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Hey you, Chocolate Lover! > II February 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Chocolate, Food Recipes.
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We tend to think of chocolate as a sweet candy created during modern times. But actually, chocolate dates back to the ancient people of Mesoamerica who drank chocolate as a bitter beverage. For these people chocolate wasn’t just a favorite food, it also played an important role in their religious and social lives. I have to admit chocolate is one of my favorite foods, but I do find the history of chocolate fascinating. Read on to see how chocolate is more than just a kiss, especially when added to a savory Mole!

MOLE SAUCE from OAXACA
As good as some of the pastes can be, many moles must be made from scratch, a very rewarding experience and is fun to do with a friend or two. Moles are better when prepared a day ahead and also freeze very well. Makes 3 cups.

Ingredients >
1 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed cumin seeds
2 to 3 dried Ancho or Pablano chilies
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 cup tomatoes oven roasted, then chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
4 tablespoons bitter sweet chocolate powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons dry chili flakes
1 tablespoon fresh coarse ground black pepper

Method >
In a cast iron skillet lightly toast the almonds and the seeds. Remove from pan and set aside. Lightly toast the chilies. Remove stems and seeds from the chilies and put into a bowl and cover with about a cup of hot water until softened. Put almonds and seeds in a blender or food processor and pulverize. When the chilies are soft, put them and their soaking liquid in the blender and crush. Then force through a sieve to remove any bits and pieces.
Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet and lightly sauté the onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add the chili, seed, nut puree, oregano and broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the mixture has reduced by about half. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then process in a blender or food processor. Add sauce to seared chicken, pork or it’s original turkey and cook slowly to allow flavors to be absorbed.

HOT CHOCOLATE BERRY CUPCAKES
This sweet was created in my restaurant my years ago as a hot dessert to satisfy chocaholics. Wherever your addiction level is, once served hot with cool ice cream it will satisfy the most ravenous of any addiction. Makes 8-10

Ingredients >
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated orange peel ¾ cup semi sweet chocolate, chopped

Method >
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and mix well.
Combine the milk vinegar in a separate bowl and allow to stand 5 minutes for the milk to sour. Add the oil, egg, and vanilla and mix well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Do not over beat.
In a small bowl combine the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, orange peel and chopped chocolate and mix until well blended.
Pour the batter evenly into four or six ounce buttered ceramic ramekins or cupcake tins. Divide the cream cheese mixture into 10 equal balls and drop one into the center of each batter. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove the ramekins, let stand for 2-3 minutes, and unmold if desired, or eat right out of the ramekin. Note: batter can be prepared ahead of a dinner party by pouring into ramekins and storing in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
OPTIONAL: Prior to baking, drop 3-4 raspberries with cream cheese inside each cupcake.

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