Moment OfPure Indulgence
The Simple Pleasures Of Chocolate
Believe it or not, chocolate has a power over you. For whatever reason one ingredient, the mighty cocoa bean, has the ability to change your mood, to manipulate you, to please you, and even heal you. You have a choice; you can use this power for good or evil. You can use chocolate as a bribing device, a means of frivolity, and as a reward. But what is it about chocolate that causes
its indulgers to obey? To fall in love? To surrender to its sweet goodness? This book is a result of my delicious mission to capture these answers through the act of pure discovery. In order to do so I immersed myself in everything chocolate, well not literally of course, although that does sound quite lavish. I began unraveling emotionally fascinating conversa-
tions with good friends, acquaintances and most intriguingly, people I had no affiliation with...strangers (rewarding them all with chocolate of course).
underlying superpower is that it has a future that is utterly endless. Chocolate’s possibilities lie in its’ ability to carry memories for miles of time.
After immense research the answer was crystal clear. Chocolate is one of life’s simple pleasures. It can be altered in physical form but in theory it is all the same. It is an ingredient with power and control. Chocolate’s
May chocolate forever be a reminder to you that life is short. I encourage you to indulge in life’s simple pleasures. So go ahead, have a piece of chocolate. ......
A cocoa pod has a rough leathery rind about 3 cm thick (this varies with the origin and variety of pod). It is filled with sweet, mucilaginous pulp called (â€˜baba de cacaoâ€™ in South America) enclosing 30 to 50 large seeds that are fairly soft and white to a pale lavender color.
Cocoa bean (also known as cacao bean) is the dried and fully fermented fatty seed of Theobroma cacao, from which cocoa solids and cocoa butter are extracted. They are the basis of chocolate.
ANATOMY OF A COCOA BEAN
Unprocessed Cocoa Bean
Shelled Cocoa Bean
Skinned Cocoa Bean
About 400 dried beans are required to make one pound (880 kilograms) of chocolate.
PROCESS OF RAW COCOA BEANS:
Theobroma Cocoa Tree
Cocoa Pod (Cocoa Nibs)
Ground Cocoa Nibs
Press Cake Cocoa Butter Cocoa Oil
Dress Your Chocolate ................
A little too much chocolate is just about right. Too much of a good thing is simply wonderful! Once you consume chocolate, chocolate will consume you. Any sane person loves chocolate. Chocolate makes everyone smile-even bankers. Anything tastes better dipped in chocolate. Chocolate doesn’t make the world go ‘round, but it sure does make the trip worthwhile! The best things in life are chocolate. Money talks. Chocolate sings! Chocolate is nature’s way of making up for Mondays. Coffee makes it possible to get out of bed, but chocolate makes it worthwhile. If chocolate is the answer, the question is irrelevant. Dip it in chocolate; it’ll be fine.
If you’ve got melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly. If you can’t eat all your chocolate, it will keep in the freezer. But if you can’t eat all your chocolate, what’s wrong with you? A chocolate in the mouth is worth two on the plate. Anything is good and useful if it’s made of chocolate. What is the meaning of life? All evidence to date suggests it’s chocolate. Put “eat chocolate” at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you’ll get one thing done. Nuts just take up space where chocolate ought to be. Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. There’s nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. After a bar of chocolate one can forgive anybody, even one’s relatives.
“Let’s take a walk down memory lane............
A MOMENT OF PURE BLISS
I’m taking this Fall 2011 semester off from college right now, living at home, taking 9 credits at Villanova, and working 30 hours a week to save money for school. My parents REALLY want me to stay home and go to Nova for communications, where I would get tuition remission because my dad is a professor, but I REALLY want to be a designer. I know I won’t be able to live with myself or be happy if I don’t follow my dreams and become
a designer. So I’ve been really stressed out this semester from numerous conversations about my schooling, and one time when I was particularly stressed out at work (Seasons 52, the restaurant where I hostess), and wasn’t having too great of a day and basically feeling bad about myself, my coworker goes, ‘Ooh! Mrs. Sabatino brought in chocolate for us!’ So I grabbed a piece of Dove chocolate from the hostess stand cabinet, which have sayings inside every wrapper, and it read, ‘You make everything lovely.’ I almost cried it was so beautiful and I
LIP SMACKIN’ GOOD
When my sister was super little (like 3 years old) she used to raid my mom’s closet for clothes and steal her makeup. She never quite got the concept of lipstick BUT she did really like smearing chocolate all over her lips. She’d wait until it dried, crack it back off and eat it. That’s one way to go about it I guess.
