BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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Coming to a Newsstand Near You

A new pair of months means a new VegNews, and for the March/April issue, it also means a new My Sweet Vegan column! After what felt like an inordinately long break, it’s time to break out the sugar and salt shaker, because I’m bringing the sweet and and the salty together for two easy, palate-pleasing candies.

Potato Chip Chocolate Truffles may steal the show, their intense, dark chocolate centers covered in crunchy shards of crushed potato chips, but Buttery Popcorn Brittle is not far behind in the lineup. Like kettle corn in one thick plank, it’s a new way to enjoy that classic theater snack with less muss and fuss. Both could be whipped up on a whim, and let me tell you, they make for excellent gifts… If you can bear to part with either treat.

In addition, I had the pleasure of shooting more savory delights by the lovely and talented Allison Samson. Bringing Cheesy Twice-Baked Potatoes to the party this time around, these rich spuds are not to be missed. Stuffed with creamy mashed potatoes and smothered in gooey “cheese” sauce, it may be tough to go back to plain baked potatoes after trying these tempting tubers.

Have you gotten your issue yet?  Of course, it’s packed full of other recipes, too, so there are plenty of equally attractive dishes to choose from.  What do you plan on making first?


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Moving Right Along

…Is it safe to come out now? Has the Thanksgiving madness come and gone for another year? Thank goodness, it passed without too much fuss or duress around here, and for that, I am truly thankful.

Now that we’re over that hurdle, there’s nothing standing between us and full-blown winter holiday immersion. Decorations and wrapping may have been pushed to a prominent place in stores since Halloween, but now we can finally stop ignoring them- There’s no longer any shame in diving head-first into that sea of iridescent tinsel. It’s my favorite time to cook and bake, when diets don’t even factor in and everyone eats with abandon, simply enjoying the festive foods on offer. Desserts can be desserts, not healthy desserts or breakfast-like desserts (although they may very well be on the menu first thing in the morning, too) and extravagant ingredients can be just par for the course.

If ever there was an easy show-stopper of a treat for the holidays, for me, it would have to be a rum cake. Doused with spirits and emboldened with light spices, I have fond memories of picking moist crumbs off of empty serving plates as I carried them back to the kitchen. Under the guise of being a helpful child, I was really after those leftover scraps.

This year, I gave the traditional bundt a cloak of chocolate, transforming it into a downright fudgy mountain of gently boozy cake. Dotted with sizable chunks of candied ginger, every bite is a little bit different.

Sorry to be a tease, but my Chocolate Rum Bundt recipe can be found in the new November/December issue of Joy of Kosher. Keep an eye on the website though, because they often generously share the recipes after a certain time of having the magazine on the news stands.

I’m certainly in the holiday spirit now! How about you?


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Smooth as Silk Pie

Any given morning can effortlessly and instantly descend into all-out chaos. The relentless push to check more to-do’s off my never ending list growing stronger as the clock ticks away the hours, it can take quite a feat to stop me in my tracks. Despite the monstrous bulk of the bright white carton plunked on the door step not too long ago, had it not been placed squarely in my path, blocking re-entry into the house after one of many grocery runs, I can’t promise I would have found it that same day.

Wrestling the cardboard box inside with precisely zero grace, fumbling to cut through the tape, and finally managing to wedge the styrofoam cooler out, an embarrassment of riches awaited me. Vegan Greek-style coconut yogurt, in plain and vanilla, in great quantity. Enough to eat, and bake with; An impressive number, knowing my appetite for the flavored varieties already.

For a hectic day, a simple yet satisfying dessert was in order. Chocolate pie, ready in a flash, and healthy enough to justify one generous, large wedge per person. Inspired by the wholly decadent French silk pie, this is a less sweet, less rich, and far less guilt-inducing version that you could possibly get away with eating for breakfast. At least I hope so, because that’s what I did.

Greek Silk Pie

1 9-Inch Pie Crust, Homemade or Store-Bought, Blind-Baked and Cooled

3 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
3 Tablespoons Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
Pinch Salt
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 6-Ounce Containers Greek-Style Vanilla Coconut Yogurt, Divided

Begin by melting down the chocolate either in a double-boiler or in the microwave, nuking at intervals of 30 seconds and stirring well until smooth. Set aside and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, thoroughly cream together the margarine and sugar as if you were making cookies, until light and fluffy. Beat in the cocoa, salt, coffee powder, and vanilla, followed by one of the containers of Greek “yogurt.” Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix well. Don’t worry if the mixture looks grainy at this point.

