Friday, October 14
Today I have a Mexican brownies recipe for you. And it’s fair trade. And it’s delicious. Are you ready? Let’s go!
I love Mexican chocolate. I was first introduced to this wonderful flavor by my Mexican college roommate Estela. She brought me Abuelita Mexican hot chocolate tablets from home and I hoarded, um, I mean cherished them. (Okay, hoarded. I would not allow anyone to use that chocolate willy nilly!) Fast forward to today and basically if we go anywhere and anything is Mexican chocolate flavored, I order it. The hint of cinnamon and chile peppers paired with chocolate just makes me happy. (And it reminds me of Estela, too, which also makes me happy!)
Fair Trade USA approached me to help celebrate their Fair Moments campaign this month, which is all about showing how our small everyday decisions can have a huge impact, something I really believe. For the post I wanted to share a recipe that used lots of great fair trade ingredients, but for some reason I was having a hard time settling on something. Then, as I was sitting in my kitchen staring at a pile of fair trade goodies with the kids, discussing what we could make, Cate mentioned brownies. Then the cinnamon started chanting, “Abuelita, Abuelita, Abuelita” and I knew Mexican brownies had to happen. (Okay, maybe that last part didn’t happen, but whatever. Close enough.)
Brownies are one of our family’s favorites and probably the most frequently baked item around here, after chocolate chip cookies, of course. Anna and I decided to make the Mexican brownies together and had a great conversation about what fair trade means. We talked about which ingredients in the recipe were fair trade and about how they are ingredients we use all the time. It was really cool neat sharing this with my daughter and I was grateful I could show her how we actively support such a great cause day to day.
The best part was taste testing with Anna and my mom, trying to get the perfect amount of cayenne pepper and cinnamon in the brownies. In case you’re wondering, we succeeded. The brownies came out awesome and everyone in the family loved them (even my mom who was most certainly suspect when I used the words “cayenne” and “brownies” in the same sentence). The cinnamon and cayenne flavors come through but in a subtle way and without too much heat.
Before we get to the post, let’s do a Fair Trade giveaway! One lucky, randomly-selected winner will receive a package from Fair Trade USA with the following goodies:
- Wholesome Vanilla Frosting
- Cascadian Farm Organic Soft Baked Squares
- Marich Chocolates
- Mighty Leaf Tea
- Chuao Chocolates
- Honest Tea
- Larabar Chocolate Cherry Bites
- Frontier Natural Products Co-Op Cinnamon Sticks
- SunSpire Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
- Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
- Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour
- Immaculate Baking Co.’s Organic Chocolate Chip Mix
- Lundberg Family Farms Organic Jasmine Rice
- High Brew Coffee Cold Brew
To enter this Fair Trade giveaway, please do the following:
- Leave a comment on this post! (Optional: Tell us your favorite fair trade ingredient that you use all the time!)
- Bonus entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
- Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
- Follow This Week for Dinner on Pinterest! (Please leave a separate comment indicating you have done so. If you already follow, that counts!)
- All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on October 31, 2016.
And now, the recipe! I basically just used Ruth Reichl’s “A Better Brownie” recipe, which is one of my most favorite brownies. The brownies come out super fudgy and rich with this amazing crusty top that is to die for. Click here for the original non-spicy version. If you want to try the spicy version, here you go!Mexican BrowniesPrep timeCook timeTotal timeThis is one of my favorite brownie recipes, originally written by Ruth Reichl. I've given the recipe a Mexican twist with sugar and spice and everything nice...and Fair Trade!Author: Ruth Reichl (with Jane Maynard adaptations)Serves: 16Ingredients
- 5 ounces unsalted high-fat butter (I use regular old salted butter!)
- 5 ounces unsweetened fair trade chocolate
- 2 teaspoons best-quality, fair trade vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons fair trade ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fair trade cayenne pepper
- 4 farm fresh organic eggs (Jane note: my eggs are not farm fresh, everything turns out fine!)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose white flour (spooned into a cup and leveled with a knife)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Butter a 9x9 or 8x8 square pan and line the pan with parchment paper. Butter the bottom and sides once again.
- Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
- Beat the eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has turned very light and thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating on low until just mixed.
- Gently stir in the flour until it just disappears.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350ºF. Bake for 40 minutes; the brownies will be quite fudgy and a toothpick should come out not quite clean. Cool on a rack.
- Lift the brownies out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper. Set on a cutting board and cut into pieces.
The little plates in this post are from Q Squared NYC, in case you need to buy them because they are the CUTEST.
Thursday, September 22
Summer is over and I think it’s time I get back into posting more regularly again. I’ve missed you! Today I want to share a new discovery in our house: Barefoot & Chocolate Spreads.
A week or two ago I posted about Barefoot & Chocolate’s Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread on social media and had quite the response as well as a few questions about the product. Honestly, I think it deserves a quick blog post. I need more than 140 characters!
I discovered Barefoot & Chocolate through my work with Fair Trade USA and am so glad I did! They make Nutella-like chocolate spreads that are in my opinion better than their more famous counterpart. Here are a few things I’d like to mention that I didn’t specify on my social media posts:
- While Barefoot & Chocolate does make a hazelnut chocolate spread, I am head-over-heels in love with their Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread. The Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt is also mighty fine, as is the Hazelnut. But that Almond Coconut? Irresistible. (Note: You probably should like coconut…if not, go with the other two flavors!)
- Yes, Barefoot & Chocolate contains less sugar than Nutella and you can taste the difference. Barefoot & Chocolate’s spreads are, well, less sugary with a creamier texture. If you want to talk numbers, a 2-tablespoon serving of Nutella has 21 grams of sugar while Barefoot & Chocolate has 13 grams. Obviously there is STILL SUGAR and the fat content is the same as Nutella. It is a treat, after all (don’t be fooled by those Nutella commercials telling us chocolate for breakfast is healthy). But, yes, there is less sugar than Nutella, which I think is a good thing for nutritional and taste reasons.
- Barefoot & Chocolate is Fair Trade certified and many of the ingredients are organic.
- You can buy Barefoot & Chocolate on their website or in 2-packs on Amazon (click on the following flavor names for Amazon links: Almond Coconut Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt, and Hazelnut. You can get mix-and-match-the-flavor 2 packs on Amazon, too.)
PS: Graham crackers + Almond Coconut Chocolate Spread = THE BEST
Wednesday, May 4
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means two things for me. First, I am planning on not cooking this Sunday, or even parenting much at all (that’s how I like my Mother’s Day, nice and lazy). Second, I’m teaming up with Fair Trade USA once again to celebrate the amazing women farmers of fair trade! I think this might be my 4th Fair Trade Mother’s Day recipe and giveaway…I’ve lost track! Anyway, since it’s not Mother’s Day quite yet, I am still in the kitchen and today I’ve cooked up a batch of double chocolate coconut cookies that I am certain you will love.
But before we get to the recipe we need to meet a farmer. And do a giveaway, which includes tons of awesome fair trade goodies. Let’s go!
This year Fair Trade is focusing on the women of fair trade through their #FairHer campaign. Like ONE, another non-profit organization I work with frequently, Fair Trade recognizes how important it is to help women in order to tackle poverty. In fact, you can’t tackle poverty without focusing on women. And the work Fair Trade does empowers women in many ways, especially given that women produce more than 50% of the world’s food (ummmm…btw…they only own 2% of the land).
To make this all a little more real, I’d like you to meet one of those women farmers, Virginia Jimenez, a sugar cane farmer & member of the CORA Cooperative, a Fair Trade Certified organic sugar producer in Paraguay. Gimenez has been involved with sugar cane all her life, as both her father and late husband were sugar cane producers. Her late husband, Mario Miranda, joined CORA in 2010 and died a year later. Gimenez, a mother of four, has taken over as the CORA-affiliated producer.