My friends and I went to Hershey Pennsylvania a few years ago, got tons of kisses, and tried to melt them in the hotel room’s microwave. Don’t ask why… Anyway the microwave shorted out and chocolate went everywhere! We still ate it and it was delicious. Even though it took an hour to clean up. Hooray chocolate!
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
One Halloween when I was about 11-years-old, my best friend and I went trick or treating and we spotted a bowl outside of someone’s house filled with Kit-Kats (our favorite chocolate) and a sign that said “Please Take One” of course we planned to take more. Well we both raced each other up the huge flight of stairs and I tripped and scraped my knee really bad on the stairs! I had to stop trick or treating for the night, it was pretty bad and I still have a huge scar on my knee because of it!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!
So....chocolate. My story is a prank I pulled on my mom. It’s the norm for my family to make each other’s birthday cakes. So it came time to make my mom’s cake. I had the cake made and stacked and ready to frost with icing. I bought legitimate chocolate icing and then I bought white chocolate icing that I had dyed red to make flowers. It became a blood red color. I decided to screw with my mom. I put some of the
blood red icing on my hands and ran to my mom while she was sitting in the other room on the phone. Needless to say it sure looked like I somehow sliced my hand open. My mom panicked, threw the phone down on the ground and like sped towards me and was ready to take me to the hospital. I proceeded to lick my hands and laugh. She wanted to kill me.
“Gather around, it’s story time............
The Wrinkles Of Life By Amelia Hanna
I AM 3 YEARS OLD. I am three years old. My mother and I are in the grocery store. I’m sitting in the cart, wiggling around in the seat, begging to get out and explore. My eyes grow wide under my long, dark lashes. They wander around the aisles and plead to touch the items on the shelves. My arms are too short to grab, but I keep trying anyway, just like any other small child. I won’t give up. I’m young, but I know how to get exactly what I want. “If you’re good, Mommy will buy you some chocolate,” she says. I nod my head in understanding, but I know that I’ll get my chocolate no matter what. I pull the loudest, most irritating temper tantrums known to mankind. My mother has experienced my temper tantrums firsthand, but tries to keep the chocolate from me anyway. It’s around two in the afternoon, and naptime is
approaching. She wants to put me down early because she’s spent. She knows that the chocolate will only make me rowdy and boisterous. When we arrive at the checkout lane, there isn’t any candy in my chubby hands. My mother has successfully avoided the candy aisle and I have not noticed. She distracts me by digging a plastic bag of Cheerios out of her purse. She asks, “Are you hungry?” with a grin, as if I wasn’t going to snatch the bag out of her hands and devour it, crumb by crumb. Cheerios are the only food I truly love, besides the sugary goodness of chocolate, cake, and ice cream, of course. As my mother puts the items onto the conveyor belt, I eat the last Cheerio. I sit satisfied for a moment, enjoying my full tummy. After looking around, I realize where we are. This is the part of the
shopping trip when we leave! She has tricked me! I feel so… so…betrayed! I can’t believe this is happening to me! Not me, her precious daughter! How could she do this? I start to whimper, and my mother stops taking items out of the cart with a terrified look on her face. She knew exactly what was happening. “Amelia baby, calm down sweetie, you’re okay!” That’s the problem, I was clearly not okay. Not without my chocolate, anyway. My temper tantrum has officially begun. The tears start flowing and my breathing becomes shallow. She realizes that I’ve found out about her conniving plan to keep the candy away from me. I let out a few shrieks and my mother hurriedly pushes her coupons towards the clerk and rushes to my side to try to calm me down. “Shhhhhhhh, quiet down angel! We have candy at home!” This excuse is not good enough for me. Oh, no. I need
that chocolate now, at this very moment. Now. N-O-W. I continue to scream and start to pound my fists on the metal bars of the cart. Shoppers are flocking to the scene to witness the show that I’m putting on. Some walk by irritated by my shrill cries, and others try to sympathize with my poor mother, who has already had enough trouble for the day. I hear her angrily utter, “Amelia, you had better stop that crying right now,” but I can’t comprehend. I’m too upset to listen. I am only three, after all. As I begin to hyperventilate, a square of a Hershey’s chocolate bar is shoved into my open, crying mouth. Unexpectedly, I feel the cocoa melt onto my lips and invade my tongue. I realize that my outburst has been successful, and I sit back in complete bliss. My mother sighs with relief, sheepishly smiles at the clerk,
me and tugs on Ana’s arm. Ana notices that the plan has worked and hurriedly explains, “Oh, I’m feeling much better now!” just before we all run out of the room.
