Chocolate Banana Cookies

For dessert, Minoo selected a Chocolate Banana Cookies recipe to end the meal at South Arm Community Kitchen. This Chocolate Banana Cookies are great for breakfast or tea time snack. They can be easily packed into the lunch box.

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This Chocolate Banana Cookie is soft and fluffy. It’s has a cakey texture. You may use various types of chocolate for this recipe, like milk, white, dark or flavoured chocolate. If you do not like banana, you may leave it out. To make this into a real chocolatey cookie, you may add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

We made this recipe with dark chocolate which is produced by adding fat and sugar to the pure cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is believed to reduce the possibility of heart attack when consume in small amount regularly. This is due it’s dark chocolate is a rich source of epicatechin and gallic acid which possess cardioprotective properties.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana, peel and slice
  • 4 oz (100g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup (100g) soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (100g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (50g) oats
  • 4 oz (100g) dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

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We usually double or triple the recipe when we cook in the community kitchen. The left over food can be brought home for our family to try.

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I love butter in the 1/2 cup stick. It is much easier to cut up the quantity required. I’m glad it can be found in the Real Canadian Superstore now.

Source: Minoo

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Chocolate Cream

For dessert, Cecile made a Creme Au Chocolat or Chocolate Cream in the Caring Place Community Kitchen. This is like chocolate pudding.

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The Chocolate Cream did not turn out as desired due to excessive cornstarch added which made it looked lumpy and not smooth. Nevertheless, this is a simple recipe with just 3 ingredients. The trick is to add in the right amount of cornstarch to get the right consistency.

Ingredients

  • 800ml milk (2% fat) + 1/2 cup more
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of cornstarch or more if needed
  • 1 pack of sweetened dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa)

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It is important to use sweetened chocolate as there is no sugar added in this recipe. The taste of the Chocolate Cream depends on the quality of the chocolate you use. So, for the best result, choose a good quality chocolate for a little indulgence.

Source: Anna

Serves 6

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Five Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

I just received this recipe from my friend, Jean.  It has a very captivating title which is “The Most Dangerous Cake Recipe in the World”.  I thought of sharing this with chowtimes readers.

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This looks like any ordinary chocolate cake but it is made in the microwave oven in 5 minutes.  What makes it so dangerous is that you can have this indulgences whenever you have a crave and it can be prepared so easily and so quickly.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons flour (Nanzaro preferred 3 tablespoons  of flour for a more denser texture like brownies)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • a small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug

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Mango with Chocolate Meringue

It was mango season and Minoo made a dessert with mango in the Gilmore Park Community Kitchen. We are very lucky to have abundance of fresh fruit in Vancouver. When a fruit is in season, the price is so affordable. So, enjoy them while they are the cheapest and when they are the freshest.

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This Mango with Chocolate Meringue has a base of succulent mango slices infused with orange zest and is topped with an airy topping of chocolaty meringue and nuts. Since the meringue is made of just egg whites, this dessert is good for people who is watching their cholesterol.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized ripe mangoes
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Whites of 3 large eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125g or 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine granulated)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 15g or 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts

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Mango is considered as a superfruit for its phytochemicals nutrients. It is rich in prebiotic dietary fiber, vitamin C, polyphenols and carotenoids. Mango also contains essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B, B6, E and potassium, copper, 17 amino acids.

The pulp of mango is also a rich source of pectins and is great for making pudding.

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Easy Chocolate Pudding

For dessert, Christina, Paul and Lorna made this Easy Chocolate Pudding for the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors pizza mania meet. Apparently, Paul is a fan of chocolate. This Easy Chocolate Pudding is made specifically for Paul.

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This Easy Chocolate Pudding recipe is adapted from John Scharffenberger. This recipe serves 6. The chocolate pudding is not overly sweet and I’m sure kids will love this. This makes a great dessert for any chocolate lover.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk (we used 2% milk for a lower fat)
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or good chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe on Denman, Vancouver

Updated 30th Oct 2010: this restaurant is closed.

You guys remember Rey? Well … if you remember, he’s the one who promised to bring us on a culinary adventure of Filipino cuisine. Rey is a Filipino community advocate and he wanted to create awareness of the third largest visible minority community in Vancouver by encouraging the creation of local Filipino content on the internet.

Last month, Rey introduced to us the Chinese Filipino food by bringing us to Little Ongpin in Richmond. In the second leg of the adventure, Rey next introduced us to Spanish Filipino food.

