Little Girl Smiling while Holding a Chocolate Drink

Neighborly Chocolate

Nathan Hawkes Nathan Hawkes Mar 12, 2024

This is a collection of four recipes that showcase our Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa well.

  • Legendary Brownies
  • Hot Fudge Sauce
  • Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • Hot Chocolate


"You don't realize how good your brownies are!" 

That's a neighbor speaking.

In our neighborhood, that's saying something.  More so than most neighborhoods, there are are goodies about.  Nearly all of the moms are stay-at-home moms who know how to bake.

What makes those brownies different than all the other brownies floating about?

"It's not me. It's the chocolate."

This chocolate will get you complements.  And here are four simple, mosty, recipes to prove it.  

Your neighbors will be impressed. Your family will love it.

1. Legendary Brownies

Legendary Brownies

These are likely, the darkest, richest brownies you have ever tasted. We developed the recipe, maybe 15 years ago, making batch after batch, each with a little more cocoa than the batch before. We handed them out in our baking classes. 

Finally, we nailed it. For some, they were too chocolatey. But for nearly all, these were perfect brownies.   

This recipe calls for a whole cup of cocoa.  That's a lot.  It simply won't work as well with store-bought cocoa. You need the extra cocoa butter else your brownies are going to bitter with an acidy "bite".


  • 1 cup Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa with 22/24 cocoa butter cocoa or equal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups walnut pieces



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. You will need a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, two mixing bowls—one of them medium or large, and a whisk. The larger bowl should be microwave safe to save you a step. We recommend using parchment paper.
  2. Grease the pan with a little shortening and line it with parchment paper. The shortening will hold the paper in place. Set aside.
  3. In the smaller of the two bowls, whisk the cocoa and flour together to break up any clumps and disperse the cocoa. Set aside.
  4. In the larger of the two bowls, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the sugar and the salt and stir. Add the eggs and the vanilla and stir until mixed.
  5. Add the cocoa and flour mixture to the liquid mixture. Stir until combined. Add the chopped nuts and stir.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan with a spatula and spread the batter evenly. Bake for 25 minutes in a dark pan or until the toothpick comes out fairly clean but with some batter on it.
  7. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool for five minutes then, grasping the edge of parchment paper and tipping the pan up over a wire rack, pull the cake onto the wire rack. Let cool for at least another five minutes and then slip the cake onto a cutting board for slicing.

2. Hot Fudge Sauce

hot fudge sauce

When your friends come over, serve them brownies under a scoop of ice cream. The ice cream will mellow the brownies, make hem smoother, in case your friends aren't chocoholics.

If you don't have time to make the brownies, break out the  ice cream and make a sundae.

This is really a ganache recipe. Ganache is usually made with hard chocolate but with high cocoa butter, you can use cocoa.   




  1. Mix the cocoa and sugar together in a small bowl. Be sure it is well mixed to avoid any lumps.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave. 
  3. Add the cocoa and sugar mixture to a small saucepan. Add the melted butter and cream. Heat, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until everything melts together and the ganache starts to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Let the ganache cool until it reaches the desired consistency. Thin with additional cream if necessary.

We have made this both with 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup cocoa. Both work. Of course, you get a little deeper flavor with 3/4 cup cocoa. As with other hot fudge sauces, this thickens as it cools.  You can reheat it in the microwave. 

3. Chocolate Whipped Cream

chocolate whipped cream

This is delightful. I gave some to my neighbors thinking they were going to use it as topping. Instead, they ate it out of bowls like ice cream. "That was a wonderful dessert," they said. We like our neighbors, all of them. But take the step, top your desserts with chocolate whipped cream, not vanilla. It's a game changer.

You can make chocolate whipped cream with or without cream cheese.We have recipes for both. Mostly, we use Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa.  But you can also use Ramstadt Breda Medium Dark Cocoa. It has a softer tone to it and the lighter color shown above..

Use the best heavy whipping cream you can find. We used Marigold 40% Heavy Whipping Cream that we bought from Sam’s Club. It whips faster and is more stable than lighter whipping creams.


girls with hot chocolate


The problem with whipped cream, chocolate or vanilla, is that it melts. Especially if it's piled on something warm, it mels and runs all over the place. It doesn't make for a very appealing dessert.  

It needs a stabilizer.  There are several that work. Cream cheese and meringue powder are the most common.  We'll tell you how to use both.

If you use enough stabilizer, you can use your whipped cream as a frosting. It makes a luscious frosting but even extra stabilizer, it won't do much more than get you through the day.

Chocolate Whipped Cream with Cream Cheese


  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa



  • Whip the cream cheese and sugar together until blended. Add the rest of the ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form.

Chocolate Whipped Cream with Meringue Powder

Meringue powder is made with dry egg whites. When you add water, it reconstitutes the egg whites. When it dries, it hardens.

In this recipe, you use a little meringue powder, enough to make your whipped cream firmer.  If you used more meringue powder, it becomes the royal icing used for roses on a wedding cake.  


  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa



  • Whisk the sugar, dark cocoa, and meringue powder together. Set it aside. Whip the cream until soft peaks begin to form. Add the dry mixture a little at a time. Add the vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form.


4. Hot Chocolate 

hot chocolate

If it's cold outside, serve your friends rich, smooth hot chocolate.

This is an easy foolproof recipe. All you do is mix good quality cocoa with sugar and then add milk. This is going to be richer and darker not just because of the cocoa but because of the fresh milk instead of nonfat dry milk. You can add a little vanilla to adjust the flavor if you like. If you wanted it even smoother, add a little cream.

If you want your hot chocolate richer, darker, use a little more cocoa.  If you want your hot cocoa milder and sweeter, use more milk. You can add a touch of cinnamon if you like.

Yield: Four to six servings. Mix what you need and save the remaining dry ingredients for another time.



  1. In a medium pan, combine the sugar and cocoa powder with a whisk until it is uniformly mixed.
  2. Add 1 cup milk and whisk until combined.
  3. Cook and stir over medium heat just until it comes to boiling. Gradually add the rest of the milk while whisking.
  4. Heat through until hot but not boiling.
  5. Add a teaspoon of optional vanilla.


Enjoy your chocolate!

little boy

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