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Happy Healthy Fudgy Valentine’s Day 2014!

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It is getting commonplace nowadays to have your cake and eat it too, especially, if it is chocolate cake. “What are you talking about?” asked a crowd of Sisterhood Ladies to whom I gave a Tuesday Lunch & Learn talk to the other day. My subject was the “History of Chocolate and Jews”. I went on to explain how the chance meeting of the Aztecs, who figured out how to take ground up cocoa beans, vanilla bean and honey, with Jews, who resettled in Brazil after expulsion during the Spain Inquisition, shared the basic recipe of what we have come to know and love today, chocolate. We even have an entire day set aside devoted to the eating of it, Valentine’s Day.

Although my audience appreciated the involved historical discussion, I believe their attention was truly focused on the plate of delightful chocolate bars and chocolate covered pretzels adorned with colorful sprinkles that I asked them not to eat until the end when I would go through each variety specifically and in great detail. In fact one naughty table of women went so far as to send a representative up to me while I was describing some very dry historical detail about the Mayans or Aztecs and announce they were not going to wait as I had asked and began to eat the chocolates.

When I finally got to the slide that discussed the types of chocolate I asked everyone to take the chocolate bars apart for the tasting. Of course, the table that could not wait just watched. Here is the information I shared about types of chocolate:

1) The botanical name is Theobroma Cacao

2) Bonbons are filled with ganache and coated with a couverture (coating). Listen for the snap sound for freshness and quality.

3) Chocolate liquor=ground cacao bean

4) Ratio of Cocoa butter: cocoa paste = % on label

5) Higher % not = higher quality chocolate

6) Ex. 60% liquor and 40% sugar =Dark starts at 50% but could go up to 70% or 85%; 100% = Bittersweet; Milk adds dairy, is lighter in color with the liquor at 30%-40%

7) White chocolate is milk choc minus the cocoa liquor

I concluded my talk by baking up a recipe for Gluten-free fudgy chocolate bread made by the Hass Avocado Board, 2014 http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-recipes which is amazingly great! In this dessert the avocado replaces the butter/oil and the almond flour steps in for the white/wheat flour making it gluten-free. So a pleasantly surprised crowd of women enjoyed the warm, fudgy cake for the final taste. Try it for yourself!

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