Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

The ChocolateDoctor Chocolate Filled Valentine Heart Cookies

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 3 hours
Servings: 60 cookies

Robert Heinlein once said, “Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” And once again Cupid is calling and what better way to your Valentine’s Heart than with a cookie—a heart-shaped cookie. This Valentine’s Day make a wonderfully peppermint-flavored chocolate filled cookie hearts Each cookie is drizzled with 2 different icings, one milk chocolate, the other peppermint pink.

Heart CookiesIngredients for the cookies:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Ingredients for the chocolate filling:
1 3/4 cups Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Ingredients for the peppermint drizzle:
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 drop peppermint extract, or to taste
1 drop red food coloring, or as needed
4 1/4 teaspoons whole milk, or as needed

Ingredients for the chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup Choclatique Heirloom Milk Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

Directions for the cookies:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  2. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter, 3/4 cup shortening, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, 1/4 cup milk and 1-1/2 teaspoons of peppermint extract.
  4. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, cover and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  6. To make filling, melt 1-3/4 cups of milk chocolate pastilles with 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening in the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Stir the mixture until very smooth, and remove the filling from the heat to cool and slightly thicken.
  7. Remove one piece of cookie dough from refrigerator at a time, and working on a floured surface, roll the cookie dough out 1/8-inch thick cutting 120 hearts (total) with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place half the hearts onto ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Carefully spread the hearts with about a teaspoon of the chocolate filling, avoiding the edges, and top each with another heart cookie. Gently pinch the edges of both cookies together to enclose the filling.
  9. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until firm.
  10. Let the cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing to finish cooling on racks.

Directions for the peppermint drizzle:

  1. Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, 1 drop of peppermint extract (to taste), red food coloring to your desired shade of pink or red, and milk as needed in a bowl to make a smooth, thin icing.

Directions for the chocolate drizzle:

  1. Melt 1/4 cup of milk chocolate pastilles with 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening over hot (not boiling) water in a double boiler; stir and heat until the mixture is thin enough to drip in strings from a spoon.

Directions for decorating:

  1. Drizzle each cooled cookie with a little peppermint drizzle on one side, and a little chocolate drizzle on the other. Let the cookies stand so the drizzle sets, about 30 minutes.

ChefSecret: Do not thicken the chocolate filling too much or it will become hard to spread and will tear the fragile cookie dough. If you have enough chocolate filling left over you can use it to drizzle instead of making the chocolate drizzle. You will have to rework the trim from the dough in order to get the full 60 count on the cookies.

If you’re looking for those special words to for that special person here are my best Valentine’s Day Borrow-A-Quotes:

Heart 1I am like a falling star who has finally found her place next to another in a lovely constellation, where we will sparkle in the heavens forever.

Amy Tan

Heart 2The love we give away is the only love we keep.

Elbert Hubbard

Heart 3Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.”
Mature love follows the principle: “I am loved because I love.”
Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.”
Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.”

Erich Fromm

Heart 4Love doesn’t make the world go ’round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

Franklin P. Jones

Heart 5There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

George Sand

Heart 6There is no remedy for love but to love more.

Henry David Thoreau

Heart 7A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.

Ingrid Bergman

Heart 8Love does not die easily. It is a living thing. It thrives in the face of all of life’s hazards, save one — neglect.

James D. Bryden

Heart 9Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.

John Lennon

Heart 10Where there is love there is life.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Heart 11The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

Mother Teresa

Heart 12Do you love me because I’m beautiful, or am I am beautiful because you love me?

Oscar Hammerstein, II

Heart 13Each time that one loves is the only time one has ever loved. Difference of object does not alter singleness of passion. It merely intensifies it. We can have but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.

From The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

Heart 14Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

Birches
Robert Frost

Heart 15Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert Heinlein

Heart 16If I know what love is, it is because of you.

Herman Hesse

Heart 17I love you; Not only for what you are But for what I am when I am in love with you.

