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Choice Chocolate Morsels

By Dorothy Sibole

I cannot imagine life without chocolate -- from all the holidays that have delicious chocolate morsels to the everyday candy bar that calls my name when I am in line at the grocery store. My favorite chocolates always have caramel in them, just like my favorite ice cream is vanilla caramel fudge. And with a Snickers candy bar combining salty nuts, creamy caramel and chocolate, I am in heaven.



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Chocolate has been around for ages. It did not originate as the tasty treat we know now, but as a bitter additive to milk or coffee. It has come a long way from that beginning to the superlative creamy treat we have now. There are many different types of chocolate to choose from -- semi-sweet, bittersweet, unsweetened, milk and white chocolates. I do not use unsweetened chocolate unless the recipe has enough sugar in it. Otherwise, the dessert will be too bitter. For most chocolate desserts, I like a sweet and salty theme. Salty goes so well with the sweet of chocolate. Just dip a pretzel in chocolate, and you'll see what I mean.

Fruit also mixes well with chocolate. I can recall going to the ice cream shop after a doctor's appointment and getting a banana chocolate malted. I think my dad enjoyed the trips even more than I. We also used to make chocolate fondue, which is just tempered (melted) chocolate in which you dip cut up fruits and pound cake (which can hold up to the dipping process). We called it kitty fondue, and I am still not sure why.

My most favorite treat is chocolate truffles. They are creamy, luscious, and not at all hard to make. Chocolate truffles can be flavored with any liqueur or extract, covered with nuts or dipped in other flavors of chocolate. My absolute favorite truffle to make is a milk chocolate praline, using a praline liqueur to flavor the chocolate and rolling the truffle in a crushed pecan brittle. If you use white chocolate, it is like having a bite-size version of Pralines and Cream ice cream. Experiment with flavors and textures. You can create a bit of heaven.

Chocolate Truffles

  • ¾ pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or any liqueur
In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, slowly stirring until it is thick, glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the flavoring.

Pour into a small dish and refrigerate until set, but not hard, 1-½ to 2 hours. Use to fill candies, or form balls and roll them in toppings such as chopped nuts or a mixture of 1 part cocoa and 1 part confectioners sugar.

Sinful Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • 2-½ squares semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups of chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In the microwave or in a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light; then add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Mix in the melted chocolate until well blended. Stir in the sifted ingredients alternately with the sour cream. Then mix in the chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Everyone has heard of Mississippi Mud pie, and this next recipe is my twist on it. It is a deep and rich pie, sure to please any chocolate lover.

Texas Mud Pie

Pastry Dough
  • 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then add the butter, and mix until the mixture resembles oatmeal (small seed-size pieces). Blend the egg yolk with the water and add to the mixture. Mix until the dough sticks together in small clumps.

Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill for 30 minutes. After chilling, roll out the pastry and line a pie or tart pan. Put the pan in the refrigerator to chill while making the filling.

Filling

  • 10 tablespoons butter
  • 1 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder or crystals
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Then add the chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee, stirring until the chocolate has melted.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy and blended. Then add the sour cream, corn syrup and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture.

Pour into the pastry shell and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling has puffed up and formed a crust. When done, remove from oven and put on a rack to cool. The filling will sink and may crack a little as it cools down.

This is most excellent with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.


Dorothy Sibole is a pastry chef living in Austin, TX. If you have questions about this article or the recipes, feel free to contact us at moc.gnikoocsaxet@nibrof_solkim.
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