Remembering chocolate delights as Beta Xi accepts scholarship donations

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Photo by Ann Cipperly Cake pops that were for sale during last year's event.

By Ann Cipperly

If you are a chocoholic, you will be missing the Taste of Chocolate event this year, which has been presented annually for the past 19 years for the Beta Xi’s Scholarship Fund. While the event has been canceled due to COVID-19, members are inviting the community to donate to the fund this year in order to continue the scholarships. As a reminder of how hard the members have worked to prepare chocolate delights over the years, they are sharing a selection of favorite recipes.

Beta Xi is a local chapter of Alabama Alpha Delta Kappa, an international organization of teachers. The chapter was chartered April 27, 1972, in Opelika. Currently, there are 25 members, and Pam Fourtenbary is president. One of the goals for Beta Xi is to provide at least one scholarship for a high school senior who will be majoring in education. 

In 2002, Lib Foster, Kay Spriggs, Michele Matin and Pat May attended a Gulf Regional Conference where ideas for fundraising were presented. One of those fundraisers was “A Taste of Chocolate,” which was adopted as their annual scholarship fundraiser.

Each year in January, members have made 180 chocolate “pieces” of two or three selected recipes. Members would buy or sell a minimum of 10 tickets each to the event, and walk-ins were welcome. The event has been held in the fellowship hall at Trinity United Methodist Church in Opelika.

Their signature dessert is a confection made to look like a chocolate mouse. Member Dee Coulter saw the mice being made and thought it was a great idea. Both Dee and Carolyn Moore have made the candy for the event over the years.

Proceeds from the Taste of Chocolate have gone toward the funding of scholarships. Scholarship applications are available at Opelika High, Beauregard, Beulah, Lee-Scott and most recently, Trinity Christian School.

Beta Xi has awarded 24 scholarships since the beginning of Taste of Chocolate in 2002. Two $1000 scholarships have been awarded each year for the past three years.

Alpha Delta Kappa was founded in 1947 for the purpose of giving recognition to outstanding women educators actively engaged in teaching, administration or some specialized field of the teaching profession.

The Beta Xi group has an emphasis on altruism. Through their national organization, they support St. Jude’s Hospital and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Locally, the chapter has supported a variety of charities and causes as they become aware of needs. They have supported DHR Clothe-a-Child, Kate’s Angels, Lee County Youth Development Center, the Domestic Violence Awareness Program, adult literacy program, Mercy Clinic, Miracle Field, Big House and many others.

“It is exciting to be able to assist the seniors who are pursuing the field of education,” said State President Kay Spriggs. “These young people are the future of what will happen to all of us as their students learn and make the world as we know it better. We could not provide this without the continued support of our wonderful community, many of whom have been with us since the first event. We appreciate them so much!”

Since the event is not being held this year because of COVID, members will help support the 2021 scholarships by donating the cost of ingredients for making chocolate desserts in lieu of actual preparation. They plan to have a festive celebration in January 2022 for their 20th year.

If you would like to donate to support the scholarships, you can send a check to Beta Xi Scholarship Fund, Claire Plott, 1115 Sawyer Drive, Opelika, Alabama, 36801.  Members appreciate any support.

On page A12 is a selection of recipes for decadent chocolate confections offered by the members over the years. If you were thinking about a diet this month, you will want to postpone it a few more days until you have had a chance to try one or two of these recipes!

Ann Cipperly can be reached at recipes@cipperly.com.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Kay Spriggs

1 lb. loaf French or Italian bread, cubed

3 cups milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup coffee flavored liqueur

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. almond extract

1½ tsp. cinnamon

6 eggs, lightly beaten

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, grated

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and place bread in the dish.  In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cream and liqueur.  Using another bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add sugar mixture to milk mixture; mix well.  Add vanilla and almond extract, and cinnamon to the beaten eggs. Combine egg mixture to milk mixture and mix well.

Stir grated chocolate into mixture. Pour mixture over cubed bread in pan.  Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally for approximately 20 minutes or until bread absorbs most of milk mixture.

Bake pudding for 1 hour or until set.  Check pudding by inserting a knife through the middle. and it should come out clean.

Serve pudding warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled with whipped cream, if desired.

Chocolate Pie or Tarts

Jerry Barber

Prepared piecrust

½ cup flour

1¼ cup sugar

3 Tbsp. cocoa

Dash of salt

2 cups water, divided

3 eggs

½ stick butter or margarine

1 tsp. vanilla (I use almond extract)

3 Tbsp. sugar

Dash of cream of tartar

Bake piecrust according to directions and set aside to cool.  For the Taste of Chocolate, I use mini-muffin pans and cut rolled piecrust to fit the pans.

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and 1 cup of water to make a paste.  Separate egg yolks to add to mixture and save egg whites for meringue.

Stir in egg yolks and the other cup of water.  Heat, stirring until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.  Pour into cooled piecrust.

On high speed, blend egg whites and 3 Tbsp. sugar and dash of cream of tartar to make meringue.  Spread over filling. Bake at 350 until meringue is brown.

Chocolate Cream Mini Muffins

Betty Letlow

1 cup boiling water

2 squares ( 2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate

½ cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1¼ cups brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Pour boiling water over chocolate squares in bowl. Let stand until cool.  Cream butter and vanilla. Add brown sugar and blend well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together flour, soda and salt.  Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Blend in sour cream and chocolate/water mixture.

Pour into greased or paper lined mini muffin pan.   Bake at 325 degrees for 16 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Remove from muffin pan to wire rack.  When cooled, frost with Peppermint Frosting.

