Greetings from Belgium! Today we’re in Antwerp, which seems to have more chocolate boutiques per square foot than anywhere else on the planet. Luckily for me, they are all closed at the moment. Antwerp is also famous for diamonds, should you need a bauble or two.
Antwerp was the home of Peter Paul Rubens, and you can see his 17th century masterpieces in the beautiful Gothic cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady) in the main square. The medieval guild houses are quite stunning as well.
Ruby chocolate is a variety of chocolate introduced in 2017 by the Callebaut cocoa company. It’s been in development since 2004, but was only recently unveiled to the public.
The chocolate is made from the “ruby cocoa bean“ (possibly, unfermented cocoa beans, which can be naturally reddish pink), with a taste described as “sweet yet sour”, and having “little to none” of the cocoa flavor traditionally associated with other types of chocolate.
In April 2018, Kit Kat announced the release of the ruby chocolate in the UK — have any of you UK readers tried it yet? — and we can expect to see ruby chocolate soon in the US.
I made these yesterday and agree with the raves. T wrote about them this morning in her entertaining blog and I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with you. My only caveat is that the directions say that the dough makes 15 cookies, which seemed enormous. So I made 18 (roughly 2.5″ diameter) instead, and next time might go even smaller, perhaps 20 cookies, as they are quite hearty and filling. Enjoy, and let me know if you try them!
If you’re like me, the concept of “family” is complicated. The family we’re born into may be less than ideal, incorporating fraught relationships with parents or siblings. Even in families with a relatively healthy dynamic, there’s often a tendency to act or be treated as if we are eternally eight years old.
As we get older, our definition of family expands and changes. Lines blur as our children become friends, close friends become more like siblings, and siblings may become strangers.
Since Thanksgiving is a holiday that’s typically associated with family, let’s celebrate ALL our families, not just our biological ones:
Circumstantial: The family we join through marriage or re-marriage
Work: After all, we probably spend at least as much time with our “work family” as we do at home
Friends: Who else could we bitch to about everything — including our families?!
Support System: Our family of stylists, massage therapists, manicurists etc., with whom we share stories and confidences
Our church, synagogue, mosque or other religious affiliation
This is one of my favorite recipes for dessert, whether you’re hosting or bringing something to the feast. Almond flour and Whey Low make it healthier.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone — however (and with whomever) you spend it!
Double Chocolate Almond Flour Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I use 4 tablespoons (¼ c) butter + ¼ c canola oil)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (substitute bittersweet if you prefer less sweetness)
1 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar (I use 1/3 c brown + 1/3 c white for less sweetness)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Optional: ¼ teaspoon espresso powder
Preheat the oven to 350º and butter an 8”x8” pan.
Place the butter and chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler or a large glass bowl set over a pot of gently boiling water. Whisk together until the butter and chocolate are melted and well combined. Set aside and let cool for five minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Add the cooled chocolate and butter mixture to the egg/sugar mixture. Whisk to combine and then mix into the dry ingredients until everything is well blended.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it.
While I’m pretty good at a lot of things – at-home facials, finding a sale, folding a fitted sheet – I absolutely suck at technology. Which is why it took me several weeks to realize I needed to install a widget to create a “Follow This Blog” button. Pathetic, I know!
So, to thank you for your patience and understanding I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes: a rich chocolate mousse you whip up in the blender. This is so creamy, delicious and fancy looking that everyone will think you spent hours on it, yet it takes under 10 minutes (plus time to set up in the fridge). Enjoy!!
Blender Chocolate Mousse
6 oz. of chocolate morsels (use good quality chocolate; e.g., Ghirardelli Dark)
¾ cup milk*, heated just below boiling
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
(Optional: a splash of black coffee or your fave liqueur)
Put everything except the milk into a blender.
Heat the milk and add it last.
Blend for 2 minutes on low-medium speed. (Note: this melts the chocolate and “cooks” the eggs)
Give it a quick blast on high and pour immediately into 4 large or 6 small ramekins.
Chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.
Garnish with whipped cream, fresh berries or just dive on in.
* I use fat-free milk but of course 2% or whole milk tastes even better.