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More than chocolate: A Latin collaboration

Local chocolatier develops a chocolate bar inspired by Latin and indigenous ingredients

Tyler Shane, a Kansas City-based chocolatier, paired up with Café Corazón, Kansas City’s premier Latin coffee shop, to create Latin-inspired chocolate bars. Café Corazón makes their coffee intending to highlight one of Latin America’s main crops — the coffee bean. When the idea came to the owners Curtis Herrera and Miel Castagna-Herrera to create a chocolate bar, it was time for another crop of Latin origin to have the spotlight – the cacao bean.

While many acknowledge chocolate as a European confection, its origins are in South America. Eventually, the cacao bean made its way north to Mesoamerica, where it became highly revered and the main ingredient in the xocotle drink, a mixture of ground cacao beans combined with spices such as chilies, cinnamon, and vanilla. The bitter concoction was consumed in rituals, as indigenous people believed it could connect them with the divine.

Café Corazón strives to pay homage not only to Latin and indigenous ingredients but also creators. In their search for a chocolatier with Latinx roots, Tyler fit the bill as she is not only Spanish and Native American but was previously a chocolatier for Christopher Elbow Chocolates.

Their collaboration produced two dark chocolate bars: Maíz and Mole. The Maíz bar combines corn nuts and lime for a crunchy, salty delight. The Mole flavor is a representation of the traditional Mexican sauce and consists of almonds, peanuts, chiles, and other spices.

With the successful launch of the Latin-infused chocolate, Tyler plans on continuing to create chocolate that educates the consumer of cacao’s origins and, just maybe, connects one with their divine.

Spice Fudge Bars

Makes: 50 fudge squares

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 tbsp butter

3 1/3 cup sugar

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

12 oz. evaporated milk

1 cup butter

32 large marshmallows

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 Café Corazón Mole chocolate bars, chopped into small pieces

1 ½ cup milk chocolate chips

Directions

1.     Line a 15x10 in. hotel pan with parchment. Grease the parchment with 1 tbsp. butter.

2.     In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugars, milk, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

3.     Stir in marshmallows and vanilla until combined.

4.     Gradually stir in spiced and milk chocolate pieces until melted.

5.     Immediately pour into the prepared pan.

6.     Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.

7.     Use parchment to lift and remove fudge from pan. Cut fudge into 1-inch squares and enjoy.

Kitchen Sink Chocolate Bark

Makes: 20 pieces of chocolate bark

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb. 60-70 percent dark chocolate

Optional fillings/toppings:

1 cup peanuts

1 cup pretzels

1 cup crushed potato chips

Special equipment needed: Candy thermometer

Directions

1.     Line a cookie sheet with parchment

2.     Fill medium pot with 1 inch of water and simmer over medium heat

3.     Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and place over simmering pot, stirring to melt. This creates a double boiler.

4.     Once chocolate is completely melted, remove from pot. Cool chocolate to 90 degrees.

5.     Get creative with it! Look for any sweet or salty pantry item you’d like to add to your chocolate. Use your best judgment as to whether it should be mixed into the chocolate or added at the end as a garnish. Add your chosen fillings to the chocolate and stir until combined.

6.     Pour chocolate onto lined cookie sheet and spread evenly in one-inch layer with an offset spatula.

7.     Sprinkle garnish on chocolate.

8.     Refrigerate chocolate for 10 minutes. Once cooled, remove from fridge and leave at room temperature for 10 minutes.

9.     Break chocolate into Dorito-sized pieces.

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