Friday, April 30, 2010

Chocolate Stout Flourless Cake

I'm always searching for a new Chocolate Flourless Cake recipe. I've posted several. So when I came across this recipe on the Recchiuti Blog, posted by Tori on September 23, 2009 I was very pleased.

My favorite chocolate stout is produced by the Bison Brewing Company in Berkeley. They have an Organic Chocolate Stout that really does taste chocolatey. I haven't tried a lot of chocolate stouts, and maybe that's an idea for a later post. I have heard that Rogue Chocolate Stout is great, so I will try it soon. Any favorites?

From the fabulous Recchiuti Chocolate blog comes this recipe for:  
Flourless Chocolate Stout Cake

This recipe produces a very moist, chocolatey cake that’s not too rich or heavy. The addition of the chocolate stout gives it an interesting complexity and flavor.

2 ¼ sticks (255g) unsalted butter, softened
9 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 extra-large eggs
¾ cup (150g) granulated cane sugar
½ cup (125g) chocolate stout


Start by preheating your oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or ring and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom.
Using a double boiler melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Set aside.
Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Using the same double boiler used for melting the chocolate, whisk the eggs and sugar by hand until warm to the touch. Place the bowl of eggs on the mixer and beat at medium speed until the eggs have just about tripled in volume. This stage is also referred to as the ribbon stage. If you pull out the whisk and drizzle the whipped eggs on top of themselves the lines should not sink back into the mixture too quickly.
While the eggs are whipping bring the stout to a boil. Stir into the melted chocolate.
Once the eggs have reached the ribbon stage turn the speed of the mixer down and add the chocolate mixture.
Be sure that your butter is very soft but not melted. If the butter is melted the texture of the cake will be grainy. Add the butter to the eggs and chocolate and mix until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, filling it a little more than half way. Bake on the medium rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until a paring knife or skewer removed from the cake comes out with a few crumbs. 
Remove to a cooling rack and serve at room temperature.

Cake Photo: Recchiuti San Francisco

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Goldie's Fudge

Time to revisit Fudge. I've given quite a few Fudge Recipes here on DyingforChocolate.com, and I thought I'd offer up yet another, because you can never have too much fudge. This recipe comes from the late Goldie's files. Goldie would be in her 90s now.  I posted Goldie's Chocolate Pie recipe a few weeks ago. This fudge recipe is simple, and I think you'll agree that the addition of marshmallow cream gives it a twist.

Here are the directions as written. As was common in that generation, the measurements are not specific. It's a bit of this and a bit of that. :-)

Goldie's Homemade Fudge
Melt three Baker's unsweetened chocolate squares with 3/4 stick of butter... or a bit more. 3 heaping cups of sugar. Add to chocolate and mix well. Add 2 cups of milk and stir...slowly. Put on medium flame. Pinch of salt. Cook until it forms a ball in cold water.. do NOT stir it. It will boil up and cool down.  Put cold water in sink. Add pot of mixture. Add (do not stir): 1 tsp vanilla, pinch of cream of tartar, 1 & 1/2 Tablespoons butter, more than a heaping tablespoon of marshmallow cream. Cool 15 minutes. Beat until thick. Pour into pie pan. Cool.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Thought of the Day

I'm a fan of Real Simple Magazine, but for some reason I hadn't signed up for the online version. Here's yesterday's Thought for the Day. Over 10 people sent me the link! Enjoy! And I think about chocolate every day. Don't you?

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands—and then eat just one of the pieces.”

Judith Viorst

Monday, April 26, 2010

Brunetti's Cookbook: Chocolate Cake-Torta di cioccolato

Who wouldn't want to have a meal in Commissario Guido Brunetti's Venice? Venice is one of those magical cities where East meets West, where every restaurant has its specialities--a wonderful place for foodies, bakers and chefs, and multi-course Brunetti lunches.

I'm a big fan of Donna Leon's  Commissario Brunetti mystery series. Each novel is filled with the color, the smells, the landscape, the crime and corruption, the families and, of course, the foods of Venice. Now, we have Brunetti's Cookbook: Recipes by Roberta Pianaro with Culinary Stories by Donna Leon (Atlantic Monthly Press) with anecdotes, recipes and beautifully drawn illustrations! There are also excerpts from the novels and original essays by Donna Leon on food and life in Venice, the perfect addition to this wonderful cookbook.

