Brain-Boosting Love Food 😍

Berries & Chocolate

Antioxidants found in berries help protect and repair damaged cells. This is great news as free radicals in the body and damaged cells can speed up the process of aging as well as contribute to cognitive decline and other serious ailments. Berries also provide the body with tannins which are important for supporting brain cells and for naturally improving memory. 🍓 🍇 🍒

Well it just so happens that the perfect pair for berries, chocolate, has some benefits of its own.  Dark chocolate boosts the production of endorphines, tryptophan, anadamide.  And similar to berries, the cocoa bean also helps improve brain function. One Harvard study suggests that senior-aged study participants who ate a large amount of dark chocolate were less likely to develop dementia and cocoa powder actually has more antioxidant benefits than green tea. 🍫

Here are a few ways to indulge in berries and chocolate with your loved one on this special day... and any day really. 

Ingredients

¼ cup ( 36 g) cocoa butter

3 tbsp ( 12 g) raw cacao

1 ½ tsp raw honey

20 fresh strawberries

Instructions

To make the chocolate, melt the cocoa butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.

Add the cocoa powder and honey and mix well to combine. Cool slightly then dip each strawberry into the dark chocolate.

Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Dip a fork in the remaining chocolate and drizzle the chocolate over the dipped strawberries. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

White chocolate: Match with Sherry, Muscat, a fruity Chardonnay, or a Moscato d'Asti. These wines will pick up on the buttery, fatty tones of what isn't always considered to be a "real" chocolate. For those who don't mind a risk, a contrasting wine heavy in tannins might just work to cut through the fattiness of white chocolate.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Chocolate gourmands adore this range of taste, so the wine should live up to it. Good choices include Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Orange Muscat, Port, Malbec, and Zinfandel.

Try champagne or sparkling wine with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many flavors. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well.

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Pair-Wine-and-Chocolate

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Almond Breeze Chocolate Unsweetened Almondmilk

1 medium frozen banana

1 cup frozen raspberries

2 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder

Raspberries and sprinkles, for serving, if desired

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Garnish with raspberries and sprinkles, if desired!

Note-we use Almond Breeze Chocolate Unsweetened Almondmilk and I think it is plenty sweet. If you want a sweeter drink, you can use Almond Breeze regular Chocolate Almondmilk.

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chocolate-raspberry-smoothie/

Ingredients

1 16-ounce bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, halved, thawed, undrained

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup kirsch (clear cherry brandy) or regular brandy

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 large egg yolks

1 large egg

2 teaspoons all purpose flour

Powdered sugar

Fresh mint

PREPARATION

Combine cherries with juices, 1/2 cup sugar, kirsch, and cinnamon in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until sauce thickens and is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove 1/4 cup cherries from sauce; drain well. Transfer to work surface and chop coarsely; reserve chopped cherries for cakes. Set aside cherry sauce.

Butter two 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Whisk cocoa and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in small bowl to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; whisk in cocoa mixture. Whisk in egg yolks, then whole egg and flour. Fold in reserved 1/4 cup chopped cherries. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. (Sauce and cake batter can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cakes uncovered until edges are set but center is still shiny and tester inserted into center comes out with some wet batter attached, about 22 minutes.

Warm sauce over low heat. Cut around cakes to loosen; turn out onto plates. Spoon sauce alongside. Sift powdered sugar over; garnish with mint.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/molten-chocolate-cakes-with-cherries-104736

Sources:

6 Snacks That Make You Smarter. (2015, March 05). Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.prevention.com/health/improve-brain-function-food-6-brain-boosting-snacks

Alban, D. (2017, February 04). 9 Brain Boosting Benefits of Dark Chocolate. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from https://bebrainfit.com/brain-benefits-dark-chocolate/

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/chocolate-raspberry-smoothie/

E. (2004, August 20). Molten Chocolate Cakes with Cherries. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/molten-chocolate-cakes-with-cherries-104736

F. (2017, February 14). Pair Wine and Chocolate. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.wikihow.com/Pair-Wine-and-Chocolate