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It's "National Chocolate Month" - thank you, February!

It's "National Chocolate Month" - thank you, February!

chocolate month

Recently we discovered that February is "National Chocolate Lovers Month". Why the shortest month was selected to pay homage to the greatest confection in the world is anyone's guess, but we're totally on board with celebrating the brilliance of cacao. So. On. Board.

So, like any good host, we decided to invite our office to bring in some chocolate treats, whether homemade or store-bought, and we've documented the decadence for your delight, below. Obviously we needed to make sure these recipes and treats were safe for consumption, so we spent substantial time testing all our recommendations before passing them along. (Never let it be said we're not willing to take one for the team. :) )

Fudgy, dense brownies

Mel found this recipe a few years ago, adapted from Martha Stewart, and has since pinned it to her "Favor recipes tried, true & tested" Pinterest board because they truly do turn out chewy and delicious. They always taste even better the day after baking she assures us. "A few tweaks I made was [first] to use coconut oil and Earth Balance instead of butter. I also made sure to use a little less sugar," Mel commented. "For the chocolate, I used Baker's semi-sweet chocolate chunks (the best for baking!) and Scharffen Berger Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, which enhanced the richness of the chocolate flavor." And, let us tell you, Mel knows her stuff about perfected recipes, so there's absolutely NO reason not to get crackin' on this...like yesterday!

chocolate month

Chocolate wacky cake

Mel brings more chocolatey decadence to this post with this fave recipe. "I previously brought this cake into the office, topped with peanut butter icing (luckily there are no peanut allergies here) and it was a hit." Yeah, we'll go ahead and verify that account - there was a somewhat mad scramble to the office kitchen. "It's decadent and easy to make too, so it's always my go-to recipe for birthdays. It's interesting that the recipe for this cake, which has no milk or eggs, originated during War times, when milk and eggs were scarce." So, thanks to Mel, your tastebuds are enjoying cocoa, while your brain is experiencing a bit of a trip through some belt-tightening, but sacrificial days of history. Who'd have seen that coming?

chocolate month

Chocolate bars - pure & simple

Brian's approach is a bit less recipe-based. And, while he assures us it's because the sampling of chocolate straight (like a good bourbon or espresso) is the purist's way to enjoy chocolate to-the-max, we believe it might be because he's not-so-comfortable in the kitchen. Regardless of the reason, this is certainly still one of the best ways to enjoy good ol' cocoa. Brian brought in a few varieties of the Endangered Species brand: Natural Milk Chocolate (48% cocoa), Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans (72% cocoa) and Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs (72% cocoa).

A nice sidenote with this brand, if you feel any guilt indulging, is that donates 10% of their net profits to partner organizations that support species conservation. So, grab another bite, your conscience is covered!

chocolate month

Regardless of your preference, there are many artisan-style chocolate bars on the market now: Green & Black's, Vosges and Pacari to name but a few that span the globe. And, they've got all sorts of cocoa percentages, add-ins (from sea salt to chili pepper to vanilla bean) and equally impressive packaging. So, there's a chocolate bar for every style of chocolate connoisseur.

Brix chocolate...for wine

Whoever decided to pair Danielle's two favorite things is a genius. This play on words (Brix is the amount of residual sugar in wine and "bricks" being bricks of chocolate) tells you exactly what this dessert is for - pairing your chocolate with red wine. Complete with levels of dark and milk chocolate and pairing suggestions, you'll be amazed how the chocolate enhances the taste of the wine, and vice versa. It's a perfect marriage.

Chocolate, for wine! It's like manna from heaven.

We brought chocolate month to the office. Here are some pictures of our favorite chocolatey treats.

These not enough? Try Larry's Coconut Flour Chocolate Lava Cakes, or here are 60 more chocolate recipes for any chocoholic!

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