Monday, September 29, 2008

A Lesson in Chocolate History - COOL!

Aztec Chocolate Hieroglyphics

Discovered Aztec Hieroglyphics from the 15th Century are in the Chocolate Museum in Cologne, Germany. These relics depict the importance of the cocoa plant to the Native Americans who settled in Mexico around the 1300’s until the Spanish came in the 1500’s. Notice in the picture how the cocoa plant is drawn into the symbols of the painting. The cocoa plant is located center right. Just incase you didnt know, cocoa pods grown from the trunk of the "tree".

Chocolate as Medicine:

According to the article From Aphrodisiac to Health Food: A Cultural History of Chocolate, by Louis E. Grivetti:

From the 16th through early 19th century, numerous European travel accounts and medical texts documented the presumed merits and medicinal value of chocolate. . . Presented here is a brief “taste” of these rich chocolate-related passages from selected historical monographs. On inspection, these samples reveal that chocolate products were used to treat a myriad of human disorders:

Francisco Hernández (1577) wrote that pure cacao paste prepared as a beverage treated fever and liver disease. He also mentioned that toasted, ground cacao beans mixed with resin were effective against dysentery and that chocolate beverages were commonly prescribed to thin patients in order for them to gain “flesh.”

Agustin Farfan (1592) recorded that chili peppers, rhubarb, and vanilla were used by the Mexica as purgatives and that chocolate beverages served hot doubled as powerful laxatives.José de Acosta (1604) wrote that chili was sometimes added to chocolate beverages and that eating chocolate paste was good for stomach disorders.

Santiago de Valverde Turices (1624) concluded that chocolate drunk in great quantities was beneficial for treatment of chest ailments, but if drunk in small quantities was a satisfactory medicine for stomach disorders.

Colmenero de Ledesma (1631) reported that cacao preserved consumers’ health, made them corpulent, improved their complexions, and made their dispositions more agreeable. He wrote that drinking chocolate incited love-making, led to conception in women, and facilitated delivery. He also claimed that chocolate aided digestion and cured tuberculosis.

Henry Stubbe (1662) wrote that consumers should drink chocolate beverages once or twice each day to relieve tiredness caused by strenuous business activities. He reported that ingesting cacao oil was an effective treatment for the Fire of St. Anthony (i.e., ergot poisoning). Stubbe also described chocolate-based concoctions mixed with Jamaica pepper used to treat menstrual disorders, and other chocolate preparations blended with vanilla to strengthen the heart and to promote digestion.

The Aztec word for Chocolate:
I wrote to you about one of my new-found books, “The True History of Chocolate” by Sophie and Michael Coe in a previous post. In this book, Michael Coe, Professor of Anthropology at Yale, states that the word “chocolate” or chocolatl, has no real evidence of coming from the Aztec Language – Nahuatl. But, in citing Mexican philologist ( a person with an interest in the study of ancient text) he proposes that the “Spaniards had coined the word by taking the Maya word chocol and then replacing the Maya term for water, haa, with the Aztec word for water, atl. Coming to the combine word representing what we know today as CHOCOLATEchocolatl.

I will leave you with this drink recipe. It is as close a facsimile to the original chocolatl as I could find and you could still enjoy.

Photo from Phoenix Magazine

Mayan Hot Chocolate

Have you seen the movie, Chocolat? This is like the hot chocolate that was served in the movie.

2 cups boiling water
1 chile pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
5 cups light cream or whole or nonfat milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate or
3 tablets Mexican chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons sugar or honey, or to taste
l tablespoon almonds or hazelnuts, ground extra fine
Whipped cream

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add chile pepper to boiling water. Cook until liquid is reduced to 1 cup. Remove chile pepper; strain water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream or milk, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick until bubbles appear around the edge. Reduce heat to low; add chocolate and sugar or honey; whisk occasionally until chocolate is melted and sugar dissolves. Turn off heat; remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Add chile-infused water, a little at a time, tasting to make sure the flavor isn't too strong. If chocolate is too thick, thin with a little more milk.

