Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
I’m old enough to remember when the words, Made in America, printed on the back of a label still meant something. It stood for both functional and innovative products made by caring United States labor.
Now I don’t have to watch the evening news to realize finding Made in America products has become a challenge. I tried to take a simple test this week to “buy American” and it was hard for me to identify eco-friendly, stylish items that are both beautiful and affordable and Made in America. There are still small, innovative companies, like Choclatique that are proving that job creation, manufacturing pride and technological innovation still allow U.S.-based companies to win the battle to survive in this challenging economy, but they are few and far between.
Many people think only about price when making a purchase. They should also think about the quality of what they are buying and where it is manufactured… not only for the carbon footprint, but also to keep people employed in the United States. For the last 150 years, a factory job was an opportunity to step into the middle class—and to ensure opportunities for the next generation. In the past twenty years, we have let many manufacturing jobs slip away—shipped precious equipment and knowhow overseas neglecting to pass down the intellectual knowledge base to our offspring thus crippling our ability to preserve the manufacturing sector for future generations.
Finally, some of our leaders are starting to understand that this may very well be our undoing and they have begun a return to a somewhat ethnocentric view of purchasing items that are made in the USA, not only to preserve jobs and skills, but also to assure they’re purchasing quality products. The manufacturers must also continue their emphasis on quality and remain focused on being price-conscious as well. This is the only way to ensure that the manufacturing sector will begin to rebound.
When we started Choclatique, one of our marketing group co-workers’ children was celebrating his 11th birthday with a box of Choclatique chocolate truffles. After eating Root Beer Float and Hot Fudge Sundae truffles he declared to his dad that these were Authentically American. First thing Monday morning, Tom came in with our new tag line thought up by his son.
These two words help us continue to execute our company mission. It became an imperative to buy as much Made in America products as possible. Choclatique’s procurement policy is to buy sustainable, American-made and sourced products. Obviously there is very little chocolate grown in the United States—just a few farms on the Hawaiian Islands. But all of our chocolate is processed right here in California along with all of our natural flavors, extracts and compounds. Double-faced satin ribbon is made in New England, molds are made in Buffalo. Everything chocolate we make is made right here in our California Chocolate Studios by professional artists and chocolatiers who are all American citizens or craftsmen and women with legal status to work in the United States. We are proud to be Americans and support the United States economy.
Like this week’s blog above, I want to share an Authentically American easy-to-make recipe—No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares—that uses American Chocolate from Choclatique, Grape Jelly from Smucker’s and Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter made from US-grown peanuts. I hope you enjoy it.
The ChocolateDoctor’s No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 24 squares
This is one of those habit forming Authentically American favorites that everyone remembers from their childhood—only better. It has a layer of creamy sweet peanut butter topped with jelly and a layer of chocolate. It is similar to those famous peanut butter cups you find in an orange wrapper, but with an added treat of the grape jelly. This recipe is quick and simple to make, requires no baking and is luscious and fulfilling every time.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter
2 cups creamy peanut butter (I prefer Skippy)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Concord grape jelly (I prefer Smucker’s)
2 cups (12 ounces) Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
- Melt 1/4 pound (1 stick) of the butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and graham cracker crumbs. This will make a stiff dough for the base.
- Spread dough in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Press down evenly. Next, evenly spread the jelly over the graham cracker base. Refrigerate while making the next steps.
- Melt remaining 1/4 pound (1 stick) of butter over low heat or in a microwave oven. Add the chocolate chips and continue to heat. When the chocolate is soft, stir gently. Continue heating until lumps are all melted. Stir, and then spread this mixture over the peanut butter layer.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then cut into squares. Store covered in the refrigerator.
If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.