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For The Love Of Chocolate

With Valentine’s Day just four days from now, you can’t go anywhere without seeing the association between chocolate and love.

How did a mid-winter celebration of love from the Middle Ages become linked with a New World food ingredient? It happened over a period of centuries as Europeans familiarized with the South American drink so prized

CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM BROWNIES

If you don’t have time for making fancy stuff, here’s my own favourite brownie recipe that makes a batch in no time. This makes a very soft brownie. –Lorraine

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. soft margarine

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. chocolate chips or

walnuts

1/3 c. cocoa

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 c. light sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or spray an 8-inch square pan. Beat sugar and magarine until smooth, add in egg and vanilla to blend. Stir cocoa, chips or walnuts, flour and baking powder into mixture until just blended. Stir in sour cream and pour into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes or until edges start to brown and centre is still slightly soft. Cut into small squares. A wonderful dessert with fresh raspberries. by the Aztecs for, shall we say, its fortifying and mood-enhancing effects.

In recent times, scientists have studied the effects of chocolate and found links between consumption of dark chocolate and increases in the brain feel-good chemical serotonin.

Chocolate certainly is a food universally loved today, and a much sought-after ingredient for making something really nice on special occasions. Here’s a few recipes for making someone happy on February 14 or any other special day.

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON CAKE

This is a simple and delicious cake recipe found

inCountry Cooking, A Canadian Collection of Home Tested Recipescompiled and published by

Derksen Printers in Steinbach.

2-3/4 c. flour

1-3/4 c. sugar

6 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3/4 c. oil

1 egg beaten

2 tbsp. vinegar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. water

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix in oil, vinegar, vanilla and water until well blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Glaze:

3/4 c. icing sugar

1 tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Mix sugar, milk and cinnamon together and drizzle over warm cake.

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CHOCOLATE NANAIMO BAR PIE

For something extra special turn this sweet-tray favourite into a decadent dessert. This has a no-bake crust with a smooth and silky filling.

Recipe courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.

For base:

1-1/4 c. chocolate

cookie crumbs

1/2 c. shredded

sweetened coconut

1/4 c. finely

chopped walnuts

1/3 c. butter, melted

Filling:

1 c. 35%

whipping cream

1 c. milk

1/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. cornstarch

2 eggs

3/4 c. semisweet

chocolate chips

Topping:

1/2 c. semi-sweet

chocolate chips

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. 35%

whipping cream

In bowl, combine cookie crumbs, coconut and walnuts. Drizzle with butter; toss until evenly coated. Press into 9-inch pie plate; freeze while preparing filling, at least 15 minutes.

Filling:In saucepan, heat cream and milk over medium heat until steaming. In large bowl, whisk sugar with cornstarch; whisk in eggs until blended. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into egg mixture in thin, steady stream. Return to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 to 10 min. or until thickened almost to pudding consistency. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted. Pour into crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling; refrigerate until cold and set, 2 to 3 hours.

Topping:In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot, not boiling, water, melt chocolate chips, butter and cream. Stir until smooth. Carefully drizzle over chilled filling and evenly spread to edges. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or until set.

Prep. Time:20 minutes Cooking time: 10 -15 minutes Freezing time: 2 -3 hours Yields: 8 servings

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RECIPE SWAP

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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