Cocoa your way to happiness

 

Back on this date in 1965, "You've lost that lovin' feeling," topped the charts. Now, if you want to keep that lovin' feeling topping your charts, you might want to try a chocolate pie.

It's not just the chocolate lover in me guiding you. Scientific evidence exists that proves chocolate makes you happier. Or at least think you are happier.

With the chocolate holiday, better known as Valentine's Day, coming up next week, a few chocolate recipes couldn't come at a better time.

Eating the No. 1 food craved by American women causes the brain to release endorphins which are chemicals that make us feel good.

Other researchers have said chocolate contains anandamide, which activates the same target as marijuana, upping the "happy" you get from partaking in the yummy stuff.

Other researchers believe chocolate cravings have something to do with serotonin, a brain chemical that makes us feel relaxed.

Relaxed or happy, it doesn't really matter. Chocolate is a definite crowd pleaser. And what should we do with crowds? Feed them!

Below are three easy recipes for chocolate pies. Very distinctively different chocolate pies. Just like chocolate lovers, everyone has different favorites. It is the season for pot lucks and pies are great to bake and take. Pot lucks are the perfect venue to try something outside your cookbook. You might come home with an empty plate and a new favorite.


Chocolate Pecan Pie

(recipe from Chef Darnell Jones/Dine with the King Catering)

1 c sugar

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 T vanilla extract

1 T rum

1 c dark corn syrup

3 eggs

1 c chocolate chips

1 c pecan halves

1 pie shell

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar and butter until creamy, then add the eggs; next add corn syrup and vanilla extract; then add rum to complete the custard. Place chocolate chips in the bottom of the pie shell, then place pecans over the chips, then pour in custard. Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, remove and let cool for 2 hours before serving.

Chocolate Avocado Pie

(recipe from endlesssimmer.com)

Melt 12 oz of chocolate chips on the stove in a double boiler, stirring occasionally. While the chocolate is melting, use a hand mixer to blend 3 avocados until it's a paste like consistency. Once the chocolate has melted, pour it into the bowl with avocado and add 1/3 cup sugar (more or less depending on taste), mix further with the blender and pour/scoop into the graham cracker crust. Smooth out on top and chill for up to three hours or until firm. Serve with whipped cream and sliced strawberries for more of a bang.


What could make someone happier than chocolate and bacon?

Chocolate Cake Pie

(recipe from bhg.com)

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

1/2 cup water

2 ounces semisweet chocolate

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Add 3/4 cup sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat flour mixture and milk alternatively into egg mixture. Pour into pastry shell; set aside. Heat water and chocolate over low heat until chocolate melts. Stir in 2/3 cup sugar; heat just until boiling. Remove from heat; add remaining 1/4 cup butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla, stirring until butter melts. Pour chocolate mixture over batter in pie shell. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 50 minutes. Cool about 30 minutes on wire rack. Top with Bacon Chocolate Gnache

Bacon Chocolate Gnache

1 part bacon grease

1 part butter, melted

2 parts dark chocolate

Chopped up bacon to taste

Cook the bacon and measure the bacon grease in grams. Melt and equivalent amount of butter in the same pan (uncleaned to pick up more bacon flavor) you cooked the bacon in. Add in the two parts of chocolate and melt.

Once all is melted and combined, set aside to cool. Chop a few pieces of extra crispy cooked bacon into tiny pieces, and set aside.

Once the mixture has cooled to a spreadable consistency, spoon it out into a stand mixture and whip at a high speed until it is light and fluffy. Fold in bacon pieces. 

 

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