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Give the Gift of Chocolate

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Sumptuous Chocolate Cookie Cake
Festive Butter Cookies
Pear and Chocolate Spread

(Family Features) - With the holidays upon us, you may be feeling pressure to come up with gift ideas that are not only unique, but heartfelt. Nothing says "love" more than the time and energy poured into a homemade treat.

With chocolate being the ultimate in indulgence, pamper your friends and family this season with these one-of-a-kind recipes that will transform a beloved holiday staple into the sweetest gift of all.

Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining

  • Plan in advance so that entertaining goes from a huge effort to being effortless.
  • Commit only to what you know you can do well in the time frame you have, and set a budget for yourself.
  • Ask a few good friends to arrive on time to get the party into full-swing quickly.
  • Send guests home with a simple, elegant favor such as a selection of chocolate bars wrapped with a ribbon.

Chocolate That Gives Back

Green & Black's full range of organic chocolate bars, gift boxes, hot chocolates, cocoa and baking bar are all produced using 100% organic ingredients; the Company also funds a large fair trade project in Belize. This means that Green & Black's pays the Mayan farmers with whom they trade directly a fair and sustainable price for their organic cocoa. This security has helped the farmers to improve the quality of their lives and those of their families and communities. For more information, check out www.greenandblacks.com.

Sumptuous Chocolate Cookie Cake

Description
Your host or hostess would surely be delighted if you showed up on his or her doorstep with this rich and decadent treat. A surefire party pleaser!

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 table-spoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 7 ounces Green & Black's Organic 72 percent Bittersweet Baking Bar, broken into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ounces graham crackers (about 8)
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup candied cherries, reserve a few for decoration

Preparation
    1. Preparation time: 15 minutes | Chilling time: 4 hours
    2. Use: 8- x 3-inch loaf pan
    3. Line loaf pan with waxed paper or alternately butter pan. Set aside.
    4. Melt butter and corn syrup together in small saucepan over gentle heat until they begin to boil.
    5. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water, then mix thoroughly with butter and corn syrup mixture.
    6. Beat egg slowly and continuously into hot chocolate mixture.
    7. In separate bowl, break graham crackers into large chunks.
    8. Add walnuts, raisins and most of cherries to cracker mixture.
    9. Pour chocolate mixture into cracker mixture and mix with spatula or wooden spoon.
    10. Press mixture into pan and decorate with reserved cherries. Refrigerate mixture about four hours. To serve, peel off waxed paper and cut into slices or cubes. Serve chilled.

Serves
Makes 10 large slices

Festive Butter Cookies

Description
These rich, crumbly cookies with their colorful array of chocolate coatings make a yummy party favor. Wrap a few in colored cellophane and decorate with a ribbon.

Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces each of Green & Black's Organic Milk, White, Maya Gold and 72 percent Bittersweet Baking Bar chocolate, broken into pieces

Preparation
    1. Use: 2 1/2-inch fluted cookie cutter
    2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter large baking sheet.
    3. Sift together flour and salt. Add sugar and butter and blend with food processor or by hand until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add egg and vanilla and blend again until mixture becomes firm dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 15 minutes.
    4. Roll out dough on lightly floured board to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out cookies using fluted cutter.
    5. Place on baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
    6. Once cookies have cooled, melt chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water. Be careful when melting white chocolate to make sure bowl does not touch the water, as chocolate will seize easily. Pour individual chocolates onto separate small plates and dip one surface of each cookie in chocolate before returning cookie to wire rack to set.
    7. Decorate by drizzling chocolate over previously dipped cookies for a colorful contrast.

Preparation Time
10 minutes

Chill Time
15 minutes

Cook Time
15 to 20 minutes

Serves
Makes 50 cookies

Pear and Chocolate Spread

Description
Delicious as a sauce with ice cream or on toast at breakfast, this sophisticated variation on chocolate spread makes a wonderful hostess gift. Tie a colorful ribbon around the jar for a lovely presentation.

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds Bartlett pears, ripe but firm
  • 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 9 ounces Green & Black's Organic 72 percent Bittersweet Baking Bar, chopped

Preparation
    1. Use: heavy saucepan, two to three 1 1/2-cup canning jars, waxed paper circles
    2. Peel and quarter pears; remove cores. In large heavy saucepan, mix sugar with orange and lemon juices. Add pears and mix together carefully.
    3. Heat gently until mixture begins to simmer. Remove from heat and pour into bowl. Add chocolate and mix until chocolate has melted. Cover bowl and let cool before placing in fridge overnight.
    4. Pour mixture back into heavy saucepan, bring to a boil and let bubble 40 minutes to 1 hour. Mixture is done when small amount dropped onto cold plate becomes thick and gelatinous.
    5. While mixture is bubbling, wash canning jars, lids and seals in warm soapy water, rinsing thoroughly. Sterilize jars by immersing fully in boiling water 10 minutes or by washing them in dishwasher.
    6. Spoon pear and chocolate spread into jars to within 1/2 inch of rim. Cover with circle of waxed paper and secure lid immediately.

Preparation Time
20 minutes

Chill Time
overnight

Cook Time
40 minutes to 1 hour

Serves
Makes: 1 3/4 pounds

SOURCE: Green & Black's™ Organic



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