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Chocolate Tasting Party
for Valentine's Day (or any day!)
Part 3

"Forget love -- I'd rather fall in chocolate!" -- author unknown

Finally you will want to move to Phase III - Dark Chocolate. Dark Chocolate has at least 85% cocoa -more than double the amount in milk chocolate. Some people find dark chocolate to be too strong.

The only thing "more-chocolatey" than Dark Chocolate is pure 100% chocolate. The problem is, without added sugar and other ingredients, pure chocolate is just too bitter to eat.

For cooking it's a different story because the chocolate will pick up the flavors and sweetness of the other ingredients. So for cooking - it's 100% chocolate. For eating, find the level of sweetness and creaminess you like and indulge!

I would again suggest something easy to pick up - like these Dark Chocolate Brownies. Sure, you can make some pretty great Brownies from a mix, but just wait 'til you try these!

Darkest Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup Sweet (unsalted) Butter (not margarine)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • cup light brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped (not ground)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan, stirring constantly.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the remainder of the ingredients.
  • Prepare a 9 x 9 baking pan by generously buttering all surfaces.
  • Pour in the batter and spread evenly throughout the pan.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until firm. The Brownies will begin to pull away from the sides.
  • Cool before cutting.

There are some good dark chocolate candy bars that would work here, such as Dove or Godiva.

So now your guests have sipped on chocolate (hot, cold and with or without alcohol). They've munched on chocolate popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate fudge and chocolate brownies. You may also want to invest in one of the chocolate fountains that are so popular today.

A nice selection of fruits (strawberries, pineapple, apples) would be nice, or even cubes of pound cake or pretzel sticks. Maybe some chocolate candies such as truffles or even a nice box of assorted creams in various spots around the party area.

You'll notice I haven't mentioned white chocolate. That's because although you may or may not like it, it is NOT chocolate by any legal definition.

If you want to really get fancy there is Mexican chocolate which adds cinnamon and sugar to real chocolate. Even for the most devoted chocolate lover there comes a time when enough is too much. Be sure to have some salty snacks around (nuts, pretzels, chips) to break up the sweetness of all the chocolates. Some mints might be a nice touch too.

If you still want to do more, offer your guests a little bundle of Hershey's chocolate kisses as a "parting gift" or even a pre-measured packet of hot chocolate in one of the many flavors available now (Chocolate Raspberry is a personal favorite!)

It really doesn't matter how much chocolate you have on hand, or who brings what. What matters is that you get together with your friends and celebrate.

Whether it's Valentines Day or the first Tuesday of the month, it doesn't matter. Just get together with your friends and share the good times. (And a little chocolate wouldn't hurt!)




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