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Milling and Baking with Heritage and Ancient Grains: Bread and Beyond


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I wanted to feature the dried cacao fruit I discovered this week at
Whole Foods, little thin squares that seem like fruit leather, from
'Blue Stripes Urban Cacao', in 4 oz packages (the recipe uses one
whole package).  I've been curious about cacao pulp since as soon as
I realized that the pulp was the original attraction of cacao for
the indigenous people who discovered it, but since the pulp is key
to traditional fermentation of the beans, I figured I'd have to go
to a cacao farm to actually taste it.  

But in the last year, I've had a cacao fruit popsicle from Dick
Taylor's Chocolates (only available at their factory store in
Eureka), and a cacao fruit bar from them.  I also bought some "Cacao
Fruit Bites" found at a health food store, but was disappointed to
find that Cacao Fruit was a minority ingredient in all of them. 
However, not only did this 100% cacao fruit pulp product appear on
the shelf, but I saw this very interesting article that suggests the
pulp may be less integral to bean processing than I'd suspected--so
maybe I can enjoy some cacao fruit while feeling less guilty
depriving some beans of what they need to maximize their
potential....and maybe separating some of the pulp for this use can
actually increase income for the farmers:


I built these comparing several different recipes, including Chewy
Chocolate Cookies from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book and some of my
own previous versions trying to create a fudgy brownie-like cookie
without making something too close to a flourless chocolate cake or
even truffle.  I  also made them without gluten so I can share them
with a colleague who is gluten-sensitive, and because teff is so
very good in chocolates.  The chia is to help them hold together
with the gluten-free flours, and can be omitted if using a wheat
flour with gluten.  

Mincing the cacao fruit is difficult because it is so sticky, so I
use my favorite technique of letting the food processor do the work
by adding the dried fruit with a portion of the flour, so the fruit
bits get immediately flour coated as they are chopped, and you can
get it quite fine that way.  

Five by Five Chocolate Cookies

3/4 cup / 170 grams unsalted butter 
 (if what you have is salted, see adjustment below)
3/4 cup / 150 grams sugar

3 1/2 ounces / 100 grams unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons / 45 grams water
  OR 1/4 cup buttermilk OR 1/4 cup water
[1 teaspoon vanilla if not using vanilla bean]

Milled together
 150 grams teff 
 150 grams oats
 2 inches vanilla bean 
               [OR use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, added with the
eggs and buttermilk or water]
Alternatives for the flours
 1/2 cup / 150 grams teff flour
 1/2 cup / 150 grams oat flour
 1 cup / 150 grams whole wheat pastry flour or soft wheat flour]
 1 cup / 150 grams all purpose flour]

2 tablespoons / 12 grams buttermilk powder [omit if using
1/2 cup / 75 grams cocoa
10 grams ground chia seeds [omit if using wheat flour]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt [omit if using salted butter]

4 ounces / 113 grams dried cacao fruit, minced

1/2 cup / 2 ounces or 60 grams cacao nibs
2 ounces / 56 grams finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used one
bar of Dick Taylor's 70% Sambirano)

Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together (I do it in the
microwave on lower power to avoid scorching the chocolate, stirring
often).  Transfer to mixer bowl, and beat together with the sugar.

Beat in the eggs, water or buttermilk, and vanilla if using.  

Take half of the flour and whirl in food processor with the dried
cacao fruit until the fruit is very finely minced.

Sift or whisk the flours, chia [if using gluten-free flours], salt,
baking powder, buttermilk powder [if using] together, and add to the
mixing bowl together with the the flour/cacao fruit, cacao nibs, and
chopped chocolate.  Stir together until well mixed, and let sit for
several hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator
to hydrate the flours.  

Preheat the oven to 350degF / 175deg C.

Roll teaspoonsful of dough into small balls, flatten them a little,
place them fairly close together on lightly greased or parchment or
silpat lined baking sheets (they won't spread much).   Bake 350
degrees for 12 minutes, until they are dry and a little firm on the

Also posted to my website.

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