A few weeks ago, as I was preparing for the post-inauguration Women's March in Portland, I was uncertain which words to paint on the sign I would carry. There were so many things to say, so many issues I wanted to address, and not enough posterboard for them all. And now, in the following weeks, there is a similar sense of being intimidated by the numerous actions to take and causes to support. And this is on top of all the other issues around the globe that deserve attention.
While there is only a finite amount of time and money that I can give towards the causes that I care most about, I also have to remind myself that there are so many small actions I can take every day. And one of those actions is eating chocolate for a good cause. Easy, right? Even easier when it's chunks of Tony's Chocolonely that have been incorporated into semolina fritters created by the incredible Nora Antene, Pastry Chef at Tusk. And for the month of February, they are on the Tusk brunch menu for you to enjoy. Or to make at home with the recipe below.
Tony's Chocolonely. The name brings back memories of Amsterdam. Of rusty bicycles and endless canals, of shopping at the ubiquitous grocery store Albert Heijn, and of Sinterklaas, the holiday on December 5th on which chocolate letters are gifted to children and friends. And Tony's was the chocolate of choice.
It was from Tony's Chocolonely that I first learned about a little known issue: that the cocoa industry is heavily reliant on slaves. And that many of the slaves are children. Sixty percent of all cocoa comes from Ivory Coast and Ghana where 2,300,000 children work on cocoa plantations. Dangerous working conditions and illegal trafficking of both adults and children compounds the problem. Tony's is working to change that and its 100% slave-free chocolate is not just an ethical choice, it's a delicious one as well. The chocolate is really good. And inventive too. I had the opportunity to visit the Tony's world headquarters and test kitchen on my summer trip to Amsterdam and was so impressed. Most memorable was a milk chocolate 'popcorn discodip' flavor. Like a popcorn party in your mouth.
Tony's Chocolonely opened their second office in Portland in autumn 2015 to share their delicious slave-free chocolate with the Pacific Northwest and the US at large. For the month of February, I've partnered with Tony's and two of Portland's fantastic pastry chefs to bring you not only recipes, but the opportunity to taste the creations at two restaurants in town. If you're in Portland, you can taste Nora's semolina chocolate chunk fritters all month long during Tusk's weekend brunch. Stay tuned next week for the second recipe!
Tony’s Chocolonely Semolina Chocolate Chunk Fritters
Recipe by Nora Antene
Makes about 24 bite-sized fritters
6 g vanilla extract
75 g ricotta
150 g yogurt, whole milk
35 g honey
45 g semolina flour
150 g all-purpose flour
35 g granulated sugar
15 g baking powder
3 g salt
1 g ground cinnamon (tiny pinch)
170 g Tony’s Chocoloney 70% dark chocolate, cut into small chunks
Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, ricotta, yogurt, and honey. Set aside. Whisk together the semolina flour, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Using a spatula, stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the dry ingredients are about halfway incorporated into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate and stir until all ingredients are evenly mixed. Let the batter sit for about 1 hour covered and at room temperature without stirring.**
In a small pot, heat a few inches of vegetable oil to 350 F. Carefully scoop golf ball size fritters a few at a time into the fry pot. Fry for about 2 minutes flipping the fritters halfway through. Drain on paper towels and, when cooled slightly, dust with powdered sugar. These are great on their own or served with orange curd, caramel, or chocolate sauce.
Batter can be made ahead of time. Refrigerate after leaving at room temp for an hour. Bring back to room temp before frying.
** As the batter sits, the baking powder is activated and the mixture becomes airy. Avoid stirring so that the mixture keeps its lofty structure.
This post was written in partnership with the wonderful team at Tony's Chocolonely, an amazing crew of people who make me seriously miss Dutch-style lunches, karnemelk and all. Thoughts and opinions are, as ever, my own.