It’s not over ‘til the chocolate course is served…
On her multi-award winning food site, Chocolate and Zucchini, Parisian foodie Clotilde Dusoulier recently interviewed a Lithuanian chocolate maker who is a self-described “chocolate lunatic.”
Perfect, I thought, that’s me! I’m not fond of labels but chocolate lunatic is one I can live with. I’m sure chocolate lunacy is a spectrum disorder and I’m definitely somewhere on the spectrum. The Lithuanian chocolate maker is also a chocolate snob but that’s not something I suffer from.
It doesn’t feel to me like dinner is really over until the chocolate course is served. The chocolate course comes after dessert. I’m incredibly fond of dessert and with the exception of tiramisu which is my all-time favourite, I usually like fruity desserts: fruit salad, homemade apple tarte, lemon squares, plum streusel cake, blueberry-topped New York-style baked cheesecake, black cherry clafoutis, rhubarb and cranberry crumble, strawberries and cream, or even a platter of cheese and fruit. But if I had to choose between dessert and chocolate – I’d choose the chocolate every time.
During the week I skip dessert and go straight to chocolate. It saves time and calories. Sometimes it’s a humble peanut butter cup, sometimes its Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, or Laura Secord’s dark chocolate gingers, or Godiva, or a bar of Lindt Excellence dark with chili. In an emergency I’ll eat chocolate chips.
Lately though, I’ve been making these no-bake, dark chocolate peanut butter squares. They both quell my urge to bake on hot summer days and satisfy my chocolate cravings. Plus they take only five minutes to prepare. I’ve convinced myself that they are a healthy alternative to straight chocolate because the ingredients include brown rice cereal and peanut butter – so there’s whole grain and protein involved. They have the added bonus of being vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Somehow they’re incredibly consoling. Even if you don’t need any consolation and you’re not a chocolate lunatic – I still think you’ll like them. And if you’re a chocolate snob – substitute 125 grams of Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate for the chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Cereal Squares
½ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup*
½ cup natural peanut butter
2 ½ to 3 cups of brown rice cereal (Kellogg’s have just introduced gluten-free brown rice Rice Krispies. If not cooking gluten-free substitute any unsweetened cereal that you like)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I’ve been using Hershey’s premium dark chocolate chips)
1 tbsp vegan margarine or butter
In a saucepan over medium heat melt the golden syrup and peanut butter together until the mixture is well-blended and slightly liquefied. Remove from heat and stir in the cereal adding enough so that the mixture is not sloppy. Spoon into an 8 x 8 inch glass pan and press the mixture down.
Melt the chocolate chips and margarine (or butter) together over low heat until melted (or microwave on low power) and spread over the cereal base. If needed, you can stir a tablespoon of boiling water into the chocolate to make it easier to spread.
Refrigerate and cut in small squares when chilled.
*Lyle’s Golden Syrup is cane sugar syrup and not the same thing as corn syrup. In Canada you will find Lyle’s Golden Syrup in most major supermarkets and also in many speciality food shops. It is a much healthier option than corn syrup which is highly refined and may contain high fructose corn syrup and sulphites.