Chocolate... "The food of the gods." Just the word "chocolate" can bring a smile to someone's face. So why do we associate chocolate with Valentine's Day? Well for one thing, chocolate is considered an aphrodisiac. This comes in handy on days like Valentine's Day. We have the Aztec ruler Montezuma to thank for this... "Thanks dude!"
Christopher Columbus brought some chocolate back to Spain and the word of this luxurious yummy treat spread throughout Europe. We owe Chris a "thank you" as well. Thanks dude!
Fast forward a few years to the 1800's. Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine's Day in 1861. Talk about owing someone a "thank you?" Thanks Sir Dude!
Cut to today. Chocolate mania has taken over the world. I myself have raised two shameless chocoholics! Heck, there is an entire destination in Pennsylvania centered ALL about chocolate, with a theme park and hotel to boot! It's in a little town you may have heard of called Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Anyway, I recently taught a Chocolate class at a local community college that was ALL about fun. I think that is what cooking should be, fun. I promoted the use of, wait for it, chocolate melts. GASP! Yes, I know what you're thinking... BRILLIANT! A little trick is to mix, in a 2:1 ratio, milk chocolate melts to dark chocolate melts. When melting in the microwave, as with any chocolate product, microwave in 20 second intervals (to prevent scorching) and stir in-between. If you do scorch, don't panic, just start over, no biggie. You see, I believe getting into the kitchen and "doing" is what matters. How ever that has to happen. You are "in" your kitchen and creating! That is the first step to broadening your experience, confidence and knowledge.
In class we dipped brownies, created from a mix! Double GASP! Trust me, by the time your loved one eats the super chocolatey, chocolate-coated brownie, they will not know (or care) it is from a box... We made milk chocolate truffles using chocolate chips. Triple GASP!
I then demonstrated a chocolate torte using a 70 percent bittersweet high quality chocolate. This is where a little splurging on the type and brand of chocolate comes in handy. Purchase one with a high cocoa butter content.
The point is, we ALL had fun. Smiles and laughter all around. We proudly used some shortcut methods to make some first rate treats. We got into a kitchen a "did" something! Yay! My mission was accomplished!
So, go on! Be a dip!
Avid home cook and passionate instructor