavoring and snack item.

Today’s version of chocolate comes in a range of flavors—from unsweetened to milk chocolate—and in a variety of forms—from unsweetened powder to dark chocolate bars and chips. The quality of chocolate is determined by the quality of the cacao beans and the amount of cocoa butter and cocoa solids the chocolate contains.

Dark chocolate contains no milk fat solids, but it does contain cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar. Chocolate manufacturers produce dark chocolate in a variety of flavors and forms. At the far end of the spectrum is sugarless bitter chocolate, usually created as an unsweetened powder for cooking and baking. Dark chocolate falls within the bittersweet to sweet range with a minimum of 35% cocoa solids and added cocoa butter and 30% to 60% sugar. It comes in chips, bars and powders to add to baking and cooking.

Bakeries of all types recognize the heart-healthy benefits of using dark chocolate in cookie products. While dark chocolate chips and enrobing chocolate add a deep, rich flavor to the cookie, it also provides a small reduction in the amount of added sugar to the product. Dark chocolate also contains natural compounds and antioxidants that help repair cell damage and improve cholesterol levels, providing more benefits than a large, milk chocolate candy bar.

Specialty online cookies made from all-natural products, that are gluten- and allergen-free and containing antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as dark chocolate, are gaining a significant following among older adults and individuals seeking healthier diets. Specialty bakeries feature a number of popular varieties including triple chocolate chunk cookies with dark chocolate chips as one ingredient and chocolate cookies made with a dark chocolate powder. Brownies made from dark chocolate also enjoy high demand.

Cookies are not just for children. Adults who enjoy snacks made from high-quality ingredients are seeking out their childhood favorites created with more sophisticated flavors and varieties, including cookies incorporating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate chip cookies top the list of most adults’ favorites.

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