Fall back home in Germany can be a gloomy affair. If you’re unlucky, you may not see any sunshine for weeks. Friends and family have been grumbling about cold and unfriendly weather this year (even during the summer) and I feel for them… except, I have the opposite problem: my days aren’t dreary enough! I want clouds, rain, rubber boots, wool scarfs and the smell of wood fire.
Let’s just say that North Carolina isn’t the ideal territory for cold season melancholy; I begrudgingly admit that we’re fortunate to have blue skies and mild temperature almost everyday but lucky for me, nights have been cool so I already rang in fireplace season! We’ve been enjoying a glass of wine in front of the fireplace at night ever since the temperatures dropped and I wish this season could last forever.
I could barely keep myself from turning this chocolate crème into a Christmas-y gingerbread or speculoos type dessert – I really wanted to, believe me! Except I don’t want to ruin the fun, there will be plenty of time for tasty holiday treats so I opted for a less spiced but solid all year round favorite: coffee and vanilla.
I love how simple this recipe is but be forewarned: this Chocolate Mokka Crème is tart and a tad bitter-sweet (depending on how much coffee you’ll add and how dark your chocolate is). If you have a hankering for sugary sweet desserts, this may not satisfy you.
This Chocolate Mokka Crème is based on a German recipe, hence the quark in it. I’m surprised to see quark in many grocery stores now; when I moved to the US about 8 years ago, I wasn’t able to get my hands on it. Last week, I stumbled across organic quark which was the even bigger surprise!
If there was a vegan version… my life would be perfect but ye can’t have everything now, can you. I have been making vegan coconut yogurt at home – thick, creamy and incredibly tasty coconut yogurt, if I may say so myself, but I wouldn’t know where to begin with quark, it’s a class of its own. If you can’t find quark, you can substitute with sour cream or Greek yogurt (although that will change the flavor slightly).
Since October hasn’t completely passed us by, I’ll be ending this with my favorite fall poem; an epigraph from a Ray Bradbury book, “October Country”:
October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain…
Chocolate Mokka Crème
Prep time: 10 minutes
4 oz dark chocolate, unsweetened
2-3 tablespoon brewed coffee (mokka, espresso etc.)
1 ½ cups German-style quark
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Melt chocolate in a double-bloiler or water bath. Meanwhile prepare the coffee and allow it to cool off. Combine the melted chocolate with the quark, then add in the coffee, sweetener and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Divide between four dessert glasses and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours.
If you cannot find unsweetened chocolate, be sure to reduce the amount of sweetener you’ll add to the crème.