Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The ChocolateDoctor’s Tracking Down the Source of Chocolate: Equatorial Guinea

Friday, August 9th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I have had four careers in the last 45 years….a producer for ABC-TV covering the war in Vietnam, an art director and director in the film industry, a restaurateur with over 350 establishments and the co-founder of Choclatique. I’ve shot great action films and been shot at. I have directed famous and popular movie stars and have been credited with producing one of the top ten worst movies in history. I’ve opened restaurants that have been spectacular successes and one which was a spectacular failure. The most fun I have had has been the development of the brand and the fantastic products we make at Choclatique.

Last month I spent several weeks in Equatorial Guinea which, up until the mid twentieth century, was a large exporter of cocoa beans. I was in search of discovering great chocolate on the Dark Continent (If you prepare the recipe for Sofitel’s Cold, Welcoming Chocolate Beverage you will see and taste exactly what I mean about great chocolate). The Spanish brought a cocoa culture to Spanish Guinea, now known as Equatorial Guinea, West Africa in the late 1700’s.

Equatorial Guinea is on the west coast of equatorial Africa, bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the south and east. Malabo, the capital, is exactly 3 degrees north of the equator (I proved this out with my trusty iPhone compass and GPS system). It has the perfect climate and just the right amount of rainfall to grow great cacao, the fruit from which chocolate is made. A tiny country, it is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. This includes the mainland (Río Muni), as well as three coastal islets (Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico) and two islands (Bioko and Annobóon). The larger of these is Bioko, formerly known as Fernando Po which is 25 miles off the coast of Cameroon. Mangrove swamps lie along the coast of the island. Río Muni is mainly tropical rain forest and is home to a variety of animals, including gorillas, snakes, chimpanzees, monkeys, leopards, elephants, and crocodiles.

Bioko was most important because of its cocoa plantations and proved to be one of Spain’s most profitable territories in Africa. When the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, the Spanish began to invest more in the development of Equatorial Guinea. The country experienced increasing prosperity with the aid of the Spanish government and the Catholic Church. Industry grew, and cocoa and timber contributed to a strong economy.

Independence was declared in 1968. With the departure of Spain the country was left in dire straits. Many of the plantations were deserted and reclaimed by the rain forest. Today the country is rebuilding and establishing a great degree of political and economic stability. With the discovery of oil and other valuable natural resources their efforts are noticeable. On Bioko, the majority of the population lives in the City of Malabo, which is Equatorial Guinea’s capital. The city is clean, and its older architecture exhibits Spanish influence while the new buildings resemble the skyline of a major American city. There are new roads being built and construction cranes throughout the city showcase the efforts of Turkish and Chinese contractors.

The main foods are cassava root, bananas, rice, papaya, mango and yams. People also hunt and fish for protein. Palm wine and malamba (an alcoholic drink made from sugarcane) are both mild and popular.

Before independence, Equatorial Guinea’s primary source of income was from Spanish-grown cocoa production. With their departure, production fell significantly leaving plantations to be reclaimed by the jungle. Over the last couple of weeks I hiked into the jungle to find these old plantations and see for myself what remained of these vast growing areas. I was pleasantly surprised to see many old heirloom plants had survived the neglect and lack of attended cultivation. The cacao I found is most likely Forastero or Criollo (only testing will tell for sure). I estimate that the trees are probably about 200 years old and may very will be derived from the ancient cacao plants that would have been found in ancient Aztec civilizations and shipped to the colony.

Like superb wine and premium olive oils, fine chocolates all carry a signature flavor. Their distinctive flavors start with the original ingredient… the cacao bean. Wine grapes vary by varietal, region of origin, harvesting methods and weather. So, too, do cacao beans with the additional complications caused by the remoteness of the growing area and the fermenting and drying environment. Sophisticated connoisseurs of chocolate claim they can identify the country of origin, cacao tree type and processing methods; and can detect whether a chocolate comprises beans from a single estate (“terroir”) or blends. I’m pretty good at tasting, but not that good.

Before the mapping of the cacao genus a couple of years ago it was thought that there were only three varieties of heirloom cacao: the Criollo, the Trinitario and the Forastero. This is now being rethought as testing is proving that there may be more varieties than originally thought. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) now has the technology to help identify and map the various plants around the world.

