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Easter without chocolate? No way!

By Anne L. Desjardins

In a previous food column, I told you all about the history and the making of chocolate, not to mention its amazing health benefits. Another time, I also shared a few recipes for hot chocolate. Now, with Easter approaching, I feel I should complete the chocolate theme to offer you my favorite tips and recipes for easy camp cooking with chocolate. Some of them are easy to make ahead of time to carry as a candy bar; others will be the most exquisite way to finish off a nice camp meal.

Just keep in mind that there are different qualities of chocolate. Search for the one made with cocoa butter and/or liquor and pure vanilla extract instead of vanillin. Chocolate with a 70 % cocoa content is excellent for cooking and is very rich in polyphenols and precious antioxydants. Remember that chocolate should be kept in an airtight container and each layer must be protected from the other with a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Black chocolate will keep easily for 10 days if the weather is not too hot and humid and if it is placed close to the bottom of your boat and away from the sun at all times.

Recipes

Homemade fruity double chocolate barks
(6-8 portions)

  • 1 cup pecans roasted 10 minutes, cooled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 4 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz dark chocolate (60 to 70 % cocoa)
In a small pot, melt dark chocolate. Add nuts and dried fruit and mix well. Spread to desired thickness (about half an inch) on a cookie sheet which has been covered with plastic wrap. Then melt the white chocolate and pour over the dark chocolate mixture. Use a fork to lace white chocolate with dark chocolate. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours. Then wrap each bark in wax paper before taking it to your next paddling trip. Will easily keep 10 days in an airtight container.


Chocolate and peanut butter French Toasts

    For Each Person:
  • 2 slices multigrain bread or English muffin
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten with a bit of milk or water
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 oz 60 to 70 % dark chocolate
  • Butter or vegetable oil for the pan
Spread peanut butter evenly on both slices of multigrain bread as for a sandwich. Place chocolate on the bottom slice and cover with the other slice. Press gently. Add sugar and cinnamon to the beaten egg mixture. Dip the peanut butter sandwich in batter, then place on a preheated, well-greased pan. Cook over low heat approximately 10 minutes on each side, pressing gently with a spatula from time to time, until bread is golden brown and chocolate is melted. Serve with maple syrup or jam.


Easy chocolate fondue
(4 portions)

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (or UHT milk with a bit of butter)
  • 12 oz 60 to 70 % dark chocolate
  • Pretzels, apple, orange and banana slices, grapes, pound cake or oatmeal cookies in small bites
In a saucepan melt chocolate in cream (or milk) over low heat. Serve directly from the saucepan with a plate of pretzels, fruit slices, cake or cookie pieces to dip in the fondue.


Chocolate sand dollars
(8-10 sand dollars)

  • 8 oz dark chocolate (60 to 70%)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped apricots
  • 2 tbsp chopped dried cherries
In a heavy saucepan, slowly melt chocolate. On wax paper, pour one spoonful of melted chocolate and give it a round, thin shape the size of a sand dollar (approx. 2 in. diameter). Working quickly to make sure chocolate doesn’t harden, add a bit of ginger, hazelnuts, apricots and cherries on each sand dollar. Put in the fridge to harden. Store in an airtight container lined with parchment or waxed paper to prevent the chocolate sand dollars from sticking to one another.


Fruity camper chocolate pudding
(4 portions)

  • 2 large cans of good quality ready-to-eat chocolate pudding
  • 3 oz Triple sec or Grand Marnier liquor (optional)
  • 1 small can tangerines in syrup, drained
  • 4 tbsp mini marshmallows
  • 4 tbsp green grapes, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
Stir all ingredients with the chocolate pudding and serve immediately with cookies.



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