Robert Croft

Heart 18Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

St. Augustine

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Happy Valentine’s Day Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Love Cookies

Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

When certain foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes and to retain moisture. I use minced red beets in many of my chocolate cake recipes.

Red Velvet cake was made famous by Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Now you can find Red Velvet cupcakes most anywhere at places like Sprinkles which specializes in a line of very unique cupcakes.

So, I thought if you can “red velvet” cakes and cupcakes, why not cookies? My Valentine’s Day Red Velvet cookie recipe has a light cocoa flavor, is deliciously chewy, gorgeously red and most scrumptiously delicious! Red Velvet is a delicate combination of cocoa and vanilla flavor blended so one does not stand out from the other. If you use too much cocoa, not only does it take the flavor out of balance, it muddies up the beautiful, pure red color.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 11 minutes
Ready In: 20 minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon canned red beets, minced
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the vinegar and beets continuing to blend until completely incorporated.
  5. Mix in the egg.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and red food color and mix until completely blended and the color is red throughout the dough.
  7. With mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over-mix or the cookies will get tough.
  8. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  9. Scoop the dough out by the heaping tablespoonful and shape into balls. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the center of the oven turning the baking sheet half-way through.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
  11. If you don’t eat them all at once you can store the cookies in an airtight container.

ChefSecret: If you want more chocolate flavor you can easily substitute the white chips with Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Thanksgiving Day Toffee Bars

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Sometimes you just don’t have time to bake a pecan pie for the holidays. You still want that homemade look and taste of toasted pecans, but the last thing you want to do is buy a store-bought pie. This is a great solution when you need it fast.

This is a short and busy week for us at Choclatique. We will be filling orders for the holiday and trying to pull everything together for our own celebrations. It definitely puts our staff on overdrive and this is just the beginning of the holiday season for us. So last night I got a head start on something sweet and simple to test for my Thanksgiving dinner. It was quite yummy and picture perfect. The best part the recipe is that it calls for ingredients almost everyone has in their pantry.

Hey, how can you go wrong with fresh butter, toasted pecans mixed with the toffee and Choclatique chocolate? Yum!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 30 minutes
Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients for the base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup pecan halves
TOFFEE TOPPING (ingredients and directions follow)
1 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions for the base:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine the flour and brown sugar in large bowl. With a pastry blender, or better yet, an electric food processor, cut in the butter, vanilla and almond extracts until fine crumbs form (it’s okay if a few large crumbs remain).
  3. Press mixture onto bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  4. Sprinkle the pecans over crust.
  5. Prepare TOFFEE TOPPING (see below); drizzle evenly over pecans and crust.
  6. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden; remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle milk chocolate chips evenly over top; press gently onto surface.
  7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Ingredients for the toffee:
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions for the toffee:

  1. Combine the butter and 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar in small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Stirring constantly continue to boil boiling 30 seconds.
  4. Drizzle immediately over base.

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In Charles Perrault’s lovely fairytale Cinderella, the fairly godmother turns a pumpkin into a magical, horse-drawn royal coach. This holiday season you too can transform a pumpkin into something wonderful—a scrumptious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread. This recipe has a mild subtle spiced pumpkin flavor with accents of chocolate. It is not overly sweet and is perfect with a turkey dinner or a surprisingly delicious toasted breakfast treat. It uses the whole 14-ounce of canned pumpkin puree (typically contained in a single can) so you don’t have to try to figure out what to do with the rest.

This recipe makes 3 large loaves. Eat one now and freeze the other two for later. You can also turn loaves into muffins; simply by cupping the batter and baking in muffin tins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. I’m sure that my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread will become part of your new All-American Thanksgiving tradition.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 3 large loaves

Ingredients:
1 sticks (1/2-pound) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 teaspoons crystalline sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Butter and flour three 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar with the butter then add the pumpkin puree, water and eggs. Beat the mixture until smooth.
  4. Blend in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Do not overmix.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Fill the loaf pans 3/4 full. Tap on the bottom to settle.
  7. Sprinkle each loaf with 1 teaspoon of crystalline sugar.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.

