Chocolate

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5 responses to “Chocolate

  1. stewartparker

    Hershey kisses are a gateway chocolate.

    I used to think chocolate was chocolate. When you’re a kid, chocolate is chocolate. That waxy, tasteless stuff you get in your Easter basket (usually in the shape of a big hollow bunny). That’s fine. The nameless, brandless, foil-wrapped mysteries you accumulate while trick-or-treating. They’re okay too. And Hershey kisses. Kids love Hershey kisses. Nothing better than a Hershey kiss to a kid. The bright shiny wrapping with the cute little flag sticking out, the portability, the endless string of innovative jokes about “Can I give you a ‘kiss’?” “No, can I give you a ‘kiss’?” Irresistible. But only the beginning.

    As I grow older, chocolate is no longer chocolate. Chocolate has magical powers over me now. I crave it. I think about it. I can’t get enough of it.

    And not just any chocolate. I can’t do Hershey kisses anymore. Don’t get me wrong, Hershey kisses will always hold a special place in my heart. They have been around since the beginning. I’ve eaten thousands over the years, and they will still do in a pinch, but they just don’t provide me with that rich, consuming euphoria I have come to expect. I need something harder.

    Of course, my tastes have refined, as tastes tend to do. I didn’t used to do pickles or mushrooms either. What kid does? But kids don’t even like dark chocolate. Too rich. Not sweet enough. Almost bitter. Just you wait, kids.

    It doesn’t help that I have lived in Europe since then (if you think you’ve had good chocolate over here, they sell stuff at the corner gas station that puts our gourmet specialty shops to shame). I have a steady job. I can drive. Motive plus opportunity equals access to some really good chocolate.

    I do try for some moderation: quality over quantity. But that can only get you so far. The only thing better than a little bit of really good chocolate is a lot of really good chocolate. Too much of a good thing? Yeah, I don’t think so.

    It’s actually starting to get me in trouble. My wife has found some of the receipts in my pockets. Wrappers under the seats in my car. And don’t leave any spare change around. Yeah, it’s gotten that bad. I need an intervention. Choca-holics anonymous. Something.

    But I blame Hershey and their enticing little kisses. That’s where it all started. If my tastes keep honing at this rate, it won’t be long before I’m sneaking off in the middle night to go crunch pure, deep-roasted cocoa beans somewhere.

    The first step is admitting you have a problem. Sure, it’s a problem, but it’s a delicious problem to have.

    • Surly Temple

      I have that problem. Obviously, based on my posting…my theory is that I will continue to eat the chocolate until I am too fat to get out the door to buy more. Or that was the plan, until I discovered places that ship hand crafted gourmet chocolate directly to your door.

      Oh, and I have cacao nibs at home. Which I do eat on their own.

  2. Karen P.

    My life is designed for simplicity;
    I don’t want a lot
    (depending on who you ask),
    but for me, that is my everything.

    We all have our everything:

    Love

    Water

    Chocolate

    Books

    Simple pleasures.

    “That’s all you need,” I tell myself.
    And sometimes I believe.

  3. Surly Temple

    A recipe I’m dying to try:

    Aztec Gold Brownies
    Ingredients:
    4 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet (62%) Scharffen Berger chocolate, grated (you can use a higher percentage chocolate–like 70% here, but it will make super-rich brownies. Just so you know.)
    1 stick salted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes
    1 ¼ cups sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tbsp. espresso powder
    1 ½ tsp. ground dried chipotle pepper
    ¾ cup all purpose flour
    2 tbsp. Dutch cocoa
    3 large eggs
    ½ tsp. double strength Penzey’s vanilla extract (or 1 tsp. Penzey’s Mexican Vanilla Extract)
    Edible gold leaf/foil

    Method:
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 8″ square glass baking pan with foil and spray with Baker’s Joy.
    In a glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave in 10 second increments. If chocolate is well-grated, this should take about 40 seconds-stir after thirty seconds.
    Place sugar, cinnamon, espresso powder and chipotle pepper in a mixing bowl and stir well. Put flour and cocoa in another bowl and mix well.
    Scrape chocolate into sugar mixture and beat on medium speed about 30 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl and beat another 20 seconds or so.
    Add eggs, beat to incorporate, scraping as needed. Add vanilla, and stir to incorporate.
    Add ½ of flour mixture, and stir on low speed until mostly mixed in. Scrape bowl and add rest of flour, mixing until incorporated. Scrape bowl. Beat on medium high speed for about 45 seconds, or until mixture lightens visibly. This is to incorporate air, which is the only leavening in the batter.
    Scrape into prepared pan and bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes.
    Allow to cool in pan for fifteen minutes. Lift out foil and lay on a wire rack and allow to cool -completely- before cutting. Otherwise, they will fall apart. They are very fudgy in the middle, with a bit of a crispish crust on top. Decorate with gold foil.

  4. Norway

    When I was seven, we got a chocolate lab named “Buster.” It was the classic tale. We begged, we pleaded, we promised we’d walk him every day, and feed him, and clean up after him. They’d never even know he was there.

    Of course all those promises were instantly forgotten the moment he got home. Our parents should have known better.

    Actually, the bulk of the burden fell on my mom. She was there all day, while we were off at school, or soccer practice, or playing outside. She and Buster. Fixtures. An unobtrusive part of the background in an active, happy childhood.

    She didn’t seem to love Buster, but she tolerated him. To her credit, I never heard her complain. Even when no one else seemed to notice the messes he made on the floor, the holes he dug in her tulips, or the chewed leg of the living-room sofa. She just silently cleaned up and moved on.

    We walked him sometimes, of course. And played fetch. He wasn’t a part of the family, like with some families, but he was a part of our lives. Part of our home. Part of our context. Familiar.

    Eventually we all left for school. Home on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seeing Mom and Buster was more comfortable than exciting, and within a couple of minutes we were usually off to see a movie with friends or catch the game while she made dinner.

    I remember the Christmas I came home and Buster wasn’t waiting at the door. Mom was there instead, wiping hands on her apron. She said she was sorry, she hadn’t wanted me to worry. Tears came, I didn’t know why, and she comforted me as she had for years. Those familiar arms, expert in their compassion, had soothed me since my first memories. And in that moment, I realized that Buster wasn’t the only one I had taken for granted.

    Now I have children of my own, and they are making those same pleading promises. I don’t want the dog. I know perfectly well whose responsibility he will be. But then, all parents know. They give in because they love us. They love us and they want us to be happy. They love us and they recognize that the right “yes” to a certain child’s question can change their whole world. Their whole life.

    And if some day my children can look back and realize that I love them in the same way that my mom loved me, then that is a small price to pay.

    I bet that somewhere she is smiling.

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