Since I collect mystery, literary, and other tie-in cookbooks, I am thrilled to add Brunetti's Cookbook to the shelf, and I think you will be, too.

Brunetti's Cookbook brings to life fabulous Venetian meals. Roberta Pianaro, who has always lived in Venice,  a talented cook, and best friend of Donna Leon, presents over 90 mouth-watering recipes.  Donna Leon has lived in Venice for over 25 years and has feasted at Pianaro's table many times over the years. This fabulous cookbook is illustrated by Tatjana Hauptmann.  Just so you know,  this cookbook was vetted by both Pianaro and Leon. Leon is quoted on the Italian-Mysteries site as saying, "We ate our way through these recipes last year--believe they are legit.."

Interesting that the UK Edition is called A Taste of Venice: At Table with Brunetti, Culinary Stories by Donna Leon, Recipes by Roberta Pianaro.

Since this is a Chocolate Blog, I immediately checked the index for chocolate recipes. Didn't really expect to find one among the mouth-watering recipes for antipasti, primi piatti, verdure, pesci e frutti de mare and carne, but under the dolci section, is a recipe for Chocolate Cake or Torta di cioccolato.

Chocolate Cake: Torta di cioccolato

7 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate
1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp sugar
4 medium eggs, separated
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
buter and flour for the baking tin

In a small non-stick pan melt the chocolate with the butter and 4 tbsp of water over low heat, stirring occasionally, making sure the chocolate doesn't burn. Pour the chocolate into a bowl and mix thoroughly with the sugar and egg yolks. Blend in the flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Pour into a springform cake tin measuring 10 inches in diameter and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
This is a cake that can be filled with cream or jam!

"Mangia, mangia, ti fa bene."

Thanks to Elizabeth Foxwell (see comments below), here's a link to a BBC radio interview with Donna Leon about this cookbook

Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Zucchini Bread Day: Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread

April 25 is National Zucchini Bread Day, not to be confused with National Zucchini Day which falls on August 8 and makes more sense in terms of the proliferation of this vegetable in gardens and markets. Have a look at Geeky Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Amy's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and a few others I posted or linked to last year on National Zucchini Day. Also have a bit of zucchini lore there.

Here's the  recipe I've adapted from an old Sunset Magazine. It's changed a bit over the years. This is simple and delicious. You can substitute grated carrots for the zucchini if you want to 'celebrate' a different food holiday! :-) 

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Bread

Ingredients
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Madagascar Vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups King Arthur (or regular) flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dark chocolate: fair trade, organic 75% or so cacao

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Mix together  sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in grated zucchini. Add melted butter and stir. Add baking soda and salt and mix together. Add flour, a little at a time and mix. Add cinnamon and mix. Fold in nuts and chocolate.

Divide batter into 2 buttered 9 inch loaf pans. I use to make this in coffee cans, but they don't make the right kind any more.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes.
Turn onto wire racks and cool thoroughly.

Makes 2 loaves.

I love this toasted!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day & Chocolate

Last year I had several posts for Earth Day including one on  my favorite Organic, fair trade chocolate. I have a few more to add to that list. Check out my 2009  post for Earth Friendly Chocolate.


One of my new favorites is Alter Eco Chocolate.  I love the Dark Chocolate Quinoa Bar that has the crispy crunch of the quinoa, that is blended with the 61% cacao. I also like their Dark Cacao Chocolate with Crunchy roasted nibs. And, for you milk chocolate fans, there are lots of  choices. Not all their bars add other flavors. Their Dark Blackout 85% Chocolate will knock your socks off!

I also like Divine Chocolate and Theo and Askinosie and Amano. There are many others. This is just a short list. Check out this year's list and the winners and runners-up from the San Francisco Chocolate Salon in this category. What's great is that there are so many more chocolate companies.. and companies that are organic and fair trade. Yay!

Links: Fair Trade Cocoa Campaign at Global Exchange

Want to take Action for Fair Trade? Global Exchange has lots of links.