Chocolate Quote:
"Giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of deep, dark secrets." Milton Zelman, publisher of "Chocolate News"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brownie Sundae

Remember this picture? I posted it a couple of days ago. Having gained 2 pounds over the last week, I figured I should stay away from my chocolate for a while. 2 days should be long enough, right? I was dying to get into this Ghirardelli Intense chocolate bar. It’s called Twilight. I knew without a doubt that it was fate that I found it right after buying my first Stephenie Meyer book, Twilight. I’m sure most of you have heard of her vampire series. And as for moi (me), I'm ahuge vampire fan. I was really bummed when Anne Rice decided to stop her Vampire Chronicles. But hey, October is right around the corner and it’s my time of year. I needed to get back into my element.

Back to the chocolate. My daughter had purchased a box of those new M & M’s for me, The M & M Premiums. Triple Chocolate: layers of milk, white and dark chocolate all rolled up into one. Should I combine these two or keep them separate? Keep them separate I think. I already know what I want to do with the M & M’s. So, what to do with the Ghirardelli’s? This is going to be a simple dinner night for Bob and me. Lily’s got the night shift at Andre’s Pizzeria where she works and it’s too muggy to be standing by the stove for too long. Simple steak sandwiches and home-style hash browns will do the trick. I’ll just make Bob a nice dessert to go with it. My Mexican Chocolate Brownies topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with a ganache made with the Twilight chocolate. Perfect. Maybe he’ll even clean the kitchen for me …NOT.

Enjoy the brownies and look for the new and interesting in chocolate. It’s coming up to that time of the year where you want to fill those stockings with cool and crazy chocolate bits to satisfy everyone’s chocolate dreams.

Mexican Chocolate Brownies

½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ round disc Mexican chocolate, pulverized
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
4 large eggs1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

For brownies: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°. Generously butter 8X8X2 inch metal baking pan; dust with flour. Mix first three ingredients in small bowl. Stir chocolates and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Turn off heat. Let chocolate stand over water.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until mixture thickens and falls in soft ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture in 2 additions, blending well after each. Gradually add warm chocolate to egg mixture, beating until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake brownies until top is set and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.

I used a round cutter for the brownies. They look fancier that way. Top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with some ganache made with the Twilight chocolate bar.

Ganache: chopped chocolate bar, ¼ cup hot cream. Stir until melted and drizzle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I've Been Spotlighted!!

Gloria from Cookbook Cuisine shone the spotlight on this little baby blog! Thank you, Gloria. Can't tell you how much this means to me.

Every Monday Gloria will feature a delicious foodie blog and put up the link so you can take a culinary tour through some of the best foodie blogs on the web. If you would like to be a "featured foodie", visit Gloria's blog.

Before you know it the whole world will be seeing our blogs and the great food, photos, stories and recipes we have to share. It's the only way to do it folks. We need to promote each other.

Here's a hint to what's coming next on Mexican Chocolate Lore and More.

Halloween's coming. Beware! It's my favorite holiday.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Somebody Loves My Chocolate Blog!

I can't believe my chocolate blog actually got an award! I got the "I Love You This Much" award from Gloria at CookBook Cuisine. This blog is like my baby. I spend endless hours trying to figure out how to help it grow and hope that she'll grow out of her "ugly duckling" stage into a beautiful creation.

Thank you Gloria. You really are a great friend.

So now. instead of forwarding this award to someone else, I've got an award of my own to give out. I'm awarding all the super foodies that have stopped by my chocolate blog and have been sweet enough to leave this baby a few kind words. I thank you and my blog thanks you.

Gloria Chadwick
JennDZ - The Leftover Queen
Happy cook

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cuernitos - Little Horns

Cuernitos (Little Horns)

1 (8 ounce) can of ready to bake crescent rolls
1 (5.3 ounce) bar of LINDT, cherry chili flavor, 70% cacao, chopped

Unroll the crescent rolls and lay out flat. Preparing one at a time, place 1 teaspoon of chopped chocolate on the wider end of the crescent roll. Top with 1 mini marshmallow. Carefully roll the dough, slightly pinching the ends so that when the rolls bake, the melted chocolate doesn’t ooze out.