Here are a few of Virginia’s thoughts: “For us, the access to machinery that CORA provides is key for our annual production [note: according to CORA, they are able to lend the use of machinery at low or no cost by using some of the Fair Trade premium fund]. I also like the ideals behind CORA. Their strict rules are good for our society. For example, the controls regarding the use of child labor is very good. The safety workshops have also been great help. And the idea of producing organic sugar cane without chemicals is very important. My husband believed strongly in this. If we were able to increase our earnings, whether from sales or from the premium fund, I would like to see our health services improved. We do not have medical attention here on a daily basis. If a poisonous snake bites someone, we have to go really far.”
So, keep an eye out for that fair trade symbol on the food you buy. It’s helping wonderful women like Virginia. A sincere thank you to Virginia for sharing her story and thoughts with us!
I mentioned a giveaway, didn’t I? Fair Trade USA sent me a package of goodies to provide inspiration for today’s recipe, and one of you lucky people will receive the same package! It just might be their best one yet. Click here to read about all of the products included!
Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT 5/11/16):
- Simply leave a comment on this post! That’s it!
- Bonus entry: Follow Fair Trade Certified on Facebook (leave a separate comment for bonus entry, if you already follow just let us know!)
- Bonus entry: Join the This Week for Dinner email newsletter list! (leave a separate comment for bonus entry, if you already subscribe just let us know!)
I think it’s time to get cooking with all these yummy fair trade ingredients!
Today’s cookies may not be fancy but they are pretty much perfect. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these chocolate cookies are filled with dark chocolate and coconut, one of my favorite flavor combinations. And there are so many ingredients in these cookies that can go fair trade, from the sugar to the vanilla to the chocolate! For this batch I used Guittard’s organic semisweet chocolate baking wafers, which are my favorite chocolate chips to use in any cookie recipe. I also used Lake Champlain’s organic unsweetened cocoa, another fabulous chocolate source that I can’t get enough of.
Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!Double Chocolate Coconut CookiesPrep timeCook timeTotal timeAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 3 dozenIngredients
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I love wide sliced)
- 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I love Guittard's baking wafers)
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes. (Yes, 5 MINUTES...you want it to mix for a long time.)
- Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes.
- Place a sifter over the bowl and add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and cocoa powder to the sifter, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix on low until just mixed.
- Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon until evenly distributed.
- Place dough in 2-tablespoon dough balls on a cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
- Bake for about 12-14 minutes. The cookies shouldn't look wet beneath the surface (if that makes sense).
- When you take them out of the oven, drop the pan flat onto the counter or stovetop to force the cookies to settle.
- Let cool a few minutes before eating. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Dough balls can also be frozen and cookies cooked from a frozen state, you just may need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the cook time.
Thursday, March 31
Today’s Thursday Recipe & a Tip is all about chocolate. I could talk for days about chocolate. I limited myself to 11 minutes this time around, but I think I’m going to have to do more chocolate-themed episodes. Because 11 minutes is not enough time to tell you all the ways to make perfect chocolate in your kitchen. Anyway, today I share one of my most favorite chocolate recipes with you as well as the secret ingredient you can use in your cooking to make chocolate rich in flavor.
Please note: In this episode I mention that the SoNo Baking Company is in New York, but I meant Connecticut. I grew up in the “tri state area” (which is essentially NYC/Long Island, Northern New Jersey and Connecticut). Apparently my subconscious considers all of that “New York.” 😉
- Cocoa powders I love: E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge and Scharffen Berger Cocoa Powder
- Scharffen Berger Truffles Recipe
- Scharffen Berger Cookbook
- SoNo Chocolate Ganache Cake
- The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook
It’s easy to listen to the show!
- Via the web: Just click play below!
- Via an app: For iPhone and iPad, subscribe to the This Week for Dinner Podcast on iTunes and listen to it through the purple Podcasts app. For Android devices, use the Stitcher, Podcast Addict or Pocket Casts apps. In all cases, launch the app, then search for This Week for Dinner Podcast. The benefit of using an app: once downloaded, you can listen to the show without an Internet connection.
- If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating and/or review on iTunes!
