This recipe of deep, dark, slightly spicy chocolate crisps, served with a ruby, locally picked, sun-ripened strawberry and tangy-sweet lime salsa has been such a fun and creative journey; one that was inspired by our stunning, vibrant and resilient neighbors in Mexico on this Cinco de Mayo (which by the way, is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day)!
History is crucial to understanding and truly respecting any culture, and if I am planning on celebrating a day, or more accurately having an excuse to plan a culinary adventure around a theme, then I want to make sure I actually know the real history behind it.
Oh, and I’m a huge nerd that loves learning stuff. By the way, did you know that flamingos are actually born with grey feathers, but because their diet consists of algae and crustaceans like shrimp that contain natural pink and orange pigments called carotenoids, their plumage turns various shades of pink and orange? How cool is that?!?!?(Thanks Kids National Geographic for the pic!)
Okay, sorry for the diversion, but I really would spend the rest of my life in school if I had the choice!
Back to Cinco de Mayo. While the popular marketing driven misconception in the US is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, it’s actually not (that’s September 16th). What it is, is something equally worth celebrating, the quintessential David versus Goliath story. So here’s how the story goes. Napoleon III wanted a monarch in Mexico and decided to invade with his army, which at the time, was considered the most powerful and best in the world. You can see how this may not have ended well for Mexico, with its ill-equipped and vastly outnumbered army. The French, however, vastly underestimated the fight and resilience of the Mexican army and were defeated in their attempt to capture the east-central small town of Puebla de Los Angeles. This Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 became a symbol of justifiable pride and honor, as well as an emblem Mexico’s sovereignty, independence and ability to defend itself against a powerful foreign threat.
Now that you know the true history behind Cinco de Mayo, the question becomes, how do we celebrate it? Well, it’s me, so chances are it’s gonna be sweet, baked and involve something that’s at peak season. So here’s exactly how this train of thought derailed and ended with this tasty, unique and fun tribute to our beautiful, strong, proud and resilient neighbors in Mexico:
“hmmmmm, Cinco de May” → “chips and salsa” → “oooooooohhhh, it’s strawberry season” → “yes! Strawberry Salsa” → “with chips?” → “ahhhhhh, chocolate chips!” → “chocolate sweet chips” → “chocolate sweet crisps!” → “CHOCOLATE CRISPS WITH STRAWBERRY LIME SALSA!!!” And that my friends, is a brief look into a mind that is always obsessively thinking about baking adventures to share with you! I think you’ll really love this fun and festive sweet take on the savory chips and salsa.
1/3 cup (47 grams) all purpose flour, preferably unbleached
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8* teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (*I like it with a spicy kick, so I use 1/4 teaspoon, OR if you’re not a fan of spice, you can omit the cayenne pepper all together)
1 1/3 cups (226 grams) chopped bittersweet chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Strawberry Lime Salsa
1 package (16 oz/464 grams) fresh strawberries, stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar
How to Use Them:
Preheat your oven to 350°F/177° C. Prepare a half sheet pan by placing a silicon baking mat or parchment paper in the pan. Prepare your ingredients and let’s get this baking fiesta started! Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. In a medium microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and butter for 1 minute in microwave on high. If the mixture is not smooth, heat for an additional 15 seconds and stir well until completely smooth. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, or the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat the mixture on medium high for 5 minutes until the mixture is thickened and pale yellow in hue.Another way to know you have the correct consistency if when you lift the paddle, the mixture should fall into a ribbon. This is called the ribbon stage. Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Continue to fold until it is just combined, and you no longer see large yellow streaks. Fold in the flour mixture until you no longer see flour in the batter. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes to thicken up a bit. Spread 1/3 of the batter on the baking mat or parchment paper. Spread the batter into a thin layer that almost covers the entire surface. Bake for 9-10 minutes until the chocolate crisps feels dry to the touch and the edges have darkened. Prepare and bake the remaining two batches of batter in the same way.Allow the crisp to cool slightly in the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Prepare and bake the remaining two batches of batter in the same way.
By the way, if this crisp reminds you of the top of a brownie, you’re not alone, it’s the first thing I thought of when I was creating and testing this recipe. The best part? It tastes just like crispy, chocolaty, heavenly brownie goodness!Don’t worry if it breaks, because it probably will! That is quite alright though, because it’s exactly what you’re going to be doing next. Once the crisp is completely cool, break up into tortilla chip size pieces. Serve the Chocolate Crisps with the Strawberry Lime Salsa, which can’t be easier to prepare! In a medium bowl, cut the strawberry into small pieces. Add the lime and sugar, and stir until the ingredients are combined. Serve immediately, or chill until you are ready to serve.How adorable is this sweet crisps and salsa? AND, it’s just as scrumptious!