ChefSecret: Crystalline Sugar (sanding sugar or sparkling sugar) adds a sweet crunch and sparkle to everything from cookies and scones to muffins, quick breads, cake, sweet breads and pie crust. It’s a simple touch that elevates the look and taste of your baked quick breads from good to gorgeous.

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A Breakfast Fit For Mom on Mother’s Day: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pancakes

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Don’t you do it! Do not buy another box of pancake mix when it’s so easy to make great, tasting, old fashioned, fluffy chocolate pancakes from scratch with this recipe.

These pancakes are like eating a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, but the only difference is, that these are kind of healthy! Yup, healthy!! You can make them ahead of time and freeze them and enjoy them for dessert topped with ice cream and maybe some berries. No, it doesn’t sound weird at all to me, but then again I am the ChocolateDoctor. If you make them, you’ll understand. Take two truffles and call me in the morning.

Don’t forget to top them with chocolate butter and a drizzle of a 50/50 blend of maple and chocolate syrups. This is truly “YUM” for the morning breakfast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 25 minutes
Yield 12 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup Choclatique Dark, Semi-sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in the melted butter, vanilla, egg and milk until combined.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes to completely rehydrate the flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour batter into the hot skillet or griddle—just about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  6. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the sides and center of each pancake. Flip and cook until golden and firm to the touch, about 2 minutes.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Do not confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on that fateful day under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Cinco de Mayo Holiday BrowniesNormally we celebrate at bars around the country where people enjoy tequila shots, Cadillac margaritas and nachos. I decided to add a little chocolate to the equation with my Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies. I felt that cinnamon and chili peppers are such an integral part of Mexican cuisine that they were an appropriate addition to an all-American favorite—the brownie. They are the closest flavors to what Montezuma himself may have consumed when he downed nearly 50 golden goblets of a roughly made chocolate beverage.

So enjoy the rich, spicy flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and chili, in this wonderful brownie. Better yet, make it really easy and bake-up a bag of our Choclatique Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix adding in the required cinnamon and chili.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 70 minutes
Yield: About 30 brownies

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large whole eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cups Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablepoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Line a 12×15-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches of paper overhanging 2 sides to use as handles to help lift the baked brownies out of the pan.
  3. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on medium until the butter is about half melted, about 1 minute. Mash the butter with sugar until well combined.
  4. Stir in eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  6. Sift the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl. Sprinkle in the salt.
  7. Mix the flour and cocoa mixture into the butter and sugar mixture, stirring to blend well. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool in the pan, and use parchment paper handles to remove the brownies for slicing.

ChefSecret: Make it Authentic! If you can find Mexican cinnamon (canela) in a local ethnic store, use it in place of the traditional bottled ground cinnamon for a real holiday flavor.

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Best Chocolate Recipes Ever!

Friday, January 27th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Bittersweet Chocolate TartThis week a couple of recipes from Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts were named by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson, reporter for MORE.com, as two of the Best Chocolate Recipes Ever! Now this was in an article where renowned chocolatiers and pastry chefs shared their favorite dessert, candy and drinks recipes. The two she loved from Choclatique were Faultless Chocolate Soufflé and Bittersweet Chocolate Tart. It just so happens that these are a two of my favorites as well. Aside from the recipes there were several other interesting desserts that I will be making and tasting over the weekend. You can read all about it here.

Martha Stewart WeddingsMartha Stewart also had great things to say about Choclatique—the chocolate on her Bride’s Guide. We are always pleased when Choclatique is recognized for our fine work in both our recipes and in our chocolate products.

As we get closer to June and wedding season we have found that many brides and grooms are adding a beautiful chocolate table to their guest offerings. Why not be the first in your area to consider building a chocolate table?

Chocolate tables can be as simple as layers and layers of small traditional or personalized truffles, giant centerpieces or even a chocolate fountain that brings chocolate fondue to a higher, more participatory level. Chocolate tables are something that everyone always remembers. Don’t wait until the last minute… start thinking about a chocolate wedding today.

