I remember the day I found out chocolate was an antioxidant. It was overcast and cool; a brisk day in November. A simple breeze blowing through the remaining leaves on the trees in the park picked up and more color dropped to the ground. My senses were obviously heightened. As my mind perked to attention, I started to have visions of chocolate in every possible dish known to humankind.
Walking with a purpose, my pace increased and my arms started to pump a little harder. I was set on getting to my destination as quickly as possible.
One of my oldest and dearest friends was having a chocolate party. I wanted to be first in the door. I intended to fill my soul with every glorious cocoa offering she had prepared. This was a take no prisoner’s moment. If anyone attempted to block my path there would be carnage.
The invitation she sent was a tease. I have to give her credit for its simplicity. Date, time, location, A Chocolate Affair: Healthy, Happy, Delicious.
After taking two steps at a time to reach her third floor walk-up, I was greeted at the door with a cup of hot chocolate. It was dark, decadent, and perfect.
Moving inside I scanned the room zoning in on the buffet table. I was not disappointed. Savory and sweet, there were numerous delectable treats. What I learned is chocolate is an extremely complex and versatile ingredient. I thought you might like to know a few applications I found most enjoyable:
- Put cocoa nibs in a spice grinder and use it in place of pepper – this might be a blind faith moment…I hope you’ll go there.
- Add dark chocolate to chili – it adds depth and earthiness.
- Blend dark chocolate into almond butter – it’s sort of like a chocolate ganache.
- Chocolate Barbeque Sauce – this one is amazing. Recipe follows.
Chocolate Beer Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
This recipe comes courtesy of Eats Well With Others. It takes about 30 minutes to complete and yields 1½ cups of sauce. I put this on pork ribs.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 cup pumpkin ale
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 ounce 85% dark chocolate
Directions: In a pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Simmer until thickened, about 15-20 minutes.
Life is better with chocolate and knowing the health benefits, I’ll indulge a little more often.
P.S. Mint goes deliciously well with chocolate – and smelling mint clears my head. Try the Everyday Botanicals Yuzu and Mint shower gel.