Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
In the world of culinary pairings, there are combinations of ingredients that, if they were humans, we’d call them best friends. Peanut butter and jelly, guacamole and chips, oil and vinegar, fruits and cheeses, and chocolate and…well, just about anything.
For the most of us with chocoholic tendencies, we’re always looking for that perfect way to combine our need for cocoa and something that isn’t the same old, same old candy bar-like dessert or cake.
My List of Top Chocolate Pairs (in no particular order):
Chocolate and Nuts (any and all kinds, but especially peanuts or peanut butter)
Chocolate and Caramel
Chocolate and Coffee
Chocolate and Peppermint
Chocolate and Orange or Raspberry
Chocolate and Mint
Chocolate and Marshmallow
Chocolate and Popcorn (with nuts please)
Please feel free to email me your own favorite pairing and the recipe that keeps you coming back for more so I can share them with the chocolate challenged. With the advent of pareve chocolate, the sky is the limit.
In the meantime, the following recipes are truly perfect to serve anytime (even the leftovers for breakfast. Don’t judge me)–but especially when the kids are home for Chanukah or during the winter break and you want them to stick around after a meal is over. Chocolate and [fill in the blank] beats Tweeting, texting and iPhoning and even hanging out with anyone who isn’t your parent, anytime.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BARS (dairy)
Servings: 12 to 16 pieces
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 chopped peanut butter cups (optional)
3/4 cup whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, 1/2 cup peanut butter, brown sugar, egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until smooth.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt, then fold it into the peanut butter mixture.
Spread the batter into the pan. Bake 20 minutes, until firm.
Remove bar from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for about 2 minutes or until the chips are melted then spread the chocolate over the top. Set aside to cool.
You can make the filling first and refrigerate it before you make the bar.
While the bar is cooking, in the bowl of an electric mixer combine the 2/3 cup peanut butter, powdered sugar and shortening. Mix to combine.
With the mixer running slowly add in the milk and vanilla. Refrigerate the mixture.
When everything is cool, by hand, gently fold in the whipped topping and spread the mixture on top of the cooled bar. Sprinkle the chopped peanut butter cups on top. Cut and serve.
BANANA MOCHA SHAKE (dairy)
1 cup milk or rice milk (or more if the drink is too thick)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
6 cups vanilla ice cream or non-dairy substitute, divided
1/2 cup hot fudge or chocolate sauce, divided
1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur, divided
6 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
In a bowl combine the milk and coffee, stirring until the coffee dissolves. Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into blender and add 3 cups of ice cream, 1/4 cup fudge sauce, 1 banana and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur. Cover and process. Pour into three 8-ounce glasses.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients and pour into the remaining glasses. Top with crumbled cookies and serve.
CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CAKE (dairy or pareve)
6 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
6 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
7 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
6 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream or non-dairy substitute
1 (4-ounce) package frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
fresh berries to decorate (optional)
chocolate curls to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 300. Line bottoms of two 9-inch cake pans with waxed paper.
To Make Cake: Melt 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave. Cool and beat in egg yolks.
In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter or margarine, 1 1/2 cups sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in the chocolate mixture and continue beating until smooth. By hand fold in the flour until just combined.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar, and continue beating until the whites hold soft peaks. Fold the whites into chocolate batter, and then pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes.
To Make Frosting: In a saucepan, bring cream or non-dairy substitute just to a simmer and then add the 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate. Whisk to combine. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat, and continue whisking until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a glass bowl, top with waxed paper or plastic wrap (push it against the top of the chocolate to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until you can spread it.
To Create Your Cake: Drain the thawed raspberries and place them in a bowl. Add the jam and mix to combine, trying not to mash the berries too much.
Place one of the cakes on a serving plate. Spread the raspberries over the top. Top with the second cake and then frost with the chocolate frosting. Decorate with fresh berries or chocolate curls.
Submitted by Candy Marscoli of Chicago, IL; modified from epicurious.com.
LAND O’ LAKES CHUNKY CARAMEL POPCORN (dairy or pareve)
I’ve made this recipes for a few years now and EVERYONE loves it.
12 cups popped popcorn
1 (9.75-ounce) can (2 cups) whole cashews
1 (5-ounce) bag (1 1/2 cups) pecan halves
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Land O’ Lakes® butter (or margarine)
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons shortening
1/2 cup white baking chips
Heat oven to 250. Place popcorn, cashews and pecans in large roasting pan.
Combine brown sugar, butter or margarine and corn syrup in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil (7 to 8 minutes). Continue boiling 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda.
Pour butter/margarine mixture over popcorn mixture in pan. Stir well. Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; place onto waxed paper or parchment paper. Cool completely. (Do not break into pieces.)
Place chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon shortening into resealable plastic food bag. Microwave 30-45 seconds; knead bag. Continue microwaving at 15 second intervals, kneading until smooth.
Cut tiny corner from bag; drizzle melted chocolate over popcorn mixture. Repeat with white baking chips and remaining 1/2 teaspoon shortening, microwaving on MEDIUM-HIGH (70% power). Drizzle over popcorn mixture.
Let stand until chocolate is set (3 to 4 hours). Break popcorn mixture into pieces.
Store in container with tight-fitting lid or resealable plastic food bag.
Modified from a Land O’ Lakes website recipe.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU’s Shabbat Shalom newsletter. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.