Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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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The ChocolateDoctor’s Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes With White Chocolate Cherry Topping

Friday, January 24th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I love my delicious spiced buttermilk pancakes when they’re dotted with lots of butter and soaked with real maple syrup. I can’t stand the taste of those artificial maple-flavored pancake syrups—it’s got to be the real thing or nothing. But I decided to dress them up for Valentine’s Day and give these buttermilk pancakes the Choclatique Kiss.

It starts and ends with Choclatique’s Snowy White Chocolate. You’ll discover pancakes that are so light and fluffy they’ll float off the plate. To give it that special touch I formed my pancakes in a 6-inch heart-shaped mold that I purchased at Sur la Table for about $9. It was a worthwhile purchase as I found other things to use it for in this Valentine’s Day collection of recipes. The extra special bonus was it is made in America… Gardena, California.

Instead of butter and syrup I topped these pancakes with a white chocolate-cherry ganache. Don’t let that word scare you away—it’s simply half and half, white chocolate and canned cherry pie filling. I purchased Comstock Cherry Pie Filling because it has the best ratio of cherries to sauce. I guarantee this morning recipe will pay big Valentine’s Day benefits for years to come. This recipe is also suitable for weekends and birthdays.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 six-inch heart shaped pancakes

Ingredients:
For the Topping:

1 cup half and half
1 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Pastilles
1 can (21-ounces) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Pancakes:
2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix (yes, it’s okay to use Bisquick; I do)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (see ChefSecret below)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Combine the half and half and white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds and stir to combine completely. If needed, heat for additional 15 second bursts to achieve a perfectly smooth consistency.
  2. Add the cherry pie filling, sugar, lemon juice and salt to the white chocolate and stir until well combined. Cover and set aside.
  3. Combine the Bisquick, eggs, buttermilk, milk, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl and stir until just combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy.
  4. Brush a little butter on the hot griddle.
  5. On a griddle over medium heat, scoop 1/2 cup of the batter for each pancake (into the heart form if using) onto the griddle. When the batter starts to bubble on the top and the edges start to dry slightly flip the pancake and cook until golden brown.
  6. Finished pancakes can be kept in a warm oven until all the batter has been used.
  7. Microwave the cherry filling to your desired temperature and drizzle over your hot pancakes!

ChefSecret: Do not over mix your batter. The batter for your buttermilk pancakes should not be beaten smooth; it should have small to medium lumps in order to make really light and fluffy pancakes with lots of buttery flavor! If you don’t have buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measure then add milk to the one-cup mark. Let it stand for a few minutes before you use it in the pancake batter.

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Happy New Year!

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

Welcome 2014! Let me begin by wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks to all of our loyal friends and co-workers who made 2013 a great year for Choclatique.

So many of our customers continue to come back to support us by giving Choclatique Chocolate to their friends and families and spreading the good word to many new customers who had never previously heard of Choclatique.

Our best selling assortments this season were Caramels, Nut and Nougats, one of our original collections, and Chic Cupcakes, one of our latest collections. We keep getting asked if these are really cupcakes. They are so beautifully designed and decorated that when you see a picture of them it’s hard to believe that they are truffles. Our website Build-A-Box feature sets us apart from the rest and is always popular… you can shop online and choose from over 150 flavors to build an 8-, 15- or 30-piece box.

Dave, our logistics manager, did a great job keeping all the orders straight, making sure all of those special messages were correctly written and most importantly, put in the right box before they were finally packed up to go. Dave also monitors the weather to make sure if a package is scheduled to go to a warmer climate it is properly insulated and protected with cold packs.

All of our heart-of-the-house co-workers in the Chocolate Studio did a terrific job this season and all year ‘round. Our chocolate continues to win awards and is on the WSJ Top Ten list. Sebastian has taken over the management of the Chocolate Studio and scurries from 8am until 5pm daily making sure that every single order is logged, correctly pulled and sent out promptly at 5PM nightly on the UPS truck. Special thanks to Chef Jonathan, Sebastian and his team of artisans and decorators—Mary Jo, Victor, Hugo, Karen, and Lydia—you make our chocolate so magically beautiful.

