Articles on Food Matters:

Nutritional Difference between Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate

There are as many stories associated to chocolate candy as brands available on the market. Different shapes, sizes, and colors are usually accompanied by a dilemma, which is better, dark chocolate or white chocolate?

Apart from taste, World's Finest Chocolates are characterized for their nutriments. Within your preferred brand, Hershey chocolate, Ghirardelli chocolate, Nestle chocolate, or Lindt Chocolates, you will find that they are available in dark chocolate and white chocolate presentations.

Nutritionally speaking, white chocolate is a new comer that has been promoted for the benefits of its higher content of milk. However, this type of chocolate candy is not exactly what a chocolate should be.

Standards of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that white chocolate is a combination of milk solids, butterfat, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin and flavorings, but NO chocolate, but a similar tasting resulting from cocoa butter and sometimes artificial flavoring.

Although a white
Hershey chocolate was introduced in 2005, it is White Nestle chocolate, which is more commonly found in this variety, which color is not due to milk content, but sublime or vegetable fat. You must be careful with this product more often referred to as confectionery or summer coating with very low nutritional value.

Lindt Chocolates has a white variety, the same as Ghirardelli chocolate, but labeled as baking chocolate. White chocolate is a great covering for desserts, cakes, dark chocolate candy, and more.

World's Finest Chocolates are dark whether bittersweet or semisweet. Chocolate candy is not only claimed as a sensual food, but also a product with true nutritional benefits including improvement of endothelial and platelet function, related to cardiovascular health.

Next time, you go to the grocery store, take a dark Hershey chocolate, and compare the information with that of
Willy Wonka candy. You will find differences in their ingredients, but especially in the higher proportion of fats in white chocolate. Although cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate are still in debate due to risks associated with effects of glucose and lipid, in body weight, dark chocolate has anti-oxidative effects that benefit the heart.

Ghirardelli chocolate was associated to recent research studying the benefits of flavonoids in dark chocolate. Lindt Chocolates are also reputed for lowering high blood pressure. Whatever brand is your preference, balance your calories with up to a 100-gram serving a day, can help you to improve your health.

When it comes to the World's Finest Chocolates, apples have been left behind, substituting the saying with this phrase: "A Dark Chocolate a Day Keeps the Doctor Away", and this saying seems true, indeed.

Natalie Aranda writes on food and drinks.

Natalie Aranda
Food & Drinks Writer
20 Nov 2006

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Smoked Turkey

If you've never smoked a turkey before, I urge you to try it. Oven roasted turkey is what most of us have eaten all our lives. Turkey and dressing with gravy is an American tradition and we wouldn't want to change that. Keep the dressing and gravy the same, but let's see if we can liven up that ole turkey!

First step is buying a turkey. Buy a bird that is 13 lbs or less. A large smoked turkey will take too long to get out of the temperature danger zone (40 to 140 degrees F) when using lower smoking temperatures. We prefer Butterball turkeys because the breast meat has been deep basted to increase moisture and flavor. Butterball turkeys that are Fresh, not Frozen, are not basted. So we prefer the frozen ones because of this. Also, a frozen turkey can be bought well ahead of the time needed to cook, not so with fresh turkey.

A frozen turkey needs to be thawed in the refrigerator, not the kitchen sink or counter top. Thawing a 10-13 pound turkey may take up to 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator. Check the temperature setting on your appliance and raise the temp setting if needed, but remember the turkey should always be kept well below 40 degrees to avoid spoiling.

Alright, besides the turkey, you will need a sweet onion, an orange, two red apples, and three stalks of celery. We will also use extra virgin olive oil to help the skin brown and cook evenly. The oil will also act as a binder for the rub applied.

After removing the neck and giblets from the bird, wash with cold water. Then use paper towels to dry the turkey skin. Drying the skin will help the olive oil coat evenly and this will make the smoked turkey's skin more evenly colored when done. Now we can coat the turkey with the olive oil. Rub the olive oil into the skin and make sure to apply some inside the cavity of the bird.

Next we cut up the onion, apples, orange, and celery. Stuff the cavity with these ingredients with as much as you can fit into the turkey. This is not a stuffing that you would want to eat. The purpose of this stuffing is to help add moisture and flavor to the turkey. You could go a step further and pour a can of Coke into the cavity. This adds a unique flavor and can further help in the moisture level of the turkey.

Now it's time to rub the turkey. I used Paula Deen's Spices for my rub. It was 2 teaspoons of each of these seasonings: Butt Massage, Seasoned Salt, and House Seasoning. The 6 teaspoons of seasoning were added to one cup of brown sugar for the finished rub. If you can't find Paula Deen's spices, just use 6 teaspoons your favorite rib or butt rub. The rub is applied first under the skin on the breast. Work your fingers under the skin and then pull it back far enough to coat the breast meat well. Then cover the entire bird with the rub, gently rubbing it into the olive oil on the skin.

You could cook the smoked turkey directly on the smoker's cooking grate, but with any poultry cooked on a smoker or a grill, the fat rendering out can cause some mighty big flare ups. We used a wire rack inside of a large disposable aluminum pan. The pan catches all of the juices cooking from the turkey which can be used to baste the turkey. And the wire rack keeps the bird from sitting in the meat juices. The turkey is placed on the wire rack with the breast side facing up during the entire smoking process.

Most slow cooked barbeque is cooked at 250 degrees F or less. But for smoked turkey we jump the smoker temperature up to 325 degrees F. Cooking at higher temps will help to conserve moisture in the meat and also gets the turkey out of the danger zone more quickly. A 10-13 pound bird should take no more than 4 to 4.5 hours at 325 degrees F. The turkey will be done when the temp in the thigh reaches 180 degrees F. The temp probe should be placed in the thickest part of the thigh, making sure not to touch any bones. Another doneness test is to grab the drumstick and give it a wiggle. If it feels like it will pull loose easily from the body of the turkey, then the bird is probably done. Also check that the meat juices flow clear when piercing the thigh with a fork.

After about an hour of smoking the turkey with a combination of hickory and apple wood, check to see how the skin looks. If any area appears to be getting too brown, covering that area loosely with foil will help to prevent burning. About the two hour mark of cooking, loosely cover the breasts to keep them from cooking faster than the leg and thigh meat. After the three hour mark you can baste the turkey with melted butter every half hour until done. This will help to keep the skin from drying out and make the turkey a more golden brown color.

Now you may be asking why didn't you brine the turkey or at least inject the turkey? I just find with the Butterball turkey you don't have to do all of that to get a great finished product. The turkey will be moist and flavorful without injections and brines. It's real easy to get carried away with flavors on turkey. This recipe keeps it fairly simple and you don't have to start prepping the turkey days before cooking.

One last thing about carving turkey and this applies to all turkey no matter how it is cooked. A cold turkey carves much better than a hot turkey, so it is better to cook the turkey the day before you plan to serve it (this tip came from my wife's mother who is an outstanding cook). Refrigerate it overnight and slice away the next day. The slices can be easily warmed in a foiled pan in the oven.

Bill Anderson
28 Nov 2006

For more information on slow smoking ribs, butts, chicken, and brisket, please visit Bill Anderson's web site at
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