A pound of Sweet Earth chocolate chips arrived in the blink of an eye and
I didn't want to hide them in a recipe as just another ingredient, so, in order to showcase them, I decided to first go classic: turning to VCIYCJ chocolate chip cookies (p.35-36). I've never made these before, but my friend made them for me once and they were chocolate chip cookie perfection.
|This, of course, a joke; I never measure chips!|
They even retained the appealing, slight meltiness of just-baked cookies long after they'd cooled. And, as suspected, both the dark and milk chocolate fans on the esteemed tasting panel enjoyed (admittedly the chips more than the cookies).
Impressed, I decided to make something else. I delved into my newest cookbook, Vegan Diner, which was heartwarmingly gifted to me as a housewarming gift even though the extensive renovations rage on. Strawberry double chocolate pie (p.140-141) instantly caught my eye.
The recipe calls for sandwich cookies for the pie crust, but I didn't have any in the house. I had to wing it with animal crackers instead.
When it was time to prepare the chocolate layer, I fearlessy forged ahead with the new chips and they melted beautifully. I admit that I tend to get a little impatient when melted chocolate is involved, but these were foolproof. It was absolutely necessary to lick the used utensils before washing, and the melted chocolate did not disappoint. As great as the chips held up in the cookies, their beautiful melting capability was even more impressive.
I almost hated to cover it up with the strawberries, but that was kind of the point of the recipe.
I did have to let the pie cool in the fridge twice as long as the recipe called for, but it was worth the wait; it was stupendous! I normally eschew fruit in dessert, but this is pretty much candy: the pie version of a chocolate-covered strawberry, with the added bonus of crust. And as for the crust, the animal crackers made a wonderful one; I've already noted the substitution in my cookbook.
I haven't exactly figured out the most dignified way to serve or eat a slice of cake haphazardly topped with whole strawberries, but there is no other way to make it; it's just too impressive looking this way.
I highly recommend both Vegan Diner and Sweet Earth Chocolates. Thanks so much to My Vegan Gut for the gift of the book and to Gone Pie Bakery for the introduction to the chips and for making it easier to make informed, compassionate choices.
* [added 6/13] Another winner, Vegan Activist blog, has a great post on the ethics of fair trade and how it particularly resonates with veganism.