Thursday, April 30, 2015

Melted Dark Chocolate on Toast

I melted a bag of price rite semi sweet chocolate chips with a box of BAKER'S semisweet baking chocolate, slowly in a double boiler. Then I spread some on my sourdough toast instead of margarine. It was an excellent breakfast. Store the leftover chocolate in a glass canning jar. It will harden as it cools. Reheat in microwave as needed.

Eating chocolate the Spanish way.
Alejandra Garcia

Drinking chocolate, white chocolate truffles, hazelnut-chocolate muffins — the Spanish love it all. Small children, for example, snack on chocolate sandwiches, made with bread in the shape of a hot dog bun filled with chocolate paste.

Spain has taught me to eat chocolate for breakfast. The Spanish go out at night until the wee hours of the morning, and then have a cup of chocolate for breakfast on their way home, before going to sleep.

Small cafeterias stay open throughout the night to serve straggling club-goers and early-rising tourists chocolate con churros, a breakfast or afternoon snack that involves dipping fried dough — churros — into a cup of warm, melted drinking chocolate. The churros are made of flour, water and butter and can be shaped into any form — short strips or circles, for example.

Everywhere from Barcelona to Marbella, I've been to churrerias (shops that only serve churros con chocolate) where paper plates are piled with coils of churros sprinkled with sugar. Because nearly all Spanish homes are equipped with small deep fryers, it's not unusual to have homemade churros for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Perhaps it's the experimental spirit of the Spanish in the kitchen that fuses chocolate with nearly anything that's edible. One of the country's most celebrated chefs, Ferran Adria, has been called a "molecular gastronomist" for using liquid nitrogen and calcium chloride in his cooking. He created a chocolate beef stock that caused quite a stir, but one of his most adored and simple recipes calls for toasted bread dabbed with bittersweet chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil. It sounds odd, but why not?

Valor, one of the longest-running and most popular brands of chocolate in Spain, has integrated into its box of bonbons unusual flavors that reflect the most important ingredients of Spanish cooking: black chocolate with olive oil and tomato; vinegar and milk chocolate; or whiskey and champagne with hazelnut paste and white chocolate.

For me, chocolate is best in its purest and simplest forms. A single bar of chocolate with a high cocoa (or cacao) content makes perfect company while I'm working away at the computer, or when I need a late-night nibble.