- Big thank you to d&m for providing the music for the podcast!
Thursday, October 1
It’s October, which means many things. Halloween. Pumpkins. Apple picking. And Fair Trade Month!
I absolutely LOVE working with the folks at Fair Trade USA and I am so happy to help them celebrate Fair Trade Month once again! Today we have a Ugandan farmer’s story to share, a giveaway and a FANTASTIC recipe, one that I’ve been meaning to share with you for years. I also have a super simple request, which I’ll get to when we start talking about the giveaway. Are you ready? Let’s go!
I have always loved the opportunities that Fair Trade provides for farmers, but after visiting Malawi earlier this year, it holds an even stronger hold on my heart. Fair Trade works with farmers in Malawi and I love knowing that the good people of that country are benefiting from what Fair Trade has to offer. One of my biggest takeaways from that trip was that we need to find sustainable ways to help people and advance development. Fair Trade is one of the tools that can help us do just that.
Click on the infographic above to zoom in.
The Fair Trade farmer I would like to share with you today is Chelimo Annet, an inspirational coffee farmer & member of the Coffee A Cup Cooperative Society in Uganda. Chelimo has been farming coffee since 1994 and has 500 coffee trees. She supplements her income by growing bananas & eggplant.
Chelimo says that one of the primary benefits of being in a Fair Trade cooperative is that she is able to get coffee seedlings. Some of her trees are very old and don’t yield as much coffee as they used to, so raising young coffee trees is important. Another big benefit has been the additional income she receives for her coffee, which has enabled her 6 children to attend school. EVERY SINGLE PERSON I met in Africa used increased income to send their children to school before anything else. Participating in Fair Trade co-ops gives people the chance to give their children the one thing they want more than anything else – an education. It’s powerful stuff. When I read how she was able to send her children to school, oh man, my heart.
Now that we’ve met Chelimo,
I think it’s time for a giveaway! Fair Trade would like to share some of the fruits of their farmers’ labors with you! Today one lucky commenter will get a package of wonderful Fair Trade goodies, including products from:
- Cascadian Farm
- Lake Champlain Chocolates
- Numi Organic Tea
- Frontier Natural Products Co-Op
- Barefoot & Chocolate
- Alter Eco
- Pura Vida by S&D Coffee
- Spectrum Essentials
To enter the giveaway, please do the following by Midnight, PT on October 31, 2015 (prize must be shipped within the U.S.): Leave a comment on this post! Easy peasy! Bonus Entry: Please pretty please repin this pin by clicking here. Be sure to leave a separate comment on this post letting us know you did! My recipe is part of a Fair Trade USA recipe rally and the two recipes with the most repins on the Fair Trade pin board will earn the winning bloggers a trip to visit Fair Trade farms in the Dominican Republic. Honestly, I would write about Fair Trade no matter what and it’s totally fine if I don’t win, but it would be fun! 😉 Bonus Entry: Like Fair Trade USA on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting us know you did!
This giveaway is now closed. Comment #26 Kim was the randomly-selected winner. Congrats, Kim!
Last but not least, today’s recipe. I have been making these Mini Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes since long before the blog existed. It was sort of my crowning glory recipe. I found it in the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book, a cookbook I received as a wedding gift. I’ve had it on my “blog post topics to write about” list for years because these little cakes deserve a big blog post. I was actually having a hard time figuring out what recipe I wanted to make with the Fair Trade goodies I received and then it hit me: lava cakes! What better way to use a bag of fair trade chocolate chips than to create molten lava chocolate. NONE, I tell you.
This chocolate lava cake is the real deal. No cheating by putting a piece of candy in the middle. No chocolate chips mixed in the dough to make it seem gooey. This cake is naturally volcanic and wonderful and rich and chocolatey and gourmet and wonderful. The cakes are not hard to make, I promise. I mean, you are gonna get a few dishes dirty and figuring out when to take them out of the oven is tricky, but the recipe is straightforward and uses ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen. And you have the chance to use several fair trade ingredients, from chocolate chips to cocoa to vanilla, all common fair trade products.
