Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate

I was contacted by Green and Black’s Organic Chocolate asking if I would like to review and discuss their chocolate bars.

I love chocolate and very happily accepted the challenge.

Green and Black’s chocolate is not only certified organic but it is also fair trade chocolate.  Goodness all around!

I was sent several bars to test out and instead of doing a standard post about the chocolate and their flavors, I wanted to do something different.

Since we moved this year to beautiful and beer friendly, Colorado, I decided to pair the Green and Black’s Chocolates with beers.

Oh yes I did!

Below are the flavors I recieved and the beers that I paired with them.

Milk and a Milk Stout (two choices):

Normally, I’m not a milk chocolate fan, preferring the darker chocolates.  However this milk chocolate was creamy, slightly sweet, and very smooth.  I loved that it wasn’t overly sweet and it quickly became a favorite.

Plenty of milk stouts to choose from!  Left Hand makes a solid milk stout that works well this bar.  But if you want to go super decadent, Founder’s Breakfast Stout and this chocolate are a match made in heaven.

Almond and Tommyknocker’s Imperial Nut Brown Ale

The almond bar is made with Green and Black’s milk chocolate and contains whole roasted almonds.  It was delicious and the almonds provided a great crunch and nutty background to the milk chocolate.  Breaking up the sweetness just a touch.

Paired with Tommyknocker’s Imperial Nut Brown Ale, the sharpness of the brown ale helps cut the sweetness of the chocolate while the nut finish compliments the roasted almonds in the chocolate.

If you can’t find Tommyknocker where you live, look for another brown ale or nut brown ale local to you for the pairing.

Cherry with New Belgium’s La Folie, Lips of Faith Series

I’m not a huge fan of tart cherries and admittedly I was a little nervous trying this chocolate out, thinking I wouldn’t like it.  I was completely wrong.  The cherries are tart and pair wonderfully with the dark chocolate.  They aren’t overpowering at all but provide a nice little kick to the chocolate.  Just enough tartness to wake you up but not knock you over.

I paired this chocolate with New Belgium’s La Folie which is a sour brown ale.  La Folie isn’t a strong sour but a more lighter and friendly sour.  It goes well with the cherries and the dark chocolate.

Unfortunately since this was a Lips of Faith beer, that means it was a limited release so you probably cannot find any. This is terribly sad news.  However I would still suggest pairing this chocolate with a sour beer but one that isn’t a very strong sour.  A lighter sour beer works well with this bar.

Expresso and Epic’s Big Bad Baptist:

The expresso bar surprised me with how integrated the expresso beans were!  They are ground up and provide a crunchy texture throughout the whole bar.  It was so lovely and enjoyable!  Most bars have larger chunks of expresso beans in them which for me isn’t as pleasing texturally.  This bar almost has like a cookie crunch quality to it giving it a unique quality.

You can pair this bar with just about any stout but I picked Epic’s Big Bad Baptist because it’s a stout with a kick coming in at 11% ABV.  It is also brewed with cocoa nibs and coffee which brings out the expresso flavor of the bar.

Dark 70% and New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole Lips of Faith Series

Oh dark chocolate I love you.  It’s not too sweet and is full of chocolatey goodness.  Green and Black’s dark chocolate is velvety and delicious.  Since this was straight up dark chocolate with no accents, I decided to provide the accent through the beer.

That’s why I paired the 70% Dark Chocolate Bar with New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole Ale from their Lips of Faith Series.  This is by far one of my all time favorite beers.  It’s chocolatey AND spicy.  It’s knock-your-socks-off amazing.  It gave a nice little heat kick to the dark chocolate bar.

Again, since this is a limited release beer, it’s possible that you can’t find any more.  If you do see a bottle, grab it quick!  If not, look for another cocoa mole stout to go with the chocolate.  I’ve seen a few different versions out there so should be able to find one in your neck of the woods.

Or pair with a new Lips of Faith brew, Imperial Chocolate Stout! Either type of brew will work with this dark chocolate.

Maya Gold and a spiced Belgian style brew:

I will be completely honest and say that I didn’t care for this bar.  I’m not a fan of orange and chocolate pairing.  I know it’s a classic combination but for some reason this doesn’t go over well with me.

If you like spiced chocolate, then definitely give this bar a try though.  It’s got orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg all throughout the chocolate.

