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Go for the dark chocolate egg this Easter

We're not talking about the whole Easter Bunny. We're just talking about 7.5 grams, barely a quarter ounce of good quality chocolate.

Just in time for Easter comes a study published in the European Heart Journal showing chocolate can be good for your heart.

German scientists studied over 19,000 people, who were free of heart disease and took no hypertension drugs beforehand, over the course of 8 years. Those who consumed a little dark chocolate had lower blood pressure, and lower risks for both heart attack and stroke.

We're not talking about the whole Easter Bunny. We're just talking about 7.5 grams, barely a quarter ounce of good quality chocolate. Think chocolate truffle, or a little dark chocolate egg. (Or that dark chocolate "olive" served with the chocolate martini over at The Chocolate Bar in Decatur, GA.)

The results were better in preventing stroke than heart attack, which is where some decided to focus their headlines.

Naturally some, like The Gossip Jackal from which this illustration was taken, decided they had to be killjoys. Eating too much chocolate will make you fat. Duh.

Well, I'm not going to be a killjoy. But I am going to tell you something important.

The European genius with Central American chocolate was to cut it with sugar and milk, therefore stretching it. In Mexico, the tradition is to mix it with cinnamon. It was then powdered and mixed with water into a potent drink said to have health-giving properties.

Well, it does.

Another way to enjoy this kind of chocolate is in a mole sauce. Take dried peppers, add hot water, puree, then cook for a long time with a little chocolate and other spices. Serve over a poblano chile filled with some cheese and maybe squash blossoms, preferably with the family.

Perfect for Easter.  Rick Bayless has a great recipe for it from his series Mexico One Plate at a Time, which I just started in on. Here's a video demonstration.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com