Add in the melted chocolate, and whip on high for 3 minutes. Slowly incorporate the final container of “yogurt,” and then resume beating the filling on high speed for an additional 2 – 3 minutes, until smooth.

Pour the filling into your prepared pie crust, and tap it lightly on the counter to release any air bubbles that may be trapped within, and smooth down the top evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Top slices with a generous dollop of vegan whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 8 – 10 Servings

Printable Recipe


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To Post or Not to Post?

Perfection is an unrealistic goal, and yet so many blogs attempt to achieve just that. Guilty of that precise crime, it’s difficult to decide what should make the cut when it comes time to make the next post. Should an unreliable recipe go live, potentially frustrating curious readers? Never; that would be an unpardonable offense. But what about the blurry line separating good from great? Should a nice recipe be dumped just because it isn’t quite “perfect”?

Life is quite messy itself, so it only seems fitting to allow a few messier creations in as well. Take for example, cookies that baked up like a dream, with a fantastic chewy texture and sophisticated bitter cocoa flavor, sandwiched together with blueberry creme acting as the luminous violet glue. Summery yet not incapable of bridging the seasonal gap, crowd-pleasing, and an all around delight. The problem? They suffer a bit from ugly duckling syndrome.

You see, it’s mostly the filling that I take issue with. It looks grainy, even curdled in photos, despite tasting silky-smooth on the tongue. Should such a blemish be allowed to go live, presented as the desired outcome? Does one small imperfection ruin a whole recipe? At the end of the day, would you blog about it?

I think my response goes without saying.

Black and Blueberry Sandwich Cookies

Black Cocoa Cookies:

10 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tablespoon Flax Seeds, Ground
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/3 Cup Black Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Blueberry Creme Filling:

4 Ounces Vegan White Chocolate Chips
3/4 Cup Blueberries, Fresh or Frozen and Thawed
1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
1/2 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer or food processor, cream together the margarine and sugar thoroughly, until homogeneous and fluffy. Add the ground flax seeds, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and mix until mostly incorporated. The dough will be too dry to fully come together, so add in the “milk” and vanilla, and mix once more to combine and create a smooth, cohesive batter.

Scoop out 3 tablespoons or so of dough per cookie, and flatten them just slightly on the baking sheet. Be sure to space them 1 1/2 – 2 inches apart, because they really spread as they bake; arrange no more than 9 cookies per sheet.

Bake for 10 – 13 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookies look barely puffy in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for 10 more minutes before sliding the silpat or sheet of parchment onto a cooler surface. Allow them to fully cool before applying the filling.

To make the blueberry creme, first melt the while chocolate, either in a double boiler or in the microwave. If microwaving, heat at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between, to ensure that it doesn’t burn. White chocolate can be very temperamental, so keep a close eye on it.

Toss the berries into your blender or food processor, and completely puree. Strain the juice directly into the melted white chocolate and discard the pulp and seeds remaining. Stir thoroughly, reheating gently as necessary if the chocolate beings to solidify or seize. Once smooth, chill the mixture for at least an hour, until cold to the touch and thickened.

Beat the margarine and confectioner’s sugar together in your stand mixer before adding the chilled blueberry mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is getting incorporated, and whip on high speed for about 5 minutes, until there are no remaining chunks of margarine and the filling only appears to be vaguely grainy. Apply the filling to one cookie, and top it off with a second. Repeat with remaining cookies.

The sandwich cookies keep well at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap, for approximately four days, or in the fridge for seven to eight. Better yet, for this summer heat, stash them in the freezer for up to a month, and you can snack on them while they’re still a bit frosty!

