7 Unexpected Ways to Cook with Chocolate: SparkRecipes SlideShow

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7 Unexpected Ways to Cook with Chocolate

By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer

Beyond sweet treats, there are plenty of ways to feature chocolate in your meals. Unsweetened cocoa powder adds depth to spice rubs that pair well with grilled or slow-roasted meats. It also adds a little something to sauces and can be your secret ingredient in stews or chili. Read on for other unexpected ways to cook with chocolate.

Wacky Cincinnati Chili (Slow Cooker)

Cincinnati, where SparkPeople is based, is known for its slightly odd but incredibly delicious Cincinnati chili recipe. The classic dish uses a secret seasoning blend that includes cinnamon, cocoa, cumin and allspice. This version is meat-free, and it's made in the slow cooker. Serve it the traditional way, with chopped onions and finely shredded Cheddar cheese over spaghetti. (Just trust us!)

Mocha Mushroom Rub

This savory rub uses just three ingredients--dried mushrooms, espresso powder and cocoa powder--and the result is nothing short of spectacular. It pairs perfectly with mole sauce, too.

Mole Sauce

This traditional Mexican sauce is rich and delicious, with loads of roasted vegetables, chili powder, cocoa and lime juice, plus chicken broth to thin it out. It really jazzes up grilled or roasted meats, and you can use it on burritos, too. We recommend making a double batch.

Crockpot Chicken Mole

If you like mole, you'll love this quicker slow cooker version. It uses peanut butter, plus cocoa and plenty of other spices for a decadent dish that requires only a few minutes of work on your part!

Cocoa Crusted Pork Tenderloin

This dish inspired by Costa Rican spices seems exotic, but it uses spices and ingredients you already have around the house: coffee, cocoa and cinnamon. You'll wonder why you've been relegating these flavorings to dessert!

Low-Fat Chocolate-Zucchini Muffins

In muffin form, chocolate and zucchini are a surprising match made in heaven. Shredded zucchini keeps these rich, chocolaty muffins moist and tender long after they're baked.

Tofu Chocolate Cake

Speaking of weird ingredients you'd never expect to find paired with chocolate in baked goods, this chocolate cake is made with--wait for it--tofu! Silken tofu is a cholesterol-free alternative to mayo, which is often used to create luxuriously rich cakes. We promise that nobody will be able to tell the difference!