Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate and Coffee - two lovely food groups

That's right, chocolate and coffee are food groups; ask any woman and she'll tell you it's a fact. I feel sorry for you if you try to argue the point; you'll lose and not well.

When a female feels, well anything really, chocolate and coffee are needed; doesn't matter if we're happy, sad, angry, feeling well or ill. In other words, we don't need an excuse to indulge in these beauties at all.

My personal favorites for chocolate are: Godiva ( ); a Belgian creation with its smooth, rich chocolate and luscious die for. I mean come on, how can you not love a chocolate that Hercule Poirot himself endorses; a connoisseur of chocolate himself. That's correct, in Godiva's newest television commerical, David Suchet, who plays Hercule Poirot (one of Agatha Christie's great sleuths)does the voice over.

The second is Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory ( ); I especially love their Caramel Apples (crisp Granny Smith apples covered in caramel and a range of decadent toppings).

The chocolate confections from these companies are not the type that you cram in your mouth, or eat at a fast pace. They are meant for savoring; if you want a mouthful of chocoate, grab a Hershey or Nestle Crunch bar.

Now to coffee, while a regular cup of coffee might be good in a pinch, I prefer the flavored coffees. They can be purchased in any grocery store and flavors available for any desire. I don't really care for the flavored creams offered in the dairy section. While they offer a mild taste of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, etc; I find that they tend to thin out the coffee, much the same using nonfat milk would do. I like my coffee creamy, so use half n' half; personal preference, that's all. My favorite flavor is Vanilla Nut Creme, and the best brand I have ever purchased for this flavor is from Papa Nicolas ( ). The French Vanilla and French Caramel Creme are very good too. They also offer a selection of Numi teas; I so recommend the Moroccan Mint.

So, chocolate and coffee can be drunk, eaten, and also cooked and baked with. I have heard of putting both into chili, and I have tried using unsweetened cocoa powder in chili, but I prefer baking and making desserts with them. Here is a cookie recipe that you might enjoy trying, especially if you love chocolate and coffee.

Coffee Kisses
These cookies can be made with espresso, a flavored coffee made strong, or Kahlua (the alcohol will bake off, and just leave the coffee flavor).

½ cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 Tbsp coffee or Kahlua
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking powder
Hershey chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 375F. Use nonstick baking sheets, or spray with nonstick baking spray (contains flour).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth; add eggs one at a time, then the coffee; mix until smooth and creamy.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.

Use a teaspoon to place mixture onto cookie sheets; bake for 10 minutes. While still hot, insert a chocolate kiss into center of each cookie. Let cool.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Mary Cokenour