Tag Archives: chocolate

Champurrado

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Champurrado

Champurrado is a warm, thick Mexican drink made of chocolate and corn masa often served around the holidays. Though popular today, the drink has Mayan origins. It combines the major crops of maize and cacao, which were viewed as cosmic opposites. Maize, which needs full sun to grow and was the life source of Mesoamerica, represented life; cacao, which requires shade and was consumed only by the elite in their society, represented death. One was a basic necessity the other was synonymous with luxury and status. On a practical level, the caffeine in the cacao served as a stimulant and the maize provided calories and nutrition.

Think of this when you froth your champurrado or hot chocolate with a molinillo, a wooden whisk for the sole purpose of creating froth in hot chocolate (and my favorite kitchen gadget.) Click here for more fun facts on chocolate watch this fun video collaboration by Carin Krasner showing how to make it.

Happy Holidays!

1 ½ cups hot water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¼ cup masa flour, masa harina brand is a good and easy to find option
3 cups milk
2 tablets chocolate, chopped
ground cinnamon for garnish (optional)

Bring the water and spices to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove the spices.

Slowly whisk in the masa flour, whisking continuously until smooth and thickened.

Add the milk and chocolate to the mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir constantly, until thickened. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and serve with a delicious concha or the pan dulce.

Serves 4

Chocolate Pots de Creme

chocolate-pots-de-creme

Chocolate Pots de Creme

The “food of the gods,” chocolate is native to Mexico where it was consumed by priests and nobility as an unsweetened foamy drink. The Aztecs prepared a highly spiced beverage called xocoatl, with cocoa beans that were roasted, pounded in a mortar and flavored with chiles, vanilla, annatto, and sometimes honey and dried flowers. (Emperor Moctezuma is said to have consumed 50 cups of chocolate a day because he believed it made him more charming and attractive to women.)

Chocolate was introduced to Europe in the 16th century and for centuries it was consumed exclusively by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie as a hot drink. The Spanish and French courts that added sugar, milk and exotic flavorings to it. It was first used for baking in 18th century England. Chocolate in 19th century France was most closely associated with la cuisine bourgeoisie and with the bistros, where chocolate pots de crème would appear on practically every menu.

For the pudding:
2 ¼ cups whole milk
½ cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
5 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
crème Chantilly, for serving

For the crème Chantilly:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with ¼ cup of the sugar and the salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the cocoa powder and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar until blended. Add the remaining ¼ cup of milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the egg yolks. Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa pudding into the eggs until thoroughly incorporated, then scrape the pudding back into the saucepan. Cook the pudding over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until it just comes to boil, about 2 minutes.

Strain the pudding into a medium heatproof bowl. Add the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla and whisk until the chocolate and butter are melted and incorporated and the pudding is smooth, about 2 minutes.

Transfer the pudding to six 6-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with lightly whipped cream dusted with cocoa powder. (The chocolate pudding can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 4 days.)

Prepare the crème Chantilly. In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract together on high speed until soft peaks form in the mixture.

Serves 6

photo credit: Carin Krasner

Fudge Brownies

fudge brownies

Fudge Brownies

The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book is famous for its recipe for Hash Brownies. Eating them is said to cause “euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter, ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected.”

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9″x13″ baking pan. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.

Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl and microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir and if not fully melted, return to the microwave for a few minutes more. Set aside. It is better to do this in intervals to avoid scorching the chocolate!

Whisk together eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Fold in flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool, cut into pieces and serve with vanilla ice cream or devour straight from the pan.

Makes 24 brownies

This recipe is adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies.

Chocolate Avocado Cake

chocolate avocado cake

Chocolate Avocado Cake

The “food of the gods,” chocolate is native to Mexico where it was consumed by priests and nobility as an unsweetened foamy drink. The Aztecs prepared a highly spiced beverage called “xocoatl,” with cocoa beans that were roasted, pounded in a mortar and flavored with chiles, vanilla, annatto, and sometimes honey and dried flowers. Chocolate was introduced to Europe in the 16th century and for centuries was exclusively consumed as a drink by the aristocracy and bourgeoisie. It was first used for baking in 18th century England.

For the cake:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup almond flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup avocado oil, plus a little more for coating the cake pan
2 cups water
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large ripe avocado, cut lengthwise, pitted and mashed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar

For the ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Coat a 10-inch bundt pan with a little avocado oil. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.

Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a glass or stainless steel bowl over a double boiler. Stir gently until melted and combined. Remove from heat.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the all-purpose and almond flours, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder at low speed.

In a separate bowl whisk the mashed avocado, avocado oil, water, vinegar, vanilla extract and both sugars. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add the chocolate and beat until fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

While the cake is baking, prepare the chocolate ganache. Heat the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan until it starts to simmers. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

When the cake cools, invert onto a platter and pour the warm ganache over it. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Makes one 10-inch bundt cake