And if you didn’t already suspect it, more proposals for marriage are made on Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year. If you’re already thinking of something to give your honey for Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

Here are a few new things to ponder from Choclatique; they won’t disappoint even the most jaded chocolate aficionado. Think about these for both your betrothed and your future wedding guests. You can use our “Build-A-Box” website tool to pick whatever chocolates you want from over 150 choices to fill an 8-, 15- or 30-piece box. Another fun option is a Choclatique SweeTweet, which allows you to spell out a phrase of your choosing. How about something like “I love you… marry me!”? Of course, there are always our beautiful Love assortments—the most beautiful and decadent chocolate hearts in the world.

It’s almost February and love is definitely in the air. Think chocolate!

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Ring in the New Year with New Resolutions

Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Ringing in the New Year has always been a time for reflection—looking back to the past, and more importantly, looking toward the coming year. Once again it’s time to reflect on the changes we want to make in our lives and resolve to follow through on those ideals.

Let’s see if any of your New Year’s Resolutions made my Top 12 List?

  1. Make Time For Fitness
  2. Eat properly—Lose Weight
  3. Get Enough Sleep
  4. Drink Less Booze
  5. Quit Smoking
  6. Reduce Stress
  7. Improve Finances
  8. Improve Your Career—Improve Your Education
  9. Don’t Be a Grump—Be Happy and Make Others Happy, Too
  10. Manage My Time
  11. Volunteer To Help Others
  12. Eat More Dark Chocolate

It is interesting to note that the evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better and younger. Why not make this the time to start getting in shape?

Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.

Sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and obesity. Make sure that you allow yourself enough time to get the sleep you need to recharge your batteries and stay healthy and fit.

New Year’s Eve is always a great incentive to finally stop drinking or reduce the amount of liquor you consume. Going cold turkey is very difficult for the heavy drinker as most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once; they do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking.

Smoking is a dirty, sticky habit! If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

Stress kills; it’s as simple as that. Reduce your conflicts; restrict your debates to those that count. Not everything has to be a win-all situation. Get a massage, relax a little! You’ll feel so much better and so will the people around you.

Okay the economy stinks! You feel no one understands what you are going through, but that is not the case. Millions of Americans are going through a rough time and many of them are suffering for it. There are debt relief organizations that are willing to give a helping hand with little or no fees required.

So you’re not in the 1% like you planned to be and you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders along with the majority of the nearly 300,000,000. It’s tough out there and we all know it. Take the time to say good morning, don’t forget to kiss your spouse each night and let your kids and coworkers know when they have done something right. Go out of your way to find someone in the act of doing the right thing. Put on that smile and be less grumpy.

Time is precious, learn to manage it and don’t let it manage you. Allow for a balance in your life—time for work, time for family and time for you.

Make this the year that counts. If you’re considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep. Community Colleges offer a wide variety of “lifelong learning” courses, and local YMCA’s offer great recreational training for beginners of all ages. Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs. Or if the arts are more your thing, community museums and playhouses offer many adult studio classes.

Fulfill a non-selfish New Year’s resolution. Volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. Make an effort to visit returning veterans at your local VA hospital. They really need the company, especially around holiday times. They have given so much to our country. Or if your time is really in short supply, maybe you can donate furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to be discarded.

What does all this have to do with chocolate? All of the latest research shows in even the strongest terms that the long-term consumption of dark chocolate is associated with lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, weight control, reduction of cavities and, in addition, is a wonderful, non-addictive mood elevator. Just match this list against my 12 Top 12 Resolutions and see how you can better achieve success in 2012.

If 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.

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

All of us at Choclatique wish you and yours the very best of success in the New Year filled with sweet dreams and chocolate wishes.

