Chocolate week: Pão de Mel, Brazilian chocolate and honey buns

Pão de Mel, Brazilian chocolate and honey buns

Pão de Mel, Brazilian chocolate and honey buns

The Story behind Chocolates and Their Sweetness

The mention of chocolate triggers an overwhelming craving that only a chocoholic can truly understand. The sweet lure of chocolate goes beyond the sheer love for the taste, it is rather the unexplainable satisfaction that is different from any other foods. When you take a bite and allow yourself just to flow with the fascinating pleasure that comes with it, you are marvelled by the intense but unique sweetness of chocolate. How many foods is there that can be used to say “I love you”? And how many craved foods trigger strong and passionate debates worldwide? There are those who enjoy chocolate for the pleasure of it and others who have it as medicine. Whatever your reason for having a bar is, chocolate carries with it a story of long journeys, history of the people and exotic places with tropical fruit trees. So what do you know about this scrumptious treat?

The history of the delicious chocolate

The story of chocolate dates back to when the Mayans and Aztecs used to make a drink that was known as “Xocoatll” from the beans of the cocoa tree. From there, chocolate began to become relevant gradually; by 1528, it was brought back to Spain still as a beverage by the Spaniards. Again chocolate was introduced in France in 1615 and later the chocolate drinks were accepted in England in 1662. The first time eaten chocolate was introduced was in 1847 by Fry & sons; although it was too bitter to attract much attention. Finally in 1874 Daniel Peter stumbled upon milk while trying out mixtures, and this brought the change that saw chocolate being accepted quickly.

How chocolate is made

Have you ever had a bit of chocolate after a craving, and the overwhelming taste that waters your mouth heavily just takes your mind to wonder how exactly this scrumptious treat is made? This is the chocolate recipe; cocoa beans are usually transported from the local farms in carts or on donkeys to the market for a local buyer who will proceed to sell it to a processor abroad. After they have been dried, roasted, and the shells removed, the nibs inside are crushed, and the end product is the raw material that chocolates and chocolate drinks are made from.

Variety of chocolate delicacies

Today this one of a kind treat is no news to the ears. Its unique sweetness comes in different varieties like milk chocolate, dark chocolate, fine chocolate, chocolate drinks and many other forms. Dark chocolates are very healthy for you especially because they have flavanoids that can help reduced risk of heart disease.

Five things you didn’t know about chocolate

Can you believe that chocolates can actually make you relax by simply smelling it? It’s true. Chocolate can also lower your risk of stroke. Eating chocolate more often increases insulin thereby preventing diabetes. Another great benefit is it can improve your blood circulation. And it can also help prevent blood clotting. So go out there and make it a chocolate week to reap the benefits.

A chocolate recipe

These mini cakes are a Brazilian version of European gingerbread but covered with melted chocolate to prolong the flavour and moisture. Brazil is a melting pot of diverse nationalities, and while gingerbread is usually eaten as a Christmas cookie in Europe, in Brazil, we eat our version – Pão de Mel – at any time of the year.

Nowadays, Pão de Mel have various types of fillings and toppings but are traditional covered in dark chocolate – cacao being one of Brazil’s important commodities – making them interesting for party decorations, gifts, souvenirs, or simply served as tea cakes. They are found with ease in Brazil, as they are commonly homemade. This particular recipe makes very fluffy and moist cakes.

Pão de Mel

Makes: approx. 20-22 cakes, using a standard muffin tin, for 3 in/8cm diameter cakes)


2 whole eggs, at room temperature

½ cup (125ml) honey

½ cup (85g) muscovado sugar

pinch of salt

½ cup (60g) of 70% chocolate powder

1 heaped tsp ground cloves

1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp (45g) butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing tin

1 cup (225ml) milk, at room temperature

2 cups (280g) of all-purpose (plain) flour

1 tsp baking soda (bicarb soda)

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of ginger (optional)


500g of melted cooking chocolate to cover each cake

600g of your filling of choice (optional)


1) Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)/ 350°F (180°C) Fan for 20 minutes and grease your muffin tins with butter. You could also use a baking pan (approx. 8 ½ in x 12 in/22cm x 30cm) and cut into cake shapes later.

2) Beat the eggs well in a mixer until very foamy and pale yellow.

3) Add to the egg mixture the honey, sugar, pinch of salt, chocolate powder, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, butter, milk and flour. Beat well until a fully homogeneous mixture is achieved.

4) Add baking soda and baking powder and mix the dough using a with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly incorporated.

5) Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tins or baking pan.  Bake for approximately 15–20 minutes. If using a baking pan, bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

6) If using a baking pan, cut the cakes into any shape you like; using a baking ring can be helpful.

7) Slice each little cake in half and fill with the flavour of your choice (I served mine with a mixture of crunchy peanut butter and condensed milk and coconut); you can leave it plain too.

8) Melt the cooking chocolate (using a bain-marie is ideal) . Dip each cake into the chocolate then place on greaseproof paper to dry. It’s also a nice Brazilian gesture to package up each little cake and give as a present.


1) Level the cakes, if required: as soon as the cakes come out of the oven, take them out of the molds and place them on a plate. Add another plate on top of them and settle with a weight for a few moments to ensure their surface level is straight.

2) Filling: – dulce de leche, or Doce de Leite – is a trendy flavour in Brazil, which you might like to try.

3) A couple of whole cinnamon barks and 10 whole cloves can be used, instead of the ground spices, by warming up the milk and infusing it for 15 mins and sieving ready for use in the recipe.

Pão de Mel, Brazilian chocolate and honey buns
Pão de Mel filled with crunch peanut butter and covered in chocolate
Pão de Mel, Brazilian chocolate and honey buns
Pão de Mel filled with condensed milk and coconut, covered in chocolate