she’s not nimble like us. “Get back here, you damn kids!” she screams, but we’re out of earshot. We’re already in the kitchen, ready to escape to the basement, but my father stops us dead in our tracks.
The chocolate selection is good this year. There are little chocolate Santas, individually wrapped in colorful foil, red and green Hershey’s kisses, and the classic peanut M&M’s. We all sit in a circle on the floor, evenly rationing the chocolate. We begin to unwrap and devour it all, bite by bite, completely ruining our dinner. Out of the blue, Sitti opens the door to our room. Is this really happening? Have I, the mastermind, truly been caught?
He knows about my chocolate obsession. Daddy and I have a secret stash of M&M’s in the workbench. He’s a chocoholic too. He understands that we don’t just want chocolate; we need it. Before we get in the car to drive to Cleveland a few days earlier, he pulls me aside and says, “Don’t go overboard on the chocolate this year, okay?” I nod my head in understanding, just like I always do. He knows that this nod means next to nothing, and gives me a stern look. I pinky swear I’ll only eat one piece a day. Now, he’s staring at me with the stern look again. I broke the pinky swear…
With our mouths full of delicious cocoa, we look at each other, caught off guard. As if we read each other’s minds, we all stand up and scatter. Sitti tries to run after us as we pound down the stairs, but
We all stand there, trying to look innocent in front of the whole family.
My father looks at Alexi, the youngest. He thinks that as the baby, she’ll admit her crime, but I’ve trained her well. He kneels down and gets close to her chubby cheeks, full of Santa Clauses. “Alexi, what do you have in your mouth?” he asks with a smirk. She pauses and ponders about what to say. She innocently looks up into his eyes, her mouth still full of chocolate, and squeaks out one word. “Broccoli!” My father howls with laughter and the other grown-ups scowl as we scurry down the stairs, relieved to escape. So what if we got caught? Our bellies are full of the yummy substance and we couldn’t have been happier about it. I sleep well that night. I dream about Santa, reindeer, and snowflakes and how much chocolate would be pouring out of my stocking the next morning.
I AM 10 YEARS OLD. About a year later, I’m lying in a CT Scan machine, waiting for the funny noises to stop. I lay still with my eyes closed, just like the nurse told me to. I peek my eyes open now and then to see my mom in the reflective mirror. She’s standing next to me, rubbing my legs to keep me calm and still. I’m absolutely starving; they told me I had to stop eating after dinner last night so they could see my brain really good. Mom said she would get me something from the vending machine after this scary test, because I’m being such a big girl today. I’m trying to choose between Reese’s Cups or a Snickers bar. I doze off thinking about what I’ll devour when I get out of here. When I wake up, a bunch of nurses are standing over the machine, holding up pictures, looking at each other with fear, and staring at me.
“Don’t you worry, the doctor will be here shortly,” one nurse assures my mom as she rushes to the next room. My mother is holding my hand as tears streaming down her face. I have no idea what has happened. After the nurses let me put my clothes back on, we sit in the doctor’s office, waiting for him to come in and explain what is going on. My mother sits quietly next to me, trying to put on a strong façade to hide her fear. I simply swing my feet and enjoy the chocolate bar that Mom has given me after my scan. The doctor comes in, shakes my sweaty hand, and sits at his desk. The next sentence to come out of his mouth would change my life forever. “Amelia, you have a brain aneurysm.”
