Joe just Loves this Chocolate

Do you like unsweetened dark chocolate? Joe does. When we were staying in Manta Joe found this unsweetened chocolate in Super Maxi. I think in the states it’s just called cacao – no sugar OR milk solids/fats added.

img_3206 He would buy several bags and each evening he would sit and have just one of the disks.  It is not for me, unsweetened chocolate – can you say WHAT? That is for making brownies or hot chocolate but eating it straight from the bag?  Not for me!!  But Joe may have something here. All the news you hear about superfoods, chocolate is supposed to lower blood pressure, lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease. Another reason that dark chocolate is especially heart-healthy it has inflammation fighting properties, which reduce cardiovascular risk.  We do not know if that is true or not but Joe loves it and it really helps him from having other snacks after dinner.

img_3208While in Manta last week at the SuperMaxi I found a shelf full, I think I picked up 10 packages.  Joe will just love it and of course he will think I am the greatest for picking it up for him.

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Cookie Baking – Christmas 2015

It would not seem like Christmas without just a few of our favorites – cookies and a Christmas tree. So last Monday I made all the batters for several types of cookies and Tuesday it was marathon baking.

On Monday I did sneak in a few batches of the bar cookies and baked the Black Bottom Cookie Bar and Triple Layer Cookie Bar.

12.21 (11)I also made something I have never tried before. These are made with vanilla cookies on the bottom, covered in caramel, baked and then topped with chocolate chips sprinkled with chopped nuts.  Fast and easy and the kids will love them. All chocolaty and sweet.

12.21 (10)Then I made Crane House Pumpkin Breads.

12.21 (14)Here are some of the batters chilling in the refrigerator. These are the Cherry Nut Cookies in the foreground and the Italian Cookies in the background.

12.21 (13)Here are the final cookie trays ready to go

12.26.2015It was a very Merry Christmas.

Triple Layer Cookie Bars

I have a list of favorite cookie recipes that I’ve made for years.  This one is really nice because it does not require a huge amount of work or time making individual cookies. Made in a baking pan and cut into individual bars,  it’s a very rich cookie. Don’t cut the pieces big – a two to three bite cookie is the best size.

Triple Layer Cookie Bar

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1  1/2 C Chocolate Animal Cookies
  • 1  –  7 oz. package of flaked coconut – Coco Rallado
  • 1  –  14 oz. can of condensed milk
  • 1  –  12 oz. bar of Superior Chocolate
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter – mani

Grease a 9 x 13 pan and dust with coco powder.  Melt butter and mix with the crumbled cookies and press into bottom – if the crumbs are not coated with butter add a few more spoonfuls to make them stick together.  Sprinkle the coconut evenly over the crumbs and press into cookie base. Pour the condensed milk over all to cover evenly.

Bake in a 325 f or 170 c –  (I make it a bit higher) for about 25 minutes or until the edges are a golden brown.  Let stand to cool 5 minutes.

While crust is cooling, in a sauce pan melt the chocolate and peanut butter together and pour over the cookie base to cover.  Let cool completely.

From top left – Fresh Peanut Butter (Mani), Chocolate Animal Cookies (Galletas), Superior Chocolate Bar, Coconut (Coco Rallado) and Condensed Milk.

Everyone who love chocolate loves this cookie bar, it will go fast so hide a few for yourself!

Chocolate Brownie Cake

If you want something totally sinful this is the cake for you. It is like a brownie in the center, chewy and it will stay moist for days, that’s if it can last that long in your house.

I found the original recipe on one of Donna Hay’s cooking shows. I needed to change it because I am unable to find Hershey’s Cocoa Powder here. What they sell in the supermarkets is called Cocoa but it has milk solids and sugar added so the chocolate flavor is lost compared to regular old Hershey’s Cocoa. What I did was replace the cocoa powder with a Superior Chocolate bar. If anyone knows where I can find Hershey’s Cocoa in Guayaquil let me know and I will make a detour there the next time we are taking a trip up.

Chocolate Brownie Cake:

  • 150 g or 1 1/2 sticks of butter (do not use margarine this recipe needs the butter)
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 180 grams or 3/4 of a large 240 g Superior Chocolate Bar

Melt butter (do not boil just heat) and add sugar to dissolve add crumbled chocolate bar and mix until well blended – The sugar will not completely dissolve.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla

Combine eggs and vanilla and add to the chocolate mixture

  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon of white all-purpose flour

Add the flour and whisk until well blended. Spoon into an 8″ spring-form pan where the bottom has been lined with wax paper. I use a bit of vegetable shorting under the wax paper and around the sides of the pan as well.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 160c until a toothpick/skewer inserted in the center comes out pretty clean, it should not be really wet but a few crumbs may stick and that is okay. Cool, remove from spring form pan, remove wax paper from bottom and serve with vanilla ice cream. Or just sprinkle with powdered sugar (Azucar Impalpable).