All of us realize that we’re not just selling chocolate, but memories. What would Aunt Betty think if she didn’t get her favorite box of chocolate for Christmas? Arriving a day late just wouldn’t do. It was a bit challenging this year with all of the snow storms in the mid-west and on the east coast, but UPS did all they could to deliver on time.

As we enter 2014 we also celebrate Choclatique’s tenth anniversary. To all of you who have been reading and commenting on this blog—thanks for making 2013 a great year for Choclatique. It’s been quite a ride.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Christmas Chocolate Mousse

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Irving Berlin wrote the lyrics and Bing Crosby first made it famous in the movie Holiday Inn. The song was almost cut because the studio thought it was too mushy—but better heads prevailed and thankfully, it didn’t wind up on the cutting room floor. Today, almost every child (and adult) seems to dream of a White Christmas. There is redemption and beauty with a fresh layer of snow that enhances the splendor of the winter season. Its beauty is peaceful as well as a refreshing scene to behold.

This Christmas, whether you live in Albany or Albuquerque, Las Vegas or Lancaster, you can enjoy a Choclatique White Christmas with my White Christmas Chocolate Mousse. This mousse recipe will have all your family and friends singing that very famous song.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 to 4 hours
Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
12 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique White Chocolate Curls, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan add the heavy cream and cornstarch, stir until smooth.
  2. Heat the cream to a low boil, stirring constantly, until the corn starch has thickened the cream.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and the chopped white chocolate.  Stir until smooth.
  4. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. While the chocolate is cooling, add egg whites and cream of tartar to a mixing bowl.
  6. Whip the egg whites until just before soft peaks form.
  7. While still whipping the egg whites, sift in the sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
  8. Fold the whipped egg whites into the cooled white chocolate mixture in thirds.
  9. Spoon into dessert dishes or leave in a glass bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.
  10. Top with white chocolate curls and garnish the plate with fresh berries.
  11. Eat, enjoy and sing!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Frozen Chocolate Eggnog

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I really love this time of year in California where many people go to the beach on Christmas day. Yes, Christmas weather in Los Angeles can be in the 80’s. Eat you heart out Minneapolis!

This is beverage sort of like an eggnog Frappuccino—Eggnogaccino. It is made in a blender with my Basic Eggnog recipe  or even with the store-bought stuff you find around the holidays. It can be made with or without alcohol. It’s indulgent, great tasting, quick to make and loaded with chocolate flavor.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: Makes one 16 ounce serving

Ingredients:
1 cup prepared eggnog (store-bought)
1 cup of ice
5 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix
2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao or light rum
2 ounces whipped cream, the aerosol can will do
1 teaspoon Choclatique Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Using a blender combine the prepared eggnog, ice, Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix and chocolate liqueur.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Top of the frozen eggnog with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls over top.
  4. Serve immediately.

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Stressed

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s nearly the end of the year… just a few short weeks from Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. You just got a cancellation notice on your health insurance and your expected year-end commission has been cut in half. Are you feeling stressed?

Stress is a normal part of life, but we also need to find ways to relieve it. Two squares of dark chocolate—Choclatique Elephant or Q-91 Chocolate—could be just the prescription the doctor ordered to change your attitude by lowering your stress hormone levels.

Why do I we get so wound up when feeling stressed? Going back to our caveman instincts, stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones in our brains that prepare us for action to either fight or flee. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stress is very damaging to our bodies and minds.

As recently reported in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a group of Swiss researchers tracked volunteers that were highly stressed. In this study, strong evidence indicated that daily consumption of only 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate—low in sugar—during a period of two weeks was sufficient to modify the metabolism of the healthy human volunteers. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

Now you may ask, won’t chocolate make people fat? That’s certainly possible, but scientists at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, point out other positive benefits… dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health overall and other substances in chocolate appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol along with other medical conditions.