Orange can be tricky to pair with beer but I think since this bar is a little on the heavier side, a lighter beer would make a better pairing.  Something in the Belgian style works here.  Perhaps  a spiced Quad or even a spiced Saison would work.  It would compliment the complexity of this bar and make for a great post dinner nibble!

Since I didn’t eat much of this bar, I didn’t get a chance to pair it with beer. The above suggestion is merely that, a suggestion.

I love chocolate and beer so I had a great time pairing the two and seeing what worked and what did not.  If you love chocolate and beer, try testing some combos out to find what you enjoy!

Big Thanks go Green and Black’s for sending me some chocolate to pair with some awesome beers.



Disclaimer: Green and Black’s sent me the chocolate to review. My opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this article.


Review: Brix Chocolate

During one of our visits to World Market, Scott pointed out this Brix chocolate to me and said I should try some.

I read the description and saw that it was chocolate developed to pair specifically with wine.  Since I like dark chocolate with red wine, this was a no-brainer purchase for me.  In the cart it went and I haven’t looked back.

This chocolate is very smooth and melts on your tongue quickly.  Velvety chocolate nibbles for a post dinner treat.

I normally stick with their darkest variety but for Christmas, Scott got me a sampler pack.  It contained four little bricks of all of their chocolates.

The chocolate is presented in brick form with the idea that you break off a piece to nibble as you like.  Much like how a cheese plate is presented for wine tastings.

With each chocolate there are wine note pairings and suggestions.  After trying all of the chocolate I have to say that each flavor goes with most wines.

The milk chocolate, which I’m usually not a fan of, was amazing.  Creamy without being overly sweet and obnoxious.  We had that with prosecco which paired perfectly.

I almost always have this chocolate on hand now.  So very yummy! And perfect for when you just want a little bite of something.

If you like having a little dessert with your wine or if you’re hosting a wine tasting and are looking for a little something different to put out, I highly suggest trying this chocolate.

Disclaimer: This chocolate was bought by us. My review is my own.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

The other day I was surfing around looking at different recipes for stuff when I stumbled up on a chocolate chip cookie cooked in a cast iron skillet.

Whoa! Back that train up!

They completely had my attention because that sounds darn good!  I looked at the recipe and immediately started figuring out how I could make my own.

Everyone’s heard of those BIG chocolate chip cookies sometimes people use in place of birthday cakes.  But this?  This is a completely different concept.

It really is just a basic chocolate chip cookie cooked in a cast iron skillet which results in a thicker cookie with a gooey middle.

I wasted no time in making my own version.

Andrea’s Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

  • 1C Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1C White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/3C Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Found in the dairy aisle, not the canned kind)
  • 2 1/2TBSP Unsalted Butter, room temp + 1/2TBSP
  • 1 Egg, room temp
  • 1/2C Brown Sugar
  • 1/2C Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2tsp Sea Salt
  • 1C Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1C Walnuts, crushed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use 1/2TBSP butter to grease your cast iron skillet.  In a large mixing bowl combine, flours, sea salt, and baking powder.  Whisk together then add in the nuts and chocolate chips.  Stir until everything is combined.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2TBSP butter, egg, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut milk, and applesauce.  Slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir until everything is well combined.  This will be a slightly thick dough.

Pour mixture into greased skillet and spread around till it’s even in the skillet.  Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven, allow to cool for about 5 minutes, slice and serve.  Best served warm.

Both Scott and I were very happy with the way this cookie turned out!  Because of the white whole wheat flour it’s a more dense and chewy cookie.  A lot more filling as well!  It’s not a crumbly crispy cookie, instead it’s soft with gooey melty chocolate.  I added the walnuts just for a little extra kick.

This cookie is best served warm and the slices can be easily heated up in the microwave before serving.  It also freezes well!

If you have a cast iron skillet you should probably make this for a holiday dessert.

Or for Christmas morning breakfast, whichever you feel is more appropriate.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Italian Chocolate Meatball Cookies

For the Holiday Cookie Exchange, I was paired up with Jess! She sent along her recipe for Italian Chocolate Meatball Cookies.

I made a few changes to accomodate what I had on hand along with adjusting to suit our tastes.

