Chocolate, honey and ginger fragrant squares (Pão de mel) and my 100th post!

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So happy that pretty things have come together in this almost one year of blogging and this is my 100th post! I’ve learned so much about food, blogging and myself, met wonderful people and made my family healthier and happier with my cooking. Goal achieved and enthusiasm increased!

So I chose a chocolate and honey treat for this posting, which is simple but very meaningful for me, full of nice memories about life in Brazil and my dance students in my former career: Pão de mel, a brownie kind of treat but with a lighter batter.
Actually this very recipe was given to me by one of them, my lovely and talented Lyed. When we had our reunion last January she actually baked them for me as a gift!

Hope you enjoy the moist cake batter fragrant with honey, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The chocolate top adds the final and perfect finish with the sweet “melt in your mouth” texture. It is a treat that can be wrapped in pretty paper and given to friends and family. They made up for my Easter treats this year.

To be more diabetes friendly I substituted half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat and half of brown sugar with Splenda and had no significant differences in taste. You also can use unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate – my favorite – instead of milk chocolate.
The original recipe calls for a filling of “doce de leite”, in Portuguese, or “dolce de leite”, as we know in North America. In this batch, however I haven’t done it, I am always trying to cut on sugar because of my husband’s diabetes. Actually if you are not a big sweet tooth, skip this step, the honey batter and chocolate topping are sweet to perfection to me.

Chocolate, honey and ginger squares (Pão de mel)

2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used 1/4 brown sugar + 1/4 Splenda for diabetes friendly)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp grated cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
2 tbs butter
1 large egg
1/2 tsp grated ginger

500 gr bittersweet or milk chocolate shredded to be melted

Doce de Leite* for the filling if you have chosen to do so.

Pre heat oven to 350F.
Get your baking pan ready, greased with butter.
In a medium bowl sift all dry ingredients together. Mix in milk and honey, butter and egg, stirring well and pour it in the tins, filling up to 2/3.

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Bake for 15 to 20 min.

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Let it cool completely. You might want to trim the tops off the squares, to get a flat surface, that will get you a prettier presentation. If you are doing the filling, at this point cut each square in half and spread out 1tbs of the “doce de leite”.

Start melting the chocolate in a bowl immersed in simmering water and in the mean time line up parchment paper on your counter top or cookies sheet.

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As you coat the squares in the chocolate, be careful to let the excess to drip off. Let it dry completely before serving.

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* “Doce de leite” is a soft milky fudge very popular in South America. My grand mother used to make it from scratch, slowly boiling this huge amount of milk and sugar until the wanted fudge consistency. The easiest way of making “doce de leite” is cooking a can of condensed milk.
If you have a pressure cooker, just put the whole unopened can, side ways, covered with water in the pan and let it cook for 30 min for soft doce de Leite or 40 for a thicker consistency. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, boil in medium heat in a pan for 1 hour.

Very important Make sure to let the can cool off completely before attempting to open it, as the content would be extremely hot and would burst out of the can, in a dangerous way. It is a good idea to let it rest over night or make it in the day before.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. menomama3 says:

    I can’t wait to try this one. I might leave off the coating and opt for a traditional icing, though. Love the chocolate and ginger combo. Nice 100th post!

    1. Thanks! They will be great with icing too. Personally I love these squares, just plain, without any chocolate, like a coffee cake. I always leave some out to have with my tea.

  2. Thanks for stopping my blog. Congrats on your 100th post! I would be all over this dessert, looks soo delish! Can’t go wrong with ginger and chocolate.

    1. Thanks, Thaceinthekitchen! I have a weakness for ginger!

  3. Yum these look really good!

  4. Happy 100th post!! I love the sound of your squares, thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂

  5. Raymund says:

    This looks very decadent! Congrats on your milestone

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