We all have our own variety of "comfort food,"particular items or dishes that calm our nerves. Mine is chocolate. To be more specific, dark chocolate. I can be in the worst mood ever, but after a few minutes of intake of the magic food, I'm transported to high levels of ecstasy. On those occasions when I actually need to eat chocolate for my sanity, I've been known to walk distance in order to fine it. When most people travel, they seek out antique shops, or good restaurants. I look for chocolate shops.
History of Chocolate
For those of you who are hooked on chocolate, as I am, you will be fascinated, as I was, to know that cocoa bean , from which chocolate is made, was first cultivated by the Aztec Indians, then located in Mexico. Columbus sent cocoa beans back to Spain in 1502, which was the return of his fourth voyage to the New World. Spaniards were at first mystified by the bitterness of the beans, and because Columbus provided no instruction nor insight on how they were to be used, they remained on the shelf, so to speak, for a long time.In the sixteen century, Spanish nuns serving in Mexico were the first to add sugar to the bitter beans, making them edible. Cocoa beans were considered so valuable that for years it was forbidden to export them from Spain to other countries. In earlier times chocolate was part of bequests in wills of the aristocracy. But because they were made a part of the dowries of royal marriages, when Marie Therese, who was daughter of Philip IV, married King Louis XIV of France, she took with her the cocoa bean part of her dowry. That was the break in the chocolate dam that soon spilled all over the world.Of course, it was the French who added milk to the cocoa, resulting in the hot chocolate we know and love today. And then, it took American ingenuity to mass produce making it available to everyone,m rich and poor alike. But because American chocolate producers used lower grade cocoa, added dairy fat and other stuff to the mix, European chocolate producer s began to denounce American chocolate and tried to have it labeled as "imitation chocolate.". It did not work.I use chocolate to dust my baklava and to put me in the wow zone every time I eat couple pieces of dark chocolate.Here is my recipe for Chocolate and Walnut Baklava TulipMakes 8 cups6 large baklava sheets, cover the sheets with moist towel to prevent drying1/2 cup unsalted butter1 cup crushed walnuts3 tablespoons orange marmalade1 teaspoon sugar2 tablespoons cocoa powder1/2 cup honey-Melt the butter and gently brush one sheet. Place another sheet on top and repeat until you reach the last sheet. Brush the last sheet, sprinkle with the cocoa powder.-Cut the sheet into 8 equal pieces.-Gently push each piece into mini bundt cup cake.-Mix the ground walnut wit orange marmalade and the sugar. Divide the walnut mixture between the filo cups. Bake in a 300 F. oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the honey and little powder cocoa. Cool and serve.