Chocolate cake

Chocolate Recipes from around the World

Drink of the Maya

To make the spicy chocolate drink enjoyed by the Maya some 1500 years ago, you really should start from scratch:

  1. Scoop cacao seeds out of their fleshy pods.
  2. Pile the seeds in baskets or under leaves and let them ferment for about a week.
  3. Clean the seeds, then lay them in the sun to dry.
  4. Roast the seeds over an open fire.
  5. Remove the shells and crush the meaty seed on a stone table to create a soft paste.
  6. Add water, cornmeal, honey, or chili peppers.
  7. Pour back and forth between two vessels to create a foam. Then enjoy!

Hot Mocha from West Africa

Reprinted with permission from Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company

Forget those powdered mixes. This is the real thing – rich and smooth, chocolate at its best.

6 ounces dark milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar (or to taste)
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla

Melt chocolate in a medium, heatproof bowl over hot water. Stir often, until almost smooth. Then remove from heat and whisk until completely smooth.

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine milk, cream, and sugar. Warm over low heat, stirring often, just to simmer. Quickly stir in coffee to dissolve, and remove from heat.

Add a small amount of the hot liquid to the melted chocolate, whisking in well until smooth. (If the chocolate “seizes” and refuses to smooth out, try adding a bit more liquid.) Very gradually add the remaining hot liquid, whisking until smooth after each addition. Scrape the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

If necessary, return to pot and reheat over low heat, stirring often, until very hot. Stir in vanilla and serve at once.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Turkey Mole

There are many recipes for mole (pronounced MOH-lay). But however you make it, it’s hard to go wrong. Here’s a simple version.

1 turkey breast and wing
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 medium onions, chopped
Bacon fat or oil
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 small dried hot red chili, seeded and chopped
1 cup ground nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts or cashews)
1 ounce bitter chocolate

Cut the turkey into several pieces. Place in a large pot, add water to cover, and bring to a boil. Add the salt, and simmer for 30 minutes.

While the turkey is simmering, brown the onion in bacon fat or oil. Add to the pot, along with garlic, chili powder, dried chili, nuts, and chocolate. Cover and simmer until turkey is tender and the sauce is well blended and thickened.

Correct seasoning to taste. Serve with rice or polenta and a cucumber salad.

Serves 4.

French Chocolate Truffles

Adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, by Barbara Myers; Penguin Books, 1984

Ahhh... who knows chocolate better than the French?

1 cup sweet (unsalted) butter
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup brandy
Unsweetened cocoa powder

In a heavy saucepan, cut the butter into pieces and melt over medium-low heat. Turn heat to medium, and when butter bubbles, stir to mix well. When bubbling turns to foam, remove the butter from the heat.

Let it settle for 5 minutes, then skim any remaining foam from the top. Carefully pour the clear liquid into a cup, leaving the light brown sediment in the pan. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel.

Return the clarified butter to the clean saucepan. Add the chopped chocolate. Stir over very low heat until chocolate is melted and smoothly blended with the butter. Remove the pan from heat and cool slightly. Stir in the brandy.

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until the mixture is firm enough to handle. (Stir it occasionally to prevent the butter from separating.)

Shape the chilled mixture into irregular balls, about 1 to 1 ¼ inches in diameter.

Sprinkle the cocoa on a sheet of wax paper, and roll the truffles in it to coat them. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and refrigerate until firm. Then store between sheets of wax paper in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. (They’ll keep well for several weeks.) Serve chilled.

Makes 3 to 3 ½ dozen truffles.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

As American as baseball, apple pie, and …

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Then remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.