That’s it for today! An awesome fair trade farmer, a delicious giveaway, and one of my favorite recipes EVER. Happy Fair Trade Month! And good luck on the giveaway!Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes (a.k.a. Chocolate Lava Cakes)Prep timeCook timeTotal timeAdapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking BookAuthor: Jane MaynardServes: 9Ingredients
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1¼ cup good quality semisweet chocolate chips (you can use bittersweet, too, but it will be CRAZY rich)
- 4 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips over medium-low heat. Once melted, set aside to cool.
- Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat on high with a stand mixer or hand mixer for 5 minutes. Mixture should be pale yellow and thickened.
- While eggs are mixing, grease 9 5-oz. ramekins then coat with granulated sugar. Set aside.
- Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat on medium speed until just mixed, about 30 seconds total.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl. Beat on low speed, just until blended, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula and give it one more quick stir by hand.
- Spoon batter into prepared dishes, dividing evenly. Ramekins should be about ⅔ full.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes, until the cakes have risen slightly, feel firm at the edges and are softer in the center when pressed gently with your finger. The hardest part of this recipe is taking the cakes out at the right moment! Too soon and there is too much lava, too late and there is no lava. The cakes will have risen about a ¼ inch and look cooked on the top surface. The center should feel softer than the edges and be a dimple. Rest assured these cakes are still gooey goodness even if you pass the lava stage, so don't stress.
- Cool in dishes for 5 minutes, then, using pot holders, invert each cake onto a serving plate. Cool 15 minutes before serving. I personally just keep the lava cakes in the ramekins - I think it's prettier this way, it's easier, and it's just as delicious!
- Optional: serve sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar and chocolate spirals and raspberries. I never do this. I just care about eating the cake as quickly as possible.
Tuesday, September 1
The very first recipe I ever made on my own was my Grandma Blomquist’s Brownies. I was in 5th grade and the experience was very memorable for me, not just because I burned both some chocolate and my arm in the process, but also because the brownies came out great, starting a lifetime of brownie baking.
Last week when Cate was in charge of dinner, she asked if she could bake something for dessert on one of the nights. Of course I pulled out my grandma’s brownie recipe. I’ve never written a post about the brownies, but I did put the recipe on the blog ages ago with a cute picture of 2-year-old Cate stirring the batter. Last week when Cate baked her first batch of brownies, I took a few photos for a Babble post I’m working on. Today, as I got this post ready, I stuck the photos side by side and it made me smile. It also made me a little sad. Where did my baby go?!
I needed to take some nice photos of the brownies for this post, so I asked Cate if she could whip up a batch for me. She happily complied. I’m kind of loving this whole Cate cooking thing, especially since her “thing” is brownies.
These brownies are on the fudgy side of the brownie continuum, with a delicious crispy crust on top. It’s a basic, reliable and wonderful brownie recipe. Although, the brownies always taste best when my Grandma Blomquist or Cate bakes them!Grandma Blomquist's BrowniesPrep timeCook timeTotal timeMy grandma's recipe that my family has been making FOREVER. Fudgy with a crusty top!Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces baking chocolate (substitution: 6 tablespoons cocoa + 2 tablespoons butter)
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 well beaten eggs
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease/butter an 8" x 8" baking pan.
- Melt butter over medium-low heat in a medium saucepan. Add corn syrup and baking chocolate and stir until all melted. Remove from heat.
- Stir in sugar.
- Stir in eggs after the sugar has been mixed in.
- Stir in baking powder, vanilla and salt. Slowly stir in the flour until well combined.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until fork comes out clean.
Dishes from Q Squared NYC.
Tuesday, August 11
Today is all about chocolate.
When we were on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law Pat made a chocolate cake, complete with homemade frosting that was TO DIE FOR. When it comes to cake, I generally like the cake more than the frosting. Not in this case. In this case the frosting, well, takes the cake. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist that one.)
