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Make Your Own At-Home Chocolate Festival

Monday, February 20, 2012

By: Amy S. Lowe
Weare, NH
The Mom Hood

Did you know the annual Mt. Washington Chocolate Festival is coming up on February 26th? It sounds divine; full of chocolate prepared in every way conceivable. The best part is that I'm pretty sure the calories don't count since you cross-country ski from location to location.

Inspired by the event (and currently not willing to have to exercise for my food), I came up with some easy, tempting treats that you can make at home:

Chocolate dipped strawberries: The only way (as far as I'm concerned) to eat strawberries! Wash and gently pat dry your strawberries. Melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Dip strawberries into melted chocolate, set on wax paper and put in the refrigerator until hardened.

Double chocolate microwave brownie in a mug: Some days I just don't feel like getting out the mixing bowls, dirtying pans and making a batch of brownies. And then there's the temptation! A quick and easy microwave-brownie is perfect for when the mood strikes! Only one mug is dirtied and I don't have an entire batch of brownies calling my name. To make, simply combine 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons canola oil and 2 tablespoons water in a microwave-safe mug. Put in microwave for 1 minute, or until done.

Chocolate filled strawberries: We thought it'd be fun to switch it up a little and put the chocolate inside the strawberry! For this dessert, we used large strawberries that the grocery store had on sale; the bigger the strawberries, the easier it is to fill them. Wash and pat strawberries dry. Cut green stem off, leaving a flat surface. Cut strawberries tips off, and leave a flat surface. Carefully, using a paring knife, hollow out as much of the inside as you can and set on wax paper. Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Carefully, using a butter knife, drop melted chocolate into the now hollow center. Refrigerate until hardened.

Chocolate covered peanut butter crackers: These treats are super fun for kids to make! We used natural peanut butter and butter-crackers to make 12 "sandwiches" (if you're using natural peanut butter, you might want to stick the sandwiches in the freezer until peanut butter hardens). Set the sandwiches on wax paper, then take 1 cup of chocolate chips and melt in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Using a fork, gently place the cracker sandwich into the melted chocolate. Gently lift out using your fork and a spoon to cover the top and set on wax paper. Refrigerate until hardened.

Homemade Hot cocoa: No need to reach for a box of the pre-made stuff when it's so easy to make your own. Just pour one cup of milk into a microwave-safe mug, and microwave until hot. Add in 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa, 2 tablespoons sugar, stir and top with your favorite toppings! We added marshmallows and chocolate chips for an extra chocolaty kick. Dairy free? It's easy enough to substitute unsweetened coconut milk in this recipe, and it still tastes delicious.

Homemade Chocolate syrup: If you ever find yourself looking at a dish and thinking, "Boy, that'd taste a lot better with chocolate," you're in luck! Here's a simple recipe for chocolate syrup that goes great on pancakes, biscuits, oatmeal, ice cream and well, just about anything! You'll need 1-cup sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 cup milk. Combine all in saucepan and cook on low until slightly thick.

Chocolate crescent rolls: We tried this recipe from Pillsbury a few years ago for a birthday breakfast, and it's been a family favorite ever since! All you need is a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls, chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Preheat the oven to 350 and separate the crescent rolls onto a 13x9 baking sheet. Put a tablespoon of chocolate chips on each crescent rolls and roll up so that the chips are totally enclosed by the crescent dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, remove from oven and sprinkle powdered sugar (or the chocolate sauce from above) on the top.


Amy S. Lowe can be reached at themomhood@gmail.com or visit The Mom Hood.


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