I CAN COOK THIS! Indulge in the fruit of cacao
Explorer file photo, Remember that about four ounces of dark chocolate contain more than 500 calories. An apple, in comparison, contains only around 50 calories.

Most of us like chocolate. Somehow we can always eat just a little more.

However, like everything, never eat chocolate in excess.

We can take comfort in the fact that dark chocolate, not milk or white chocolate, is good for us. Tests have proven that the plant phenols in dark chocolate lower blood pressure, but you must balance the extra calories by eating less of other foods.

Remember that about four ounces of dark chocolate contain more than 500 calories. An apple, in comparison, contains only around 50 calories.

Despite the health benefits of dark chocolate, researchers and doctors warn that it would not be wise to replace healthy foods with the enticing dessert item.

CHOCOLATE BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING

This is simple to make. So curl up with a good book, a cup of coffee and a generous helping of this delicious pudding.

Servings: 6        

Ingredients:

16 slices of fruit bread

Third cup rum (optional)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

1 cup milk

1 cup half and half

Half cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extra

Confectioners sugar to dust

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease a square, two-and-a-half-pint baking dish

Lightly toast the bread and spread one side with butter. Cut slices in half.

Overlap in prepared dish to make two layers. Drizzle with the rum if using.

Place chocolate in a saucepan with the milk and cream. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring until chocolate melts.

Whisk eggs, sugar and vanilla together until combined. Stir in chocolate mixture. Pour over bread and let the pudding rest for 10-15 minutes.

Bake in center of preheated oven for 30-35 minutes (center should a little runny). Let rest for five minutes. Serve warm with a little extra cream if desired.

Mary Elizabeth Evans teaches cooking classes at Pima Community College and through her company Teascompany at www.teascomany.net.

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