Don’t pitch your next empty spice bottle. Instead, fill it with unsweetened, chocolate cocoa powder. There’s a world of experimentation out there for this big, yet mellow, tangy, musky, dense flavor of chocolate in more of our dinnertime dishes.
Chocolate had its beginnings with the Aztecs in Mexico around 1544. Later, a group of Mayans from Guatemala took gifts of chocolate to Spain. In their moles, Mexicans ritually combined bitter chocolate with chiles, onions, garlic, tomato, sesame seeds, almonds, corn tortillas, raisins, clove, cinnamon, coriander, olive oil and chicken broth.
The New World, however preferred its chocolate in the sweet dessert zone, in candies, cakes, cookies and brownies. Their recipes generally contained melted chocolate or dry cocoa powder with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, a liquid, baking soda and vanilla, rather than spices.
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, especially the darker chocolates. White chocolate, which is mostly fat and sugar, is considered least nutritious.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHOCOLATE:
Once you and your family have a better idea of what you like chocolate flavoring in, move on to the meltables with even broader choices in chocolate flavoring opportunities.
UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE: Pure chocolate liquor, the bitterest, used mostly for baking
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE: Slightly sweetened version of unsweetened chocolate
CAROB: Low-calorie chocolate substitute made of the mashed fruit of a Mediterranean pine tree.
COCOA POWDER: Powdered form of cocoa where nearly all fat is removed. Popular in low-fat cooking.
SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE: Often seen as “chocolate chips,” they are semisweet chocolate blended with sugar, cocoa butter and flavorings.
WHITE CHOCOLATE: Contains no chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, added milk products and sugar.
MILK CHOCOLATE: The sweetest, has powdered milk, sugar, vanilla and cocoa butter added.
Depending upon your recipe, chocolate can be friends with:
- Bacon/pork belly
- Bbq sauce
- Chile sauce
- Chipotle sauce
- Dried fruit
- Goat’s cheese ice cream
- Marinara sauce
- Meat rub
- Olive pure
- Salad dressing
- Sesame seed/tahini
- Tomato soup
- Wild game
Pinterest has an interesting collection of savory dishes with chocolate added.