Below is the original recipe from Jess:


Italian Chocolate Meatball Cookies
from Dianna Petrella’s recipe (a family friend)
  • 1 cup shortening (yes, you have to use shortening or something like Earth Balance – unfortunately butter just doesn’t work right)
  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (Hershey’s, Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger are good)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 cup walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (ideally you would do this in a stand mixer if you have one; I wouldn’t recommend a hand mixer unless you’ve got an industrial strength one). Roll into balls. Bake at 350º for 10-15 minutes. Cool and dip tops into confectionary sugar frosting and sprinkle tops with confetti. Freeze for up to three months. Yields 4-5 dozen.
For frosting, mix 3 cups confectionary sugar, 2 Tbsp milk, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
My adapations are as follows:
  • I didn’t have shortening, so I used 1/2C coconut oil as a sub.
  • I also don’t have milk, so I subbed in 1C of warm unsweetened coconut milk.
  • I used 2C Unbleached All Purpose Flour and 3C White Whole Wheat Flour
  • Used 1/2C Cane Sugar
  • And I didn’t have any raisins so I had to leave that ingredient out.
I did end up adding just a splash more liquid, since I used whole wheat flour that requires a touch more liquid to the recipe.  No more than 1/4C though I could have gone up to a 1/2C and been fine.
The dough for this recipe is a tight stiff dough and I thought these cookies were going to turn out very dense.  However they are light little cookies with a great chocolatey taste! We are not much fans of icing which is why I didn’t ice these cookies but if you do like icing then I highly suggest adding that as well!  Or sprinkling with a little powdered sugar on top.
Great little cookies to have on your holiday table!  Thanks for participating Jess!

Coffee and Cocoa Rub

You all know that I love a good rub down. Personally I’ll take a well rubbed hunk of animal over a marinated one any day of the week.

And twice on Sundays please.

Because of this I’m constantly creating new rubs and trying out different seasoning combos.

One that I couldn’t get out of my head was using coffee grounds in the rub.

If we had a compost pile or actually planted things around the house, those coffee grinds would be put to good use.  For now they end up getting tossed and I feel like that is such a waste.  I’ve been looking for new uses for them.

Some are to eat and some are for the body.

I decided to try out some of the grounds in a rub and both of us were pretty pleased with the results.

Andrea’s Coffee and Cocoa Dry Rub

  • 1TBSP Coffee Grounds (whatever you used that morning is fine)
  • 1TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 3tsp Chili Powder
  • 2tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Pinch Salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and use on chicken, beef, or pork.  You can even use this on veggies or tofu!

I’ve used this rub on a rack of ribs and also on some flank steak.  I prefer it on the steak!  It gave the steak an very lovely deep color as it grilled, along with providing a nice crust on the outside.

I fought Scott over the crispy ends!  We made tacos with the flank steak, grilling up some onions and peppers on the side.

You can also add a bit of oil to the rub to make a paste and use that on veggies or tofu, cooking them however you choose.

The coffee provided more color than it did flavor but the combo of coffee and cocoa did provide a more intense beef taste.

If you drink coffee, try using the grounds in recipes and experiment a little.

And if you’re going to be getting in some grilling because you’re not ready to let that go just yet, give this rub a try!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Chocolate For Breakfast

When it comes to eating healthy and eating real food, I admit that I love smashing all the “rules” that are forced upon us from out of no where.

One of my favorite rules to break is the:

You can’t eat chocolate for breakfast.

Who started this nonsense? More importantly, why in the world do we listen to it?

Chocolate is a perfectly acceptable breakfast ingredient. It’s a nice little treat and a lovely little surprise to start our day.

It makes ordinary things a lot more special.  And a lot more yummy!

While I admit that chocolate isn’t something I want everyday for breakfast, I certainly don’t think it should only be regulated to desserts or as an after dinner treat.

Chocolate can be used in a variety of ways and should be embraced a lot more openly!

We can have chocolate any time we want!

Some ways that we like chocolate:

Chocolate Coconut Oats

Buzzin’ Bars

In Chili

On chicken

So tell me, how do you like your chocolate? Do you ever have it for breakfast or dinner?


Buzzin Bars

Last week Scott left for a business trip that had him away from the house for about a week.  He was flying off to San Francisco to geek out about code and be in his element.

Because I knew that eating times might be odd and because I know Scott, this meant he would need to take some food along with him.