I AM 12 YEARS OLD. I’m twelve years old. I sit in my psychiatrist’s office, waiting again. My eyes are red and puffy from crying. I’m pissed about what happened yesterday, and I’m not sure how to get out of this situation. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I hardly remember what happened. All I can do it sit and wait. My parents and I walk into Cindy’s office. I grab a Hershey’s kiss from the bowl on her desk, just like I always do. She smiles at me as I sneak a few into my pocket. I’ve been going to see her for a while. Cindy’s trying to help me get my life back in order after my brain surgeries. Life is really hard for me lately; sometimes I think I simply wasn’t meant to live here. My life is too miserable and difficult to be considered “good” for society. That’s how I see it, anyway.
We talk and talk and talk about the day before and why it happened. After we discuss what happened, Cindy makes me leave so she can talk to my parents. I sit on the couch in the lobby, hoping I can hear what she is going to tell my parents. The door is cracked and I listen to what she has to say: “I am diagnosing Amelia with intermittent explosive disorder. What this means is that she goes into uncontrolled fits of rage because of the smallest change in plans. The attack could be triggered by something small like misplacing an object or forgetting about an assignment. The attacks are usually aimed towards one person, which is apparently you, Kelly.” My mother clutches my father’s hand in fear, and then gets angry. “Why me?” she asks. “Why does it always have to be fucking me?” “Well, this disorder has
immerged from the lack of control in her life. Her weight is spiraling out of control and she can’t do much about it because she’s so restricted in her activities from her aneurysms. Kelly, you are the primary authoritative figure in the house. You make the decisions for her more than Gil does. This is why she attacks you. She’s unhappy with her life because of all of the stress and maintenance that comes with her aneurysms. It’s not your fault, she just doesn’t know who to blame.” I had heard enough. Of course it’s her fault, I wouldn’t get mad at her for no reason. There was a reason, wasn’t there? I walk out of the office into the cold winter air. I hike up the small hill to the 7-11 to find relief. I place the crumpled dollars from my mother’s jewelry box on the counter, and wait for the store clerk to give me back my change. As I step back into the freezing
pleasure and relief. At this point in my life, chocolate is my best friend. As it melts in my warm mouth, it silently says, ‘It’s okay, Amelia. Everything is going to be just fine’. With this thought, I walk back into the empty waiting room, plop on the couch, and fall asleep. I AM 18 YEARS OLD. I’m eighteen years old. It’s springtime and it’s finally warm enough to drive with all the windows down. I have a lot to do today… I have to go to the bank now, run to the grocery store to pick up a few things, make a cake for our English party tomorrow, and get fitted for my prom dress. I’m driving to pick up Michael. We like spending as much time together as possible. ‘Every second with you counts’, he always says. I know he means it. We’re in love.
My sunglasses are covering my naked eyes and my hair is up in a messy bun. Normally I would get dressed up for him, but I’m too stressed out today. I light a cigarette at the stoplight and inhale deeply. I blow the smoke out the window and the warmth escapes from my lungs. I turn into the CVS parking lot to buy some chocolate. After the purchase, I come back to my car with a bag full of Dove Bliss squares. They’re rich, scrumptious, and just enough to keep me from having a nervous breakdown. I open them carefully without ripping the thin foil. I like to save the wrappers because they have cute, inspirational messages on the inside. The good ones pick me up just a little more than the chocolate does. Michael gets into the car with his signature silly grin across his face. He cups my face and kisses me ever so lightly. “Mmm, where’s the chocolate?”
he asks. He can smell it on my chapped lips. I hand him a piece and proceed down the street. He can tell I’m having a rough day because I’m not talking much. Michael doesn’t know that mother and I got into a huge fight today and I’m all out of my anxiety medications. To say the least, the combination isn’t pretty. Michael looks concerned. He puts his hand on my thigh and says, “What’s wrong, babe?”. I sigh and start ranting about this and that and my mother and my weight and everything else that is bothering me. Michael rubs my leg and listens intently as I drive and go on about my disrupted life. I stop at an intersection and close my eyes, which are filling up with tears. “Amelia?” I turn to look at him. His baby face looks sweeter than ever today. “Just smile, it’s worth the wrinkles.” “What?” I sniffle. He holds up a little square of foil and puts it in my hand. I examine
the wrapper carefully, searching for a meaning. After a few seconds, I looked at Michael, who was waiting with hope and love in his eyes for a response. All I could do was smile. PRESENT That’s what I’ve been doing since then. Just smiling. Being optimistic. Enjoying what I have. And, eating my chocolate. In the end, the wrinkles in life don’t matter. As long as you’re smiling, no one will notice you’re upset. Your smile makes beautiful wrinkles that represent amazing memories and laughter. Happiness is achieved simply: smile, eat chocolate, and live your life no matter what is bringing you down.
