By Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
Today the weather is full of twists and turns for California. I just heard on CNN a Twister Warning report for Los Angeles. At Lake Tahoe we are waiting for our second snowstorm--a stronger one--part of a serial series. What's more, flooding advisories are in the works--even for the Sierra. And California, my native home, is getting wet, wet, wet (as I predicted in the my Earth Changes column in the December issue of Oracle 20/20 magazine) this year. During all this stormy weather, I was craving chocolate. After all, its feel good compounds, from endorphins, PEA (the love drug) to serotonin, make people feel good during rain or shine. So, it's time to bake a batch of brownies...
Some time ago, I did buy a gourmet chocolate brownie mix and used olive oil. So, I didn't feel guilty. Today, I'm going to share a homemade recipe from my book The Healing Powers of Chocolate. This recipe is created from one of my fave chocolate companies in the nation--Lake Champlain Chocolates. And yes, the walnuts and unsweetened chocolate--both boast monounsaturated fat--are part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet and good for you in moderation. Ditto with eggs and coffee.
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5 ounces LCC Unsweeteend chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
5 ounces sweet butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
10 ounces chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chocolate and butter in double boiler over medium heat. Cover until melted, stirring occasionally with wire whisk. Stir in coffeee to dissolve. Remove from double oiler and allow to cool slightly, uncovered. In separate bowl, beat eggs and salt together until slightly fluffy. Gradually add in sugar, beating at medium-high speed for 15 minutes. Stir vanilla and almond extract into chocolate mixture. On low speed, add this mixture to the eggs. Beat just enough to blend. Next add flour, still beating just enough to blend ingredients. Fold in nuts; spread evenly in baking pan. Put in oven and reduce to 400 degrees. Bake 20 to 22 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool and cut.
Earlier this morning when I was looking at this recipe and the Chocolate Brownies caught my attention, I was thinking of this Vermont-based company. Lake Champlain Chocolates uses only the freshest natural ingredients. And about an hour ago, my intuition delivered on cue. I heard a knock on the front door. A surprise box of chocolate arrived on my doorstep. Next blog post, I will share the special gifts I received from Lake Champlain Chocolates. Till then, remember, quality chocolate is Mother Nature's "food of the gods"--a healing gift year round.
P.S. Pair a warm brownie with a cup of hot chocolate. You'll feel great whether it's raining or snowing.