May 16, 2017

Taza Dark Bark S’mores

Taza Dark Bark S’mores

I have truthfully never been a fan of marshmallows. I’ve used this excuse as a vehicle for justification for doubling up on the amount of chocolate for every s’more I’ve ever made. While I did craft a tasty substitute for marshmallows in this recipe, I still hold fast to my personal philosophy of doubling up on chocolate, especially because this time I’m using Taza Chocolate’s new Dark Bark, which packs just a little extra crunchy flavor PUNch.

Living outside of Boston, I absolutely love being able to connect with local brands, and Taza is one of them. Not only are they local, but they’re USDA Organic, Direct Trade Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Gluten Free, dairy free, soy free, vegan, and kosher. That’s kind of a mouthful to say and probably why I enjoy mouthfuls of their stone ground chocolate so much. Stone ground just means that the flavors of the cacao are allowed to take the spotlight – simple processing and less refining so that the true chocolate flavors shine through without being masked by tons of added sugars.

When I was younger, the chocolate bars that crowded my pantry had a whopping 22g of sugar per serving. Taza, in contrast, has 6g – nearly a quarter of the amount I was consuming.

While there is organic cane sugar in this to offset the traditionally bitter taste of dark chocolate (though Taza Chocolate does offer a “Wicked Dark” flavor with only 2g of sugar), the ingredients are organic and local and wholesome and delicious and not cloyingly sweet and leave you satisfied and satiated. When I want something sweet and not overly bitter, this is earnestly what I reach for. Especially since the sugar is offset by 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein, thereby decreasing its overall glycemic load (ability to which it spikes blood sugar). Plus it’s 80% dark chocolate, meaning loaded with polyphenols and antioxidants.

So let’s get into sugars. This year in the news, sugar has been demonized, and rightfully so in terms of the amount and type that is insidious in the Standard American Diet / linked to the likes of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and overall inflammation. This is kind of old news and has been plastered all over the news. Speaking of old, though, I recently stumbled upon a few studies that linked sugar consumption with the increased production of AGEs (advanced glycation end products).

AGEs are harmful compounds that build up as you age, and are increased with the consumption of certain foods. High levels have been linked to a variety of disease, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s and premature aging. Those with metabolic syndrome, in fact, had higher levels of AGEs in their bodies. More AGEs can lead to chronic and persistent inflammation (more about that here), so it’s best to maintain a diet and lifestyle that prevent their formation.

One way to prevent their formation is a diet high in antioxidants, as these helpful little molecules scavenge up harmful free radicals. Things like resveratrol (skins of dark fruits, grapes, blueberries, raspberries) turmeric, and you guessed it – good quality dark chocolate, like Taza Chocolate Dark Bark, are high in antioxidants.

I chose the Sea Salt and Almond / Toasted Coconut for my s’mores, but they also come in Pumpkin Seed, Coconut Almond, and Peppermint flavors! They’re priced at $5.59 and are now available to buy both online (tazachocolate.com) and in some of your favorite stores, including Whole Foods Markets nationwide.

Code twistoflemons20 for 20% off all Taza Chocolate products!!

Here’s how:

graham crackers:

  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Combine all ingredients and blend in food processor until dough forms (about a minute or two)
  3. Place dough on parchment paper and flatten with hands. Place another piece of parchment paper on top, and roll out the dough with a roller.
  4. Cut into squares or rectangles and poke holes in.
  5. Bake for 7-10 minutes.

(recipe adapted from Elana’s Pantry)

cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • few shakes of cinnamon
  1. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides intermittently if necessary.

chocolate:

  • Taza Dark Bark
  1. You don’t have to do anything at all to this. It’s perfect just the way it is.

 

Aragno, M. & Mastrocola, R. (2017). Dietary sugars and endogenous formation of advanced glycation endproducts: Emerging mechanisms of disease. Nutrients, 9(4), pii: E385. doi: 10.3390/nu9040385

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1 comment:

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