Monday, September 19, 2011
Many people have asked me if I am still off sugar.
My answer is PRAISE JESUS...YES!!
And when I was blessed with the knowledge for this recipe I had to thank God, again. As I have stated many times: I hate artificial sweeteners and therefore, sugar free chocolate chips made with Splenda or Nutrasweet are (to me) totally disgusting. (We won't even discuss how their high sugar alcohol content completely rips my digestive system apart.) And I am a chocolate lover to the core.
I have to admit, I am still trying to figure out the way to make sugar free MILK chocolate chips, but for now....semi-sweet I have mastered.
Here are some things I have discovered in my experimentation with chocolate and honey. They go very well together. I heard a professional cook say recently that the only thing that can get chocolate to stop seizing up is HONEY. (God knows my heart and He really wants to bless me, I'm convinced of this.) The honey definitely has a bold flavor (especially the kind I use). I personally, do like the strong flavor of honey...almost as much as I love chocolate. However, I do not want my CHOCOLATE to taste like HONEY. So, the vanilla extract kind of KILLS the honey flavor in the chocolate and the cinnamon and salt die down the flatness of the honey/chocolate marriage. The butter adds a smoothness that I could not achieve without it. The vanilla extract makes the chocolate a bit grainy but this isn't a deal killer. I think of it as just adding an element of texture to the chocolate. And once you add honey to chocolate, it will never achieve the same firmness that it had before. So, you will have a softer product in the end.
Anytime you are going away from the world's "norm" of sugared sweets, you must expect it to be different. We are not going to make exact replications of sugared sweets by replacing the sugar with honey. It's going to be different and once you embrace that fact...you'll see that different is actually good (and dare I say it???...BETTER!).
I am getting to be a little bit fanatical about using man-made ingredients over God-made. God created us and He created food for our bodies that will make us thrive. We think we know so much and the further that we, as people on this planet, have moved AWAY from our God-given blessings...the worse off we are.
I just watched the DVD "Food, Inc." recently. I was sickened and appalled at how far man has gone away from the way God intended things to be. I had to really pray and ask God to forgive us as a people for all the horrific things that we are now practicing as a "norm" in America. And adding insult to injury...we, as Americans are so successful to the rest of the world...we are influencing them to follow our perverted lead down this horrible path of destruction. No wonder everyone is sick in America. No wonder we are the only country on earth ravaged by cancer of every kind.
I have a $120/week grocery budget that I must stick to. But, I am spending more to purchase things that are God-made, when possible, and animals that have been raised properly (as animals should be) with green grass and bugs to eat and daylight as a part of their every day instead of a privilege they never receive.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. Sorry. Rent the movie. Everyone kept telling me to watch it and I was afraid. Now, I'm not. I just have more to pray about. And I am able to make better choices at the store for my family.
Oooooh, let's get to that CHOCOLATE!!!
1 oz. square of UNsweetened chocolate (I have been purchasing Baker's)
about a half teaspoon of softened real butter
a small splash (1/2 teaspoon?) of vanilla extract
a sprinkle of salt
a sprinkle of cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of honey (or more, for taste)
Okay, there's an absolute art to dealing with chocolate. It is utterly fussy. You must use DRY dishes. And since we are dealing with a double boiler, here...be careful not to get the chocolate pan wet. Your chocolate will seize up on you and die just like Dorothy's old witch.
(I do not have a double boiler myself, so I use a small saucepan and a mixing bowl that fits appropriately...just make sure the steam from the water below cannot escape.)
In your bottom saucepan place an inch or so of water.
Place the bowl over the saucepan (it should not touch the water) and put in the chocolate, butter, honey and salt
Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to low-medium.
Watch the melting begin. Carefully incorporate the ingredients.
Do not beat or whip your chocolate (you'll kill it).
Pray while it's melting that this will all work out.
This process takes a good ten minutes or so.
At the end of the melting, everything should be incorporated pretty well.
Now, carefully add the vanilla extract and the sprinkle of cinnamon.
Incorporate further. If the vanilla causes the chocolate to seize up add a smidge more butter and a bit more honey and reheat it gently. Try to coax it back to a glossy but grainy stage. The vanilla WILL make it a bit grainy. That's okay.
Pull the chocolate off the heat and let it cool slightly.
Here are your options at this point: You can slather the still warmed mixture onto a piece of parchment and turn into a cone shape and fit it into a pastry bag with a nice big star tip and pipe out your CHIPS onto a piece of parchment covered sheet and place it in the freezer for cooling. (If you put the chocolate into a regular pastry bag the heat will burst the bag. So double bag it with the parchment and the pastry bag.)
You can slather the entire chocolate mixture onto a parchment covered sheet and place it in the freezer for breaking after cooling and make CHUNKS. (It may seem like bending rather than breaking, but just go with it. Different is good. You are a CHOCOLATE PIONEER!!!)
You can make CANDY by leaving the chocolate on the double boiler and adding your favorite combo of nuts and fruit to it by stirring them in and then taking spoonfuls and dropping them onto the parchment. Think of Chunky candy bars. (These are my mother's absolute favorite.) I made these candies one year for my family members for Christmas gifts and they were an incredible hit. Of course, you can change the extract flavor, too. I added almond extract with the vanilla and added roasted almonds to the candy. Man oh, man were they delicious. Pecans, raisins, peanuts...whatever you like. This is definitely an option.
So, pretty soon I will be posting the recipe for Mom's Rockin' Chocolate Chip Cookies now that you know how to make the chips with HONEY!
Do this! Try making your own sugar free chocolate and see how awesome it is!
Thanks for reading and making good things.
God bless you.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org