Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How About a Little Chocolate for the Holidays?

If any of you, my dear readers, don't like chocolate, I don't want to hear about it. And besides, I probably love it enough for all of us. Christmas is one of the four great chocolate holidays of my year, also including Valentine's Day, Easter, and Hallowe'en, of course. Yummy. There's always lots of chocolate in our stockings, and laid out on the coffee table. But how about incorporating it into our holiday entertaining recipes as well?

Here are just a few delicious ideas from Green & Blacks Organic. They make a scrumptious array of high quality organic chocolates from ethically sourced ingredients, so you can feel extra good about serving them to your guests. I've been working my way through a selection of them, and none have survived long enough to get into a recipe so far. My favourite? Probably the Toffee. I love the surprising crunch of buttery, sugary goodness. But the Ginger is good too. Very different and intense. Of course you can't go wrong with the creamy richness of the 34% cacao milk chocolate. MMM....

Anyway, check these out!

Chocolate cocktails all around! Have your guests enjoy a "Mayan Pine" while they wait for dinner to be served.

Green & Black’s Organic Mayan Pine

60ml (2oz) Havana Maestro
20ml (¾ oz) Harvey’s Bristol Cream
120ml (4oz) Double cream
½ Cinnamon stick
2 Vanilla pods
10ml (¼oz) Vanilla syrup
4 Dashes of Allspice
½ Dash Cayenne
1 tsp. Honey
8 Blocks Green & Black’s Organic Maya Gold Chocolate

Directions: Heat all ingredients but the alcohol on steam wand. Double strain and combine in glass.
Serve in a cobbler glass and garnish with a sprinkle of chocolate.

Recipe created by the team at The Churchill Bar and Terrace in London for Green & Black’s Organic. For more information visit www.london.churchill.hyatt.co.uk

For your main course, how about some chocolate chicken?

Green & Black’s Organic Chicken Mole

2 Garlic cloves
2 Onions
2 tsp. Smoked sweet paprika
8 Chicken pieces on the bone
2 tbsp. Olive oil
400g (14oz) Canned red kidney beans
400g (14oz) Canned chopped tomatoes
75g (2.5 oz) Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate
Pinch Salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Crush the garlic cloves and slice the onions,
In a large, flameproof casserole dish seal the chicken portions in a little olive oil. Brown lightly and then add the garlic and sliced onions.
Once the onions are lightly browned, add the tomatoes and the red kidney beans including their juice, the smoked sweet paprika and 50g (2oz) of the chocolate.
Bring to a simmer, then place in the oven and cook for at least 1 hour and 30 minutes. Skim the surface to remove the fat from the chicken.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary. Add another 25g (1/2 oz) of dark chocolate to taste.
The sauce will be a rich, thick velvety brown with a gloss all of its own.
Makes: 4 servings

Recipe courtesy of Green & Black’s Organic

And then you can end the evening off with a bite of sweet chocolately pecan delight.

Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate and Pecan Pie 

255g (9 oz) Ready-made sweet short crust pastry
85g (3 oz) Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate (finely chopped)
5 tbsp. Unsalted butter
2 Large free-range eggs
1/3 cup Superfine sugar
½ cup Corn syrup
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
100g (3 ½ oz) Pecans (finely chopped)
100g (3 ½ oz) Pecan halves (to decorate)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the shortcrust pastry to the thickness of a quarter. Use it to line an eight inch loose-bottomed quiche pan with 1 ¼ inch straight-edged sides but do not trim off the excess. Chill until needed.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Cool slightly.
Place the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and cooled chocolate mixture in a large bowl and beat together until smooth. Fold in the chopped pecans, then pour into the pastry. Trim the pastry to ½ an inch above the filling. Decorate the surface with the pecan halves.
Transfer the pie to the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until just set.

Makes: 8 servings

Recipe courtesy of Green & Black’s Organic
Now wouldn't that be a decadent evening? Chocolate from start to finish. Of course Green & Blacks is also great to eat on its own, as I've definitely proven. The 3.5 oz bars make perfect stocking stuffers for chocolate aficionados! (Do you think my husband is reading this?)

Disclosure: I received complimentary product to try and to thank me for sharing some entertaining ideas. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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