Today is International Chocolate Day! I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to give a shout out to one of the foods I admire the most. Here are some fun facts about chocolate and a great recipe.
1. Chocolate is America’s favorite flavor. A recent survey revealed that 52 percent of U.S. adults said they like chocolate best. The second favorite flavor was a tie (at 12 percent each) between berry flavors and vanilla.
2. U.S. chocolate manufacturers currently use 40 percent of the almonds produced in the United States and 25 percent of domestic peanuts.
3. U.S. chocolate manufacturers use about 3.5 million pounds of whole milk every day to make chocolate.
4. Fifty-three percent of adults aged 55 or older prefer dark chocolate while thirty-seven percent favor milk chocolate. The younger crowd is different, with fifty-five percent of people aged 18-34 choosing milk chocolate and only thirty-one percent preferring dark.
5. The melting point of cocoa butter is just below the human body temperature (98.6 degrees) — which is why it literally melts in your mouth.
6. According to The National Confectioners Association, Switzerland tops the charts with 22 pounds of chocolate eaten per person each year. The average American eats 10-12 pounds (4.5 kg) of chocolate a year.
7. Older children are significantly more likely to prefer chocolate than younger children (59 percent of 9-11year-olds prefer chocolate vs. 46 percent of 6-8 year-olds), according to an NCA survey.
8. White chocolate contains no chocolate liquor, but instead consists of cocoa butter, sugar, dairy products, and flavorings; it must contain at least 20 percent cocoa butter and no more than 55 percent sugar.
9. Chocolate is not high in caffeine. A 1oz bar of milk chocolate contains only 5-6mg of caffeine. This is significantly less than in coffee, tea, and soft drinks
10. Chocolate can be frozen for up to six months. It is best to seal chocolate in a zip lock bag before freezing.
Now for the recipe, enjoy your chocolate!
For the chocolate crumb:
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cookie:
- 16 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup glucose*
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ounces 55-percent chocolate, melted
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
For the chocolate crumb:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low-speed until mixed.
Add the butter and paddle on low-speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread the clusters on the pan, and bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.
Let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. Stored in an airtight container, they will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer.
For the cookie:
Combine the butter, sugar, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, vanilla, and melted chocolate, and beat for 7-8 minutes.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Still on low-speed, add the chocolate crumbs and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a 2 ¾-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto the pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature — they will not bake properly.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on the sheet pans. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. It’s tough (kind of impossible) to gauge if a cookie that is this dark with chocolate is done. If after 18 minutes, the cookies still seem doughy in the center, give them another minute in the oven, but not more.
Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temperature, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.