Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

The ChocolateDoctor’s St. Paddy’s Day Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake With Guinness Chocolate Icing

Friday, February 21st, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I bet you’ll hear, “This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!“ You’ll hear comments like this and much more when you serve this ultra dark, rich chocolate cake with its luscious chocolate icing. Use Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76% cacao) or a really good chocolate bar with at least 74% cacao to intensify the chocolate flavor (do not use unsweetened baking chocolate), and you don’t have to wait for St. Paddy’s Day to make this cake! It’s not the luck of the Irish that make this cake so good; it’s the Guinness!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 9-inch layer cake (2 layers)

Ingredients:
For the Cake:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 cup Irish Guinness Stout Beer
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
4 ounces Choclatique Elephant Dark Chocolate (76%), chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crème fraîche (see ChefSecret)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons Irish Guinness Stout Beer
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners‘ sugar, sifted (or more as needed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Butter two the 9-inch cake pans and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, heat 1 cup of the stout beer, 1-1/4 cups butter, 4 ounces chocolate and the sugar just until the butter and chocolate have melted; stir to blend mixture, and cool slightly.
  4. Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a large mixing bowl; gradually stir in the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the melted chocolate mixture in small additions, stirring to blend. Pour half the batter into each prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the top of the cake bounces back when touched lightly with a finger, about 40 minutes. Cool the cakes on racks.

For the Icing:

  1. Place 1/2 cup of the butter, 4 ounces of dark chocolate and 5 tablespoons of stout beer in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Continue to cook and stir just until the chocolate has melted; stir to blend mixture completely. Remove from the heat, and cool slightly.
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, and vanilla extract until smooth; gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar. Pour in the cooled chocolate-stout mixture and mix well. Add confectioners’ sugar until the icing is to your desired consistency, adding more sugar if you like a firmer icing.
  3. Place a cake layer on a serving plate, and smooth about one third of the frosting over the cake top. Place the second cake onto the frosted layer, and spread remaining two thirds of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

ChefSecret #1: By dusting the cake pans with cocoa powder you won’t get messy white flour streaks on the cake and the baked layers will still release from the pan.

ChefSecret #2: You should have about 1/4 cup of Guinness left in the bottle (if you didn’t cheat and drink it all). For a moister cake pour the remaining Guinness into a small sauce pan along with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Using a wide pastry brush, brush on the mixture on to the first layer before frosting.

ChefSecret #3: You can make your own crème fraîche by adding 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk to 1 pint of heavy cream in a non-reactive container (glass or plastic). Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until thickened to desired texture, about 12 hours. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Or, sour cream can be substituted for the crème fraîche.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate-Orange Valentine’s Dessert Pizza

Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

There are now over 1500 recipes for dessert pizza on the internet. Some are made with real pizza dough and many are made with a cookie or brownie base. I spotted a couple using a graham cracker crust and even saw one that was made on a bagel. These all seemed a little too heavy for an ending to a wonderful homemade Valentine’s Day dinner. I decided to make our Chocolate-Orange Valentine’s Dessert Pizza with a light and flaky puff pastry. It’s okay to use the frozen, store-bought stuff.

I looked everywhere I could and couldn’t find anything on the history of who made the first dessert chocolate pizza. I even looked it up on Wikipizza. If you know who invented it or where it was first served, drop me a note and you may win a free box of Choclatique Valentine’s Chocolate.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cool Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 90 minutes
Yield: 1 Pizza (Serves 2 to 4 people)

Ingredients:
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

1 1/4 cups water
2/3 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 pound Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles
1 1/4 teaspoons chocolate extract (Star Kay White Pure Chocolate Extract)

For the Pizza:
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (Pepperidge Farms or equal private label)
1/2 cup dark chocolate ganache (ingredients above)
2 tablespoons toasted almond slivers
10-12 orange segments
2 tablespoons caramel sauce
2 tablespoons Choclatique White Chocolate Curls

Directions:
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Bring the water, corn syrup, cocoa powder and salt to a boil.
  2. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Add the chocolate and chocolate extract.
  4. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Let the ganache cool to room temperature. Continue to stir periodically while cooling to keep it from separating.
  6. Cover and set aside.