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The Dulcinea Chocolate Cafe is located on Denman in Vancouver Westside. We were met by Mari and David, who opened this delightful outlet with their daughter since October 2008. So this place is just 6 months new. Mari and David are both of Spanish descent from the Philippines. Mari told us she is a chocolate lover … and the place was started out of her love of chocolates! She’s so friendly and approachable that I can see that she connects to her customers very well.

I was told by Rey that pure Spanish Filipino makes up only 2% of the population in the Phillipines. Despite the low number, the Spanish has a lasting influence in the Filipino culture having colonized the country for 333 years. That is why most of the Filipino names are Spanish names.

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When Rey suggested Dulcinea and raved about their Hot Chocolate, we initially thought “what’s the big deal”? We soon changed our perception of hot chocolates after this experience.

The name Dulcinea came from the name of Don Quixote’s true love in the novel of the same name. We had always thought that Dulcinea was pronounced as Doo-See-Nea. A big sign on the wall says “Doo-see-nay-ah”. You learn something new everyday. The name Dulcinea means overly elegant sweetness — a perfect name for a chocolate cafe.

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Dulcinea started off as a Spanish Chocolate Bar in the Vancouver Westside neighborhood. Mari told us that the place evolved quickly since they started six month ago … from starting to serve tapas, then soup, sandwiches … and Dulcinea took life on its own when customers requested for certain food and Dulcinea responded.

We went to Dulcinea at 4PM. It’s an odd hour, I know but Rey wanted us to treat this like a Merienda. I had always heard that the Spanish culture has a really odd day … like taking a nap after lunch, having dinner at 9:30PM and Meriendas in between meal times.

We half expected the place to be empty at 4PM and thought that Rey suggested that time because Mari and David would be the least busiest. We were amazed that even at 4PM, Dulcinea was packed … with people … having … Merienda! The crowd actually taper off at about 5’ish.

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This is it … the above is what Dulcinea is famous for. Their signature Hot Chocolate which is called the 1528. It is a shot of thick chocolate. It is like the espresso of chocolates … but much more thicker. Any thicker it would not be drinkable! Even the spoon provided is designed to scrap off the thick chocolates from the sides of the cup.

The 1528 costs $2 per shot. If you have never tried it before, go to the counter and ask for a small sample. They pass out samples and once you take a sip, you’ll probably want one for your own.

Now … if you want a solo cup of the 1528 … listen here … FOR FREE … just go and tell Mari, David or whoever at the counter that “Chowtimes Loves Xocolatl” and you will receive a solo cup of the 1528. Serious! I suggested to Mari and David that they put in a little fun promotion to benefit readers of chowtimes and was surprised to hear a yes from them. I suggest you know what a Xocolatl is (see below) and how it is pronounced (pronounced as choco-latl).

Consider this is like Suanne and I buying you a cup of hot chocolate. 🙂

Update 05-Apr-2009: The offer for the free 1528 had now expired. Mari and David expressed their thanks to everyone who had taken time to visit their store and tried the 1528. However, Dulcinea will continue to offer samples of the 1528 (just not a solo cup of it). There could be more offers coming. Just stay tuned. I hope those who had the 1528 enjoyed it!

Oh … 1528 … that is the year that the Spanish took cocoa from Mexico and shipped it back to Spain. That year was the start of Europe’s love of chocolates. Nice name, I thought.

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If you’re not into thick hot chocolates, there is the Classico … a more watered down version but still really rich and creamy.

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I had the Hot Chocolate with Chai. These are not very large cups like I am used to (i.e. we drink Milo at home and we make really big cups and gulp them down real fast). Here I find that I took my time to savour every sip.

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The Xocolatl (how do one pronounce that again?) is quite exciting. I’ve never seen a dried chili served with hot beverage before. This one is a hot chocolate with chili nutmeg and cinnamon. The chili wasn’t that hot. Be brave and go try that one. You’ll probably love the contrasting flavours here.

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What’s chocolate without fondue? It’s something about fondue that makes it the favourite of just about everyone. I think it’s because it’s a fun food to have with friends. We noticed that the grapes were frozen … not sure why only the grapes were frozen while the banana and strawberry wasn’t.

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Besides the delightful hot chocolates, Dulcinea has absolutely the best cakes and pastries one could find in Vancouver. This is coming from our resident cakes fan, Suanne. Our fav has got to be the Lava Blanco above which is chocolate mousse with white choc inside of it.