He was taking a carry on which meant that the food had to be small, easy to carry, and not prone to spoilage.  And since I knew that these could very well be a meal source, I knew that they had to be jam packed with good stuff.  Stuff that could get you through a couple of hours.

I like using soaked dates in bars and coffee cakes because it adds a nice sweetness without being over powering.  Plus they are a great source of fiber and potassium.

Plus I wanted to do something fun so I added an extra little kick to these bars.

Andrea’s Buzzin Bars

  • 10, dried and pitted dates
  • 1C Coffee + 2TBSP
  • 2C Oats
  • 1C White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2C All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 1/2C Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1/2C Unsweetened Coconut Milk (Not the kind in a can, the kind in the refrigerated section)
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract

In a small to medium sized bowl, add the dates and pour 1C of hot coffee over the dates.  Allow to soak for 1/2 hour to an hour.  You can use leftover coffee that has been reheated.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish (either with oil or nonstick spray).

Drain dates and add to a food processor.  Pulse just until the dates start to break up.  Add in the oats, flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.  Pulse again until the oats start to break down and the chips start to break down as well.  The chips might not break down as easy, don’t worry about this.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the coconut milk, 2TBSP of coffee, the peanut butter, maple syrup, and the vanilla extract.  Whisk until the PB is well incorporated into the mix.  Add this mixture to the date mixture, and pulse until well combined.

This will be an extremely thick batter.  It will not be a pourable batter and you may have to remove it from the processor and mix with your hands a few times.  Put this mixture into the baking dish, you’ll have to press it into place.  Again, remember this is a really thick batter.

Place in oven and bake for about 10 -15 minutes.  Just till the top starts to get a little browned.  It doesn’t take long at all for these bars to set.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.  Cut into squares and serve immediately.  Or allow to cool longer once cut, place in a storage container and keep in fridge until you’re ready to eat one.  I suggest heating it up slightly before eating.

These also freeze very well.

These smell exactly like a no bake cookie.  The peanut butter comes out as a very strong smell and flavor in these bars.  The coffee is just enough to enhance the chocolate and not dominate the flavor in any way.

The bars are very dense because they are so jam packed with goodness.  Fiber from the oats and dates, protein from the peanut butter, and a little fun from the chocolate.

If you don’t have coffee or don’t want to use coffee, you can soak the dates in hot water.  Use 2 TBSP of coconut milk in place of the 2 TBSP of coffee in the bar batter.

Great as a breakfast or a snack.

Bonus, you don’t even have to cook these!  You can roll them into little ball shapes and serve them up as a twist on a truffle. Yes there is flour in here but there is no “uncooked flour” taste when you eat these bars raw.  All you get is a straight forward chocolate and peanut butter combo.

I did give all of these to Scott to take on his trip.  That much chocolate and PB needs to stay close to home as well.  I had some for breakfast and they are chocolatey delish!

Do you make bars at home?  They are perfect for snacks on the go!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Rookie Mistake

Several weeks ago I was able to get some chocolate for an outstanding deal. The only one that caught my eye was this Ghirardelli Toffee Interlude bar.

Dark chocolate, toffee bits, and carmalized almonds.

Sounds fantastic, right?

I’ve had Ghirardelli in the past and it’s a pretty sound chocolate.  Not the best ever but decent and their ingredients list is typically on the up and up.

I didn’t think much of it and pick up a few bars because like I said, this was on sale for a crazy deal.

A little while goes by and I try a square.  And I disliked it.

“Scott, for dark chocolate this tastes ridiculously sweet. Ick.”

I don’t care for “sweets” which is why I love to eat dark chocolate.

I decided maybe my taster was off and gave it another taste a few days later.  Again, I really didn’t like it.  It was over-poweringly sweet.  The toffee and almond bits were so small I didn’t think it could be from that.

I finally decided to read the ingredient list.

I’m not sure if you can read that but if you click on the picture you should be able to.  Ghirardelli was nice to bold the ingredients that could be allergy causing.

Below, I’ve typed out the ingredients list and bolded what I think the problem is.

Bittersweet chocolate (sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin – an emulsifier, vanilla), toffee (sugar, butter, high fructose corn syrup, salt, soy lecithin – an emulsifier), almonds, sugar, salt, corn syrup, natural flavor.


Sugar is listed 5 times.

