Chocolate science, history and fun facts – Part 4

Kids can have fun with chocolate or even have a chocolate party.

Most kids love chocolate, and learning about how and where chocolate is grown and the history of chocolate can be very interesting. In previous Michigan State University Extension articles I have touched on some of the highlights of chocolate.

Kids can have fun with chocolate or even have a chocolate party. There are many great children’s books about chocolate. “Smart About Chocolate: A Sweet History” by Sandra Markle and Charise Mericle Harper, and “DK Readers: The Story of Chocolate” by C.J. Polin are two I would recommend if you are interested in knowing more about this fascinating treat. It would be great fun to have kids make crowns at their chocolate party, after all, chocolate is the “food of the gods” and was once a treasured treat for royalty.

After reading about chocolate, it is fun for kids to make their own chocolatey treats. Here are a couple of recipes to get your creative juices flowing.

Chocolate covered pretzels

  • Melt some chocolate over a double boiler.
  • Pour melted chocolate into a tall glass.
  • Dip pretzel rods into chocolate.
  • Roll in desired embellishment (sprinkles, nuts, chopped caramel, mini chocolate chips, etc.)
  • Let dry on waxed paper or parchment paper.
  • Enjoy!

Homemade tootsie rolls

The following recipe is from A Cozy Kitchen and yields 34 tootsie rolls.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a large bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, confectioner’s sugar, dry milk and salt.

2. Add the corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla extract to a small bowl. Use a fork, whisk vigorously until everything is completely combined.

3. Stir the syrup mixture into the dry mixture. It will at first appear like there isn’t enough liquid to bring the tootsie roll dough together, but keep going. Using your hands, knead the mixture together for a few minutes. Eventually it will go from powdery to chocolatey and smooth. Form the dough around disc.

4. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/2 inch slices. Take one slice and roll it into a long, thin rope; cut the rope into 1 inch tootsie rolls. Transfer the cut tootsie rolls to a baking sheet or cooling rack. Repeat the process until you’ve formed about 30 tootsie rolls. Place the tootsie rolls in the fridge for 1 hour and until firm. Wrap the tootsie rolls in parchment or wax paper that are 3.5 x 2.5 inch squares.

Have fun tasting some new chocolates; try picking up on the different aromas, taste and textures. Chocolate tasting parties are very popular right now. Invite your friends to bring a couple of chocolate bars to share and see if you can find a new favorite.

Other Michigan State University Extension articles in this series

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