Grown mainly in Central America, the Criollo represents only 1% of world’s fine chocolate production. Some exceptionally rare Criollo is harvested only by dugout canoe deep in the Amazon rainforest. Its cacao is fine and sweet, with complex flavor notes. The Forastero, grown largely in West Africa and South America, comprises about 80 percent of world’s fine chocolate production and has a strong, bold taste. The Trinitario is a flavorful bean and contains qualities of both trees and is grown throughout the world, producing about five percent of world fine chocolate output.

The most exciting part of the venture which eclipsed most everything else was the national energy to make a better life for all of the people who live there. It is more than just the construction of new buildings and roads and the discovery of oil which pays for much of it. It is the people who were most giving and hospitable. With all that is going on in the world today it was great to be welcomed as an American and treated so well by everyone I met and worked with. I am looking forward to returning back later in the year.

Choclatique creates chocolate for connoisseurs and for people who just love great chocolate. Our award-winning truffles and bars demonstrate our attention to artistic presentation and flavor perfection. Every day, our chocolatiers craft each piece using the finest ingredients. We use our premium blends of dark, milk and white chocolate made from premium cacao beans from around the world. And we continually search for rare and emerging cacao plantations from which we can source. We use only the finest ingredients: fresh cream and butter; and the finest liqueurs, nuts, fruits and spices. The secret to our success is allowing the natural chocolate flavors to dominate our truffles. We don’t use artificial flavors or preservatives.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Choclatique Tiramisu Swirl Cheesecake

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I was at a famous Italian restaurant in San Francisco last month where Tiramisu was described on the menu as “a traditional classic Venetian dessert created in the 1800’s.” While there is some debate regarding the origin of Tiramisu there is no question the earliest mention I could find was in the Washington Post on December 24, 1969. The dessert was first made in Via Sottotreviso at Treviso, near Venice. The recipe was documented in Giovanni Capnist’s 1983 cookbook, Dolci del Veneto.

White this dessert is neither traditional or a classic I felt safe that I could take the liberty of expressing my own personality and preferences to this Tiramisu Swirl Cheesecake.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours (best overnight if you can wait that long)
Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake

Chocolate Tiramisu Swirl CheesecakeIngredients:
1 (7-ounce) package ladyfingers, dried
4 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons strong cold coffee
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ounces Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, melted
3 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Place a roasting pan of water on the bottom of oven filled about one third of the way.
  3. Prepare an 8- or 9-inch springform pan by covering the bottom with aluminum foil to seal out the water.
  4. In a small bowl crush the package of ladyfingers to fine crumbs. Mix the melted butter into the crumbs. Moisten with 2 tablespoons of the coffee. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a prepared springform pan.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar until very smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and the flour; mix SLOWLY until just smooth. The consistency of the mascarpone can vary. If the cheesecake batter is too thick, add a little cream.
  6. Using two separate bowls divide the cream cheese mixture in half.
  7. Add the melted chocolate and 4 tablespoons coffee to the half the cream cheese batter and mix thoroughly. Pour the chocolate cream cheese batter into crust followed by the remaining cream cheese batter. Using the broad side of a knife or spatula swirl the two batters to marble.
  8. Place springform pan into the roasting pan of hot water. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until just set. Open oven door, and turn off the heat. Let cake to cool in oven for 20 minutes.
  9. Dolci del Veneto Remove from oven, and let it finish cooling.
  10. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or, better yet, overnight.
  11. Right before serving sprinkle with chocolate curls.

ChefSecret: The literal translation of the Italian name tiramisù (tirami sù) means “pick- me-up” or metaphorically, “make me happy.” This may refer to the caffeine in the coffee and effect of cocoa used in the original recipe.

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Just Eleven Days Before Christmas

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Joan Vieweger and the artisans and staff at Choclatique

Teddy BearOn December 14, 2012 a 20 year old man fatally shot twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Six women who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary were killed, in addition to 20 students—twelve girls and eight boys. He also killed his mother at her home nearby. After shooting the students and staff members, he committed suicide. This was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

With tears in our eyes and heavy hearts we remember and pray for the victims and their families.

