Chocolate: thou art heavenly (and lucky?)

November 15, 2010 in baking, chocolate, cooking, dessert, Food Porn

Visit my new page with a Ghirardelli chocolate wonderland and chance to win a $100 Visa gift card here -> LINK

I will also be sharing a recipe for chocolate chip cheesecake and for these delicious caramel chocolate covered apples you see below.

Ghirardelli Chocolate covered caramel apples

Make the jump!

Agave cubed: Partida Agave Nectar used three ways

May 20, 2007 in chocolate, diabetes, Food Porn, low glycemic index, product, review, Spirit World Blog, Well Fed Network

(This post will appear on [tag]The Spirit World[/tag] blog, a member of the [tag]Well Fed Network[/tag])

Hot Chocolate

I received a sample of the [tag]100% Organic Partida Agave Nectar[/tag] some time ago and it has been quite a journey as I developed [tag]recipe[/tag]s for this interesting [tag]product[/tag].

The [tag]Partida Tequila company[/tag] makes their [tag]tequila[/tag], as you might expect, from [tag]blue agave plants[/tag], a succulent that dwells in the arid lands around [tag]Jalisco, Mexico[/tag]. One can also make [tag]nectar[/tag] from these interesting plants and let me assure you, this nectar is quite a wonder. For one, it is sweeter than table sugar. It looks like a thin honey as it is less viscous. It tastes a bit like honey although it’s flavor is not a dominant thing. The most important thing, ok – to me, is that it is fantastically low on the g[tag]lycemic[/tag] scale.

Get this, pure [tag]agave[/tag] nectar has a GI of 11 while white sugar is 100. A 10th of the [tag]glycemic impact[/tag] of sugar!

Today I have two drink recipes and one food recipe to show you just a very few possibilities for working with [tag]agave nectar[/tag].

The first is one I tested just today. Its a nod to the south of the border origin of the nectar as it uses [tag]chocolate[/tag] and it’s consistency is something [tag]Montezuma[/tag] would love – thick and potent.

[tag]Blue Agave Nectar[/tag] [tag]Ghirardelli[/tag] Hot Chocolate



Combine agave nectar, cinnamon, chocolate powder and hot water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Mix until incorporated. Add [tag]Ghirardelli chocolate[/tag] squares and then the fat free 1/2 and 1/2, heat until its smooth. Froth with an immersion blender. Do not not add [tag]marshmallow[/tag]s if you want to keep the GI low.
I had my rather fussy toddler give it a try and she loved it, even though it was made with grown-up unsweetened chocolate. She liked it with and without the marshmallows.

The second recipe is one that you will see all over the web and I will repeat it here but, since I do not drink tequila, I have not taste tested it. Its not hard to imagine that it is delicious!

[tag]Partida Agave Margarita[/tag]

Mix it all up in a bucket (or your favorite container), and serve over ice or chilled in a margarita glass.

The third and final recipe is one I developed a couple of weeks ago and, as you likely remember, covered in more detail at this post here.


[tag]Irish[/tag] [tag]Steel Cut[/tag] Oatmeal sweetened with agave nectar and passion fruit gastrique



In a small pan over medium heat, combine the scooped out pulpy seeds of the 2 passion fruits, the sliced apricots, 1 tablespoon of the Agave Nectar, 1 teaspoon of the fig vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of water. Simmer this down until it thickens to your desire consistency. You may need to add some water to thin or simmer longer to get it thicker, up to you! I put the syrup through a strainer to get rid of most of the midnight black seeds (which have these very interesting little divots across their surface) as they didn’t seem very edible to me.

When I served this all up, I put some agave nectar in the [tag]oatmeal[/tag] and stirred it up. I put the oatmeal into the bacon round (secured with a bit of wooden skewer) and then drizzled it with the [tag]gastrique[/tag] and added a bit of apricot. The remainder of apricots were put into a passion fruit rind. Do NOT eat raw passion fruit rind (has cyanide compounds in it).

I hope that these three recipes opened your eyes to the possibilities of agave nectar.

I plan on doing more work with chocolate because when I was making the hot chocolate, I saw how perfectly agave nectar married/melded with the chocolate (I feared it might seize but it didn’t).

Low GI chocolate sauce, oh how thou callest my name.

Products of Interest:

Sites of Interest:

Just how stupid do they think you are? Chocolate needs your help, today!

April 24, 2007 in baking, chocolate, ingredient, issues, Meta Talk

Hmmmm, [tag]chocolate[/tag].

It’s likely something we all take for granted.

You might think that the [tag]definition[/tag] of chocolate is an inherent thing and you might think that when you go to the store and when you buy something that is called chocolate that it would, indeed, BE chocolate. For the most part, that is what it is now.

Seems there are some who find that unacceptable and there is some nefarious behind the-scenes-activity with the [tag]FDA[/tag] (THAT would never happen in this administration, right?).

In short, the FDA is considering changing the definition of chocolate to include those products that do not contain cocoa butter or even cocoa solids and that transfats and artificial sweeteners are mighty fine amendments to a Hershey bar.