Want to cook up something for Earth Day?  How about some Dirt Cupcakes?  or

Mud Pie 
1½ cups chocolate wafer cookies, crushed into small pieces
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 pint coffee ice cream, softened (buy local: save the earth)
1 tablespoon Kahlúa
1 tablespoon brandy
1 cup whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons
 ½ cup dark corn syrup
12 ounces 70-85% dark chocolate, chopped

Combine chocolate wafer cookies and butter and press into 9-inch pie plate. Place in freezer.
Mix ice cream, Kahlúa and brandy.
Whip 2 tablespoons whipping cream, fold in to ice cream mixture, and pour into pie shell.
Cover and place in freezer.
Meanwhile, bring 1 cup cream and corn syrup to a simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Cool until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
Pour sauce over mud pie and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Another Basic Brownie Recipe: Rachael Ray's Best Basic Brownies

I have posted so many Brownie recipes here on DyingforChocolate.com, but one more won't hurt. Rachael Ray's Best Basic Brownies recipe always works!

Of course, I add chocolate chunks. As far as cocoa power, I like Scharffen Berger and  Guittard. Both are wonderful. Needless to say walnuts are always an option in my brownies.

Cooking time:  This will actually vary with your oven, with the size of your pan and lots of other variables. Stick a toothpick in. If it comes out way to gooey, they're not done. These brownies are a bit chewy, so you'll have to make your own decision about gooey-ness. Also some people like vanilla in their brownies. It's all a matter of taste, so if you decide to use a tiny bit of vanilla, add it to the wet ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup flour

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 sticks melted unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 cup flour. Transfer the batter to the baking pan and bake until just set, 25 to 30 minutes; let cool.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Chocolate Salons

Following on the heels of the Famous and Fabulous San Francisco Chocolate Salon, Taste TV and Chocolate Television announce the rest of their 2010 Line-up.

Included are two new more Intimate Chocolate Salons: one in Napa and another in San Francisco. All this adds up to more chocolate!


So for your tasting enjoyment, the following is the calendar of current Chocolate Salons scheduled for the rest of 2010.
NEW: 1) Napa Luxury Chocolate Salon
June 6th, 2010; Yountville
A small, intimate tasting event in Wine Country
www.NapaChocolateSalon.com

2) Seattle Luxury Chocolate Salon: July 11th, 2010
3rd Annual
www.SeattleChocolateSalon.com

3) Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon: October 10, 2010
4th Annual
www.LAChocolateSalon.com

NEW: 4) San Francisco Fall Luxury Chocolate Salon: November 14, 2010
A smaller, seasonal version of the SF International Chocolate Salon (info to come)

Discover, taste and savor the finest in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolates & confections!

CHOCOLATE TELEVISION on Hulu: Watch the weekly TV program and on Comcast on Demand, see TasteTV chocolate episodes and reviews now airing on NBC/FOX TV's HULU website, one of the most popular video site in the world. To view, go to Chocolate Television: http://www.hulu.com/chocolate-television

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

April 19 is National Amaretto Day, and I thought I'd get a jumpstart celebrating with this Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake. I've adapted this receipe from Cooking Light. Try it. It's easy, and light--but not as light as the original recipe. Only impediment: You'll have to wait the 8 hours or so for it to chill.

Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Ingredients
6-8 chocolate wafers
Cooking spray
1 cup sugar
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
12 ounces low fat cream cheese (I like Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
6 tablespoons unsweetened Scharffen Berger cocoa
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur Flour)
1/8 cup Amaretto
1 tbsp water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chopped fine (or mini-chocolate chips)

Preparation
Preheat oven to 300°.
Place wafers in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely ground. Sprinkle crumbs into bottom of an 8-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray.
Place sugar and next 8 ingredients (sugar through salt) in a food processor, and process until smooth.
Add egg, and process until blended.
Pour the cheese mixture into prepared pan, and sprinkle with finely chopped dark chocolate.
Bake at 300° for 55 minutes or until the cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched.
Remove cheesecake from oven, and run a knife around outside edge.
Cool to room temperature.
Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Fabulous Flourless Chocolate Cake

Over the past few years, I've posted some wonderful recipes for Flourless Chocolate Cake HERE and HERE and HERE. Exciting to know there are so many, and they're all very different. Let me know which is your favorite. As I've mentioned, a lot depends on the chocolate you use, and I usually use a blend of chocolate (2-3 different brands of chocolate with different percents cacao) in my flourless chocolate cakes. The recipe below calls for bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate, so it's right up my alley.