Instead of ordering each item by itself, we actually ordered the sampler which gives us a little of everything we wanted. Continue reading

Schokolade Cafe on East Hasting, Vancouver

Polly and I went for a last cake meet just before the school closed for winter vacation. I suggested we go to Schokolade Cafe located at 2263 East Hastings St. I had marked this place down on my cake meet places to go since we went to Seri Malaysia which is just a block away from Schokolade Cafe.

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Schokolade Cafe specializes on freshly made artisan chocolate truffles, fine pastries, cakes and real hot chocolate. All their chocolates are made with Swiss Lindt premium chocolates couvertures.

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Schokolade also customs made all the fresh chocolate truffles for their VIP corporate clients and for any company special events. Polly and I were quite curious when we saw the Singopore Lion Head chocolates on display at the counter. Only later we were told by the owner that she is from Singapore and the cafe had just opened for 1 1/2 years.

This cafe is relatively small with only 3 small tables which seats 2 each and a few counter high chair seats.

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Polly and I ordered their real hot chocolate drinks for a change. Polly opted for their Spicy ginger Oriental Express Hot Chocolate (left). We can pick either milk chocolate or dark chocolate and Polly opted for milk chocolate. The gingery permeated hot chocolate is great for a the cold weather. My Spicy Ancient Aztec Hot Chocolate with 70% Dark Chocolate is equally great with the spiciness from the chili powder. The medium drink cost $4.00 each.

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We ordered their famous chocolate cake. The cake is about 2 inches tall and has 6 layers of cream fillings. This small slice of cake costs $3.95. It is a very rich cake.

Click on read more for more items.

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The next item we ordered is a Salmon Quiche. It is flavoured with dill and served warm as we chosed. This piece costs $3.95.

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We also ordered a Walnut Tart for $3.50. This tart is not too sweet and filled with lots of walnut pieces and the pastry is flaky.

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We ended up bringing this Florentine home as the cake is simply too rich and we simply cant take another bite of sweet stuff. This Florentine is layered with almonds and dried cranberries and raisins. It is actually very good as it is not densed but crunchy and light. This costs only $2.50.

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We also brought home this two pieces of complementary truffles. The story is when I presented the coupon from their website, we were told that the coupon is not valid anymore and in place, they let us pick a truffle each. Well, they should have updated their website to prevent any more confusion in the future. Anyway, Polly had the coconut ginger truflle as she seemed to be obsessed with ginger lately. I had the Mango Jalapeno truffle which the spiciness did come through. The truffles were sold by weight and it’s approximately $1 per each truffle as we were told.

The bill came up to $23.00. If you are a chocolate lover, this is a place you should visit.

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Pennsylvania: Hershey’s Chocolate World

Since we were around the ‘hood, we included a trip to Hershey … Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey is the home of Hershey. It is also known as “The Sweetest Place on Earth”.

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Hershey, Pennsylvania was not always known as Hershey. It has another name (can’t remember) but was renamed as Hershey when the town became well known for the chocolate it makes.

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Everywhere you go, you see the name Hershey. There is always something named after Hershey, ad nauseum. There are stadiums, library, homes, schools, parks, and what nots all named after Hershey. Even the street lamps are in the form of Hershey Kisses! Some of the street lamps are wrapped Kisses, while some are unwrapped like the one you see above.

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Tourism is as big as chocolates here in Hershey. There were unbelievable number of people who visits Hershey everyday. I am quite surprised. The infrastructure (road, car parks, etc) they have around the Hershey’s Chocolate World rivals that of Disneyland (but of course not as many visitors).

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Our first stop is at the Heyshey’s Chocolate World. Continue reading

Brussels Series: Belgian Chocolates

Believe it or not … the only chocolates that I bought was these chocolate eggs in Brussels. I did pop by some of the famous chocolatiers in Brussels but they were either too expensive and I simply had not room in my bag to carry a single box of them. Even these cheap chocolates which I bought from Hema was a class above other cheap chocolate eggs — definitely much creamier.

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But guess what … when I got home, WB and KC came by our home and dropped off a box of Belgian chocolates! Well … what do you know?

I can only name the following famous Belgian chocolate brands … Neuhaus, Godiva and Guylian. What are the other brands you know of?

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Chocolate Yogurt Cake

Arkensen loves chocolate cake. So, before he went for a 5 days camping trip with his class this week, I baked him his favourite Chocolate Yogurt Cake. This is his longest camping trip away from home by himself. He told Ben that when he return home from the camping trip, he wants to choose a restaurant to eat his favourite food. Oh, I am missing him!

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dutch processed cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Dutched processed cocoa
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), softened
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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Click on the link below for the instructions. Continue reading