Makes About 14 Large Cookies; 7 Large Sandwich Cookies

Printable Recipe


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Christmas in July

Sleigh bells are most certainly not ringing on this sweltering day, but in a summer state of mind, the ice cream truck’s cheerful jingle could happily suffice. Christmas in July is a phenomena that has not yet truly caught on in the US, typically reserved as a poor excuse to go on shopping sprees or drink a few too many cocktails by the beach. The lack of decent holidays through the hottest months of the year has me searching high and low for new events to celebrate, anything to shake up the monotony of one hot and busy day after another, so I say it’s high time we start getting into the spirit. Build a “snowman” on out of sand, string lights onto a palm tree, make gingerbread baked inside oranges over the campfire! If you can find an indoor rink, now is the best time to go ice skating, too; shockingly empty of other skaters, it’s the perfect chilly respite from a 100-degree afternoon.

Better yet, serve up some peppermint-mocha whoopie pies.

Though they do require quick use of the oven, the sweat will be worthwhile, since the end results are satisfyingly sweet and cooling. A spinoff on my Peppermint Mocha Trifles from Vegan Desserts, this hand-held version is ideal for speedy baking and on-the-go eating. Just make a half batch of everything, adding 3/4 cup of flour to the cake portion. Instead of pouring the cake batter into a baking dish, scoop it out onto a silpat-lined baking sheet, using a small cookie scoop for consistent shapes. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until just lightly browned around the edges, and let cool completely. Spread your chilled chocolate custard between two cookies, and then roll the edges in crushes candy canes. Voila, a miniature, portable trifle- With a touch of summery Christmas spirit!

This will make you approximately 36 individual cookies, and thus 18 finished whoopie pies. Store the cake-like sandwiches in the fridge for maximum refreshment, or in the freezer to make mock-ice cream sandwiches. Be sure to eat them quickly once the peppermint candies have been added- As evidence by my photo, the can melt quickly due to the moisture and heat. Plus, I can’t imagine anyone being able to resist chowing down for that long!


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No Surprises

Leaping to her feet instantly, arms outstretched and swinging wildly, happy exclamations filled the previously quiet room. Lipstick kisses imprinted our cheeks as the hubbub slowly died down, the birthday girl was genuinely delighted by her unexpected brunch guests and party in her honor. It may have been a surprise party for my grandma, but honestly, I was the most surprised; No one told me we weren’t expected!

No matter, even without the full details there’s no way I’d arrive at any celebration empty-handed. Far from it; The 3-layer, chocolate-smothered tower weighed quite a bit more than calculated, and I was relieved to have it out of my hands upon arriving. Knowing me, you might imagine that some wonderful, unexpected twists must be lurking inside. Some crazy flavor or bizarre ingredient, unusual preparation, funny shape, anything! But no, the surprises ended after our dramatic entry, as this is just a chocolate cake.

No, I take that back- It most certainly is not just a chocolate cake, but in fact the chocolate cake. The chocolate cake I’ve been searching for before I even knew what good chocolate cake was, when I would have been just as thrilled by a half-price grocery store cupcake as a fine French gateaux. All it took to get there was of coarse endless experimentation over the years, but also a bit of humbling. That’s because I had to enlist some help from an ingredient previously reviled and downright banned from this household… Mayonnaise.

Way back when I was 10 years old, from the time I took a bite of a croque monsieur at the Charles de Gaulle Airport on a tedious layover to Italy, I was convinced that mayo was nothing but evil in condiment form. Shocked to find this pasty, fatty white sludge lining the limp bread, it was everything wrong with airport food, and everything wrong with mayonnaise. It was the worst thing I had ever eaten in my young life, and may still hold that illustrious title today, if I cared to think of all those terrible meals past. Though that was our first chance meeting, I was done with mayonnaise forever, and very vocal about my passionate animosity. That’s why it was even harder to reach for the glass jar, and admit that this substance may actually have a place in my kitchen.

This is one accidental re-introduction that I’m blaming squarely on Dreena Burton. Yes, the wholesome sweetheart behind a string of fool-proof cookbooks. It was her fault that I needed a dab of mayo to photograph her rocking veggie burgers, her advice to get Vegenaise instead of the other gloppy stuff that’s almost worse than the original, and thus her fault that I had almost a full jar of the stuff to contend with afterwards.