So here's a new recipe. Very different from my old faithful. This Fabulous Flourless Chocolate Cake is denser and very chocolte-y.  This recipe is from The Food Channel. As in all flourless chocolate cakes, you may not think it's done when your timer goes off. You can always check with an instant thermometer. If it's at 140 F, you can take  it out. It continues to firm up as it cools.

FABULOUS FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients
8 large eggs, cold
1 pound high quality bitter sweet chocolate, chopped coarse
1 pound high quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped coarse
16 tablespoons butter, unsalted, cut into 16 pieces
1/4 cup strong black coffee or liqueur (optional)
Confectioners' sugar or unsweetened cocoa for dusting the cake (optional)

Preparation
1.  Position oven rack to the lower-middle part of the oven and heat oven to 325°F.
2. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or waxed paper and grease the sides of the pan.
3. Beat eggs in a bowl of a standing mixer at high speed until the volume doubles, about 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter (adding the coffee, if using) in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water until smooth and very warm (about 115 degrees on a instant-read thermometer), stirring once or twice. Fold a third of the egg foam into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible; fold in half of the remaining foam, then the last of the foam, until the mixture is totally incorporated.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the cake has risen slightly, the edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed on the surface, and an instant-read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140°F, 22 to 25 minutes.
6. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Photo: Food Channel

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

National Pecan Day: Chocolate-Pecan Crust & Chocolate Pecan Pies

Today is National Pecan Day.

Over the past year, I posted four great recipes for Chocolate Pecan Pies:


1. Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie posted for Mardi Gras, but it's great any time! 
2. August 20 was National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, and I posted a Chocolate Pecan Pie that was an adaptation of Derby Pie
3. & 4. Two Derby Pie recipes last Derby Day.

Make one or all of them to celebrate National Pecan Day today!

I came across this video awhile back, and I think it's fabulous. It's for a Raw Chocolate-Pecan Crust? Check out Chaya Ryvka's video on 5minLife Videopedia. Great ideas and instructions. You can also make cookies and bars from this recipe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chocolate Chess Pie

There used to be a restaurant in Berkeley called Beggar's Banquet. This was long before the burgeoning of Berkeley as a Foodie Mecca.  What I remember best about Beggar's Banquet was the Chocolate Pie. It had a nice brownie texture with the chocolate forming its own crust on this one crust pie. The closest I've come to matching this pie recipe was one I adapted from the Chocolate Chess Pie from Disney FamilyFun Magazine. I make this adding ground walnuts to the dry sugar mixture.  If you're a purist or allergic to nuts, eliminate the walnuts, and it will still be great!

Chocolate Chess Pie

Ingredients
Your favorite 9-inch deep-dish piecrust (in a pinch I use Trader Joe's piecrust)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces 65%-70% chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup ground walnuts (whirl them in the blender)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Whipped cream

Instructions
1. Prebake the pieshell.


2. Put the butter in the top of a double-boiler set over, but not in, slow-simmering water (or place a heat-safe glass or metal bowl in a similarly sized pot). Scatter the chocolate over the butter without mixing and let it stand until the chocolate and butter have melted, about 6 minutes. Whisk the chocolate mixture until it's smooth, then remove it from the heat and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool.

3. In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the sugar, cornmeal, salt, cinnamon and walnuts. In another bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and yolk. Add them to the sugar mixture, along with the milk and vanilla, and whisk together until they're evenly blended. Then whisk in the chocolate mixture until smooth and pour the filling into the cooled piecrust.

4. Place the pie on the center oven rack and bake it for 35 minutes. Rotate it 180 degrees, then continue to bake until it puffs up and forms a thin crusty layer, about 20 minutes more. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve it slightly warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Goldie's Chocolate Pie

Joanne Rifkin from Seattle, and I were talking chocolate a few weeks ago, and she mentioned that she is putting together a book of family recipes to pass down to her children. One of the recipes was her mother's for Chocolate Pie, and she was kind enough to send it to include on DyingforChocolate.com.  Since Joanne's mother was 'of a certain generation' I'm going to list Goldie's ingredients and directions. Of course, feel free to substitute your own favorite chocolate, use a crust to your liking and Madagascar vanilla. I always start with eggs at room temperature, so that will save some time. I love the words "take off fire." So here you have it.