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Chocolate-Covered Figs for Fall

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Fig and Peanut Sea Salt TruffleFall brings nature’s show of colors to California fig orchards, crispness to the air, and warm thoughts for the holidays. Each year at Choclatique we make a limited edition of our holiday assortments with a distinctive Fig & Peanut Sea Salt Truffle in the center of the box. For obvious reasons, this has become one of the most popular flavors at this time of year with some people ordering a whole box of just this holiday favorite. It is perfect for holiday gift giving and entertaining. It might be because of all the antioxidant power in both the figs and chocolate or it might be that it just tastes so darn good.

There are several great choices of figs this time of year—golden Calimyrna and dark purple Mission figs which bring elegance and unequalled flavor to your holiday gifts or table. Whether you’re going big this year and buying a bulk box of Missions or Calimyrnas to bake up a storm (and get the best price), or you’re putting together gift baskets featuring beautifully packaged, hand-packed figs, you should be able to find whatever you need.

When cooking with figs you’ll find a diverse collection of incredibly delicious recipes on the California Fig Advisory Board website which offers a wealth of wonderful holiday food gift ideas. One of my favorites featuring chocolate that didn’t make into my new book, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes, is shown below.

In this recipe, we have showcased both sweet and chewy California-grown figs and Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) to make an elegant and delicious addition to your holiday table or a homemade gift to give to friends and family.

Dipped Stuffed Figs

Choclatique Dipped Stuffed Figs

Inspired by the California Fig Advisory Board

Ingredients
15 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brandy*
15 to 30 small pieces candied ginger, toasted nuts or chocolate
6 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. With a sharp knife, cut a small slit in the bottom of each fig.
  2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water; stir in brandy and add the figs. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the figs have plumped.
  3. Drain the figs, cool and dry thoroughly.
  4. Stuff one or two pieces of ginger or nuts into each fig.
  5. Place chopped chocolate in a 1-cup glass measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on medium/50% power until almost melted, stirring after every 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  6. Remove from microwave and stir until melted.
  7. Hold stem of each fig and dip in melted chocolate. Place figs, stems up, on wax paper-lined tray until chocolate sets.
  8. Repeat the melting and dipping process with the white chocolate to create a small white footer on each fig.
  9. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

*ChefSecret: Substitute the brandy with 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla for a liquor-free dessert.

Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes

If you’re looking for the perfect cookbook for the holidays may I suggest Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you would like to know about how chocolate affects the human body and improves one’s disposition, it is the perfect primer. It is a great holiday 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 enhancing 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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Choclatique and the 4th of July

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

The 4th of July usually comes with fireworks, warm weather, barbecues and a fun day off to relax and celebrate our nation’s independence with fellow citizens, family and friends. If you’re planning a 4th of July party, whether it’s a grilled dinner on the backyard barbeque or a more formal party, let Choclatique Chocolate be a delicious part of your holiday!

The 4th of July is a great time to cool off with chocolate and berry delights like fresh-dipped strawberries and blueberries in white chocolate fondue. Its festive red, white and blue colors fit in perfectly with the theme of the day. You can use a simple fondue pot or go all out with a rented or purchased chocolate fountain. Don’t just be limited to berries or fruit—you can dip your favorite treats like pound cake bites, marshmallows and Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownies made from our mix or drizzle over home-churned ice cream sundaes. You can place banana slices, blueberries and cherries on wooden skewers to make red, white and blue dipping sticks which can be dipped or fountain-showered.

Another great holiday dessert is a berry parfait made by mixing mascarpone or cream cheese, yogurt and brown sugar layered with melted Choclatique chocolate. By alternating the dairy mixture with layers of blueberries, raspberries and chocolate you will create a delicious and festive red, white and blue treat!

Chocolate makes a great addition to any 4th of July celebration. As long as there’s chocolate, party guests are sure to have a great time socializing and indulging in their rich, decadent chocolate creations!

And while you’re thinking about Independence Day, the red, white and blue and America, please take a moment to say a prayer for our troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Japan, Korea, and Europe protecting our citizens from threats abroad and providing humanitarian aid to our friends and allies. God bless them all!

SOTF-81

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