Without the mayo, this cake couldn’t happen, so I’m trying to accept that painful reality. However, the cake itself isn’t hard to swallow; it practically melts in your mouth, despite its impressive density. So moist, in fact, that I could only think to name it the first thing that popped into my head, “Ultra-Moist Amazing Chocolate Layer Cake.” Not just under-baked or painfully gummy like so many other “moist” cakes, this one holds itself together with a nearly fluffy crumb, which dissolves into pure chocolate fudge in moments. Creamy bittersweet chocolate frosting is the luscious glue that holds together this tower of three tender cake rounds together, and though no further decoration is needed, a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar really seals the deal. Nothing short of a show-stopper, it may not be a surprise, but it’s sure not your average cocoa birthday cake.

Ultra-Moist Amazing Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

1 1/2 Cups Plain Non-Dairy Milk*
1 Pound Semi-Sweet chocolate, Finely Chopped
1 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

*Chose a full-fat, richer variety for the best results; I prefer almond milk that’s slightly on the thicker side. Coconut milk would also be a good choice here.

Rich Chocolate Cake:

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder, Sifted
2 Tablespoons Whole Flax Seeds, Ground
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
1 1/2 Cup Brewed and Cooled Coffee
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Vegan Mayonnaise
3/4 Cup Canola Oil

Unlike most standard cake-making procedures, you’ll want to start by preparing the frosting first, since it takes some time to cool and set.

Place the non-dairy milk in a medium sauce pan, and bring just the the brink of boiling. You only want to scald it, so quickly take the pan off the heat, and add in the chopped chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes to melt, and then stir the mixture thoroughly until smooth. Cut the margarine into tablespoon-sized pieces, and add them into the melted chocolate, stirring until completely melted and mixed in. Incorporate the vanilla, and let sit at room temperature until cool. Transfer into the fridge to chill. It may take as long as 2 – 3 hours to fully cool, but bear in mind that it will not thicken to the point of being pipe-able; This is a very soft, silky frosting, more like ganache than buttercream. Once it’s merely spreadable, it’s ready to use.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour 3 8-inch round cake pans. You can also do this successfully with just two pans, as long as you measure your batter carefully and have patience.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or just a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, ground flax seeds, salt, baking powder, and soda. Make sure that all of the dry goods are evenly distributed throughout.

In a separate bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, coffee, vinegar, and vanilla, and let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes. At that point, add in the secret ingredient here, the vegan mayo, as well as the oil, and mix well.

Add the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredient, and slowly mix, just until the batter is mostly smooth and homogeneous. A few lumps are fine, as long as you don’t over-mix. That would cause your cake to come out very tough and chewy, which is not what we’re looking for! Don’t worry if the mixture seems excessively soupy- That is indeed the correct consistency.

Divide your batter evenly between your three prepared baking pans. [If you're only using two, measure out the full amount of batter, and divide by three. You should end up with somewhere around 2 1/2 of batter in each pan. Reserve the remaining third in your fridge while the first two cakes bake, and allow the cakes to cool completely before turning them out onto a large plate. Quickly rinse and dry one of the pans, re-grease and flour, and bake the final amount of batter in the same manner.]

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly, with perhaps a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Let cool completely before assembling and frosting.

To achieve the decorative pattern on top of the cake as pictured above, first chill the frosted cake thoroughly so that chocolate frosting can set slightly. Take a large doily and gently place it on top, without pressing down, and sprinkle powdered sugar all over. Lift the doily straight up without shaking it, which will remove the excess and leave a lovely, lacy design in its place.

Serves 12 – 18

Printable Recipe


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Why Not?

Food in general and sweet treats in particular can become so closely correlated to certain special occasions, that it can suddenly seem as though one can not exist without the other. While I would agree that no, it is absolutely not Hannukah without latkes, or Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, what can be said for the other side of the coin? What about the non-holiday, any-old-day, random need for latkes or pumpkin pie? Would it throw the Earth off its very axis to indulge that impulse every now and then? Is it selfish? Unnecessary?

One of the many reasons why I love holidays, all holidays, is because they give us a reason to pause and simply celebrate. Much of the time, I couldn’t care less about what the actual significance is, where it came from, or why we remember it, but the mere opportunity to do something fun and special is all I need. Thus, I present to you an any-old-day treat, with no particular import, meaning, or curious back story. They’re just good cookies, and they’d be good today, tomorrow, Mother’s Day if you truly need a good excuse, or whenever. Because really, why not?

Happy Friday- Go ahead, celebrate the weekend!