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Rachel D’Avino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47
Jesse Lewis, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Daniel Barden, 7
Josephine Gay, 7
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
James Mattioli, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

This holiday season hold your family close for they are the most precious gifts of all.

David’s psalm is a joyful proclamation of God’s providence. Humankind can live free from fear because, like the good shepherd, God will always provide, protect and guide this flock.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

Hurricane Sandy

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

This week we all watched in horror as Sandy, the tropical cyclone, severely affected portions of the Caribbean, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States and tore apart wide-spread areas of our East Coast. Large areas of New York and New Jersey were hardest hit.

It was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, with winds spanning over 1,100 miles causing heavy loss of life. It is estimated that the costs of the storm in monetary terms will exceed $50 billion, but that doesn’t take into account the thousands of individual tragedies that each of the affected families share.

For those who have lost loved ones, know that all Americans share in your grief. To all of our family, friends and neighbors on the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy, our hearts and prayers are with you.

Joan Vieweger, Ed Engoron and the entire Choclatique Team

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Yay! Cupcakes Are Here To Stay!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

CupcakeIn my new book, Choclatique (Running Press), I wrote that the best birthday party I ever had was my eighth where mom made old-fashioned, Texas State Fair-style corndogs and chocolate cupcakes. Now this was many years ago when you could find cupcakes in any little bakery. They were nothing special—just something else to fill the display case made with the leftover cake batter and decorated with that inexpensive chocolate compound frosting. At holiday time they would top them with a few sprinkles to add to the festive mood.

Chocolate CupcakesI was always partial to the chocolate cupcakes from Royal Bakery just outside Beverly Hills. This was our family’s one-stop bakery; they made really great breads and pretty good pastry. The cupcakes were a nickel a piece. I could put down about 3 at a time. When they raised the price on them, mom put me on a 1950’s style austerity diet and limited me to just one—which was probably a good thing.

And then the unthinkable happened… cupcakes all but disappeared. They were no longer displayed between the Bavarians and the Danish. You could still find Hostess crème filled “belly bombers” in the grocery aisle, but cupcakes were nowhere to be found in the bakery.

SprinklesSo you can imagine I got all excited when the first Sprinkles opened about a mile east of our office in Beverly Hills. Now, if you have had your head in the sand for the past 5 years or so and don’t know about them, Sprinkles is the store that single-handedly brought back cupcakes. I like to call it the Sprinkles Phenomena. These are not just any cupcakes, but these are designer cupcakes made with different batters and frostings, well merchandised and uniquely decorated in and sold in an upscale environment that always seems to have a block-long line of hungry customers, devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike trying to get in. That’s not all that got upscaled—somewhere along the line the price per single cupcake rose to $3.50 each or $39 a dozen.

Cupcake ShopAs you can imagine, since Sprinkles first opened, locally owned cupcake shops have been popping up all over the place. While some have argued that this trend won’t last, the plethora and popularity of shops opening up all over the U.S. —and now the world—say otherwise. There is even an entire Food Network competition celebrating the cupcake.

Of course, many of us have our own favorite cupcake shop near to where we live, but during these troubled times a $3.50 cupcake is rather dear, so why not make your own? As a chocolate cupcake fanatic and a pastry chef, I still like to make my original recipe which tastes pretty much like the cupcakes I used to get from the long-gone Royal Bakery. Why not give my recipe a try?

The ChocolateDoctor’s Easy-to-Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy-To-Make Chocolate Cupcake
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 22 minutes

Makes: 12-14 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note: Use the best cocoa powder you can afford; it makes a difference.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F, then turn it down to 350º F just prior to baking.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, cream the butter until it is soft, then add the sugar. Beat about 4 minutes longer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until they are well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate them.
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and beat it just to combine. Add 1/2 of the liquids (milk and vanilla), scrape down bowl and beat to combine. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately. Finish with the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix.
  6. Fill muffin tins 2/3′s of the way and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool before decorating.