GOLDIE'S CHOCOLATE PIE

2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 squares Baker's unsweetened chocolate (fresh)

Melt above together in double boiler

1 cup sugar
6 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
Blend together in bowl.

Add the above mixture VERY slowly to the double boiler mixture.
Cook 10 minutes stirring constantly.

3 eggs...separated
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla (no imitation)

Let eggs get to room temperature after separating. Beat the egg yolks well. Mix in a little of the chocolate mixture. Then add the egg mixture to the double boiler mixture and add the butter and vanilla. Cook until thick.

Take off Fire. Pour into one pie crust. 
Goldie used a regular homemade crust. Joanne uses a homemade graham cracker crust.

MERINGUE: Beat egg whites (Joanne uses more than the three... she uses 6). Add about 2-4 tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks. Put over pie. Bake 450 degree oven about 6-8 minutes.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Kerry Greenwood: Guest Blogger/Chocolate Grog

Today Award winning Australian Mystery Author Kerry Greenwood Guest Blogs. My worlds of Mystery and Chocolate often cross, and Kerry Greenwood's latest mystery, Heavenly Pleasures, combines both. After over 50 books, this should come as no surprise to her fans. The "Earthly Delights" series features Corinna Chapman, a baker (and reluctant investigator) operates Earthly Delights, a gourmet bakery in Melbourne. In Heavenly Pleasures her friend  who owns a chocolate shop is being sabotaged. That anyone would sabotage chocolate is a dastardly crime!!

Greenwood, a solicitor by training, a writer by sheer endeavor and talent, writes mysteries, science-fiction, historical fiction, and children's fiction, as well as plays. She is unmarried but lives with a "registered wizard."

Kerry Greenwood:

Picture the scene. An author arises, takes her coffee to the computer, as the black cat settles herself on the filing cabinet - she always supervises. A new Corinna is announced. She starts to write.

And this time Corinna's bakery will not be the centre of the novel. It concerns the sisters Juliet and Vivienne who run Heavenly Pleasures, a boutique chocolate shop just down the street. Ah, the flavours - rose cream, violet cream, pistachio, hazelnut ganache, caramels, oranges, all the scents of paradise.

The author gets hungry as she writes: she dips into a box of chocolate coated liquer cherries which she  has by the keyboard strictly for research purposes. Belladonna the black cat is not interested. The story starts to develop.  Who is trying to ruin the sisters by spiking their artistic offerings with chili sauce?

Could it be a rival? Could it just be a joke?

Corinna must find out. The author hasn't the faintest idea.

Day's writing over, the author retires for a nightcap.

CHOCOLATE GROG

500 ml milk
75 gm couverture chocolate
pinch each of ginger and allspice
75 ml rum
200 ml brandy
1 cinnamon stick
nutmeg to sprinkle
whipped cream to top

Put all the non alcoholic ingredients together heat and stir. When it is just short of boiling, add the alcohol and the cinnamon stick. Serve with whipped cream on top and a sprinkling of nutmeg.


Good night and chocolate scented dreams...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Chocolate Sampler/Chocolate News and Reviews

Chocolate Sampler is a sporadic post on DyingforChocolate.com about fun, interesting news about chocolate.

Walmart is offering an exclusive Ben & Jerry's Flavor: Flourless Chocolate Cake Ice-Cream. Oh my!  Read more and a review by Brad Thomas Parsons HERE. Brad says it reminds him of Brownie Batter, and that was one of my favorites. Hard to find, so it must be a retired flavor. I guess I need to make a trip to WalMart. Quel Horreur!


Askinosie Chocolate, one of my favorite chocolate companies, is auctioning a set of five of the first single origin chocolate bars made with cocoa beans from Liberia. It’s a fundraiser to send high school students in the Cocoa Honors program to Africa in the Summer of 2010. Students will participate ni a service project in an African community either in Liberia or Tanzania. Auction ends April 11, so Bid  HERE now.

If you're reading this blog, you know that dark chocolate is healthy. Here's yet another study about how eating dark chocolate decreases the risk of heart attack. A chocolate a day, keeps the doctor away. Read the article, HERE.