Fudge-Mallow Cookies

1 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Molasses
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, or White Whole Wheat Flour (or All Purpose, if You Fancy)
1/2 Cup Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
5 Ounces Vegan Marshmallows, Chopped to About Raisin-Sized Pieces
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 375 and line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

In your stand mixer, cream together the margarine and sugar, beating thoroughly until fluffy. Add the molasses and mix until fully combined, scraping down the sides halfway through processing as it tends to stubbornly hide in lumps away from the beater.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Toss in the chocolate chips and chopped marshmallows, making sure that everything is coated in flour so that the mix-ins don’t just clump together.

Add the flour mixture into your mixer, and slowly turn the motor back on so that the dry goods don’t go flying. Pour in the vanilla, and turn up the speed to medium-low, mixing until everything is combined. It may take a minute or two because this is a very stiff dough, but be patient and resist the urge to add liquid!

Scoop out about 3 tablespoons worth of dough per cookie, either with two spoons or an ice cream/cookie scoop, and drop them onto your prepared baking sheets, allowing plenty of room for them to spread- No more than 9 per sheet. Trust me, these things end up expanding like crazy. Flatten the tops lightly with the palm of your hand, and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are no longer shiny and firm around the edges. Remove them from the baking sheet immediately and allow them to cool.

Makes About 2 Dozen Cookies

Printable Recipe


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Busted by the Passover Police

Not a thing gets past you guys, my dear, astute readers. Rest assured, I wasn’t trying to pull a fast one on anyone, but somehow it managed to slip past my grasp that limoncello is made with vodka, and yes, vodka is in fact made with grain, rendering it chametz for Passover. Doh! Though this oversight can happily be corrected by simply substituting lemon juice for the alcohol, nothing could correct the composition of my finished cheesecake bites. A new dessert was needed for the approaching seder, and soon. So I took to the kitchen and made a lavish semi-freddo, a beautiful thing with ribbons of chocolate and emerald green pistachios… Using cornstarch (corn is considered kitniyot.) Strike two.

Despite the fact that I was bat miztvahed eons ago, I sure do suck at being Jewish.

Not one to give up, though, it was back to the drawing board. Frantically scrambling to mix and match the odd ingredients on hand into something both delicious and kosher, it seemed there was no good resolution in sight… Until I fell upon the leftovers from an experimental whipped creme. Made merely from nuts, this was just the ticket.

Folded in with ample amounts of melted bittersweet chocolate and fresh strawberry puree, this fluffy filling was right at home on top of a thin layer of fresh, sliced strawberries, all in an almond meal and cocoa crust. Nothing wheat-y, grain-y, or otherwise offensive here! Fingers crossed, I think that this one will finally appease the Passover police.

Happy Pesach!

Edited, because I woudn’t want to anger the hungry hordes…. I wasn’t planning on posting the recipe, since it was so last-minute and I’m not prepared to sign off on that whipped topping experiment, but I realized that by substituting a store-bought version, it should work out just as well. So, consider this an extra-special little Passover gift!

Strawberry-Chocolate Mousse Pie

Cocoa Crust:

1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal
1/4 Cup Natural Cocoa Powder
1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine or Coconut Oil, Melted
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

Strawberry and Chocolate Mousse Filling:

1 Cup Fresh Strawberry Puree*
1/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar
Pinch Salt
12 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped
1 10-Ounce Carton Whippable Vegan Cream
1/2 – 1 Cup Sliced Fresh Strawberries

*To make strawberry puree, just take about 1/2 pound of fresh or frozen and thawed strawberries, and blend them into smithereens in your food processor or blender. Strain, if desired (I was in a rush and didn’t; I don’t think the finished pie suffered because of it.)

For the crust, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly oil a 9-inch round pie pan. Mix together all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl, and transfer the well-blended mixture to you prepared pan. Use your fingers and the palms of your hands to smoothly press it into the bottom and up the sides, making sure there are no bare patches. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the top edges are slightly deeper brown. Set aside and let cool.

Meanwhile, you can start to get the filling together. In a large, microwave safe dish, combine the strawberry puree, agave, salt, and chopped chocolate. Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring thoroughly at 30 second intervals, until completely melted and smooth. Set aside for the time being to let cool.

