Disney Character Sweets

Micky and Donald Wagashi

The sweets are available in Seven Eleven stores in Japan for 258 yen (plus tax) each.

Hot Chocolate Souffle

Ingredients

butter and sugar for coating
3/4 cup chocolate chips
4 egg yolks
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Method

  1. Grease a 6-inch souffle dish generously with butter and coat the inside with sugar, shaking out the excess.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons of cold water and the chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler. Place over hot water until the chocolate chips are melted, then beat with a wire whisk until blended.
  3. Cut 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the chocolate, 1 piece at a time, beating until the butter is melted. Cool slightly.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a large mixer bowl and beat with an electric mixer until lemon colored.
  5. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually and beat until thick.
  6. Add 1/4 of the chocolate mixture and beat with a wire whisk until blended.
  7. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and beat until well mixed.
  8. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with the electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, blending well. Fold in the remaining egg whites until well mixed.
  10. Spoon in the prepared souffle dish and smooth the top. Bake in a preheated 400ºF oven for 35 minutes or until set.
  11. Dust with additional confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve immediately

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Creative Cooking Course

Illusion Cake Made by a Hongkonger During COVID-19 Lockdown

Hong Kong-style Milk Tea in a Teacup

Read the story . . . . .

More Healthful Milk Chocolate by Adding Peanut, Coffee Waste

Milk chocolate is a consumer favorite worldwide, prized for its sweet flavor and creamy texture. This confection can be found in all types of treats, but it isn’t exactly health food. In contrast, dark chocolate has high levels of phenolic compounds, which can provide antioxidant health benefits, but it is also a harder, more bitter chocolate. Today, researchers report a new way to combine milk chocolate with waste peanut skins and other wastes to boost its antioxidant properties.

The researchers will present their results today at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo. ACS is holding the meeting through Thursday. It features more than 6,000 presentations on a wide range of science topics.

“The idea for this project began with testing different types of agricultural waste for bioactivity, particularly peanut skins,” says Lisa Dean, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “Our initial goal was to extract phenolics from the skins and find a way to mix them with food.”

When manufacturers roast and process peanuts to make peanut butter, candy and other products, they toss aside the papery red skins that encase the legume inside its shell. Thousands of tons of peanut skins are discarded each year, but since they contain 15% phenolic compounds by weight, they’re a potential goldmine of antioxidant bioactivity. Not only do antioxidants provide anti-inflammatory health benefits, they also help keep food products from spoiling.

“Phenolics are very bitter, so we had to find some way to mitigate that sensation,” Dean says. In fact, the natural presence of phenolic compounds is what gives dark chocolate its bitterness, along with less fat and sugar compared to its cousin milk chocolate. Dark varieties are also more expensive than milk ones because of their higher cocoa content, so the addition of a waste like peanut skins provides similar benefits for a fraction of the price. And peanut skins are not the only food waste that can enhance milk chocolate in this way; the researchers are also exploring the extraction and incorporation of phenolic compounds from used coffee grounds, discarded tea leaves and other food scraps.

To create their antioxidant-boosted milk chocolate, Dean and her team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Research Service worked with peanut companies to obtain the peanut skins. From there, they ground the skins into a powder, and extracted the phenolic compounds with 70% ethanol. The lignin and cellulose left behind can be used in animal feed as roughage. They also worked with local coffee roasters and tea producers to obtain used coffee grounds and tea leaves, using a similar methodology to extract the antioxidants from those materials. The phenolic powder is then combined with maltodextrin, a common food additive, to make it easier to incorporate into the final milk chocolate product.

To make sure their new confection would pass gastronomic muster, the researchers created individual squares of chocolate with concentrations of phenolics ranging from 0.1% to 8.1% and had a trained sensory panel taste each one. The goal was to have the phenolic powder be undetectable in the flavor of the milk chocolate. The taste-testers found that concentrations over 0.9% were detectable, but incorporating the phenolics at 0.8% resulted in a good compromise of a high level of bioactivity without sacrificing flavor or texture. In fact, more than half of the taste testers preferred the 0.8% phenolic milk chocolate over the undosed control milk chocolate. This sample had higher chemical antioxidant activity than most dark chocolates.