Peppermint Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 Tbsp. cream or milk

1 tsp. peppermint extract

Mix all ingredients until smooth. Spread on cooled muffins.

For variety, melt 1 square semi-sweet chocolate with 1 Tbsp. butter and drizzle over white frosting.

Cream Cheese Truffles

Carolyn Moore

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

4 dried apricots cut into about 30 pieces

4 or 5 blocks chocolate bark

Mix cream cheese, cocoa and 1 cup confectioner’s sugar.  Chill.  Make marble-sized balls and roll in second cup of sugar.  Insert a piece of apricot in middle of ball.  Freeze a couple of hours.  Dip in chocolate bark and dry on waxed paper.  Makes about 30.

Andes Mint Chocolate Cookies

Nancy Weatherman and Mary Ellen Edmondson

3/4 cup butter

1½ cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. water

12 oz. bag chocolate chips

2 eggs

2 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/4 tsp. soda

Melt together butter, brown sugar and water. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Let stand 10 minutes to cool. Add remaining ingredients. Chill dough at least 1 hour.

Roll into balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from oven and place 1/2 Andes mint on top of each cookie. Put back in oven for about 10 seconds. Swirl top of cookie with a spoon.

Sweet and Salty Bark

Karen Stillwell

6 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate

6 oz. Baker’s White Chocolate

1/3 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

1 cup chopped pretzels

Microwave both chocolates together 1½ to 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Mix nuts and pretzels well into completely melted chocolate. Spread onto waxed paper-covered baking sheet.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Makes 16 servings.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Pat May

The original recipe is for a pie, but I make it in a 3-quart oblong pan so that I can cut it in small squares for the Taste of Chocolate.

3 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semisweet chocolate mini chips, divided

1 extra serving size packaged graham cracker crumb crust (9 oz.)

2 Tbsp. whipping cream

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in 1 2/3 cups small chocolate chips; pour into crust.

Bake 10 minutes. Without opening oven door, reduce temperature to 250. Continue baking 30 minutes or just until set. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely. Cover; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Place remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips and whipping cream in small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high 20 to 30 seconds or just until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Cool slightly; spread over top of cheese pie. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until topping is set.

Toffee Cheesecake Bars

Susan Hagan

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/2 cup cold butter

1 pkg. reduced-fat or regular cream cheese

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate English toffee bits, divided

In small bowl, combine flour, confectioner’s sugar, cocoa and

baking soda. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse

crumbs. Press onto bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9-inch

baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until set.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add milk, eggs

and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup toffee bits. Pour

over crust. Bake 18 to 22 minutes longer or until center is almost

set.

Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining

toffee bits; cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Caramel and Chocolate Pecan Bars

Rebecca Sanderson

For crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup pecan halves

For topping:

2/3 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

To make the crust:

Combine flour, brown sugar and butter, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Press onto bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan. Place pecans evenly over top of crust.

To make the topping:

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine butter and brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Continue stirring and allow mixture to boil for 1 minute. Pour evenly over crust and pecans.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until caramel layer is bubbly. Be sure not to over bake.

Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and allow to melt slightly. Swirl chocolate chips over the crust. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Chocolate Covered Mini Olive Oil Cakes

Anne Henderson

2 cups flour

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1½ Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup olive oil

½ cup fresh orange juice

1½ Tbsp. orange zest

2 Tbsp. whole milk

Melted chocolate

Sugar orange twist for garnish

Rosemary leaves for garnish

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then set aside.

Mix together wet ingredients.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until you have a consistent batter.

Oil a mini muffin tin. Spoon ½ full into muffin cups.

Bake 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature.

Dip each mini olive oil cake in melted chocolate.

Top with a sugar orange twist and a few rosemary leaves.

Allow chocolate to set.

Raspberry-Filled Molten Chocolate Cupcakes

Jerry Barber

1/2 cup granulated sugar

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter room temperature

4 large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

Pinch of salt

11 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted (2½ cups chopped)

18 raspberries (36 if they are small)

Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 cup standard muffin tin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl with a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low, beat in flour and salt. Beat in chocolate until just combined.

Divide half the batter among cups, add two raspberries to each, and top with remaining batter. Bake until tops are just set and no longer shiny, 10 to 11 minutes, let cool in pan on a wire rack, 10 minutes. Remove from pans, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Can serve with ice cream.

Mississippi Mud Cake

Betty Letlow

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup butter

4 oz. chocolate baking bar, chopped

2 cups sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 tsp. salt

10.5 oz. bag miniature marshmallows

Chocolate Frosting

Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Toast at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Watch carefully as not to burn.

Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl on High 1 minute, or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.

Whisk sugar and next five ingredients into chocolate mixture.  Pour batter into greased 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan or can use two 8 x 8 x 1 ½-inch disposable aluminum pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes (until center is done).  Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with miniature marshmallows. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and drizzle with Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows). Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.  When cool, cut into squares.

Chocolate Frosting:

½ cup butter

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup milk

16 oz. pkg. powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together first 3 ingredients in medium saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.   Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla at medium high speed with an electric mixer until smooth.    Drizzle over prepared cake.

Bake at 350 for 20 to 24 minutes or until set and crust is golden brown.

Cool completely on a wire rack for about 30 minutes or on granite for 15. Repeat using remaining piecrusts and chocolate mixture.

Note: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in refrigerator longer. Top with whipped cream just before serving and dust with cocoa (optional).  

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