Yarb Tales

February 17, 2015

The Heritage Herb Garden, at the Ozark Folk Center State Park, graces the grounds with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

This column has been a study in chocolate since the second week of January. It is time to share some recipes.


Bake-Free Brownies

The basis for this sweet was adapted from Laura Jane, the Rawtarian. Consider this, most of us sugar junkies have indulged in licking the spoon and scraping the brownie bowl; we are not strangers to raw brownies. If
you doubt that there is any way to make a good brownie without an oven, white sugar, eggs and butter, I challenge you to taste this recipe only once. The recipe rated 4.9 out of 5 points on the Rawtarian website.  The original recipe called for dates. Phyllis Williams decided to use raisins instead and the Herb Society of America—Ozark Unit members went wild for her rendition.

1 cup pecans

1 cup raisins

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

Using a food processor, grind the nuts to the consistency of flour. Add the fruit and process until the mixture sticks together and the fruit is completely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and continue to process
until the dough is evenly blended into a chocolaty brown mass. Do not over-process to butter consistency. Transfer the dough into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan. With washed hands, coat your fingers with butter or coconut oil and
then press the dough flat, to the edges of the pan. Refrigerate for an hour or more to make slicing easy. If there are any leftovers, store in the refrigerator.

These brownies have a rich, chocolate flavor that satisfies the taste buds and the cravings. Each super food serving is packed with good fats, vitamins and minerals that fuel the body.


This recipe is from not just desserts--sweet herbal recipes by Susan Belsinger. The beverage was
inspired by the movie Chocolat. It is completely indulgent and quite warming and stimulating. A note concerning the
chile powder, do not substitute chili powder with spices used for seasoning chili. If you have no tolerance for the heat of capsaicin, you can substitute cinnamon.

Serves 2, or 4 small demitasse

2 cups half-and-half cream or 1 cup half-and-half and 1 cup milk

2 to 3 tablespoons sugar

2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon pasilla or ancho chile powder

In a heavy-bottomed nonreactive saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, chocolate pieces and cocoa powder. Place over medium heat and stir with a whisk. Keep stirring with a whisk until the sugar is dissolved and
the chocolate is melted; do not allow the hot chocolate to boil.

Turn the heat to low and whisk so thee is some froth on top. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon ground chile powder, let sit a minute or two, whisk and taste for seasoning. Adjust with a
little more chile if necessary and serve. Serve hot with whipped cream if desire.

At this writing, the Heritage Herb Gardeners and Herb Society of America-Ozark Unit members are preparing for the Arkansas Flower and Garden Show at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock on February 20, 21 and 22, 2015. Though the weather has slowed progress, the show must go on if at all possible!
We will be building a demonstration garden to celebrate the theme, “I dig Arkansas!” To that end, our garden will be made in the shape of the state of Arkansas and will showcase Arkansas State Parks, soil, geology, archeology, native plants, herbs, arts, crafts and music, all things that we dig about Arkansas. Please come out and
enjoy the show. If I don’t see you in the future—I’ll see you in the pasture!