chocolate



As Bella’s birthday is November 1st, she pretty much gets a Halloween-themed birthday cake every single year.
This year she got spider cupcakes delivered to her sushi dinner in Laguna Beach. They were a hit.
I made the devil’s food cake recipe from Williams-Sonoma (I amped up the chocolate flavor with a scoop of instant coffee) and frosted with the chocolate frosting mix from Trader Joe’s (very fudge-y).
Decorations: black sprinkles for a fuzzy back, mini gobstoppers for the eyes, and licorice laces cut into sixths for the legs (eight legs turned out to be too many)
Happy Halloween!

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I thought I had posted this recipe long ago – but I guess I haven’t. This sauce is a must for ice cream lovers and only takes five ingredients and five minutes to make from scratch. The story goes that each of the three children in my brother-in-law’s family learned to make a different sauce:  butterscotch, toffee fingers, and chocolate. Chocolate sauce is the handiest and I bet the most popular. Bella made it herself tonight – successfully!

The sauce is flexible and depending on the amount of ingredients and temperature cooked, the sauce is sometimes chewy, other times it hardens when it hits the ice cream.

Chocolate Sauce a la Joss

You need: cocoa powder, sugar, water, vanilla, and butter.

  1. Measure out one tablespoon of sugar per person. Measure out approximately one-third of that amount of cocoa, ex. 6 tbs sugar + 2 tbs cocoa.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed small saucepan, heat up the sugar and cocoa until the sugar melts.
  3. Add a couple tablespoons of water – just enough to make it sauce-y.
  4. Stir until heated through and the right consistency.
  5. Turn off the heat, and add a knob of butter and a few drops of vanilla.
  6. Pour over the ice cream and laugh at everybody’s chocolate-y smiles.

Chad’s parents are convinced that Chad and I are getting sick more frequently this winter because we lost too much weight at once. Chad’s lost about thirty pounds and I lost about fifteen pounds over a period of three months last summer and fall. It’s true that we’ve both been sick quite a bit this season (but hasn’t everybody?) so I’ll share an article that Chad’s mom passed on to us from Runners’ World (October 2006), called “The Best Grocery List of All Time” It’s about nutrition for runners.

The article points out that most shoppers toss the same 10-15 items in their cart every single week. I know it’s true for my household and probably true for most folks. (Come to think of it, I once made an old roommate laugh hard by spontaneously generating her entire grocery list just by what I saw replenished in fridge and cupboard every week.) Then the article lists fifteen foods that should be in the runner’s shopping cart, and includes their rationale and recipes. Here’s the list:

1. Almonds

2. Eggs

3. Sweet Potatoes

4. Whole-grain Cereal with Protein

5. Oranges

6. Canned Black Beans

7. Mixed Salad Greens

8. Whole-grain Pasta

9. Chicken (“Runners need about 50 to 75 percent more protein than nonrunners to promote recovery after workouts.”)

10. Frozen Mixed Berries

11. Dark Chocolate (!!!)

12. Salmon

13. Whole-grain Bread

14. Low-Fat Yogurt

15. Frozen Stir-Fry Vegetables

If I had money to invest, I might invest in dark chocolate or white tea. Apparently the X-treme sports mentality has infiltrated my life – the darker the chocolate the better, the whiter the tea the better – where will it end? Last night at the coop order (a group of ten women order a $2000 minimum order to get the same – or nearly the same – price as wholesale) there was much ado over the kinds of chocolate ordered. One case of the darkest chocolate Endangered Species makes went like hotcakes. That’s the one with a black panther on the wrapper; it has a 88% cacao content; and it’s called “Extreme Dark Chocolate.”

The second case of chocolate bars was also by Endangered Species: the “Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Toffee.” That one has a picture of a rhino on it – and it may be my favorite, but it’s too sweet for everyday. I’ll put those by my all-time standby bars: “Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans” (tiger). I need a minimum of two bars of Tiger stashed in my cheese drawer of the fridge at all times.

The third case was a brand we had never heard of: Chocolove. We’re giving it a shot because they were on sale. I’ll tell you how it goes.

And last chocolate reference; there is a new chocolate company out there called… darn, something like Mommy Nutrition and they were advertising a new chocolate bar called Baby Needs Chocolate (!!!)

Oops, no time for white tea; I’m 23 minutes over by thesis break.

(More info about Endangered Species chocolate at their website chocolatebar.com)

I feel like somebody is going to take me down if I don’t post this recipe tonight. Maybe it’s just that we’re only halfway through the school year and we all need chocolate. I’ve made three batches over the course of the last few weeks and they are going like GANGBUSTERS (however fast that is…) I think the secret is that I use Rapunzel 100% organic cocoa powder (made in Germany) instead of baking chocolate squares. Also, good to use farm fresh eggs and good flour.

The recipe is very basic and very simple – and can be found on the back of any box of Baker’s chocolate at the market. I put my variations in parentheses.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate (12 tbsp cocoa powder + 4 tbsp Earth Balance)

3/4 c butter (or Earth Balance)

2 c sugar (1 1/2 c or less)

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 c flour

1 c coarsely chopped nuts (love them, but haven’t used them lately)

1. Nuke the chocolate and butter until melted. Mix thoroughly.

2. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour and nuts. Stir until well-blended.

3. Spread in a well-greased 13×9 inch pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a wooden chopstick inserted in the middle comes out with fudge-y crumbs.

I have been experimenting with the cocoa powders. The next tin I’ll try is Dagoba (made in the States). The brand van Houten (Dutch) also works well.

Ridiculously easy. And no. Joe, I do not have a vacuum packer… (but check out metrodad’s latest post for your vacuum packing entertainment)

I feel like somebody is going to take me down if I don’t post this recipe tonight. Maybe it’s just that we’re only halfway through the school year and we all need chocolate. I’ve made three batches over the course of the last few weeks and they are going like GANGBUSTERS (however fast that is…) I think the secret is that I use Rapunzel 100% organic cocoa powder (made in Germany) instead of baking chocolate squares. Also, good to use farm fresh eggs and good flour.

The recipe is very basic and very simple – and can be found on the back of any box of Baker’s chocolate at the market. I put my variations in parentheses.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate (12 tbsp cocoa powder + 4 tbsp Earth Balance)

3/4 c butter (or Earth Balance)

2 c sugar (1 1/2 c or less)

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 c flour

1 c coarsely chopped nuts (love them, but haven’t used them lately)

1. Nuke the chocolate and butter until melted. Mix thoroughly.

2. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour and nuts. Stir until well-blended.

3. Spread in a well-greased 13×9 inch pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a wooden chopstick inserted in the middle comes out with fudge-y crumbs.

I have been experimenting with the cocoa powders. The next tin I’ll try is Dagoba (made in the States). The brand van Houten (Dutch) also works well.

Ridiculously easy. And no. Joe, I do not have a vacuum packer… (but check out metrodad’s latest post for your vacuum packing entertainment)