And that goes for stroke, too, of course. And here's another study. HERE.

And, in another study, the Express reports that Chocolate and Wine can curb dementia. According to an expert, regular intake of chocolate, fruits, vegetables, red wine and tea help you against Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Robert Williams, a biochemist at Kings College London, says that all include chemicals called flavonoids may also helpful in dementia sufferers. Read more HERE.

My friend Louise over at Months of Edible Celebrations sent me a link to an article about M.I.T's Laboratory for Chocolate Science. Now here's a reason to go back to school. Read the article HERE.

Speaking of Cambridge, a Harvard professor found a way to experience the taste of chocolate with calories.  “It is a very new concept,” said David Edwards, a professor of biomedical engineering at Harvard University. “It’s kind of like smoking chocolate.”  Edwards unveiled his sweet invention called Le Whif – a biodegradable lipstick-like device that delivers breathable taste sensations at Tory Row in Harvard Square. No thanks. Not for me. I love to taste my chocolate! Read the article HERE.

And on the other side of the continent in San Francisco, Timothy Childs, a former rocket scientist and founder of Tcho Chocolate, uses his iPhone to run his lab. Childs is committed to creating unique flavor profiles that bring out the bean’s origins, and to do that, he uses custom-developed machinery in his San Francisco chocolate lab. Helping him run that lab, from near and far, is the iPhone. Tcho is a staple on our Chocolate Scavenger Hunts in San Francisco. It's especially popular with our Hi-Tech clients. No surprise. Read the story and watch the Video about Chocolatology meets Technology HERE.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

National Coffee Cake Day: Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake

Today is National Coffee Cake Day, and there are so many wonderful recipes for Chocolate Coffee Cake, Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake, and hey, lots of pound cakes are coffee cakes. Coffee cakes are sweet cakes usually meant to accompany coffee. They are usually single layer cakes, baked in loaf or bundt pans, but other shapes are fine. I just bought a square chiffon cake pan that I think will work with the following recipe, one of my favorites.

This recipe for Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake has a great  dense texture, and it will appeal to both chocolate and vanilla cake lovers--and it has coffee in it, so it's a perfect "Coffee Cake."  This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's on Joy of Baking. If you're not familiar with her website, you should get acquainted. Lots of great recipes.


Chocolate Marble Coffee Cake

2 1/2 ounces 75-85% organic, fair-trade dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon brewed coffee or espresso
2 1/4 cups King Arthur cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Madagascar)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk

Marble Cake: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter a 10 inch bundt or tube pan.
2. In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the  chocolate with the coffee. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add beaten eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream.
5. With the mixer on low speed alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
6. After preparing the batter, pour half of the batter into a separate bowl. Stir the melted chocolate into one half of the batter, mixing well. Place the batter into the prepared pan by alternating spoons of vanilla batter and chocolate batter. Then, with a flat knife almost to the bottom of the pan, gently draw swirls (up, over and down) through the batter as your rotate the pan (if you're using a round bundt) to marbleize it. Don't over mix. Smooth the top of the batter.
7. Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I think this cake is fine the way it is (not too sweet), but you can dust with powdered sugar, drip with a chocolate glaze or frost with a chocolate ganache.

This cake will keep for a couple of days at room temperature or it can be frozen.

No time to bake today?  Grab a slice of Starbucks: Marble Pound Cake to celebrate National Coffee Cake Day!

Photo: Starbucks Marble Pound Cake

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest Winners

I always look forward to the 2009 Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest. I didn't enter this year. but over 1000 people did with incredibly inventive recipes. This year the contest listed some really fun and wacky foods that needed to be incorporated into the recipes.

Watch the Video of the Judges testing the recipes. It's quite fun. Go HERE.
And, the winners are:
FIRST PLACE
SWEET
Chocolate-Filled Pandan Dumplings
Karin Lazarus/NY

SAVORY
Smoky Cocoa-Dusted Pommes Frites with Peanut-Cumin Dipping Sauce
Edwina Gadsby/MT

SECOND PLACE
SWEET
Tropical Pandan Ice Cream with Raspberries and Thai Noir Sauce
Mary Shivers/OK
SWEET
Trio of Layered Panna Cotta
Melissa Smith/CA
SAVORY
Chicken (or Duck) Mesopotamia Moderne
Carolyn Kumpe/CA

I won't fool you, these recipes are not that easy, but the directions are great, and if you have the time, you'll really be pleased!