And, if you’re looking for something to put that perfect chocolate frosting on, let me introduce you to the one pan chocolate cake. This recipe comes from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food and was originally called “dump cake,” since you just dump everything in the pan and then bake. The cake turned out beautifully.
There’s only one drawback to the cake recipe: since you mix the ingredients directly in the pan, you can’t butter and flour the pan ahead of time. This means you’ll be serving the cake directly from the pan. Plus, you kind of have to scrape the servings out with a spatula to keep them in one piece, and the first slice of cake will be a bit tricky to get out of the pan. Because of this, the one pan cake may not be the best choice for serving guests or for special occasions. Or maybe it is. You decide. All I know is that this cake recipe is easy and delicious, and maybe that’s all that matters in the end.Perfect Chocolate FrostingPrep timeTotal timeRecipe from my mother-in-law Pat, adapted from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder containerAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: DessertIngredients
- ½ cup butter
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ - 2¾ cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup milk
3.3.3070One Pan Chocolate CakePrep timeCook timeTotal timeOriginally from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food, written in my own wordsAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: DessertIngredients
- Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, in 20 second increments until butter is just melted.
- Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
- Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, start on low and beat in the powdered sugar, increasing the speed to medium and mixing well. Add half of the milk, following the same blending technique. Add 1 more cup of the powdered sugar, mixing as described, then the rest of the milk, mixing once again starting on low and increasing to medium speed.
- Add ½ cup of powdered sugar (this brings you to 2½ cups) and blend well, starting on low then moving up to medium speed. If you want the frosting to be a little thicker, add up to ¼ cup more of powdered sugar.
- Makes enough frosting for a 9" x 13" cake.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- In an 8-inch square casserole dish or baking pan (I like to use a pyrex casserole so I can see if the batter is full mixed), whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
- Make a well in the middle, then add the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in the center. Whisk those ingredients together, then start to incorporate the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before frosting. If you use the chocolate frosting recipe above, you will have some frosting left over.
Thursday, July 16
Hey everybody! I am officially on vacation and enjoying every second. Also, flying with kids is SO MUCH EASIER now that I my youngest is almost 4 years old and my oldest is 10. I didn’t even have that anxious feeling in my stomach that normally accompanies our plane rides. I really am shocked at how much easier it was than it has been for, oh, the last 10 years.
Okay, enough travel talk, today I have a public service announcement. I must share two of my favorite goodies with you because it would be a crime not to.
First off, we flew through SFO this week and had a layover in Terminal 2. That terminal is, in the words of my friend Rebecca, magical. I love it when I have a layover there and usually spend a small fortune on food. My favorite spot in the terminal is a shop and deli called Napa Farms Market. They carry a vast array of wonderful Bay Area food products. One of the brands they carry is CC Made, a Berkeley-based artisanal caramel company I discovered at a food show years ago. CC Made has a dark chocolate caramel sauce that is TO DIE FOR, but they never have it at Napa Farms Market…until this week! When I saw it on the shelf I think I may have done a little jig. I know I at least squealed. I believe you can buy the sauce on the CC Made website, in case you need to get your hands on a jar, too!
The second item I want to share is barkTHINS. Fair Trade USA has sent me samples of barkTHINS several times and I even created a granola bar recipe using their pumpkin seed flavor. Anyway, suddenly I’m seeing barkTHINS EVERYWHERE…from gas stations to grocery stores to Costco, so I can regularly feed my addiction. My kids are addicted, too. barkTHINS are dangerous. So, maybe this public service announcement is more to warn you about the addictive power of barkTHINS than anything else! 😉
That’s all for today! Enjoy the goodies!
Friday, October 3
October is Fair Trade Month and I’m so excited to help support the cause! Plus, I have a completely delicious dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bar recipe for you. Basically there’s a whole lot of goodness going on in this here post. Before we get to the fair trade chocolate granola bars (mmmmmm….), let’s talk about fair trade for a moment and meet some of the farmers!
