Cocoa, chocolate, those are favourite words of many, and we have been spoilt for the past decade with many high quality imported chocolate brands. Trinis are not really a "cook or bake with chocolate" people, historically it's really been about cocoa powder, especially on J’Ouvert morning!
Do you really think of taste when you hastily grab a tin of commercial cocoa powder off the supermarket shelf? There is not much choice, but if I really need to, I always go with the orange tin, better colour and good taste. Don’t be swayed by super dark cocoa powders, almost black in colour, they tend to be void of flavour and give the final product an unappetising colour. Why invest your time to create a chocolate delicacy in your kitchen to get an end result that is flavourless?
Enter our very own Trinidad cocoa powders, crafted from our locally grown beans, Trinitario – a hybrid of the Criollo and Forestero beans or other, each estate has their own brand of all artisan cocoa powder.
The difference in taste is phenomenal, our Trinidad cocoa powder is rich, with intense flavour and aroma. When it comes to delivering deep, dark chocolate flavour, Trinidad local cocoa powder wins every time and can compete full on with chocolate.
Cocoa powder is actually a purer form of chocolate. Chocolate is made up of two components – cocoa solids, which is responsible for the flavour, and cocoa butter which gives the characteristic rich texture.
Cocoa powder has very little cocoa butter, ten-12 per cent, pure unsweetened chocolate contains on average 55 per cent cocoa butter, so ounce for ounce Trinidad cocoa powder gives full on more chocolate flavour. By comparison supermarket brands tend to have too many additives and are very soft on flavour.
Our local estate made cocoa powders may not be available mainstream but you will surely find them at one of our many artisan markets, South Market, Up-Market, Santa Cruz market, Namdevco Farmers markets, and gourmet stores. Go ahead and indulge your senses, I promise you, you are in for a real cocoa treat!
Spicy chilli with cocoa
2 tbs veg oil
1 lb ground beef
2 onions, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbs chilli powder
1 tbs ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs unsweetened Trinidad artisan cocoa powder
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 15 oz tin red beans with the water
1 15 oz tin black beans with the water
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch cilantro chopped
In a medium sized Dutch oven or sauce pan heat oil, add ground beef and turn until no longer pink, add onions, garlic and dried spices, stir well.
Stir in cocoa powder, peppers and beans, stir, add tomatoes. Season with salt.
Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes until thick. Stir in chadon beni
Serve with grated cheese, sour cream and corn bread
Serves 6 to 8
Double layer super chocolate cake
1 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Trinidad chocolate 70%, melted
1 cup Trinidad artisan powdered cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease sides and base and line 2 nine-inch cake tins with waxed paper.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and doubled in volume.
Sift flour three times add baking powder and baking soda sift cocoa and combine with flour.
Add eggs one at a time to creamed butter mixture, making sure to beat well between additions, batter must be fluffy. Add vanilla to milk. Add flour to batter alternately with milk in three additions. Beginning and ending with the flour/cocoa mixture. Spoon batter evenly into prepared tins, bake for 35-40 minutes until done and cake pulls away from the sides of the tin. Makes 2 nine inch cakes
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs corn syrup
2 egg whites
⅓ cup water
1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar
With an electric mixer beat egg whites until fluffy but not dry add Cream of Tartar.
Combine sugar with water, stir gently to combine, place in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, boil sugar until bubbly and spins a thread when lifted from a fork.
Poor syrup into egg whites with mixer running, continue to beat until all the syrup has been incorporated, beat for a few minutes longer until mixture loses some of its gloss. Frosts 2 nine-inch cakes.