An Afternoon at Taza Chocolate

Entry to Taza Chocolate's retail shop and tour site.

Raw cacao beans

Taza sources it's beans from Bolivia and the Dominican Republic; beans arrive in 70 kilo bags.

German roasting machine circa 1950's; found in a used industrial Italian warehouse.

A winnower, a machine used to separate the cacao nib from the shell.  The machine was transported from a soon-to-be-closing candy factory in the Dominican Republic to Somerville.  Shells are by-products at Taza and great for garden multch and loose leaf teas.

Packaging material is compostible.  Taza ships to 45 states, but local Bostonians can receive Taza by Metro Pedal Power.

Cacao pods and chocolate samples pre-tour

Items for sale in the retail store

Pictorial story of chocolate making

Thanks to Taza Chocolate for the delicious tour and samples! Also thanks to Rachel Blumenthal (@blumie) of Boston Food Bloggers (@BostonFoodBlogs) for organizing.

Chocolate Oatmeal Dried Fruit Cookies

In the continuing journey to find a cookie that combines chocolate, fruit, and oats, this one takes the cake, err, cookie. 

Chocolate Oatmeal Dried Fruit Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
yield: three dozen (using a 1" cookie scoop)

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1/2 cup dried fruit mix (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate, dried fruits and pecans.

Either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet pan and then freeze the whole tray, bag the dough scoops, and freeze for future enjoyment.

If baking immediately, bake the cookies two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes, taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.  If baking from the freezer, add 2-4 minutes of additional baking time.