There are a lot of labels on our foods these days. Gluten Free. Organic. Cage Free. Natural. GMO-free. The list goes on and on and ON. With so many labels, it’s easy to stop seeing them when you’re shopping. But one label that I always notice is the ‘Fair Trade Certified’ label. And, when I do see that label, I try to stop and think about the people behind the label, the farmers benefiting from that product.
Two of those people are Miguel Romero Martínez, 22, from Tlapa, Guerrero, and Lucía Simón Mariano, 18, from Veracruz. Miguel and Lucía have an adorable two-month old daughter named Dulce Yamilet. Miguel’s family has been living permanently in the Chula Vista II residential area within Divemex’s La Veinte Agricultural Complex in Culiacán since 2006, while Lucía first came to Sinaloa with her parents in 2010. Divemex is a produce cooperative in Mexico that grows bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Both Lucía and Miguel are now employees, have an apartment of their own and currently Miguel is the recipient of a Fair Trade-sponsored employee scholarship as he studies open adult junior high school.
The Martinez-Hernandez family, whose first language is Nahuatl and originally come from Tlapa, Guerrero, is one of the most successful cases of migrant families from Southern Mexico, with numerous family members employed by Divemex and recipients of Fair Trade-sponsored scholarships. Currently, two family members receive open adult education scholarships while two others receive stipends given to children of employees. All must keep a monthly B+ average in order to maintain the scholarship status.
From Left to Right: Miguel Romero Martinez (22, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient), his wife Lucía Simón Mariano (18, employee) with two-month old daughter Dulce Yamilet, Floriberto Romero Martinez (16, Junior High School scholarship recipient as child of employee), David Romero Martinez (20, employee), Andres Romero Martinez (24, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient, and only indigenous member of the Ten-person Fair Trade council at Divemex), Ana Martínez Peralta (family matriarch and employee), Heidi Hernandez Martinez (8, elementary school scholarship recipient as child of employee) and Felipe Hernandez Guerrero (employee, father of Heidi, and step-father to the four young men).
Don’t you love seeing their pictures and hearing just a small part of this family’s story? It’s kind of amazing. Plus, in learning about this family I discovered that fair trade doesn’t just apply to non-perishable goods but to produce, as well. Very cool!
Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies (which I will also be giving away in just a minute) and challenged me to use some of the ingredients in a recipe. As I was gearing up to make our weekly supply of granola bars, I decided to change the bars up a bit. So, here’s the deal. We love our chocolate chip granola bars so much I can’t bring myself to change the flavor. But, this week, I decided adding more chocolate would not be a bad choice.
I added fair trade cocoa powder from Lake Champlain Chocolates as well as barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark with sea salt to the granola bars instead of boring chocolate chips. The result was SPECTACULAR. As I was making the granola bars, I realized that I had fair trade brown sugar, fair trade coconut oil and fair trade vanilla to use in the recipe as well. These granola bars are pretty soundly fair trade!
Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky commenters will get the same package of fair trade goodies I received, including products from Equator, Guittard, barkTHINS, Lake Champlain Chocolates, LÄRABAR, Traditional Medicinals, Dang Foods, Numi Tea, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Eco Lips, Alter Eco, Badger Balm, Third Street, Celestial Seasonings, SunSpire, Nourish Organic and the book Where Am I Eating?.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway!
- Leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT on 10/31/14.
- Bonus entry: Click here to repin this granola bar recipe on Pinterest! You need to specifically repin this pin and please leave a separate comment below indicating you’ve done so.
- Bonus entry: Follow Fair Trade USA on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you are following!)
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you are following!)
Time for granola bars! Happy Fair Trade Month!
Friday, May 9
First, if you haven’t already, go read this excerpt from Rob Lowe’s new book. It’s a tear jerker and beautifully written. And, amazingly, I love Rob Lowe even more than I did before.
Photo source: Diethood
Just a few fun posts from Cosmo to share with you today!
- 20 Sweet Cherry Recipes to Try This Summer
- 18 Deliciously Refreshing Sangria Recipes
- 12 Spicy Chocolate Recipes That Are Everything
Okay, you know the drill. Show and tell means share your stuff! Anything is game!