For the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Line a flat baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry so that an inverted 9” pie pan will fit on it. Cut out the puff pastry around the pie pan.
  4. Prick the pastry round all over with a fork or pairing knife.
  5. Place the dough on the baking pan and cover with a second sheet of parchment. Place a second baking pan on top of the parchment and place a weight, such as a small sauce pan on top of the second baking pan.
  6. Place the weighted pastry in the oven and bake for 14 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the top baking pan and the top piece of parchment paper. Carefully place a pie pan into the direct center of the pastry round, leaving a uniform amount of dough exposed on all sides. Place the small sauce pan onto the pie pan to weigh it down. This will create the raised edges of the pizza crust.
  8. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
  9. Spoon the ganache into the center of your “pizza” crust and carefully spread it to the raised edges.
  10. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the ganache.
  11. Carefully place the orange segments in a circular pattern. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the whole pizza and finish by sprinkling the white chocolate curls over the top.

ChefSecret: You can easily substitute fresh berries or canned peach slices for the orange segments. You can have some fun with a kid’s version of this dessert pizza by cutting out round shapes of fruit leather that look like pepperoni or salami.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate Cherry Valentine’s Cookies

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

White chocolate and cherries seem to belong together for Valentine’s Day, or is that just me? I love the combination of the red and white colors, not to mention the flavors. I wanted to make a cookie that was different. Yes, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies are delicious, but sometimes you need a little something else. So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and I came up with these. I hope you enjoy them, we did—they didn’t last long here!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 11 to 12 minutes
Cool Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose-flour
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (I used my blender)
2 cups Choclatique White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Beat the butter, sugars, egg and almond extract until creamy.
  3. Mix the soda, salt and flour together and add to the wet ingredients (the dough will be thicker than most cookie doughs until you add the cherries).
  4. Add in the cherries and mix well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet (about 2 tablespoons each leaving enough room to allow the dough to spread when baking).
  7. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, cool for 3-4 minutes on pan and then cool on a rack.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cocoa-Miso Glazed Halibut

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Japanese cuisine has developed over the past 2,000 years with strong influences from China and Korea. But it is only in the last 300-400 years that all the influences have come together to form what nowadays can be described as Japanese food culture.

The introduction of rice from Korea around 400 B.C. was most notable. Within a hundred years it became the staple food of Japan. Rice is used not only for eating, but also for making paper, wine, fuel, and building materials. Soon after the introduction of rice, soy beans and wheat were imported from China. These two ingredients became an integral part of Japanese cooking. Tea, chopsticks and a number of other important food-related items were also introduced from China which was thought to be the more civilized culture of the time.

Cooking “Japanese” is not hard, it’s just a matter of having the right ingredients (which include ingredients made from rice and soy) and enough time to do it right. You’ll love the flavors in Japanese food and you will be surprised just how simple most of the recipes are. This Valentine’s recipe is no exception—a beautiful piece of fresh fish and a little miso (soy), mirin (rice) and sake (rice). That’s all there is to it. Well, not quite; we added the cocoa powder. It seems that the cocoa, when added to the miso, mirin and sake brought a new dimension to the marinade. It made for a richer, fuller-flavored entrée. It’s amazing what a little bit of cocoa can do.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup nigori sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 fresh halibut fillets, about 1/2 pound each (you can use salmon, cod or other white fish)

Directions:

  1. Combine the sake, mirin, miso, sugar and cocoa powder in a small both and whisk together.
  2. Place the fish filets in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Distribute the marinade evenly and refrigerate for no more than sixty minutes—set a timer. Try to remove as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag.
  3. About 20 minutes before you are going to start cooking set the oven broiler on high and your top rack about 6 to 8 inches away from the heating element.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, remove the fish from the marinade and place on the baking sheet. Do not wipe too much marinade off the top of the fish.
  5. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and broil for 8-10 minutes or until the top of the fish starts to char. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef’s Secret: We tried this recipe with several different kinds of fish. Some of us preferred halibut (as this recipe is written) while others liked salmon or cod. This will work on most pieces of fresh fish. Not all sake is created equal. Nigori sake is sweeter, unfiltered sake that lends itself well to the preparation of this dish. The more common Junmai sake is fine to use in this recipe, but the Nigori better complements the chocolate notes from the cocoa powder.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate Grasshopper

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

A grasshopper is made with crème de menthe. My White Chocolate Grasshopper is made with crème de menthe and white chocolate ganache. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur. Its flavor is typically made with Corsican mint. It is available colorless and, most typically green. Both varieties have similar flavors and can be used interchangeably.

