A hit of healthy zucchini hidden by luscious dark chocolate
In case it’s not obvious from the amateur photos (but what a nice closeup on those unsightly lumps of cocoa in the ganache!), I am not one of those semi-professional food bloggers who “partner” with companies like Kitchenaid or Sunmaid to create recipes that just so happen to involve . . . a Kitchenaid mixer or Sunmaid raisins. So it’s safe to say when I list a Hershey’s product among the ingredients, I’m not getting anything from the chocolate company. It doesn’t look like the original blogger did either, though what do I know?
Hershey’s does seem to be the only brand that makes dark cocoa – everything else in the store is the regular unsweetened stuff. Dark chocolate chips are easier to find, however; Ghiradelli makes some that are probably higher quality than Hershey’s. You rarely have to use a specific brand for a recipe to turn out. Some of the most ridiculous recipes online are ones that call for things like Gold Medal flour or C&H sugar. Yeah, I’m sure the flour brand is really going to make a huge difference. Scroll to the bottom of the recipe and you’ll invariably find a disclaimer to the effect of “This post is sponsored by GOLD MEDAL FLOUR, but all opinions are my own.” Yes, but Gold Medal isn’t paying you to write nasty things about its products, is it? By definition these sponsored posts are positive – they’re just giant ads.
There are probably some sour grapes here – if I ran a blog good enough to attract sponsors, my hand would likely be in the proverbial cookie jar as well. You can even shill classily and offer up a prize for readers, like this post from one of my favorite food blogs, Sarcastic Cooking. There’s no harm in promoting an ingredient that you like anyway. Still, I prefer non-compensated endorsements, like this hilarious one from the blog Two Twenty One, which recommends AirBake cookie sheets by promising “The AirBake people have no idea who I am. They didn’t give me any dough (money or cookie) to mention them in this post.” Cookie sheets, unlike flour, do vary in quality by brand – my insulated cookie sheets (the kind that sandwiches a layer of air between two metal sheets, sort of like an AirBake knockoff) do tend to bake more evenly than the old, pitted single-plate sheets at my mother’s house. But these days, when store brands are made alongside their brand-name counterparts, I don’t worry too much about quality. Flour is flour, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a number of food bloggers who disagreed with me. Chocolate is another matter – the expensive stuff does seem a peg above the generic Albertson’s bag of morsels – but at least in my book, it’s the exception to the rule.