So take this as free advice from the doctor—The ChocolateDoctor… take two chocolate squares and call me in the morning. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and stress-free chocolate wishes for the holidays!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cuckoo for Chocolate…Churros

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

This is my favorite Mexican fast food dessert and it’s perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. The long strips of fried dough are comparable to New Orleans beignets or southern-fried fritters… only they’re easier to make. They are a common street food and can also be found at fairs and carnivals in both America and Mexico. In recent years many vendors have resorted to frozen churros choosing to just fry them off. I think my freshly made version presented here is far better than frozen. I made them even more delectable with the addition of Choclatique Cocoa Powder to give it a light chocolate flavor. Fried chocolate-how bad could it be?

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Fry Time: 30 minutes (to fry them all)
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: About 24 Churros

Ingredients:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine (not butter)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  2. In a heavy deep skillet or deep-fryer, begin to preheat heat the oil to 360º F (use a thermometer). The oil should be at least 1-1/2 inches deep.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and margarine to a rolling boil. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the boiling mixture.
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
  6. Carefully squeeze out 4-inch long strips of dough directly into the hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Remove from hot oil to drain on paper towels.
  8. Roll each of the churros in the cinnamon-sugar mixture while still hot.

ChefSecret: If the oil isn’t hot enough the churros will be greasy; if you fry the pastry at a higher temperature than noted they will not get fully cooked on the inside.

Dress the churros up for a dinner time dessert by drizzling a little dark chocolate sauce over the top and garnish with fresh seasonal berries.

To make the Chocolate Drizzle:

Ingredients:
2 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon white vegetable shortening

Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate and shortening in a small re-sealable freezer bag.
  2. Microwave on HIGH for about 30 seconds until chocolate is melted.
  3. Massage chocolate and shortening together in the bag.
  4. Snip off corner and drizzle over the fried churros that have been dredged in cinnamon-sugar.

Special Note: Leave it to Joan to find another use for churros. While surfing the internet for Cinco de Mayo festivities she came across a recipe for Churro Cupcakes on The Curvy Carrot website. I think it a great idea that we will be trying here this week. Go and grab a quick peak for yourself and see what you think. Think of the possibilities… I would consider making a Tres Leaches Churro Cake just to make sure you have a totally indulgent dessert for the May 5th.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

Friday, March 29th, 2013

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

Sharing a hot cross bun with someone is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because there is a cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns! Hot Cross Buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny, Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns

Dress up your buns for Easter! We’ve glamorized the traditional Hot Cross Bun by lightly sweetened with cocoa, cinnamon and tender dried cherries strewn throughout. The egg yolk wash gives these buns the signature browned, glossy finish, making a canvas for the namesake cross, a painting of milk, cocoa and sugar icing.”

Hot Cross BunsPrep Time: 20 Minutes
Bake Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 3 Hours 30 Minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water (110º F)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup dried and sweetened cherries, small dice
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

For the icing:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 teaspoons whole milk (use a little more or less depending on how fluid the mixture is)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the warm water, butter, skim milk powder, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and yeast. Mix for about 7 minutes until the dough begins to cling to the dough hook. Roll it into a ball and cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and let it rise for the first time in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until the dough ball doubles in size.
  2. Punch down the dough down on floured surface, add cherries and cinnamon. Knead for 5 minutes and shape into 12 balls and place in a greased 9 x 12 inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about 35-40 minutes.
  3. Mix egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Brush on balls.
  4. Bake at 375º F for 20 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool on wire rack.
  5. To make decorative crosses: mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Pipe a cross on each cooled bun.

ChefSecret: You can also make chocolate only or two-tone decorative crosses. For the chocolate crosses, mix together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder , a drop or two of almond extract and 3 teaspoons of milk. Pipe a chocolate cross on each cooled bun or atop the white cross previously piped and set. After all, you can never have enough chocolate.

If you have the time, soak the cherries in a little port or brandy for about 30 minutes for additional flavor. It also helps the cherries from scorching if on the outside edge of the bun when baking.

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