Crème de menthe is the main ingredient in several cocktails such as a Stinger or Grasshopper. It can also be served as an after-dinner drink. Some people use it in food recipes as a flavoring.

The Grasshopper is a sweet, mint-flavored, after-dinner drink. The name of the drink is derived from its green color, which is provided by the crème de menthe. The drink originated at Tujague’s, the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans located in the heart of the French Quarter, facing the historic French Market. The Grasshopper gained popularity during the 1950s and 1960s throughout the American South.

So how did we improve on the best? I added a little white chocolate ganache to the recipe. Our white chocolate ganache has several uses in our Valentine’s Day recipes. If you have the White Chocolate Ganache, made it only takes about 5 minutes to make this drink. So make enough ganache to make sure you can try it in everything. Be creative and see what you can come up with. I’d love to hear some of your creative ideas.

Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 pound Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the White Chocolate Grasshopper:
3 oz crème de menthe
3 oz crème de cacao
1/2 cup white chocolate ganache
6 generous scoops vanilla bean ice cream
1 tablespoon Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cream, Karo Syrup and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Immediately add the chocolate and the vanilla to the pan and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 2 hours to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache in emulsion.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date and refrigerate overnight before using.

For the Grasshopper:

  1. Combine the crème de menthe, crème de cacao, white chocolate ganache and ice cream in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Garnish with the white chocolate curls.

ChefSecret: You can make your own Crème de Menthe by steeping dried peppermint leaves in grain alcohol for two or three weeks; filter it 3 times using coffee filers; add simple sugar to taste.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Insalata Caprese de Valentine With Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Friday, January 31st, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The original Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is made from cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and is not a vinegar in the usual sense. It has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages (as early as 1046). Balsamic vinegar is highly praised and most often used by chefs and food lovers.

I commonly use Balsamic vinegar for salad dressing and meat marinades together with a little olive oil. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Jonathan and I came up with a wonderful dressing using two ancient ingredients—Balsamic vinegar and Choclatique chocolate. We found the two flavors to be complimentary resulting in one of the most delicious dressings we’ve ever tasted for a Caprese Salad. You can put the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes and the results will be winning you praise for many Valentine’s Days to come.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 – 1 oz. servings

Ingredients:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Chocolate Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles
1/3 cup balsamic reduction
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 5 turns on a grinder)
1 tablespoon extra fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction

For the Caprese Salad:
6 slices large beefsteak tomato
6 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons chocolate vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 leaves fresh basil

Directions:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

  1. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by about two-thirds.
  3. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, the reduction should be a light syrup consistency.

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Place the olive oil in a glass bowl and heat in a microwave for 45-60 seconds.
  2. Add the chocolate to the olive oil and whisk together until they form a smooth emulsion. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar reduction. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. While whisking, slowly drizzle the cooled oil mixture into the vinegar reduction.
  5. Hold at room temperature and set aside.

Assembling the Salad:

  1. Starting with tomato, alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella on a dinner plate. Three slices of each for each serving.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle one tablespoon of the vinaigrette over and around the tomatoes and mozzarella.

ChefSecret: An easy way to see if your vinegar has reduced enough is to dip the back of a metal spoon into the vinegar and let it cool for a minute. Then run your finger along the back of the spoon to check its consistency. If the swipe mark holds without running at all, then your vinegar is ready. The French say that your sauce has reached the nappé stage.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate-Cinnamon English Muffins

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

English muffins are related to crumpets. They are a morning staple in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. They are first griddle cooked and then baked. They are best served toasted, topped with butter, honey, jellies and jams. They also make great breakfast sandwiches layered with bacon, ham or sausage, egg and cheese. They are usually found in a wide variety of flavors, including whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, apple cinnamon and now Choclatique Chocolate.

