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By Luella Fischer
Nine years ago Shawn Askinosie was a criminal lawyer in Springfield, but now he makes a living by creating sweet concoctions.
“I love being able to work with my hands and also be creative,” Shawn says. “It's great getting to use a different skill set and foster other parts of my brain than I did when I was practicing criminal law.”
Today, Shawn and wife Caron not only create award-winning chocolate at Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, but they also strive to give back. Through a program called Product of Change, Askinosie Chocolate gives back to the communities from which it buys its cocoa beans. All of the profits for the company’s Product of Change items go to support sustainable lunch programs in Tenende, Tanzania, and Davao, Philippines.
In addition to their positive difference worldwide, the Askinosies have developed Chocolate University—an experimental learning program where students can embrace chocolate making and culture.
Sincer the first piece of chocolate was created at Askinosie, Shawn and Caron have continued to seek out opportunities for positive change, economic development, and partnerships that allow a love for chocolate making to continue.
The Springfield shop offers a variety of chocolate, including milk, dark, white, bulk chocolate, baking chocolate, holiday gift baskets and more.
According to Shawn, the sixty-two percent cocoa Dark Milk Chocolate + Fleur de Sel Bar is their best seller. It's won two Good Food Awards, and he says it’s just generally loved by both dark chocolate lovers and milk chocolate lovers alike.
“It's rewarding that people love and enjoy our chocolate, that our chocolate fosters relationships and brings people happiness,” Shawn says. “The fact that it's often recognized with awards and critical acclaim is just icing on the cake. The second aspect though is the impact we're making on our cocoa origin communities, as well as in Springfield. Our mission is to craft exceptional chocolate and serve the communities in which we work, and we're proud of the community development projects we've created, which range from a deep water well to two one-hundred-percent sustainable school lunch programs to a computer lab for students at our local homeless shelter.”
To learn more, visit their website and experience the seventy-step process of chocolate making.
Try some of their own sweet recipes this holiday season:
Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Recipes courtesy of Askinosie Chocolate
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 4 ounces Askinosie dark chocolate, melted and cooled
- 12 ounces Askinosie dark chocolate, chopped into ½-inch chunks
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Optional addition of nuts:
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios
- ¾ cup chopped dried apricots
- ¼ cup Askinosie Roasted Cocoa Nibs in addition to the chopped chocolate
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- With an electric mixer, cream the butter and shortening until light. Beat in the sugar, ¼ cup at a time. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate.
- Add the flour mixture, one-third at a time, while stirring until just blended. Fold in the chocolate chunks and pecans. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough, two inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Cool for few minutes on the cookie sheets. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.
Askinosie Best Hot Cocoa
- 2 teaspoons Askinosie Cocoa Powder
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 6 ounces hot milk (160°F; Do not boil.)
- Mix the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.
- Slowly stir or whisk in the hot milk.
Makes 2 servings.
Luella Fischer enjoys writing and has a passion for cooking and Missouri history. She is also the author of a children’s book series and directs a Missouri Farmers Care agriculture education program where third graders have the opportunity to make bread, plant seeds, and experience food and agriculture hands-on.