Old Fashioned, Delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, plus a few tablespoons to adjust consistency
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter and the cocoa until smooth, then add the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating with each addition.
  2. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat for about 3 minutes.
  3. Using a disposable pastry bag pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
  4. “Sprinkle” with Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls & Real Chocolate Decoratifs.

ChefSecret: This is a great starter recipe for kids and newlyweds.

Choclatique by Ed EngoronIf you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

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Hey Ferd, Eat This!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

cavemanHave you ever wondered who was the first cave person to ever consider eating an egg? “Hey Ferd, that funny looking bird just dropped something from his butt—let’s eat it!” Or the first person to try eating what they what they thought was bee poo and it tuned out to taste like honey. Ummmm!

Well I’ve got to think that chocolate—or more correctly call cacao—must have had a similar history. Here is all this stuff growing on a tree, “let’s break it open and eat it.” As it turns out mankind (and womankind) got it right and we are still discovering things about chocolate and the over 300 constituent elements that are so healthful for us.

So now we are learning that you might want to consider brushing your teeth with, guess what? Chocolate—yes, I said chocolate. Who came up with this idea to make brushing your teeth just a little sweeter?

brushingNew Orleans based Theodent has launched a toothpaste that uses compounds found in chocolate to strengthen teeth. The toothpaste uses a propriety blend, Rennou, which contains an extract of chocolate plus other minerals that work together to strengthen teeth. Rennou is used as a substitute for fluoride in Theodent’s toothpaste.

Theodent represents one of the major innovations in dental care in 100 years,” says Arman Sadeghpour, Theodent CEO. “I know that is a bold statement, but there are almost no other effective and non-toxic fluoride alternatives on the market.”

Rennou is the product of a team of New Orleans researchers who found that chocolate compounds caused microscopic unit crystals of the tooth enamel to grow larger, resulting in stronger teeth. According to Sadeghpour, Rennou actually gives teeth a harder surface than fluoride does and it’s completely non-toxic.

Though the compounds included in Rennou are related to stimulants at most this toothpaste might cause a “mild mood elevating effect” and it is “certainly not physiologically addictive” as caffeine is.

The compounds are not sweet either. The compounds in Rennou come from the bitter part of chocolate, but the toothpaste itself is not bitter and has been released in a whitening crystal mint flavor. According to the company the mint flavor is gentler than most brands and meant to encourage longer brushing.

Whole FoodsTheodent Classic is available for sale in some Whole Foods Markets in the US as well as in Canada and eventually will be available at other retailers at a suggested retail price of $9.99. In addition, Theodent 300, an extra strength version, will be marketed to select cosmetic dentists and medical professionals.

Q-91 WafersIf you want to make your heart smile as wide as your teeth then also consider Choclatique’s Q-91 or Elephant Chocolate. You see, it’s more than wishful thinking—chocolate can be good for you. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. A source of natural flavanol antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore delivering more flavanol antioxidants.

Chocolate and Your Health Hand-In-Hand.

hand-in-handThe health benefits of high antioxidant foods have taken the scientific world—and the media—by storm. Recent studies suggest that the plant compounds, which act as antioxidants in foods, may reduce the risk of many kinds of illness, from heart disease to cancer. Antioxidants like those found in dark chocolate and cocoa, called flavanols have also been linked to some of the hallmarks of good cardiovascular health such as enhanced blood flow, healthy cholesterol levels and, in some cases, reduced blood pressure.

Dark chocolate and cocoa contain cell-protecting flavanol antioxidant compounds. Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup of blueberries and 1 1/3 glasses of red wine. Next time, skip the Joe and go for the cocoa.

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Meet Victor Terry

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

One of the people who make a difference at Choclatique

VictorHappy birthday, Vic! Victor is our utility infield chocolatier. He’s worked with Choclatique for two years. He started as an assistant, but soon took over the making of all our sugared products like brittles and Pralinated Nuts and Chocolate Nibs. Vic has perfected the art of making my great grandfather’s famous Peanut-packed Peanut Brittle, Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle, and my grandmother’s Chocolate Almond Butter Toffee. He also makes the other varieties of crunch nut brittles.

