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For the love of chocolate

If you love chocolate, you’ve probably already discovered that it goes well with just about anything: Coffee. Red wine. Milk. Even – yes, seriously – beer.

But, just like fine wines deserve the perfect main course; great chocolates should be served with a beverage that complements their unique flavor and texture.

Celebrate National Chocolate Month – and Valentine’s Day – with some of these classic, and not-so-classic, pairings.

Events will be held at all stores sharing our love for chocolate. So don’t miss demonstrations on preparing chocolate, samples, special deals and more in the month of February at your local Brookshire’s.

Molten chocolate cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 8

1/2 cup butter
8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave butter and chocolate for 30 seconds; repeat in intervals of 15 seconds until chocolate is melted. Add sugar, eggs, egg yolks and flour; mix well. Chop shredded coconut and add to chocolate batter. Spray 4 ramekins with cooking spray and pour batter into each ramekin. Place ramekins onto baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 16 minutes or until sides are firm but middle is still gooey. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cakes and flip over onto plate.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving (half of cake): 385, Fat: 23 g (15 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 136 mg, Sodium: 122 mg, Carbohydrates: 40 g, Fiber: 1 g, Protein: 5 g

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Chocolate-Pecan Covered Strawberries
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 10

1 lb strawberries
6 oz dark chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Wash and dry strawberries. In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds and stir; repeat in intervals of 15 seconds until chocolate is melted. Stir vanilla extract into chocolate. Dip strawberries into chocolate and then chopped pecans; place on wax paper to harden.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 125, Fat: 7 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 4 mg, Sodium: 14 mg, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Fiber: 2 g, Protein: 2 g

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Cookie Crumble Balls
Prep Time: 2 hours
Serves: 24

1 (12 oz) pkg Food Club Cookies or cookies from Brookshire’s Bakery
3/4 cup frosting (Cream Cheese, Chocolate or Butter Cream)
12 oz chocolate (white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate)
optional toppings: sprinkles, chopped nuts or mini chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break cookies in half and place in a food processor; process until coarse cookie crumbles. Add frosting into food processor; process until cookies are well combined. Roll cookies crumbles into balls and place on parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour. Chop chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate for 30 seconds and stir; repeat in 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Once chocolate is melted, place a toothpick or skewer into cookie ball. Dip cookie ball into chocolate, shake off excess chocolate, dip in topping and place onto parchment paper. Refrigerate cookie crumble balls for 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 238, Fat: 12 g (5 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 17 mg, Sodium: 118 mg, Carbohydrates: 31 g, Fiber: 0 g, Protein: 3 g

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© 2011, Brookshire Grocery Co. Nutrient counts are rounded to the nearest whole number. All dietary and lifestyle changes should be supervised by a physician.

Bittersweet, Dark and Premium Chocolates: The fastest-growing category of chocolate. Darker varieties owe their new popularity partly to their perceived health benefits and partly to the explosion of “gourmet” and  European-style chocolates on the market. A premium dark chocolate may be as much as 80 percent chocolate liquor or cacao, giving it a super-intense, full-bodied taste. Bittersweet chocolate is often used in baking, but many of the newer gourmet darks are meant to be nibbled as a stand-alone treat.

Serve it with: A full-bodied red wine, such as a Zinfandel or a Cabernet Sauvignon, or a dessert wine like a sherry or a tawny port.

Milk Chocolate : The first chocolate most of us know and love, milk chocolate gets its smooth, mild sweetness from added milk fat. It has less cocoa liquor than darker chocolates, so the chocolate flavor is less intense. Because of their high fat content, milk chocolates scorch easily and aren’t usually a good choice for baking.

Serve it with: Espresso or French-roast coffee. The creamy sweetness of milk chocolate contrasts perfectly with the rich, dark, almost bitter notes of a well-brewed coffee.

Semisweet Chocolate :  Think of a chocolate chip cookie – the chips in the classic childhood favorite are almost always semi-sweet. Semi-sweet is sweeter and lighter than bittersweet (baking) chocolate or the newer gourmet dark varieties, but not as milky or sweet as milk chocolate. Chocolate-dipped pretzels make a perfect accompaniment.

Serve it with: Beer – especially raspberry ale or other fruit lambic; a stout or porter with chocolate undertones; or a brown ale with a nutty flavor.

White Chocolate : Not really a chocolate at all, white chocolate is a combination of sugar, cocoa butter and milk, but none of the cocoa paste, liquor, or powder that gives chocolate its dark color and characteristic flavor. Good-quality white chocolate is rich, sweet, almost nutty, and so creamy it melts in your mouth.

Serve it with: A light sparkling wine or demi-sec Champagne. Also good:
a café latte or cappuccino.

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