Dump the whippable “cream” into the bowl of your stand mixer, and whip on high speed for 3 – 4 minutes, until its about tripled in volume, light and fluffy. Take a dollop out and stir it into the chocolate mixture, just to lighten it up a bit. Now, move half of the remaining whipped “cream” and place it in the bowl of chocolate mix. Use a wide spatula to gently fold it in, being careful not to knock out the air bubbles. Add in the remainder of the whipped “cream,” and fold once more.

Evenly cover the bottom of the baked crust with sliced strawberries, and then spoon the finished chocolate mousse on top. Decorate the edges with additional sliced strawberries, if desired.

Serves 8 – 12

Printable Recipe


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Real Easter Bunnies Don’t Lay Eggs

They make chocolates instead.  Really, doesn’t it just make more sense? For such mammals to lay eggs is a biological impossibility, but the cleverest of rabbits explore their creative talents and craft cacao into treats for children- Now that sounds downright reasonable in comparison.  I can see it now: Gifted little bunnies across the globe secreting away sugar and cocoa in their homely burrows, creating magic for the good little boys and girls everywhere, much like Santa might prepare for Christmas. At least, that’s what I’d like to believe.  It’s much more optimistic than labeling the inclusion of so much cheap candy as merely a thinly disguised marketing ploy, capitalizing on yet another holiday that might prompt parents to spend ungodly amounts of money on unnecessary junk.

Indeed, I’ve been a very busy bunny this year, working hard to appease the younger (and older!) set who may not appreciate the same dark, bitter chocolate that I tend to favor. It’s a damn shame that there aren’t more light, sweet chocolates for vegans and the generally dairy-intolerant to enjoy. Though it doesn’t have the same reverence as “pure” chocolate, there is absolutely a place for it both in pastry and in the everyday candy dish, so cacao snobs need not get their beans in a bunch. It’s just another flavor, and another treat that I simply can’t leave be until I feel confident it can be enjoyed by all.

And thus, I present a sweet and simple method for homemade “milk” chocolate. Yes, I will tell you straight off, it will be ever so slightly grainy no matter what you do. But yes, it will have a lovely snap between the teeth. And yes, it tastes sweet and milky, just like I recollect the original inspiration to be. And finally, yes, it is absolutely delicious and borderline addictive, which is really saying something for this deep, dark chocolate fiend.

Whether it’s for Easter, or any day before or after, I would recommend you give soy-milk chocolate a chance. As long as you use real ingredients, (unlike the wax and crap that goes into much of the commercially produced milk chocolates) you can create confections every bit as fine and ambrosial as “gourmet” dark chocolates.

Soy-Milk Chocolate

2 Ounces (1/4 Cup) Pure, Food Grade Cocoa Butter, Melted
3 Tablespoons Powdered Soy Milk*
1 Ounce 100% Cacao, Unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate
1/2 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Powder**
Pinch Salt

*If soy allergies are an issue, you can substitute rice milk powder, but be aware that the end results will be grainier and coarser overall.

**DO NOT try using liquid vanilla extract instead, it is not the same thing! You can, however, add the scraped insides of a whole vanilla bean, if powder is unavailable.

Set a small sauce pan over low heat, and place the cocoa butter inside. Allow it to fully melt if you measured it while solid, by weight. Once it has reach a completely liquid state, add in the “milk” powder, and allow it to cook, stirring constantly but slowly, for 5 minutes. This will help it to dissolve more fully, and create a smoother finished bar. Roughly chop the baker’s chocolate, and add the pieces into the pot, again stirring until melted and incorporated. Now, turn off the heat, and with a whisk, quickly mix in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, powder, and salt. It may take a bit of vigorous whisking to get all of the sugar combined, but remain diligent and the mixture will even out.

Once completely smooth, pour the chocolate liquid into molds of you choice (I used two standard chocolate bar indentations, but you could also make small bonbons, or even use silicon miniature muffin pans. Just don’t use metal tins, because the chocolate will be very difficult to pop out once solidified.)

Let cool to room temperature, and then very carefully move the molds into a level surface in your fridge. Let chill until the chocolates have set, about 1 or 2 hours, and then wrap individually and store in an air tight container, either in a cool, dark place, or back inside the fridge.

Makes 2 2.5-Ounce Bars

Printable Recipe

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