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Chocolate brownieIt's the dessert that many of us can't resist — if only for it's soul stirring, head-to-toe satisfying chocolatey goodness.

The only drawback to eating chocolate is the sugar that gets added... which means calories and weight gain if a chocolate habit runs wild.

But that fact doesn't stop true chocolate lovers from indulging in their in their favorite food group, with sweet memories of mom's best chocolate chip cookies (still warm from the oven) or romantic reveries of their first Valentine kiss (chocolate, of course).

How to melt chocolate for baking

As any experienced baker will tell you, the road to cooking with chocolate never runs smooth if you don't keep a careful eye on the process. When it comes to heat, chocolate can be quite temperamental. In addition, even tiny droplets of water inside the heating pan can result in "seizing" or chocolate that becomes grainy and unworkable.

Rules of thumb? 1. Always set heat on the lowest setting possible and stir often when melting chocolate; and 2. Be sure that the melting pan and stirring spoon are completely clean and dry before you begin.

Chop, chop: The quickest and probably safest way to prepare a bar of baker's chocolate for melting is to chop into small pieces so that it melts more evenly.

Think hot, not boiling: The most fool-proof way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Alternatively, place the chocolate in a heavy glass or aluminum bowl and place in a pan filled with hot water.

Heating -- but not boiling -- is the key to creamy, melted chocolate.

A good alternative to the stovetop is to simply microwave chocolate. Place in a microwave safe bowl and set on medium for 10-15 seconds and stir until smooth.

Chocolate fun facts

Despite the drawback of adding on calories, recent studies have pointed to chocolate's health benefits as a cancer fighter and a delicious part of a heart healthy diet. It may actually be good for you, but most important... chocolate makes you feel good. Really.

Fact is, chocolate has a host of "feel good" mood altering chemicals. Endorphins that help relieve stress are boosted by chocolate. Serotonin — a natural anti-depressant, is increased by chocolate and scientists are finding plenty of other effects that chocoholics have been talking about for centuries.

also see -> Chocolate Recipes in the Chiff Chef Recipe File:

  Easy Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe Chocolate Fondue Recipe
  Chocolate Brownies Recipe Chocolate Amaretto Fondue
  Chocolate Cream Mousse Recipe Chocolate Coconut Easter Eggs
  Chocolate Cake Recipe Chocolate Chip Cookies
  Cream Chocolate Easter Eggs Recipe Worms & Dirt Recipe

More chocolate recipes around the Web:

Around the Web, check out top sites offering the best in chocolate desserts online — ranging from Christmas chocolate recipes and other traditional favorites, to unusual gourmet food pairings, chocolate cocktails, exotic international dishes, and more for the confirmed chocoholic ....


Chocolate Recipes - Just it like it says - featuring an encyclopedia of chocolate including more than 100 recipes for cheesecakes, cookies, cakes, brownies, fudge, truffles.

Chocolate Club's Chocolate Recipes - Browseable by topic including cakes, candies, cookies, (at least 2 dozen for chocolate chip) chocolate drinks, brownies and puddings plus more exotic fare including... chocolate pasta.

Chocolate Fondue Recipes | Simply Recipes - Variations on a theme with a basic chocolate fondue recipe and tips for adding zing with espresso, orange zest, and more, with related resources.

Gourmet Chocolate Recipes from Hank Friedman - Like truffles? Check out soul satisfying concoctions including raspberry, strawberry, coconut, and macadamia nut truffles and lots more. Hank's the man.

Chocolate and Wine Pairing - A quick guide to pairing ports, reislings, and merlots with your favorite dessert.

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