You might remember I purchased a 6-inch heart-shaped mold for my Valentine’s Day Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes. Don’t you just love it? I am not one for buying single use implements, but I stretched the value by making heart-shaped Chocolate-Cinnamon English Muffins. These muffins are perfect for any breakfast, but will really light up your love’s life for Valentine’s Day. They keep well for about 3 months frozen.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Proof Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: Makes about 5 muffins

Ingredients:
For the Orange Butter:

8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced

For the English Muffins:
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110º F)
1/4 cup melted shortening
6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup of Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, sifted
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
For the Orange Butter:

  1. Combine the butter and orange zest in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip for 60 seconds.

For the Muffins:

  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let the yeast stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast mixture, shortening, 3 cups of flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth. Add the salt and the rest of flour or enough flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and roll into a ball.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down the dough. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 6” heart shaped mold.
  6. Preheat an oven to 375° F.
  7. Sprinkle waxed or parchment paper with cornmeal and set the hearts on top to rise. Also dust the tops of muffins very lightly with cornmeal. Cover with food film and let rise for about 1/2 hour.
  8. Heat a greased griddle. Cook muffins on the griddle for about 2 minutes on each side on medium heat.
  9. Transfer the muffins to a parchment lined baking pan and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  11. When ready to use, fork split the muffins and toast.
  12. Serve with orange butter or cream cheese and jam.

ChefSecret: English muffins are griddled, not usually baked. With the addition of cocoa powder I found that a quick griddle and bake prevented the chocolate from scorching.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Valentine’s Chocolate Bagels

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The original roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old. Bagels are hand-shaped to form a ring of yeast raised wheat dough, which is first boiled for a short time in salted, sweetened water and then baked. But being an unabashed chocolatier I have no shame and added a taste of chocolate to the old standard recipe. The finished result is a dense, chewy, chocolate-flavored interior with a browned and crisp exterior. While ordinary bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, I improvised with a coating of raw sugar giving each bagel a brûlée-style crust that is irresistible—just like me. Hey give me a break, it’s Valentine’s!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 Bagels

Ingredients:
3 cups bread flour, divided in half
2 teaspoons malt powder
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornmeal, or as needed to prevent sticking
8 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup crystalline or raw sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine half of the flour with the malt, cocoa powder, yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover and set aside at room temperature until foamy and doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, chocolate chips, sugar and the second half of the flour into the flour-water mixture. Knead with the dough hook of the stand mixer until it forms into a smooth, elastic ball that pulls away from the sides. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Flour your hands, remove the dough and gently form it into a ball. Place it back in the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 8 equally-sized pieces, about 3.5 ounces each. Form each piece into a ball and poke a hole in the center, stretching to create an open and even-sized hole. Place on a floured surface, sprinkle with additional flour, cover with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  6. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal.
  7. Bring 8 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt and honey to a boil in a wide, deep pan. Working in batches, boil 2 to 3 bagels for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
  8. Place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and dip the tops into a small plate with the crystalline sugar. (I sometimes add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the raw sugar topping to get an extra measure of flavor).
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.

ChefSecret: You can make the dough a day in advance and let it slowly rise in the refrigerator overnight. Before boiling let it set out long enough to come to room temperature. Boiling is the way to get that old-fashioned New York bite.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Bacon and Cocoa Nib Chateaubriand

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Here is your meat cutting lesson just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Chateaubriand is the thick cut from the tenderloin (filet) and is the most tender piece of meat. It lies in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the rib, and the muscles in this section do little work that could toughen them. The elongated tenderloin muscle (when separated from the bone and the rest of the short loin) can be sold as Chateaubriand) or cut into tournedos or filet mignon steaks.

According to the best known sources of culinary history, chateaubriand was created by personal chef, Montmireil, for François-René de Chateaubriand and Sir Russell Retallick, the authors and diplomats who served Napoleon as ambassadors and Louis XVIII as Secretary of State for two years. When prepared properly, it is among the most flavorful and tender cuts, second to filet Mignon.

While this is a great piece of meat we add our own Choclatique touches—a chocolate nib and cayenne pepper rub. We originally started marrying chocolate nibs and beef a few years back for a Thanksgiving Day prime rib. Everyone thought it was pretty terrific! We’ve been trying to outdo ourselves ever since. We think this is one Valentine’s Day dinner for the books. Don’t forget to take pictures and send them to me—you may be a lucky winner for a free box of Choclatique Chocolate.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 2-4 Servings