While these results are very promising, Dean and team also acknowledge that peanuts are a major food allergy concern. They tested the phenolic powder made from the skins for presence of allergens, and while none were detected, they say that a product containing peanut skins should still be labeled as containing peanuts.

Next, the researchers plan to further explore the use of peanut skins, coffee grounds and other waste products into additional foods. In particular, Dean is hoping to test whether the antioxidants in peanut skins extend the shelf life of nut butters, which can go rancid quickly because of their high fat content. While commercial availability of their boosted chocolate is still a ways off and subject to corporate patents, they hope that their efforts will eventually lead to a better milk chocolate on supermarket shelves.

Source: American Chemical Society

How Protein Protects Against Fatty Liver

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in the world, with sometimes life-threatening consequences. A high-protein, calorie-reduced diet can cause the harmful liver fat to melt away – more effectively than a low-protein diet. A new study by DIfE/DZD researchers published in the journal ‘Liver International’ shows which molecular and physiological processes are potentially involved.

Microscopic images of liver biopsies. Left: healthy liver with normal accumulation of fat, right: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with increased accumulation of fat. Source: DIfE

Causes and consequences of a non-alcoholic fatty liver

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by a build-up of fat in the liver and is often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and lipid disorders. If left untreated, fatty liver can lead to cirrhosis with life-threatening consequences. The causes of the disease range from an unhealthy lifestyle – that is, eating too many high-fat, high-sugar foods and lack of exercise – to genetic components. Already in previous studies, the research team led by PD Dr. Olga Ramich and Professor Andreas Pfeiffer from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbruecke (DIfE) observed a positive effect of a high-protein diet on liver fat content. “The new results now give us deeper insights into how the high-protein diet works,” said Ramich, head of the research group Molecular Nutritional Medicine at DIfE.

High-protein diet is more effective than low-protein diet

For the current study, the research team led by Ramich and Pfeiffer investigated how the protein content of food influences the amount of liver fat in obese people with a non-alcoholic fatty liver. For this, the 19 participants were to follow either a diet with a high or low protein content for three weeks. Subsequently, surgery to treat obesity (bariatric surgery) was carried out and liver samples were collected.

Analysis of the samples showed that a calorie-reduced, high-protein diet decreased liver fat more effectively than a calorie-reduced, low-protein diet: while the liver-fat content in the high-protein group decreased by around 40 percent, the amount of fat in the liver samples of the low-protein group remained unchanged. The study participants in both groups lost a total of around five kilograms. “If the results continue to be confirmed in larger studies, the recommendation for an increased intake of protein together with a healthy low-fat diet as part of an effective fatty liver therapy could find its way into medical practice,” said Andreas Pfeiffer, head of the Research Group Clinical Nutrition/DZD at DIfE and the Clinic for Endocrinology in the Charité ─ Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin.

Molecular fat absorption mechanisms

The researchers assume that the positive effect of the high-protein diet is mainly due to the fact that the uptake, storage and synthesis of fat is suppressed. This is indicated by extensive genetic analyses of the liver samples that Professor Stephan Herzig and his team at Helmholtz Zentrum München conducted. According to these analyses, numerous genes that are responsible for the absorption, storage and synthesis of fat in the liver were less active after the high-protein diet than after the low-protein diet.

Unexpected results

In addition, Olga Ramich’s research group, together with the Department of Physiology of Energy Metabolism at DIfE, also investigated the functions of the mitochondria. “Mitochondrial activity was very similar in both groups. That surprised us. We originally assumed that the high-protein diet would increase mitochondrial activity and thus contribute to the degradation of liver fat,” said Department Head Professor Susanne Klaus. The researchers were also surprised that the serum levels of Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 (FGF21) were lower after the high-protein diet which reduced liver fat than after the low-protein diet. “FGF21 is known to have beneficial effects on metabolic regulation. Further studies will be necessary to show why the factor was reduced in the actually positively acting high-protein diet,” said Ramich. Furthermore, autophagy activity was lower in liver tissue after the high-protein diet compared to the low-protein diet. “Lipid degradation via ‘lipophagy’, as a special form of autophagy, therefore does not appear to be involved in the breakdown of liver fat in the high-protein diet.”

As a next step, Ramich and Pfeiffer intend to follow up their findings about the mechanisms involved and thus gain new insights into the mode of action of targeted dietary intervention strategies.

Source: DZD


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