Bake rolls for 12 minutes in a 375-degree oven that has been preheated.

Carefully remove the crescent rolls, the Cuernitos, and lay on a cooling rack to completely cool off. If desired, make a simple white sugar glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk and drizzle over the cooled rolls. You can also melt any remaining chocolate and drizzle that over the rolls as well.

This is such a simple recipe that anyone can do it. Doesn’t take much, but it turns out a nice little dessert to have with coffee after dinner. I won't take complete credit for this creation. I admit I saw this in a magazine a long time ago while waiting at the dentist office. Can't remember the name of the magazine, but the picture stayed in my mind. So with a little tweaking, I recreated that picture and came up with this simple dessert just for you.

And that is what I did with my chocolate bar. Actually, I just found another bar, a Ghirardelli, but I’ll leave you guessing as to what I'll do with that one until the next post. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Are You In the Mood for Some Chocolate?

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate para ti.
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate para mi!

I found this chocolate at the World Market last Sunday and couldn't wait to get home just to smell it. Bob kept giving me the eye in warning not to rip open the package before we got out of the store.

LINDT Chocolate
in Cherry and Chili Flavor. How cool is that?

My mind was going 100 miles an hour concocting all the various recipes I could use this piece of heaven in. Would I make an Aztec type cocoa drink? How about using it as a ganache? So many ways to use it, so little time.

Then, before walkng out of the store, I found the other LINDT. This one just chocolate and red chili peppers. OMG. By this time I'm going nuts. OK. I was determined to get home and develop my game plan. But stuff happens and here we are, just showing you pictures of this luscious and decadent chocolate.

So, now I've got two delicious bits of chocolate and I've got an idea how I'm going to use them. BUT, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for those pictures. Instead, I'll leave you with a wonderful recipe for Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream I found from another blogger, Amy Wisniewski.
Go to Chow to see a wonderful blog about all things food and beverage related.

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes: 8 servings (6 cups)
By Amy Wisniewski

This ice cream refuses to be classified—it tastes at once like rich gelato and icy sorbet. Milk chocolate flavors eggy custard for a doubly rich ice cream that then gets spiked with canela and coffee-flavored tequila liqueur.
What to buy: Canela can be found in gourmet groceries, at Latin markets, or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute regular cinnamon.
Patrón XO Café is a coffee-flavored tequila liqueur from the makers of Patrón tequila. If you can’t find it, go ahead and substitute another coffee-flavored liqueur like Kahlúa.
Game plan: The ice cream base (unfrozen ice cream) can be made up to 2 days in advance, though it needs 3 to 4 hours to harden in the freezer after it’s been processed (unless, of course, you want soft-serve). Ice cream will keep in the freezer for 1 week.

· 2 cups whole milk
· 1 cup heavy cream
· 1/3 cup granulated sugar
· 1 (4-inch) canela stick
· 6 large egg yolks
· 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 1 heaping cup)
· 1/3 cup Patrón XO Café (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)
1. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a bowl halfway with ice and water; set aside.
2. Combine milk, cream, half of the sugar, and canela in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow. Once milk mixture is hot, slowly pour half of milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until it is as viscous as melted ice cream and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. (When you draw your finger across the spoon, it should make a mark through the custard.)
4. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and whisk until chocolate is melted and custard is smooth. Whisk in coffee liqueur. Strain into a large heatproof bowl and place ice cream base over ice water bath to chill, about 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Once ice cream base is cold, cover and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake, or 3 Milk Cake, is a popular dessert offered in Mexico. With the growing population of Hispanics in North America, this delicious cake is now offered in ever growing numbers of restaurants across the United States as well.

Where it originated is unclear. Some say Nicaragua, some say Mexico. There are even reports that makers of evaporated milk developed this cake recipe to encourage consumers to purchase its product.

As food historians have noted, the 3 Milk Cake has similar characteristics to Tiramisu, Rum cake, fruitcake or even bread pudding, some of which originated in Europe. The main similarity is that the cake or bread is soaked in a tasty liquid prior to being served. So in their opinion, it is quite possible that the idea to create a “soaked” milk cake was fashioned after one of these delicious recipes.