Choclatique ChickBut Vic’s talent doesn’t stop there. He is responsible for giving all of our Chicks their unique personalities. Each Chick is hand-decorated and Vic has the steady hand to add the eyes and beaks to each bird. Every Chick is a miniature masterpiece. Decorating a molded piece of Choclatique chocolate starts by painting molds with the desired design inside-out and up-side down. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience. When you look at the detail, you have to admire how much goes into just a single Chocolate Chick.

In Vic’s non-working hours he coaches his son, Victor Jr. III’s, football team in West Los Angeles. He also tries to work out when he’s got the chance and build model cars with his son.

Vic was one of our top tasters when we were developing the recipes for Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you’re interested in learning more about some of Vic’s favorite desserts buy the gift of Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfect the first and every time. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Chocolate May Prevent Strokes In Women

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Lori CorbinWatch for me on ABC-7 NEWS on Monday October 17th at 6:40am and 11:00pm with Lori Corbin—The Food Coach—when we discuss the health aspects of a chocolate lifestyle.

No sooner had the interview ended when I received a copy of new research suggesting that eating chocolate could reduce the risk of a stroke. Wow! That’s big news. American College of CardiologyThe study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that women who had eaten an average of about 2.3 ounces of dark chocolate per week significantly reduced their risk for a stroke. Swedish scientists tracked more than 33,000 women, ages 49 to 83 years old, for about 10 years. The more chocolate they reported eating, the less likely they were to have had a stroke. Specifically, 1,549 strokes were reported, but those women who had eaten more than 45 grams of chocolate reported about 2.5 strokes per 1,000 compared to 7.8 per 1,000 among their peers who ate fewer than 8.9 grams.

Q-91However, that does not mean anyone should abandon common sense. “Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories, fat, and sugar,” Susanna Larsson from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm told Reuters Health. “As dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, consumption of dark chocolate would be the most beneficial.” That would include Choclatique’s functional, Q-91.

Also, look for me on Fox Business Tuesday, October 18th at 12:pm EDT on Live Weekdays at Noon. I will also be in New York taping a segment for Better TV – 9, a syndicated show that airs on 80 stations nationwide owned by Meredith, Fox, CBS, Tribune, LIN TV, Journal and Sinclair. I will be making chocolate truffles from a recipe from my new adventure cookbook, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes.

QR CodeChoclatique (the book) is sprinkled with QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)… those funny little Rorschach squares you see popping up seemingly everywhere these days. When scanned by a smart phone they take you to a video of the ChefSecret that is at the end of many of the recipes. This is the first time that this technology has been available to be used in the publishing of a cookbook.

And, lastly and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly for the first time and every time there after. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts.

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The Magic of Chocolate Ganache

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

KarenThis week, Karen (our senior chocolatier) and I made ganache for an upcoming video shoot for my new cookbook, Choclatique. The publisher has added QR Codes to several of the recipes’ ChefSecrets which link to a demonstrations of the ChefSecrets. All you have to do is scan the QR Code with your Smartphone and it will take you to the video. Choclatique (the book) is all about making desserts using chocolate ganaches as building blocks. Ganache may sound pretty fancy, but it is really so simple to make. Ganache is also very versatile and, best of all, virtually everyone has the skills and tools to make it can without the fear of failure.

Basic Ganache

Chocolate Stack

A basic ganache consists of just two ingredients: chocolate—dark, milk or white—and heavy cream (unless you are making a dairy-free dark chocolate ganache, but more on that secret in the book). And the method is always the same:

  • Bring the cream to a boil, then remove from the heat let it sit for a moment so as not to scorch the chocolate and then pour the cream over a bowl of chopped chocolate.
  • Let it stand, covered, for a moment to soften the chocolate, then whisk until smooth and it all comes together.
  • Cupcake with Ganache FrostingFor best results I always recommend to let it cool overnight at room temperature. Placing your ganache straight to the refrigerator after mixing can cause it to separate. The process of cooling the ganache slowly helps the molecules from the chocolate and cream to bond more securely, giving it a nice shine. So be patient.

What I love most about chocolate ganache is that it can be poured as a coating, chilled and made into truffles, whipped into a delightfully light frosting or filling or just mixed into white frosting, whipped cream or even butter for an instant, chocolaty flavor thrill.

