This month’s main article is going to wander away from the norm a bit. I want to introduce you to my favorite sister-in-law, Deb, a dyed-in-the-wool chocoholic, who happens to work with a great bunch of other chocoholics. Her co-workers used their mutual passion as the theme for her surprise 62nd birthday party. It was her party, but I’d like to share her favorite gifts with you!

One co-worker presented her with a jar of home-made Beauty Bark. Rich in skin-protecting flavonoids and beneficial for restful sleep, the luscious taste is sure to make you glow from within:

Beauty Bark Recipe

Line a 9″ square pan with foil. Melt 6 oz. dark chocolate in the microwave for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on high, until nearly melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread the chocolate in the pan, and sprinkle with 2/3 cup roasted edamame and 1/4 cup dried tart cherries. Chill 15 minutes. How does it make you beautiful? The rich dark chocolate and soy (edamame) deliver skin-protecting flavonoids. Dried tart cherries are known to induce beauty sleep, giving you the rest you need to recharge.

Another friend, a dieter no doubt, gifted her with a jar of home-made Chocolate Body Butter.

Chocolate Body Butter

In a double boiler, melt 1 cup cocoa butter over low heat. Add 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup sweet almond oil, and melt until completely liquid. Chill in a bowl for 30 minutes, then stir in 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil. Using a hand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a jar. Use this Body Butter to massage into dry skin. It is not edible, and will keep up to one year.

In charge of the birthday “cake,” Erin brought cupcakes — and this recipe!

Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes- 12 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon,   unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 cups white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 2 eggs, 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cold, 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 375°, put liners in two 12-cupcake muffin tins. In a bowl, combine the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, sugar and salt. Blend the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oils together, and stir into the dry mix just until blended. (The batter will be thin.) Stir in 3/4 of the bacon. Fill cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when gently pressed. Cool on a wire rack. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting; sprinkle with reserved bacon, then dust with reserved cocoa powder.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEB!

This  Month’s Heavenly Selection from Your Favorite Chocolate of the Month Club:  “TOFFEE & CREAMS”  Center pieces are ALL BUTTER TOFFEE rolled in MILK CHOCOLATE & GROUND WALNUTS  Outer pieces include WHITE CHOCOLATE w/CASHEWS & CARAMEL MIDDLE, MILK CHOCOLATE w/MAPLE BUTTER CREAM MIDDLE, & DARK CHOCOLATE w/VANILLA CREAM MIDDLE


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