Chocolate: A gift from the gods

There are two kinds of people in the world: 1. Those who love chocolate and 2. Those upon whom we should bestow our sincerest sympathies.

The Aztecs knew a thing or two about chocolate, since they invented a fermented brew using the cacao bean as far back as 450 B.C.. It was their firm belief that this stuff was truly bequeathed to humans by the god Quetzalcoatl.

Of course, after the Spanish invaded, they took the stuff (and the name: the word “chocolate” is derived from a native South American language) back to Europe and in true European fashion add sugar and milk.

In our house, we prefer the non-European form. For us, this heaven-sent substance is consumed sans milk and with as little sugar as possible. The darker the chocolate, the better.

Of course this type of chocolate is all the rage these days. The artisan crafted kind is poured into ingots that might as well be made of gold, given the crazy, exorbitant prices.

But what if you could achieve that taste for a mere fraction of the price? I haven’t figured out how to make bars of it, but a liquid equivalent can do wonders to quench that cacao urge.

Here’s a quick little kitchen hack, at least for chocolate syrup that can be used for desserts, pancakes, crepes, or even as a little snack poured over fresh nuts. And best of all, it contains no refined sugar.

Scoop out 7 tablespoons of 100% powdered cacao. I use Hershey’s, which will set you back about $8 for nearly 1.5 pounds. A pretty good deal. Of course, if you want to go artisan, single-source, fair trade, there are plenty of options out there. No matter what you buy, I guarantee it will be cheaper than buying a bottle of its liquid counterpart.

Now, add either honey or 100% maple syrup. Start with a tablespoon. Add a little water (try 4 tablespoons to start.) Use a whisk to mix it up.

If it’s too thick, no problem, add a little more water. Too thin, just add a bit more of the powder. If it’s not sweet enough for you, just add honey or maple syrup. Use a whisk to beat out the little lumps. Serve at room temperature.

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