International Chocolate Day

Cacao beans are native to Central and South America. However, chocolate is easily one of the world’s favorite flavors. Thus, there’s no surprise that chocolate ranks its own international day of celebration. From chocolate bars (invented in England and perfected in Switzerland) and chocolate biscotti in Italy to Tim Tams (in Australia) and Austria’s iconic Sacher-torte, chocolate capture our flavor imagination like no other. Some like it natural (which is bitter) and others prefer varying degrees of added sweetness. If chocolate holds a special spot on your happy tastebuds’ list, then today is your day to indulge.

For me, of course, I must share a recipe… or two.

Chocolate Balls

In the 1990’s I remember thinking that this Super Simple recipe was yummy. However, I now do not cook with things like sweetened condensed milk, nor sugar.

1 14‑oz can sweetened condensed milk   1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 c coconut   1/2 tsp baking soda     Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix milk, chocolate chips, coconut and soda.  Spread in a greased 9 x 9″ baking pan. (Yes, “greased” meant with Crisco.) Bake about 30 minutes.  When partially cooled, cut into 36 squares. Shape into balls and roll in confectioners’ sugar.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour; makes 3 dozen.


In 2018, I gleefully shifted gears to this Super Simple No Bake Chocolates:

2 c dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (or broken chunks of fave dark chocolate bar)

2 c flaked or shredded, unsweetened coconut

Coarse sea salt

Melt chocolate chips in coconut oil-sprayed or rubbed microwave bowl on high at 20-second intervals, stirring in between. (Let final stirring complete the melting!) Stir in coconut. Use small spoon to scoop little mounds onto wax paper or parchment-lined plates. Sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate 30 min. (Store any unlikely leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer to avoid total disappearance.)

KISS Tips: Add your own flourishes to these gems. For example, I always divide the mixture up and add coarsely chopped almonds to some… chopped dried cranberries to some, and finely diced ginger to others. Simply top your variations with a nut, seed, raisin, cranberry, or ginger nugget to indicate the variations.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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