My kitchen is covered in cocoa and sugar, thanks to a wayward bowl that mysteriously jumped off the counter, doing a lovely swan dive as it fell in slow-motion. Sadly, the tile floor below wasn’t kind. It reminds me of my journey this past week in Jamaica. Two beautiful ceramic cups sacrificed their lives in one of the messages shared at a first-ever women’s conference there – to demonstrate our brokenness and God’s ability to heal and transform. I can still hear the congregation in Pastor Leroy’s cinder block church singing “There is not one broken vessel that God can’t mend.”
When women travel together to do mission work, chocolate is required (along with Kleenex and copies of 1000 Gifts and Jesus Calling). Since my mind is still pondering Jamaica and the Mission Discovery team of 45 women I served with last week, engaging in a little kitchen therapy with chocolate seemed the right thing to do today. Yesterday on our journey home, I happened across a recipe for homemade Tootsie Rolls. If you know me, you know I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but my imagination kept picturing chocolate play-dough – and playing with my food is pretty much perfect.
I made a few traditional Tootsie Rolls (wrapped in wax paper), and then opted to dust the dough with cocoa, chill it, and cut it into little lovely squares. I then froze the squares – they transform into a beautiful nougat delight that quickly melts into lovely creamy chocolate goodness in your mouth. I can already imagine these with bits of almond and perhaps a little espresso powder added. If I could, I’d send a batch to every one of my new friends (though these really need to stay cool – something difficult to accomplish in a UPS box). But sharing a recipe is the next best thing to sharing good food. So (picture hands holding this recipe out), here’s a gift to say “thank you, Jamaica – and thank you, Mission Discovery.”
Homemade Tootsie Rolls
½ cup honey
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 to 1 ¼ cup instant non-fat dry milk powder
In a large bowl, combine honey, cocoa powder and vanilla using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk until well incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar and pinch of salt; whisk again until well combined.
Using a wooden spoon, mix in the instant milk powder ¼ cup at a time until a dough forms. When you can no longer stir the mixture with a spoon, knead it with your hands. Keep adding in milk powder until a firm dough forms. You may not have to use all the milk powder. The finished dough should be firm and a little sticky but not so sticky that you can’t handle it. Roll the dough into a ball and place on waxed paper lightly sprayed with cooking oil or coated with butter or vegetable oil.
Let dough rest uncovered on the wax paper for 5-10 minutes. As the candy stands it will relax from a ball shape into a disc. Cut candy into ¾-inch strips and then into 2-inch lengths. If candy sticks to the knife, spray it with cooking oil or coat it with butter.
Cut wax paper into 3 ½ x 5 inch pieces. Wrap candies with the wax paper pieces.
Store candies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Recipe from Food 52.com