February 14, 2011

Chocolate love for everyone

For a self-confessed chocoholic like me, nothing says I love you like a rich chocolaty dessert. I know my kids share my passion, too.  With his birthday around the corner, Callan's one stipulation is that we are having chocolate cupcakes.  ("I want chocolate cupcakes.  CHOCOLATE cupcakes!  Okay, mommy?!") 

Semisweet chocolate chips are featured in both recipes.  Several varieties we found are gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips.  Ghirardelli, Trader Joe's, and Safeway Organics are gluten-free and dairy-free to name a couple. Soy ingredients -- specifically soy lecithin -- is difficult to eliminate from the chips.  Enjoy Life may possibly be the only company that produces semisweet chocolate chips completely free of all of the top 8 allergens. 

In honor of our most resilient, youngest chocolate lovers, here are two recipes that are highly adaptable to fit your needs.

Chocolate Garbanzo Bean Cake (pictured above)
Adapted from CCummins submission to AllRecipes.com 
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe's)
1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3 T ground flaxseed + 9 T water, mixed (I use Bob's Red Mill ground flaxseed which is gluten-free)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (I use Kirkland's pure vanilla extract which is gluten-free)
1/2 tsp baking powder
confectioner's sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat over to 350F. Grease 8"x8" round cake pan or line pan with aluminum foil.  I like to do the latter for an extra layer of cleanliness especially if I'm serving anything to families with food allergies different from ours.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. In a food processor, grind garbanzo beans and ground flaxseed/water mixture until smooth. 
  4. Blend in sugar, extract, and baking powder.
  5. Add melted chocolate.Blend until smooth, making sure to scrape down the side to mix in all stray globs of beans and chocolate. Pour cake into prepared pan. 
  6. The edges of the cake will cook faster than the center.  Prevent drying out or burning by wrapping thin pieces of aluminum foil around the rim of the pan that extend a little over the edges of the batter. 
  7. Bake at 350F for 55-65 minutes or until knife inserted at the center comes out clean. I found that this cake took way longer than the 40 minutes suggested bake time of the original recipe. This is probably due to the flax/water substitution as well as my using a 8"x8" round since I didn't have a 9"x9" that the original recipe called for.
  8. Cool completely in pan.  Dust with confectioner's sugar, slice, and serve with fruit or frozen dessert.  Completely cover and refrigerate the leftovers.  I find that the chocolate tastes even richer the day after!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Spectrum Naturals makes an organic shortening that is dairy-free and soy-free.

1 10-oz bag semisweet chocolate chips(I use Trader Joe's)
2 T vegetable shortening
1 to 1-1/2 lb strawberries, washed and dried with stems and leaves still attached
toothpicks for dipping

  1. Line a baking pan or plates with parched paper.
  2. Remove any large leaves that might be in the way of your ripe strawberries.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening together.  I usually do this by resting a glass, lipped bowl in a small pot with about an inch of water.  As the water heats on the stove, so with the chocolate and shortening.  Stir until smooth.  You can also heat the chips in the microwave until melting (roughly 2-3 minutes) and then stir in the shortening until melted.  This method allows the chocolate mix to cool quickly so you'll find it thickening quickly and you may have to reheat it.
  4. Dip each strawberry (by stem or using toothpicks poked into berry tops) into chocolate.  Place on parchment.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
  5. Chocolate-covered strawberries are best eaten within 48 hours of preparation.  They can be refrigerated or stored at room temperature in airtight containers.  My refrigerated ones collected beads of condensation. One method that I read about suggests to store them in the refrigerator in a container with a paper towel and a little baking soda to prevent excess moisture from creeping in. I can't wait to try that next time!


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