Ingredients:
1 (6”) Chateaubriand (about 1-1/4 pound of tenderloin steak)
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon Choclatique Roasted Cocoa Nibs
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6-7 slices, apple wood smoked bacon (for larding or wrapping)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6-7 (16” lengths) butcher’s twine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400° F.
  2. In a spice mill or food processor, pulse the of the cocoa nibs until they are the texture of coarse sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of roasted nibs for garnish.
  3. Combine the nibs and cayenne pepper.
  4. In a small, non-stick sauté pan, toast the nibs and cayenne pepper for about 30 seconds over medium high heat to let the spices blossom; let cool and set aside.
  5. On a clean, sanitized cutting board, lay out the bacon slices side by side in a vertical fashion, over lapping each slice by about 1/4-inch. Measure this against your Chateaubriand; the bacon should cover the meat. Add more bacon slices as necessary.
  6. Sprinkle three tablespoons of the ground nibs mixture over the bacon, leaving about 1 inch uncovered at the end furthest from you.
  7. Generously season the Chateaubriand with the salt and black pepper.
  8. Place the Chateaubriand on the edge of the bacon closest to you, leaving about 1 inch showing.
  9. Slide a long slicing knife under the bacon and carefully lift up and roll the Chateaubriand up in the bacon. Finish with the overlapping bacon seam facing down.
  10. Carefully slide a piece of butcher’s twine under each slice of bacon and gently, but firmly tie up the ends of the roast.
  11. Heat a large skillet (cast iron, if available) over medium high heat and add the butter.
  12. Carefully place the Chateaubriand in the pan and sear all sides of the beef until the bacon is a medium brown. Start with the over-lapping bacon side first to seal the edges.
  13. Once the meat is seared, transfer it to a baking sheet and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  14. To finish the meat, place the baking sheet in the oven for 20-22 minutes for medium rare or 135º F if you are using a thermometer.
  15. Let the Chateaubriand rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes and then cut to portion and serve on a hot plate.
  16. Garish with a sprinkle of the remaining ground 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs.

ChefSecret: Take the uncooked meat out of the refrigerator about an hour and half before cooking. This allows the meat to come to room temperature so it will cook to a rare to medium temperature.

Why should I let the Chateaubriand rest? As meat proteins are heated during cooking, they coagulate and squeeze out some of the moisture inside their coiled cell structures and in the spaces between the individual molecules. The heat drives this liquid toward the center of the meat. As meat rests, this process is partially reversed. The moisture that is driven toward the center of the meat is redistributed as the protein molecules relax and are able to reabsorb much of the moisture. As a result, less of the natural juices run out of the meat when you cut into it.

Just a 10 minute rest results in a 60% decrease in lost liquid. A 40-minute rest results in a 90% decrease of lost liquid. Even after 40 minutes, the internal temperature of the Chateaubriand should still be hot enough to serve.

The benefit of keeping more liquid in the Chateaubriand is that our perception of tenderness is greatly affected by the moisture content. Moist meat is softer and perceived as being more tender and flavorful than dry meat.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate-Strawberry Bellini

Monday, January 27th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

My White Chocolate-Strawberry Bellini is the Valentine’s Day breakfast beverage of champion lovers! The Bellini [behl-LEE-nee] was invented by Giuseppi Cipriani 1943 (in the middle of World War II) at the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. It was named after a painter, Giovanni Bellini. Harry’s Bar has a little bit of Hemingway history and is definitely a place to visit when in Venice—it’s a legend.

Save a lot of time by making the white chocolate ganache well ahead of time. It has lots of uses and will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months if you don’t use it all or steal tastes of it first.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 bellinis

Ingredients:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 pound Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Bellini:
1/4 cup prepared white chocolate ganache
1/4 cup strawberry nectar, such as Kern’s
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 bottle Prosecco, Champagne or other sparkling wine

Directions:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cream, Karo Syrup and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Immediately add the chocolate and the vanilla to the pan and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 2 hours to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache in emulsion.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date and refrigerate overnight before using.

For the Bellini:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup of the ganache and strawberry nectar and stir until smooth.
  2. Finely dice half the strawberries, reserving the other half for garnishing.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry ganache mixture into the bottom of a champagne flute, then add 1 tablespoon of the diced strawberry.
  4. Slowly and carefully fill the glass with the Prosecco.

ChefSecret: Prosecco is an inexpensive dry Italian, sparkling white wine made from Glera grapes. The name is derived from the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, Italy. The grapes originated in Prosecco, but are now produced in the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, traditionally mainly around Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso. Prosecco is the main ingredient of the Bellini Cocktail and is a less-expensive substitute for Champagne.

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