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An ode to chocolate

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white hot chocolate

WARM UP Add sweetness to a chilly night with a cozy mug of Peace Meals’ white hot chocolate. (Photo: The Junior League of Houston)

Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.

Turn on the television or walk down the greeting-card aisle and you will see that chocolate is the MVP of Valentine’s Day. If chocolate is your love language, what chocolate do you choose?

From Stop and Smell the Rosemary: “Chocolate is produced from the pods of the cacao tree, which are roasted and cracked open. The meat of the bean is processed into cocoa butter and chocolate liquor, a paste made from the nonfat solids, and then blended back together with sugar, vanilla, and milk.”

Milk chocolate has a lower cocoa content than semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, two types of dark chocolate, with semi-sweet containing more sugar. White chocolate does not contain cocoa bean paste, so while it is not a true chocolate, that distinction is irrelevant to fans!

For a decadent treat, I love the Over-the-Top Fudgy Brownies from Peace Meals, which combine semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate with espresso. The recipe calls for Milky Way, but feel free to swap for Snickers, York Peppermint Patties or other chocolate candy.

If you love chocolate but are still clinging to New Year’s resolutions, the Chocolate Fondue Sauce, also from Peace Meals, is perfect paired with fruit or angel food cake. This is an easy, impressive substitute for store-bought chocolate covered strawberries. (You can also drizzle it over brownies.)

The White Chocolate Brownies from Stop and Smell the Rosemary are another unexpected twist on a dessert staple. Serve with homemade chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream, fresh mint and berries for a restaurant-worthy finale to a meal.

Finally, hot chocolate is a great choice for a chilly night. While powdered mix is acceptable in a pinch, Peace Meals has easy recipes for both white and dark hot chocolate, so rich and creamy that no marshmallows are needed!

Treat your loves to the gift of chocolate this February – and include yourself on that list.

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