Here's the Recipe for First Place in the Sweet Category!

Chocolate-Filled Pandan Dumplings

Author: Karin Lazarus/NY
Category: Sweet
Servings: 6-8
Adventure Ingredients: Pandan leaf, Rice flour

8 pandan leaves, roughly chopped
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cup glutinous rice flour
2 teaspoons finely grated, fresh ginger
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
48 Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet chocolate baking chunks
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or substitute any oil you have on hand)

PREPARATION
1. Blend pandan leaves and coconut milk in a blender. Strain liquid into a bowl, discard the pandan pulp.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice flour, ginger, sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of the shredded coconut. Stir in the coconut milk-pandan mixture. Lightly knead the mixture for 1-2 minutes.

3. Break off a small piece of dough (keep the rest covered with a damp kitchen towel so it doesn’t dry out) into a 1 1/2 inch diameter dumpling, indent it with your thumb and insert 2 chocolate chunks. Pinch the sides to enclose the chocolate. Gently roll it once again to return it to a ball shape. Place on a plate dusted with rice flour. Repeat until you have approximately 24 dumplings.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the dumplings. Gently stir the dumplings occasionally so that they don’t stick to the bottom. When they rise to the surface, about 1 1/2-2 minutes, turn the heat down to medium-high. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.

5. While the dumplings are cooking, lightly grease a baking sheet with the 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. Using a slotted spoon, lift the dumplings out of the water and place on prepared baking sheet.

6. Combine the remaining shredded coconut with the powdered sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Roll the dumplings in the coconut mixture and coat evenly. Serve right away while the chocolate filling is warm and creamy.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Bunny Cocktail

Perfect for the Egg Hunt, this Easter Bunny Cocktail comes from Drink of the Week.

Easter Bunny Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. Dark Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz. Vodka
1 tsp. Chocolate Syrup
1 tsp. Cherry Brandy

Shake creme de cacao and vodka with ice. Strain over ice in a cocktail glass.
Top with a float of chocolate syrup and cherry brandy.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

National Chocolate Mousse Day

Today is National Chocolate Mousse Day. Here's one of my favorite Chocolate Mousse recipes (originally from allrecipes.com). Mousse is versatile, and you can add liqueur to this recipe.

EASY CREAMY RICH CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

7 ounces dark chocolate (65% or higher cacao) chopped
7 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
7 egg whites
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
(1 tbsp brandy or cognac or kirsch: optional)

1. Place chocolate in a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or the top of a double boiler). Stir occasionally until mostly melted, then remove from heat, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, but do not allow it to become grainy. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue whipping to medium stiff peaks. Fold in egg yolks and liqueur if you're using it.
4. Fold in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated, then fold in whipped cream until evenly blended. Spoon into Martini glasses (looks great!) and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Optional: Sprinkle with fleur de sel**

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Brunch: Be sure and Make it Chocolate

Here are two make ahead Chocolate Recipes for Easter Brunch. The first is from Melissa d'Arabian (Food Network) for Chocolate French Toast. The second is from King Arthur Flour for Killer Chocolate Muffins.

This Chocolate French Toast Recipe is adapted from Melissa d'Arabian's recipe (Pain Perdu)
What I like about this recipe is that everything can be made in advance, ready to pull out of the oven and bake when you're ready. I've adapted it just a bit.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup sweet butter, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla  (Madagascar)
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup dark chopped chocolate (I've used Akinoisie, Amano, Scharffen Berger of various % cacao and from different regions)
2 large eggs
6 slices brioche, crusts removed and cut into triangles (but you can use any white or egg/challah bread)
9- by 5-inch baking dish

DIRECTIONS
In a small pot over low heat, add 1/4 cup cream, milk, sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, vanilla and salt and bring to a simmer.
Put the chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in the cream mixture. Let sit until the chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs and mix until well combined.
Grease the baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter, and line it with the bread slices, overlapping slightly.
Pour the chocolate mixture over the bread, making sure to cover the tips.
Push the bread down with your fingers to coat the bread completely.
Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake until the custard sets and the bread turns golden at the edges, about 30 minutes.
Add the remaining cream to a chilled bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
Serve the french toast on individual plates with a dollop of cream.

