The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 12 No. 6 • October 2009

Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely … Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech—and both are still dangerous to this day—but human beings would not be human without them.
— Isaac Asimov (from the foreword to the 1991 Bantam edition of The Naked Sun)

A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel.
— Robert Frost

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
— H. L. Mencken

How You Can Have Your [Chocolate] Cake And Eat Its Flavanols, Too

The question of how food processing (including cooking) affects important ingredients such as flavonoids, is a subject of many papers. For example, do you get the healthful cocoa flavanols when you eat chocolate cake?

A new paper1 reveals a very interesting finding: a baked chocolate cake with a batter that included baking soda resulted in an increased pH (above 8.3) and was found to contain no detectable monomeric flavanols after baking. However, substituting baking powder for the baking soda resulted in a chocolate cake with a pH of 6.2 with essentially complete retention of antioxidant activity and flavanol content, though with reduced cake heights and lighter cake color.

RECIPE: Here is a recipe (from an advertisement for Ghirardelli’s chocolate) for the best chocolate chip cookies we have ever eaten (so good we eat them with our eyes closed!); note that it contains baking powder. This is very easy to make though a bit messy. (At our house, Sandy makes the cookies and Durk cleans up the mess. That was Durk’s way of maximizing Sandy’s incentive to bake scrumptious chocolate chip cookies.)

We get about 25 cookies per batch.

For a batch, you’ll need:

11.5 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips (since we are chocolate extremists, we use the “Extreme Bittersweet Chocolate Chips” that contain 75% chocolate liquor and are low in sugar, available from King Arthur Flour (The Baker’s Catalogue), 800-827-6836,
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter (we have yet to find a satisfactory substitute for butter in this recipe)
3 eggs
1 cup Durk & Sandy’s Glycemic Control Erythritol™ (substituted for sugar in the original recipe)
1/3 cup Durk & Sandy’s Glycemic Control Barley Flour™
1/2 tsp baking powder
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (we used the 60% chocolate liquor chocolate chips offered by Ghiardelli the first time and sugar-free semi-sweet chocolate chips the second time; both worked well)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Melt extreme bittersweet chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler (or you can do it in the microwave at reduced power). In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat eggs and erythritol until slightly thickened and well blended. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture. In a small bowl, stir together the barley flour and baking powder and then stir into the chocolate mixture. Gently mix the semi-sweet chocolate chips and the walnuts into the batter.

The original recipe calls for the resulting mixture to be formed into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long, on plastic wrap. The logs are then supposed to be wrapped tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerated for at least an hour to firm. However, rather than do all that, Sandy just makes patties of the semi-firm batter with her hands (messy, messy and remember you shouldn’t lick off what remains stuck to your hands because it contains uncooked eggs). Each cookie patty (or slice cut from the refrigerated log, if you prefer) should be 2 inches in diameter by 3/4 inch thick. Place cookies on 2 greased (we use Durk & Sandy’s High Oleic Sunflower Oil™) cookie sheets, spaced at least 1 inch apart. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet.

Refrigerate any leftovers. Hint: Don’t invite anyone over or you won’t have any cookies left.

  1. Stahl et al. Preservation of cocoa antioxidant activity, total polyphenols, flavan-3-ols, and procyanidin content in foods prepared with cocoa powder. J Food Sci 74(6):C456-61 (2009).

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