In the current investigation, the potential utility of cinnamaldehyde obtained from cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) bark powder in enhancing the antioxidant capacity of dark chocolates was evaluated. To this end, the effects of conventional solvent extracts (CSE) and supercritical fluid extracts (SFE) on total phenolic contents, physical and sensory attributes of cinnamaldehyde-enriched chocolates were determined over the course of 60 days of storage. The addition of 0.5% nutraceuticalSFE and 1% nutraceuticalCSE extracts significantly increased the total phenolic contents of the chocolates to 15.62 ± 0.35 mg GAE/g and 13.31 ± 0.26 mg GAE/g in T2 and T1, respectively. In terms of texture (hardness), 0.5% extract resulted in softer chocolates (64.87 ± 2.41 N) as compared to the control (70.91 ± 2.83 N). At storage termination, colorimetric results revealed a whitening of the chocolate surface that resulted in incremental increases in L* and b*, whereas a* exhibited a declining trend. Moreover, the sensory results showed a better hedonic response for the enriched products. Taken together, cinnamaldehyde enrichment is beneficial for both the functional as well as oxidative stability of chocolates. Chocolate, as the most commonly craved food product, is gaining much attention from the manufactures as a potential vehicle for the delivery of functional health benefits. In this study, we used cinnamaldehyde and maltitol (sugar replacer) to prepare functional chocolates with a special emphasis on diabetic patients, an approach that will open new horizons for innovative product development. We also optimised and characterised the extraction conditions for bioactive components using green extraction technology, i.e. a supercritical fluid extraction technique which is cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
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