Peppermint may grab the glamour as a flavor of choice during the holiday seasons, but when it comes to sheer staying power in the hearts of the American public, it is hard to beat chocolate.
While many of people consider chocolate welcome and appropriate at any time of year, this most delightful sweet can take center stage during the holidays. Whether you give it as a gift, serve it on a holiday buffet or make it the centerpiece of your seasonal decor, chocolate is always on trend.
Here are some hot ideas for making your holiday entertaining a celebration of all things chocolate:
As gifts go, chocolate has timeless appeal for any occasion. Many people who might forgo the sweet during the rest of the year treat themselves to an exception at holiday time. From basic bars in milk or dark chocolate to complex flavors like Platinum, a dark chocolate shell wrapped around pecan praline and caramel, it is possible to find a chocolate treat that appeals to virtually all tastes.
Sending gourmet chocolates as a holiday gift has many advantages. The chocolatiers at Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates create truly unique, memorable offerings, and online ordering makes it easy to send a one-of-a-kind chocolate gift.
As an ingredient or a dessert, chocolate is versatile. Whether you are using it as a sauce ingredient for a main course or making it the centerpiece of a meal’s finale, you can find a place for chocolate in holiday cooking.
Holiday decorating does not have to start with tinsel and end with twinkling lights. Chocolate also makes a great decorating element. Decorating with chocolate shouts “festive,” and when done right, chocolate decorations can do double duty as treats or dessert.
Start with creating chocolate tree ornaments. One of the easiest ways to make an ornament using chocolate is to purchase clear plastic ornaments at your local craft store and fill them with colorful chocolate candies.
Another easy option is to tuck colorful chocolates into your favorite holiday centerpieces. To create an illuminating centerpiece, choose a large pillar candle in a festive color. Place the candle atop a round mirror (also available at craft stores), and create a ring around the candle with colorful chocolates, such as Kohler Original Recipe Chocolate Rare Facets. Pleasing-to-the-eye and yummy-to-the-tastebuds, these little pieces of artwork look like precious gems in rich hues. When dinner is done, invite guests to partake in the chocolates.
However you choose to incorporate chocolate into your holiday revelry, it is hard to go wrong with this time-honored, beloved treat.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder 1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or mini chips)
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/3 cup coarse sugar (or additional granulated sugar), for rolling
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and all spices. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg, followed by molasses, balsamic vinegar and vanilla. Either by hand or with the mixer on low speed, gradually stir in all the flour mixture, mixing only until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in crystallized ginger and chocolate chunks.
Form dough into one-inch balls, roll in coarse sugar and place on baking sheet. Press cookies gently to flatten slightly and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned around the edges.
This recipe makes about three dozen.