How to Sneak Chocolate Into Thanksgiving Dinner

chocolate turkeyPsst, all you chocolate junkies out there. Come on over and let's huddle a moment. I know Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about turkey and gravy and mashed root vegetables, but there's something missing from this holiday. You know it, and I know it: It's chocolate.

Yes, America's favorite smorgasbord is strangely absent of chocolate. Why is that? It actually goes well with autumn flavors. And don't you just need to feel enrobed in that luscious, velvety chocolate-ness as we head into the bitter, cold winter? I think we need to rectify this alarming problem. Let's get chocolate into Thanksgiving, shall we? Here are a few ways to sneak it in.


Mole Poblano. This is a savory Mexican sauce using chilies, ground nuts, spices, and chocolate -- and it's traditionally served with turkey! I actually made this incredibly labor-intensive sauce from scratch one Thanksgiving for my family. It took me days -- and then my mother said, "This is pretty good, but you know that stuff in the jar is much easier to cook!" Sigh. Thanks, Mom. That "stuff in a jar" is Doña Maria mole sauce, and you'll find it in the ethnic section of your supermarket. Serve on the side like gravy.

Cocoa nibs salad. Cocoa nibs are crushed bits of roasted cocoa beans, and you can sprinkle them on just about anything. Here's a mixed greens with cocoa nibs salad recipe. You could also toss them into stuffing for some extra crunch.

Chocolate pecan pie. A rich, nutty pecan pie made even richer with chocolate. Yes, please! Here's the ultimate chocolate pecan pie recipe from Martha Stewart.

Dark chocolate bark. Chocolate bark with fruit and nuts in the colors of fall leaves is a sweet pre-dinner snack -- or you could serve it with dessert. Check out the bark recipe here (you'll have to scroll down past the gorgeous photos of autumn leaves).

sweet potato gratinSweet potato gratin with chocolate. I know -- this one sounds a little weird, but it might work. You layer slices of sweet potato with cream, pour melted chocolate over it, and top with a layer of strudel. What do you think? Too much? I have a recipe by Woodhouse Chocolates, but I know of something else from them that's way easier on the cook ...

Chocolate turkeys. I mean, who is going to complain about that? It's turkey-shaped! That makes it Thanksgiving Day-appropriate, right? Good enough for me. Throw some at your family if they start complaining about feeling hungry before the real turkey is done, or save them for dessert. Gobble gobble.

Are you planning on serving chocolate with Thanksgiving this year? What will it be?

Images via Woodhouse Chocolates

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