Ganache With Panache

You can enhance any basic recipe by adding butter, pure extracts or bold flavored liqueur, i.e. Grand Mariner or Chambord. I will often use a little whisky, where appropriate, too.

Add liqueurs or extracts after mixing the cream and chocolate together. A good place to start is with 2 tablespoons per half cup of cream. Taste it (that’s always the best part) and then, if necessary, add a little more to your preferred taste. Adding extracts and other flavorings to milk and white chocolate is a great way to moderate the sweetness level of the ganache.

Depending on your chocolate, you will have a different ratio of dark or milk chocolate to heavy cream. I like to start at a 50% / 50% ratio, but with some chocolate I go as high as 60% / 40%. White chocolate may require a higher chocolate-to-cream ratio than dark chocolate. I recommend using a ratio of 70% / 30% chocolate to cream; that’s because of the lack of chocolate mass in white chocolate and the high amount of fat from the heavy cream and the milk and cocoa butter in the white chocolate. It’s okay to experiment until you get it just right. These ratios will create a firm-textured ganache that can hold its shape.

Once your ganache has cooled overnight, scoop little balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop and roll into a small ball. Dip the truffles in coating chocolate, or simply roll in cocoa powder, sprinkles, jimmies or sugar. These dipped truffles make wonderful, inexpensive, homemade gifts!

Using a ganache as a glaze to coat cakes, soufflés, éclairs or petit fours is a delicious and fairly simple way to create stunning desserts. For a pourable glaze that sets up soft and shiny, use equal parts chocolate and cream. I like to add a little corn syrup to enhance pourability and shine. Ganache is also great warmed in a fondue pot with fresh fruit, cookies, marshmallows or pound cake for dipping.

For an instant frosting, let it set up at room temperature, then chill. Beat with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Use to fill or frost cakes as you would any pre-made frosting from a can.

Shameless Plug: You will be able to find everything you ever wanted to know about ganache in Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthdays, anniversaries… actually Choclatique (the book and chocolate) are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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Strawberry Shortcake Season

Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It is strawberry season in Southern California. I was at my favorite local farmers’ market this weekend and could smell the freshly picked, ripe strawberries a block away. There is nothing better than the aroma and taste of spring and early summer strawberries. That’s only one of the reasons I choose to live in California, but that could be enough.

Today I was inspired to make Fresh Strawberry Chocolate Shortcake. But, where did the original Strawberry Shortcake first come from? As I was working on my recipe, I wanted to learn a little bit about the origins of one of my favorite desserts.

No one exactly knows when the first strawberry shortcake was made. I’ve heard it may go back as far as 1850 right here in California. Strawberries have been around for more than 2000 years. Records that show that the people in ancient Rome enjoyed them, but putting strawberries and shortcake together seems to be more of a United States tradition.

As with many classic dishes, when the timing is right, the dish becomes a national favorite. We know that shortcake has been around at least since Shakespeare. It was mentioned in his play, The Merry Wives of Windsor.

A European recipe book in 1594 had a recipe for Short Cakes. The crumbly shortcake, which first resembled the texture and shape of a scone, turned round when the typical triangular shaped pastries kept having the point break off. It was thought that the round shape was more practical.

Strawberry shortcake parties became popular in the United States in the mid 1850s, as a celebration of the coming of summer. Probably the most popular berry back then, people talked of strawberry fever. The railroads became transcontinental and strawberries could be shipped from coast to coast surrounded with ice to keep them fresh. Advertisements and articles about strawberry shortcake caused more and more demand.

The earliest recipe I found for this dessert was in 1847 in The Lady’s Receipt-Book by Miss Leslie. It’s called Strawberry Cake, but it’s very similar to what we call strawberry shortcake. I don’t know what anyone could do to improve on this old-fashioned favorite, but I decided that the only ingredient that could make it taste any better at all was chocolate. Check out my recipe—Chocolate-Strawberry Shortcakes—created right here in the Choclatique Chocolate Studios. We originally started working on it last summer when we were testing all the recipes for my new book, but it was cut when we found we had more recipes than pages to print them on. So, never being one to let anything go to waste, especially with strawberries, I decided to share it with you today.

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