This recipe from King Arthur Flour is one of my favorite Chocolate Muffin Recipes. The King Arthur Website calsl it a Breakfast Muffin, but it can be served (and eaten) any time.  I really haven't changed the recipe much. Just a few tweaks. You'll love these for Easter Brunch and any time. I used the cups/tsp, etc. part of the recipe. And, you probably know I'm not really much of a measurer. It always works.

Chocolate Breakfast Muffins


2/3 cup (2 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa (highest grade)*
1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 cups (9 3/8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped (I use dark chocolate-75% cacao at least)
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla (Madagascar)
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup (4 ounces, 1 stick) sweet butter, melted
coarse pearl sugar, for topping (optional)

 
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. 

Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there's no need to beat these muffins, just make sure everything is well-combined.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin; the cups will be heaped with batter, and the muffin will bake into a "mushroom" shape. 

Sprinkle with pearl sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 

Remove the muffins from the oven, and after 5 minutes remove them from the pan, allowing them to cool for about 15 minutes on a rack before peeling off the muffin papers or silicone cups. 




Serve with butter or strawberry jam (or both) 
You can also make this as a Bundt Cake, mini-muffins or cupcakes 

Have a Great Easter! 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chocolate Easter Eggs

I posted about Chocolate Bunnies, but Chocolate Easter Eggs are just as popular. Some are filled, some are hollow, some have vignetttes inside, some are solid. Since we know that chocolate is good for the heart--a small piece of chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes--then a small Chocolate Easter Egg--or a bite of a larger one--is a great way to take your medicine. These must be dark chocolate eggs to get the full effect. So enjoy your Chocolate Easter Eggs guilt-free.

I mentioned before that I have a large wooden Easter Rabbit in my living room. Well I also have a large paper mache Easter Chick, just ready to be surrounded by Chocolate Easter Eggs.


A little goes a long way, but check out these Enormous Chocolate Eggs from Tim Fonseca at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.


There are the traditional Chocolate Easter eggs from See's, (Check out the Making of a See's Chocolate Egg on the YumSugar blogGhirardelli and Cadbury (the original creme egg)* I love caramel filled eggs--and I'm a big fan of coconut.  ..  Some are big, some small, some decorated, some plain. 


Valrhona is one of my favorite chocolates, and this year they have their solid dark and milk chocolate eggs. The milk chocolate Tanariva (33%) gives sweet notes of caramel, and the milk chocolate Gianduja has subtle flavors of hazelnut. The dark chocolate eggs have either a juicy raspberry or Manjari (64%) (dark bitter chocolate) center.

Recchiuti Chocolate has some beautiful Chocolate Eggs that I will be eating this Sunday. They have a shell of dark chocolate that surrounds a silky center of Force Noir (dark chocolate ganache. Each piece is made and decorated by hand).


Divine Easter Eggs. 100% fair trade. Available in Milk chocolate, Dark Chocolate and new Speckled varieties. Mini-Eggs (great for Easter Egg Hunts)

There are so many delicious Chocolate Easter Eggs out there, but maybe you want to make your own Chocolate Easter Eggs.

There's a great Recipe for Chocolate Easter Eggs by Elizabeth LaBau on About.com. Easy, and no candy thermometers. These are beautiful flowered Easter eggs that have a chocolate-walnut filling and a deep, dark chocolate coating. Of course how you decorate is up to you. I'm o.k. with undecorated if you're making these yourself.

Want to make another variety of Chocolate Easter Egg? Chef Mariajane posts another easy recipe for Chocolate Easter Eggs using sweetened condensed milk on RecipeZaar. Go HERE

Hunting Eggs in the Bay Area this weekend? Here's a list of locations. Alas, they won't all be Chocolate.

Addendum: It occurred to me when I was posting Chocolate Easter Egg info to my blog that I forgot to mention the Teuscher Beverly Hills Easter Bunny Scavenger Hunt when I blogged about Chocolate Bunnies. It's not too late to join in the fun! Go HERE for more information.