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When it comes to chocolate, I have my personal favorites, least of which are the small, bite-sized confections known as “chocolates.” One thing that really irks me is biting into an unknown chocolate to discover its delicious exterior is hiding some disgusting filling that I just can’t seem to stop tasting for hours afterwards.

We all have our favorite chocolate desserts and confections, many of which were cultivated as a child, so I too have to admit that even though I ended up gaining extensive experience as a pastry chef, some of my VERY favorite chocolate treats are ones that I binged on as a kid.
Some habits are hard to break; some you don’t even want to try.

Depending on the recipes used, here’s my personal Top 10 List of Favorite Desserts or Treats Featuring Chocolate.
1. Chocolate Mousse
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Chocolate Bumpy Cake
4. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Toasted Almonds
5. Chocolate Brownies
6. Chocolate Cream Pie
7. Chocolate-Covered Raisins
8. Chocolate Malt Shakes (The REAL ones!)
9. Chocolate Pudding
10. Real Hot Chocolate (Made from scratch, not Swiss Miss)

Conspicuously absent from my favorites list are:
● Chocolate Fudge (WAY too sweet for me…No sense getting a sugar buzz before you get your chocolate fix…) Hot Fudge, on the other hand, tends to be much more chocolatey, and I can enjoy that over some French Vanilla Ice Cream…That would have come in at #11.
● Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream (It’s a pale version of chocolate flavor)
● Hostess Ho Hos…(Sorry, the so-called chocolate is WAY too waxy for me!)
● Chocolates…(I’m not into surprises.)
● Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…(Still not a big fan)
● Chocolate Milk…(Gave it up as a kid once my mom stopped buying Nestle’s Quik one day)
● Chocolate-Covered Fresh Fruits (Yes, that includes strawberries, oranges, and apples…)
● Chocolate Mints…(Keep your Junior Mints…until someone can come up with a less minty, much more chocolatey one, this senior’s not signing up…)
● Flavored chocolate bars…(Really???…Adding a fruity flavor to great chocolate is like putting a moustache on the Mona Lisa…)

When it comes to milk vs. dark chocolate, my personal preference (growing up in Mid-America) is, not surprisingly, milk chocolate. But having said that, I’m more often finding myself snacking on dark chocolate. Maybe it’s because I can justify it more when I hear about its (occasionally touted) redeeming health properties…
Lastly, my views on white chocolate have been expounded on many times in these blogs. Which is to say that I hate it. In truth, I’d rather eat the wrapper it’s wrapped in than allow it to pass my lips. It’s vanilla-flavored fat riding on the coattails of its authentic namesake.
Don’t get me started…

So, returning to some of my very favorite chocolate desserts and treats, I leave you with one of my very favorite recipes for chocolate brownies. Enjoy!

Pete’s Fabulous Chocolate Brownies! Makes a 9” x 13” Pan or About 24 – 2” x 2” Brownies

2 Sticks Melted Butter
½ cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
4 Eggs, Beaten
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Dark Cocoa
1 TBSP Pure Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Sea Salt
1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 Cup Toasted Slivered Almond or Walnuts

1) Beat together melted butter and both sugars with paddle attachment on medium speed 3 minutes.
2) Add 1/2 of the eggs and beat on medium speed 2 minutes
3) Add last half of eggs and beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
4) Add flour, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed 2 minutes, scrape down, and mix again 1 minute.
5) Add chocolate chips and nuts and mix on low speed 30 seconds.
6) Grease and flour a 9” x 13” casserole dish.
7) Pour batter into pan and level evenly edge to edge with a spatula.
8) Bake at 350 F for approximately 25 minutes.
9) Cool and cut.

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