The three types of milk that are poured over the warm cake are: evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk or cream. Some pastry chefs have experimented with this recipe and have introduced additional soaking mediums. Some of these, similar to tiramisu, are a simple syrup infused with some type of liqueur, coffee, brandy, or rum. The cake is frosted with whipped cream flavored with vanilla, or any type of liqueur that you like.

But for the purpose of remaining authentic, the Tres Leches Cake is simply made with three types of milk.

Of course no one said I couldn’t make it in chocolate, did they? So, here is my version of a Chocolate Tres Leches Cake, just for you. Enjoy.

{If you want the non-chocolate ((gasp!)) version of the Tres Leches Cake, go to my Mexican-American Border Cooking blog for the recipe. I know you will enjoy that one too.


6 eggs, separated
2 cups light brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa
3 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cups milk
2-teaspoons vanilla

Tres Leches Sauce:

1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 ½ disks Mexican Chocolate, melted (these can be melted in microwave oven for about 1 ½ minutes or over a double boiler)

Combine sauce ingredients and blend well.

Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly grease and dust with cocoa powder, 2 (9 inch) cake pans.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vanilla.
Beat 6 egg whites until stiff. Reduce speed and gradually add brown sugar to beaten egg whites. After sugar dissolves, add yolks. Beat for 3 minutes.
On medium low speed, alternate flour and milk mixture to eggs until blended. Pour equally into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
While still warm, poke holes into cake layers with a wooden skewer. Pour sauce over both layers and allow to cool in refrigerator.


¾ cups whipping cream
1 1/3 cups chopped Mexican Chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat cream in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Place chopped chocolate in medium size bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir with wooden spoon until melted. Add vanilla. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate in refrigerator for 1 hour. Also place beaters in refrigerator to chill. Remove from fridge and whip on high for 2 to 3 minutes until it reaches spreading consistency.
Carefully remove first cake layer from pan and place on cake plate or board. Spread ½ cup ganache on top. Place second layer over the first and completely frost cake with remaining ganache. Garnish if you like with edible flowers or chocolate covered strawberries or, as in my case, Amaretto Cherries. These are cherries that have soaked in Amaretto in the fridge for a couple of hours, drained and allow to dry naturally. Use your imagination to decorate this cake in any way you and your family would like. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Friday, September 5, 2008

Football Mexican Chocolate Butter Cookies

Here’s a recipe you’ll be making the whole season. These cookies are so delicious they literally disappear right before your eyes. The butter cookie recipe is one of my mother's. I have modified it to include some Mexican chocolate and boy are they good.

This recipe is so adaptable you can make it for any occasion and decorate it accordingly. Great tasting, easy to make, and unique. What more could you ask for? Enjoy the game. Oh, and if you missed the main part of my Game Day menu, go to my
Mexican-American Border Cooking blog to get the details and recipes. Go team! Yay!!!!!

Mexican Chocolate Butter Cookies
(makes 24 cookies)

1 cup of butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup Mexican chocolate ground to a powder
Royal Frosting for decorating*

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until blended. Sift flour, cocoa and Mexican chocolate into a large bowl. Combine with the butter mixture until dough holds together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill dough for 30 minutes. Portion out chilled dough and roll until it is ¼ inch thick. Dip football shaped cookie cutter in powdered sugar and start cutting out football shapes. As you cutout the cookie from the dough, place on cookie sheet. When cookie sheet is full, place in freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the cookie hold its’ shape when baking.

After you have chilled the cutout cookies, bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack to 10 minutes. Once cookies are cool enough to handle and they feel firm to the touch place on cooling rack and decorate with royal icing. You can see by the picture how I decorated mine.

Royal Frosting
(makes about 2 1/2 cups)

1 pound powdered sugar
5 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 cup water

Whisk on low speed until incorporated and then on medium speed for 7 to 8 minutes until fluffy and thick. Use a pastry bag fitted with a small round writing tip to decorate your cookies.

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