“WHAT’S FOR DINNER?”................
CHOCOLATE RECIPES FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS:
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake INGREDIENTS 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs 3 tablespoons white sugar 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries 2 tablespoons white sugar 2 teaspoons cornstarch 1/2 cup water 2 cups white chocolate chips 1/2 cup half-and-half cream 3 (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup white sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract PREP TIME: 1 Hr.
COOK TIME: 1 Hr.
READY IN: 10 Hrs.
DIRECTIONS 1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. 2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. 3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. 4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect. 5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refridgerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.
Creamy Chocolate Fudge INGREDIENTS 1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme 1 1/2 cups white sugar 2/3 cup evaporated milk 1/4 cup butter 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 cups milk chocolate chips 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
PREP TIME: 10 Min.
COOK TIME: 20 Min.
READY IN: 30 Min.
DIRECTIONS 1. Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside. 2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. 3. Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.
Chocolate Ganache INGREDIENTS 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped 1 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
PREP TIME: 10 Min.
COOK TIME: 10 Min.
READY IN: 20 Min.
DIRECTIONS 1. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching vary carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired. 2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.
Caramel Shortbread Squares INGREDIENTS 2/3 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup white sugar 1 1/4 cups all-purposed flour 1/2 cup butter 1/2 packed light brown sugar 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk 1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
PREP TIME: 10 Min.
COOK TIME: 25 Min.
READY IN: 35 Min.
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). 2. In a medium bowl, mix together 2/3 cup butter, white sugar, and flour until evenly crumbly. Press into a 9 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. 3. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. Pour over baked crust (warm or cool). Cool until it begins to firm. 4. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute, then stir and continue to heat and stir at 20 second intervals until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour chocolate over the caramel layer and spread evenly to cover completely. Chill. Cut into 1 inch squares. These need to be small because they are so rich.
Chocolate Mousse INGREDIENTS 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips 1 tablespoon water 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 cup whipping cream 1 tablespoon sugar Whipped cream
PREP TIME: 20 Min.
COOK TIME: 0 Min.
READY IN: 20 Min.
DIRECTIONS 1. In a small heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips with water over low heat; stir until smooth. Stir a small amount of hot chocolate mixture into egg yolk; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool, stirring several times. 2. In a mixing bowl, beat whipping cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Fold in cooled chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with whipped cream if desired.
Coconut Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings INGREDIENTS 1 cup coconut milk 1 cup sweetened flaked or shaved coconut, toasted 1/2 cup white sugar 1 cup low-fat or whole milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 large egg yolks 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup coconut milk 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
PREP TIME: 60 Min.
COOL TIME: Overnight
READY IN: 24 Hrs.
DIRECTIONS 1. Bring 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup low-fat or whole milk, 1/4 cup white sugar, and toasted coconut shavings to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla extract. 2. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the yolks. Gradually add in the remaining hot milk mixture. Return custard to the saucepan and cook over low heat stirring with a wooden spoon until custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of the spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or just before simmering. Do no boil. Strain the custard into a large bowl. Stir in the whipping cream and remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight so that the custard is completely cool.
3. For the shaved chocolate, lay a piece of aluminum foil out on a smooth, cool countertop or table. Spread the melted bittersweet chocolate and allow to harden, about 2 hours at room temperature, 30 minutes in the freezer. Break or chop the thin chocolate into small shavings, about 1/4 inch to 1/2 and inch pieces. Set aside in a cool place. 4. Process chilled custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturerâ€™s instructions. Add the shaved chocolate to the make during the last couple minutes of mixing. Transfer to a container and freeze before serving to ice cream can set.
Take a moment and enjoy yourself, have a piece of chocolate.