If you don't have a chocolate factory in your neighborhood I highly recommend getting one. They are GREAT. In our neighborhood we have Theo Chocolate, which makes organic, fair trade chocolate in small high-quality batches (without removing the cocoa butter which is apparently common practice in the chocolate industry) and they have happy well-paid employees that give high-energy tours of their factory while constantly slamming chocolate. They also have a CHOCOLATE UNIVERSITY where you can go learn about chocolate, where it comes from, how to prepare it, and why it is good for you (they used to actually prescribe chocolate and sell it in pharmacies, which is why it is made in segmented bars).
Theo also has REALLY GOOD CHOCOLATE and are always changing up what they have in the little store at the factory - so whenever I go I find lots of great new stuff (and lots of great samples!). This time they were getting geared up for Christmas, and had wine- or beer-and-chocolate taster sets, chocolate spa treatment gift baskets (including a peppermint-chocolate body lotion, oh my gosh!), whiskey confections (with real, good quality whiskey!), special holiday flavored chocolate bars, a section for vegans, a Jane Goodall line (with a copy of her latest book), and a list of holiday events and recipes. I signed up for the gingerbread house viewing in December and loaded up on some new recipes, then dropped a wad of cash on their excellent chocolate.
That night, we decided to make chocolate brownies using Theo dark chocolate bars. It is a typical brownie recipe, but calls for their Ivory Coast 75% cacao chocolate. Unfortunately, I realized after I was committed that I was two bars short of the Ivory Coast so we had to substitute the special holiday peppermint chocolate (70% cacao with peppermint chips). Then we used up all the butter and eggs in the refrigerator and baked it up. It turns out that peppermint chocolate brownies are pretty freaking awesome. The magic of the Theo chocolate was so powerful that we both ended up staying up well past 9 pm (and the baby too!).
Just the smell of chocolate brownies baking is magical. I think it triggers some sort of vortex that transports a person like me into a happy hallucination. Maybe it's just hormonal, I'm not sure, but it's good stuff.
On Sunday I incorporated the chocolate brownies into every meal. For breakfast, I just had a brownie (and some cereal, I'm not totally unhealthy). Then to supplement lunch I had brownies, sliced apple and cheese. Then after dinner, we had more brownies.
A 'healthy' after lunch snack on Sunday...
By dinner the brownies we served up were getting pretty small - but we still have half a pan to go!
I doubt we will have a problem finishing off these brownies. Not only are they delicious, but I think they are also giving me superpowers. This afternoon, I went to the Gap and scored big time - I actually found a half-price maternity coat that they told me last week they were sold out of. I'm telling you, it's magic!!