One of the first things I did when I left my job last October was make a ritual out of my mornings. I’d make myself a frothy mug of Mexican hot chocolate, sprinkle it with a pinch more spicy ground cinnamon, read from one of the many books I finally had time to devour, and then journal until the sun came up. In the quiet dawn, I scribbled my way back to myself with a soothing hot cup of chocolate that warmed me and tasted of the familiarity of my childhood.
The routine has changed a bit since then, but the one thing I haven’t lost is the art of enjoying my morning cup of hot chocolate. There’s a quietness in that, too. In the dark of my kitchen, with just the orange light cascading down from the hood over my stove, I break off one bar from the brick of Popular chocolate, drop it into the small saucepan of coconut almond milk, add my pinch of cinnamon and crank the burner to high. Just when I see the red coils of the burner intensify and the surface of the milk waver, I know it’s time to whisk. And just like that, when the heat and the whisk combine to form a luxurious froth and the pungent smell of cinnamon hits my nose, I am six again and sitting at the kitchen table of our avocado green kitchen, rubbing sleep from my eyes and waking to that very smell of the hot chocolate my mother used to make for us on chilly Wisconsin mornings.
Chocolate is a joy I get to revel in everyday. It’s one of the many things I decided to make time for in my new life and new routine. The fact that today is National Chocolate Day would have made no difference, although it did give me a chance to whip up this recipe for chocolate orange tofu pudding that I think could give good old dairy-based pudding a run for its money. I took a version I used to teach in my Cooking Matters days, simplified it and added a little somethin’ somethin’ extra to showcase my all time favorite chocolate pairing, that of chocolate and orange. You could add any type of flavoring, peppermint, your favorite liquor. Or omit it completely and just enjoy this in its purest form. You don’t even have to turn on the stove for this one. It’s the perfect thing for that late night chocolate craving and you don’t even have to wait for it to set. Just grab a spoon and dive in. This is how chocolate was best meant to be enjoyed.
Chocolate Orange Tofu Pudding
1- 12.3 oz package firm Silken tofu
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon orange extract
Place chocolate chips in a microwaveable container and microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Return to the microwave and finish melting for 1 more minute. Stir all the melted chips.
Place tofu in a blender or food processor, along with orange extract. Pour in melted chocolate and blend until smooth and creamy.
Spoon into your favorite dessert dishes and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.
Garnish with orange peel.
From the Archives
One of the first trips I took solo was to Spain in the Fall of 2010. I landed for a few days in Barcelona before heading onto the Basque country. There are so many things that warm my heart when I think of my travels to Spain, and one of the places I fondly remember was the Museu de la Xocolata or the chocolate museum. If you ever happen to find yourself in this part of the world, I highly recommend a rest between tapas and a stroll through this fascinating museum. One part history, one part creative chocolate art. It truly was a chocolate lover’s dream.