Seems the big business organization behind this would be the Chocolate Manufacturers Association (instills a lot of confidence in their products doesn’t it). Who are some of the companies that are spear-heading this push for dumbing down chocolate and making it even LESS wholesome for our children?

“The [tag]Chocolate Manufacturers Association[/tag], whose members include [tag]Hershey[/tag], [tag]Nestle[/tag] SA and Archer Daniels Midland Co., has a petition before the U.S. [tag]Food and Drug Administration[/tag] to redefine what constitutes chocolate. They want to make it without the required ingredients of cocoa butter and cocoa solids, using instead artificial sweeteners, milk substitutes and vegetable fats such as hydrogenated and trans fats.” (Adam Satariano for Bloomberg Press)

Thats right, you read it, none other than Nestle and Hershey.

I have to tell you. Before I learned about their push to degrade chocolate, I had a lot of good will toward these companies. I would have been positively inclined toward the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. But now, they have done some permanent damage in this household as I now do not nor can I trust these companies to provide a wholesome product that I can give to my children.

I can promise you that I will be looking for other REAL chocolate products from companies that speak up against this silliness.

You can have your say today and tomorrow by visiting the FDA’s comment site. You can give them your 2 cents worth on whether you think its right to allow these large multinational corporations to label a non-chocolate product as chocolate.

To do that visit the FDA’s site at: FDA E-comments Website

Don’t be confused by the oddness of the page, hit the “submit button” and you will be able to make your contribution.

For more specific information on how to do the FDA filing visit the “DontMessWithOurChocolate” page.

Learn more at “Eating Liberally“, get angry, submit your comments to the FDA.

Other Bloggers HEART Chocolate, why you should too

Cybele May, of the Candy Blog, has been quite vocal about this rear-guard attack on the American Way Of Life – I mean – chocolate.


Read her LA Times opinion piece “Hands off my chocolate, FDA!” on it, where she says, in part:

“The FDA is entertaining a “citizen’s petition” to allow manufacturers to substitute vegetable fats and oils for cocoa butter. The “citizens” who created this petition represent groups that would benefit most from this degradation of the current standards. They are the Chocolate Manufacturers Assn., the Grocery Manufacturers Assn., the Snack Food Assn. and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (OK, I’m not sure what’s in it for them), along with seven other food producing associations.”

Other bloggers in the blogosphere who are trying to raise the ruckus on this issue include:

Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies

March 25, 2007 in baking, chocolate, cookbook, cookies, dessert, Food Porn, recipe

Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies

(Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies)

I am a super bad mom, I really am. Once the [tag]caffeine[/tag] hit the system this morning I jumped up and baked these [tag]cookie[/tag]s (the dough was in the fridge overnight). The bad part is that we essentially had these for breakfast. We are going to have a second course of [tag]egg[/tag]s and toast but the brutal honest truth is that we had [tag]chocolate[/tag] cookies for [tag]breakfast[/tag].

Man, they are good though, especially right out of the oven.

I adapted a recipe by N. Hoff from the AllRecipes.comTried and True Cookies” cookbook (page 80) .

It is very different from the original recipe, which didn’t have chocolate or powdered sugar or chocolate sauce. The reason I refer to mine as hedgie cookies is because the coconut makes them a bit prickly like hedgehogs and because I think hedgies are just the cutest little things.

Here is my adaptation.

Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies

(Before baking)

Nika’s [tag]Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies[/tag]


  • 1 1/4 C AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1/2 C packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 C white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons chocolate powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 C flaked sweetened coconut
  • powdered sugar, as desired


  • 4 Tablespoons chocolate powder
  • 1 drop vanilla
  • 1/2 cap of kahlua [tag]liqueur[/tag]
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • boiling water, enough to make a sauce as thick or thin as you want


Mix flour, baking soda, and salt, set aside.

Cream together butter, brown and white sugars. Make certain that it is very well mixed and that you get a light fluffy texture (you have incorporated air into the mix).

Add egg, vanilla, and chocolate powder and mix well. It will be getting thick now. Add the flour by 1/3rds. The mix will be very thick, like a dough towards the end. Don’t be shy, use your hands to knead it all together. Add the coconut flakes. You will likely need to use your hands to incorporate the coconut. Chill in the fridge (I did it over night).

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Make golf ball sized dough balls and put onto parchment.

Chocolate Coconut Hedgie Cookies

(Another shot before baking)

You can dredge in [tag]powdered sugar[/tag] or more [tag]coconut[/tag] before baking.

Bake for about 25 minutes (your oven may be different, watch the first batch).

Dust with powdered sugar and [tag]chocolate sauce[/tag]!

Kahlua Chocolate Sauce

Mix [tag]chocolate powder[/tag], [tag]sugar[/tag], [tag]vanilla[/tag], and [tag]Kahlua[/tag]. Add boiling water a few teaspoons at a time, slowly. Add enough boiling water to make it the consistency you like.


Here is a shot of Baby Oh who is 1) upset about not getting any cookies, 2) upset that mommy has pulled out the food photography stuff, and 3) upset that he is in that infernal bouncer.

Baby Oh

(Poor Baby O)