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Poetry (and Flowers) Friday

Is Chocolate an Element?

Well, it really should be, don't you think? I mean, I figured something so basic to human life surely must have its own square on the periodic chart. Probably right next to hydrogen, or maybe even oxygen. But just to be sure I pulled out our handy dandy chemistry book to check, and sure enough:

I found CHoCoLaTe on the Periodic Table of Elements! ;)

Can you?

All right, I confess this is all just a rather silly way to introduce a post about Bookworm's morning chemistry class AND the delicious hot chocolate cake we baked this afternoon ...

But first let's address the chemistry portion of this post. (The chocolate part is still simmering away in the slowcooker; I have to wait another hour to elaborate on that.)

Well, in the picture below you see our Bookworm smiling from the front steps of MIT this morning. Bill took him in for a chemistry class, one of a series of fabulous homeschool classes the college offers. Though lots of homeschoolers I know have participated in this program for a while now, this was our first experience with it. It's been one of those things I've kept in the back of my mind - for someday, you know - but when I read they were teaching chemistry (which we're covering this year) using LEGOS (which we've had underfoot since Bookworm was four), well I knew the time was right to check it all out!


And below you see our son in the lab, in the the midst of an experiment with his teacher and partners - goggles and all! (He's in blue on the far right.)


Back at home, Bookworm pulled out some Legos to show us what he learned. These three Lego pieces represented oxygen (black) and nitrogen (gray) ...


... which, when stuck together, formed nitrous oxide (more commonly known as laughing gas).

When Bill and Bookworm came home (just ahead of that heavy rain and wind, by the way) they were full of praise for the class (and the campus) and hoping to look into future offerings. Will do. Where's my clipboard?

Now, about that chocolate I promised.

Well, as I type up this post my husband has a delicious chocolate cake baking in (of all things) the slowcooker. Oh, I wish I could make this blog scratch and sniff - you would not believe how good my house smells right now.

The Hot Fudge Cake, as the recipe is called, is a test run for the "Slowcooker Cookoff" to be held in Bill's department tomorrow. (Last year it was cookies, this year it's crockpots.) Bill was keen for me to enter the competition again, but truth be told, I have very little use for my slowcooker - other than the occasional Sunday pot roast. (I know I should use it more - I'm open to suggestions!) And since I had no slowcooker "specialty" to speak of, I told Bill I should probably sit this one out. Well, he'd have none of that, lol - so together we poured over my Fix-It-and-Forget-It Cookbook looking for something to try. I'm a baker at heart, so we stuck to the dessert section and finally landed on this one:

Hot Fudge Cake

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • vanilla ice cream
  • (We added whipped cream, chocolate jimmies and a maraschino cherry!)
  1. Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, flour, 3 Tbsp. cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Spread over the bottom of slowcooker.
  3. Mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa. SPrinkle over mixture in slow cooker.
  4. Pour in boiling water. Do not stir.
  5. Cover and cook on High 2-3 hours, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (and if you want to really go all out, a spray of whipped cream, a sprinkle of jimmies and a cherry on top!)

Sounds good? Well, you should see how it looks (the timer just rang!):


No, that picture doesn't do it a bit of justice. You should really see how it tastes: YUM!

This was just our trial run, remember, so tomorrow Bill will bag up all the ingredients (premeasured where possible) and pack up all the equipment and make it all on his own at his office, before judging gets underway around noon.

So please wish him luck - he's up against steak tips and barbecued pork, after all - and I'll let you know how it all goes down tomorrow! ;)

Have a good night, and ... sweet dreams!