Let me repeat, there is sugar listed in this ingredient label 5 times.

No wonder this “dark chocolate” bar tasted so sweet to me.  Look at all that sugar!  And it contains HFCS which is a huge no-no in this house.

I was terribly annoyed with myself for making such a rookie mistake.  Because I’ve had Ghirardelli in the past with no issue, I thought I could get by without reading the label.


The lesson to be learned here is that one always has to be sure of what they are buying.  Always take time to read the ingredients labels on everything you buy.  Even, and most especially when it’s a brand or product you’ve purchased before.  Because maybe something’s different and you want to catch it before you spend money on it.

Chocolate Coconut Oats

Most times I’m just a regular old fashioned oats girl with no frills. I used to make all kinds of combos but then I moved away from that and became more old school.  Or plain. However you want to label it. I found comfort in regular oats.

But some days we just need something fun. Some days we need a little pick-me-up.

Some days we just need some dang chocolate.

And on those days, I get a little sassy with my oats and make something super yummy.  Nothing too terribly fancy and I’m sure others have been doing this for a while but this is my take on a classic flavor combo.

Chocolate and coconut!

Andrea’s Chocolate Coconut Oats

  • 1C Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1.5C Plain Soymilk (or liquid of your choice)
  • 1 Ripe banana
  • 1TBSP Wheat Germ
  • 1TBSP Ground Flax
  • 1TBSP Coconut Butter
  • 1TBSP Unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • 2TBSP Dried Unsweetened Coconut
  • Extra coconut and dark chocolate chips for garnish

In a small pot, add in the soymilk and the banana. Mash the banana around and then add in the cocoa and coconut butter.  Heat over medium-high heat until the soymilk just begins to bubble. Add in the oats and reduce heat to medium-low.  Also add in the ground flax, wheat germ, and dried coconut. Stir and allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes until the oats soften and the mixture starts to thicken up.  Remove from heat, spoon into bowls, and top with chocolate chips and coconut for garnish. Makes enough for two bowls of oats.

Everything before you hit the coconut butter, is how I make my typical morning oats just adding in a sprinkle of cinnamon for some flavor and warmth. Whenever I try and make a fancier bowl of oats, I start with the basic and build up from there. It makes things easier plus I know if the oats don’t turn out, it’s because of the new ingredients since nothing else is different.

This is a lovely bowl of oats when you want something a little different. It’s not too sweet and the chocolate isn’t overpowering. The flavor is subtle and you can appreciate taking a little trip down chocolate lane as you eat it.

Just because it’s chocolate doesn’t mean you can’t have it for breakfast!

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!

Chocolate Quinoa Bread

It’s the end of the month which means we are wrapping up Quinoa Month!  What better way to end the month than with some chocolate!

I originally set out to make brownies but this experiment turned out a lot more quick bread-like and not so brownie-like.  However it’s still super tasty and full of chocolate goodness!

Andrea’s Chocolate Quinoa Bread

  • 1C Whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2C Unbleached All-Purpose flour
  • 1 1/2C Cooked quinoa
  • 1/4C Cane sugar
  • 1/4C Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2tsp Baking powder
  • 1tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1TBSP Ground flax
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2C Crushed walnuts
  • 1/2C Dark chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4C Soymilk
  • 1/2C Coffee
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a brownie pan or 8inch square casserole dish with nonstick spray, set aside.   In a medium size mixing bowl combine the soymilk, vanilla, and coffee.  In a large mixing bowl combine all other ingredients except the walnuts and chocolate chips.  Whisk to get all ingredients combined and fluffed.  Add in the nuts and chocolate chips, then add in the soymilk mixture.  Gently stir until everything is combined and then add the mixture to the baking dish.  The batter is a bit thick so make sure that you even it out with a spoon once it’s in the baking dish.  Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I would try but words really can’t describe the chocolate gloriousness of this cake.  It’s rich and decadent but not so heavy that you feel weighted down by dessert.  It’s full of whole grains, quinoa, and nuts making it packed with protein and lots of good stuff for you body.  Along with the antioxidants of the dark chocolate of course!

Even though this did not turn out like brownies, it still turned out and I’m really happy with that!  Sometimes I think a lot of us might be afraid to experiment in the kitchen because we are afraid of failing.  But sometimes those failures will turn into surprises successes!  You just never know until you try.

Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!