Chocolate Hearts with Espresso Cream Filling

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought a cute love story would be appropriate.

Clearly, it doesn’t involve me. It’s about my grandparents, who are just as madly in love today as the day they met.

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One night while I was in California, my grandparents hosted a birthday dinner for my dad. I made this cake.

Anyway, I convinced my grandparents to let me film them telling the story of how they met. If you have 9 minutes to spare watching this video, I suggest you do. It’s quite a cute story.

Anyway, I’ve been looking for an excuse to let that story out.

And, with Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, I must turn to the mother of all dessert ingredients: chocolate.

My love affair with chocolate goes back a long way.

Aside from wishing I could sustain a diet almost entirely of chocolate, I loved it so much that I even based my high school speech class on the history and processing of chocolate. Yes, I stood behind a podium, in front of 30 teenagers, speaking for ten minutes… about chocolate.

I sure hope they remember something from that.

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I spent years as an international development geek, so when Divine Chocolate contacted me and asked me to write a post or two using their chocolate, I was ecstatic.

Divine Chocolate is a fair trade company that works with women in Ghana, a country that boasts the title of second largest cocoa exporter in the world. With the liberalization of Ghana’s cocoa market in the 1990s, one woman saw an opportunity to organize the cocoa farmers whose voices were not being heard (this hits so closely to what my last employer did that you’d think I’d deny its coincidence).

In this recipe, I used their cocoa powder — the cookies came out perfectly. And the packaging was so well-designed!

Try not to lick the screen.

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This happened.

This weekend, a few coworkers and I gathered to ring in the holiday season with a Yule log. There’s even a squirrel made of marzipan. He’s looking out the window, probably at his real-life squirrel friends.

I don’t have much capacity for writing more about this, but as you can see, I’m pretty ecstatic that this happened. Oh, and rolling a yule log is surprisingly difficult. I left that task to the expert.

Continue reading “This happened.”