Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Final Stateside Post- Chocolate!

Weather permitting, I board a 6 am flight to Washington DC on Sunday and begin my heavily publicized adventure. With the GMAT out of the way, I am now day-dreaming about lush green landscapes and speaking Spanish. The Peace Corps has connected me with a mentor, a young woman who has been in Costa Rica for a year now, to guide me through my first year. I've been lucky enough to chat with her a few times and gain some valuable tips for the upcoming 27 months.

First, hiking boots and Birkenstocks are essentials...and second, good dark chocolate isn't as abundant as one might think.

And so my boots and Birkenstocks lay waiting to be packed, while I present you with the first ingredient of Beyond Rice and Beans...chocolate.

With this blog's official 'first ingredient'. I made a delicious banana coconut chocolate chip cookie in an attempt to evoke the tastes of my future tropical home. I know in some places, like London, chocolate chips are very hard to come by, so please feel free to post any recipe that uses chocolate in anyway-(yes even unwrapping a candy bar counts)!

I made these the day before I took my exam, and didn't want to sugar load, so anyone not on the health food train will find these very...interesting. The recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson's blog 101cookbooks.

Tropical Chocolate Chip Cookies

Note: The almond meal can be made by pulsing the almonds in a (clean) coffee grinder or food processor, but be careful not to go too far or you'll end up with almond butter. Also coconut oil can be softened by running under warm water.

3 large ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm (or olive oil works)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal
1/2 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6-7 ounces chocolate chips or slivers of a dark chocolate bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks on the top third.

In a large bowl stir together the mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. In another bowl combine the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate slivers/chips. The dough will be different than standard cookie dough (and won't taste as delicious from the bowl)- but don't worry! Drop spoonfuls of the dough, about an inch apart, onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for (around) 14 minutes- I like them when the oats and coconut are a bit toasty and the banana is warm... I can just taste Costa Rica!

And now your turn, what is your favorite recipe or favorite way to eat chocolate?!


  1. Well, I did get to sample the Tropical CCCs and can pronounce them truly bite-e-licious. I do believe I ate more than one! My favourite way to eat chocolate is straight from the wrapper! No, seriously, I do enjoy the "Trois Bombes Aux Chocolat" from Julia Child (3 bomb chocolate - cake, mousse and sauce). I've made it maybe 10 times and will post the recipe if I can find it and the time - like all JC recipes, it goes on for ever! But worth it...

  2. Well, I do consider chocolate a basic food group. This recipe is from Alice Medrich, my favorite choco cookbook writer. I like it because it is much less rich than the usual mousse. Instead of cream, you can use milk, coffee or even water


    6oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    1/4 cup water, coffee or milk
    1 1/2 TBS rum or liquor
    3 eggs
    3 TBS water
    3 TBS sugar
    whipped cream(optional)

    Place the chocolate and the liquid in a medium heatproof bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted. Stir in the liquor and set aside.

    In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the eggs with 3 TBS water and sugar until well blended. Set the bowl in a skillet of almost simmering water and stir constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling, cook until an instant read thermometer reaches 160,

    Remove the bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed for 3-4 mins, until the eggs have the texture of whipped cream. Fold into the chocolat mixture one quarter of the eggs and then fold in the remaining. Pour into a bowl and chill for at least 1 hour.

    Can serve with whipped cream.