Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Thursday, August 4th, 2016
We were celebrating Helen’s 1 year anniversary today here at Choclatique and 3 of us were going out for lunch. Helen and MaryJo are our top bakers and test all the wonderful recipes that come out of our test kitchen to populate our blog. While in the elevator going down to the car I asked, have either of you ever heard of Chocolate Corn Muffins. I got a couple of wrinkled noses and a look of “Are you crazy?” Then they said, “Well, why not?” So here for the first time anywhere is the Choclatique version of Chocolate Corn Muffins. Why not?
Prep time: 5 minutes
Inactive time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yield: 12 to 16 medium muffins
1 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup medium cornmeal
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1-1/3 cups whole milk
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup tablespoon honey
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
3 tablespoons crystalline sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
- In large bowl whisk the flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vanilla extract, honey, melted butter, chocolate and eggs.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and hand-stir until they are just blended. Do not over mix.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top.
- Evenly sprinkle the crystalline sugar over the tops of each muffin.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are crisp and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly and remove from the pan. Serve warm.
ChefSecret: You can melt the butter and chocolate in the same bowl at the same time.
Slather the muffins with butter (you can never have enough butter) and enjoy or cut in them half and turn these chocolate corn muffins into strawberry “corn” cakes piled high with plenty of whipped cream… like a strawberry short cake only much better.
Friday, July 29th, 2016
You can thank the French for this culinary inspiration. People in the know, know this typically continental dessert was first made by 1Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who is known for the reinvention of the French flourless chocolate cake which has become one of America’s most popular desserts.
Molten Lava Chocolate Cakes are small, rich, moist desserts that contains a warm flowing, intensely chocolate-flavored surprise center when cut chocolate seeps from within. This dessert can be made two ways—my book recipe prescribes a chocolate ganache ball drop into the middle of the batter or under baking the cake as noted in this recipe. Either way, it’s chocolate—so, what could be better?
This recipe is a restaurant operation’s ideal a la minute hot, made–to-order dessert. It is also as easy to make at home for those special/romantic (and not so special) dinners. The batter can be made well ahead, then cooked on demand just before serving.
A well-stock larder will have these basic ingredients on hand—Choclatique Chocolate, eggs, butter, granulated and confectioner’s sugar, and a small amount of flour.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Unsalted butter as needed to grease ramekins
2 large eggs
2 egg large yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3-1/2 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- Liberally butter the inside of 4 to 6 3-inch ramekins. Place them in a glass baking dish.
- Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and granulated sugar in a bowl until light, foamy, and lemon colored.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals at 50% power, stirring after each melting, 2 to 5 minutes. If it burns toss it away and start over. Let this mixture cool so you don’t cook the eggs.
- Stir warm the chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture until combined.
- Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture; stir to combine.
- Sift the flour and salt into the mixture; stir to combine into a batter.
- Stir vanilla extract into the batter.
- Fill a re-sealable plastic bag (or disposable pastry bag) with the batter; snip off one corner of the bag with scissors to create a tip.
- Making lazy circles divide the batter evenly between the prepared ramekins; tap gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Chill the ramekins in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat an oven to 425°F.
- Arrange the ramekins in a baking dish pouring enough hot tap water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
- Loosen the edges from the ramekin with a knife. Invert each cake onto a plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve while still warm.
Note: What happens if the cakes break apart on the plate? Simply top with confectioner’s sugar with authority and pretend that’s the way you meant it to be.
ChefSecret: If you overbake the cakes you’ll have flourless chocolate cake instead of a wonderful oozing center. If under baked, the cake will not properly demold.
Another version, which is in my cookbook, Choclatique-150 Simply Elegant Desserts you can make a failure-proof liquid center by inserting a chocolate ganache ball in the center of a higher-flour content batter.
Don’t be two-dimensional—add a touch of cinnamon, honey, espresso, some almond extract or orange flavors to bring out the full potential of this dessert.
1I was interested to learn that Chef Jean-Georges is from Alsace, France. That is where my ancestral Celtic family is from. I have been there many times. Alsace is the beautiful northeastern French region on the Rhine River plain bordering Germany and Switzerland. Due to the spoils of war it has gone between German and French control over the centuries and reflects a mix of both cultures. Its capital, Strasbourg, is centered on the Ill River’s Grand Ïle Island, bordered by canals and home to the magnificent Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, with its animated astronomical clock. Alsace is known for some of the best food in all of France. Alsatian cuisine incorporates many Germanic culinary traditions and is marked by the use of pork (fantastic sausages) in various forms. The region is also known for its wine and beer. Some of the more traditional dishes include baeckeoffe, flammekueche, choucroute, and fleischnacka.
Thursday, July 21st, 2016
Julia Child’s brought her famous Almond Cake to the taping of The Food Show one Saturday morning for our crew to enjoy. So thoughtful of her—we always loved having Miss Julia as a guest. It was a great cake, but something was missing. What could it be? Maybe a little chocolate? In this recipe I have enhanced Julia’s masterpiece with a little bit of own—Choclatique Chocolate—well, maybe a lot of Choclatique Chocolate.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 30-35 minutes
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons sanding sugar
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Butter and flour 9-inch pie plate or loose bottom tart pan.
- Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, almond extract and salt in a large bowl until frothy and pale; about 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup flour and cocoa powder and stir until incorporated.
- Pour into prepared pie plate or pan. Top with the almonds and sanding sugar.
- Bake the cake until top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool slightly before serving.
Store: This cake can be made one day ahead wrapped (un-iced) in food film and stored at room temperature. About an hour before serving, ice it up and let it set before cutting.
ChefSecret: Fancy it up. Yes, everything tastes better with chocolate. You can make the perfect icing as a topper for this perfect cake in either Dark or White Chocolate.
For the chocolate icing:
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped (for a white chocolate icing use Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate)
4 tablespoons rum (for white chocolate icing substitute orange liquor, like Grand Marnier)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
To make the icing:
- Combine the chopped chocolate and liquor in a small bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir continuously as the chocolate melts and remove from heat as soon as it’s smooth.
- Add the butter a tablespoon at a time and use a whisk to beat it into the chocolate. Whisk until creamy and smooth.
- Let the icing cool to a drizzling consistency, stirring it every 5 minutes or so. It should take about 10-15 minutes.
- Drizzle the icing on top of the cooled cake and spread it to cover.
Friday, July 15th, 2016
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Chill Time: 3 hours (or overnight)
Total Time: 4+ hours
Yield: 10 bars
For the base:
Butter, for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup orange marmalade
For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons of vanilla or vanilla flavored yogurt
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup dark chocolate ganache (or store-bought chocolate sauce)
For the dark chocolate ganache (makes about 2 pounds—reserve the rest for other uses):
1-1/4 cups water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/4 pounds Choclatique Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the topping:
1-1/4 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted for dusting
For the base:
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place a layer of aluminum foil over the top, pressing down at the corners allowing enough foil to facilitate easy lifting of the finished bars. Lightly butter the foil as well.
- In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs.
- Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate.
- Pour the crumbs into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done, set aside to cool.
- Evenly spread the orange marmalade over the baked crust.
For the filling:
- Add cream cheese, eggs, orange zest, orange juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency.
- Divide the filling in half and add the warmed dark chocolate ganache to half, blending thoroughly.
- Pour the chocolate filling onto the cooled base and then add the blueberries that have been lightly dusted with flour to prevent the blueberries from bleeding.
- Top with the white base.
- Using the tines of a fork run it through the mixed fillings to create a marble effect.
- The blueberries will rise slightly so they may still be half exposed.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours.
- Once set, remove from pan using the foil lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
For the ganache:
- In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the water, corn syrup, cocoa powder, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Pour the heated mixture over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 1 hour to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache emulsified.
- When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date, and refrigerate for up to 3 months.
Friday, July 8th, 2016
To our loyal Choclatique blog followers: It isn’t too often that I forward a scientific study to our website. In this case I will make an exception. While I follow most of them, many are very boring, but this one caught my attention. That said, I must point out that this was a pilot study with a very small sample size (just 15 people) and a very short duration (just 1 week). The results and conclusions, while instructive, are not projectable to the population at large.
We have known for years that chocolate has over 300 beneficial chemical compounds. Now, a study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has shown that chocolate can improve markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.
When we originally formulated Choclatique Q-91, our functional chocolate, we knew that it was developed and formulated with many healthful benefits in mind.
- Choclatique Q-91 is a premium dark chocolate rich in flavanols and antioxidants.
- Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass.
- One of the most pleasant effects of eating Choclatique Q-91 is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.
- Recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels.
- Dark chocolate is a known to be a safe stimulant (and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac).
- Choclatique Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.
Now grab a piece of dark chocolate and read on to see what the researchers have to say about the potential benefits of chocolate.
Date: June 27, 2016
Natural Health, Natural Medicine
A study published in the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences has revealed something quite counterintuitive about chocolate, one of the world’s most prized ‘high-fat’ foods. This strangely medicinal ‘sweat treat,’ which ironically you find in the candy aisle at the pharmacy, improved markers of cardiovascular disease, including the reduction of belly fat, and only after one week of consumption.
Researchers from the Department of Neuroscience, Division of Human Nutrition, University of Tor Vergata, Rome, in a paper titled ‘Effects of dark chocolate in a population of Normal Weight Obese women: a pilot study,’ describe the effects of 100 gram of dark chocolate taken for one week (approximately a 3 ounce bar) in so-called ‘normal weight obese (NWO)’ syndrome subjects.
NWO syndrome is defined as ‘an excessive body fat associated with a normal body mass index and characterized by a higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality,’ and has been found to be associated with a 2.2 fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in women compared with those with low body fat. Generally, those with NWO have 30% or more total body fat mass percentage and significantly higher values of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α.  
The study looked at the effects of dark chocolate consumption on the following:
- Blood lipid profiles
- Biochemical parameters (e.g. interleukins)
- Blood pressure
- Abdominal circumference (i.e. ‘belly fat’)
A modest sample size of 15 women with NWO syndrome, aged 20-40 years, were included in the study. They received 100 grams of dark chocolate (DC) containing 70% cocoa for 7-days. Dual energy-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) was used to measure body composition. Blood pressure, anthropometric measurements, biochemical parameters and plasma levels of some cytokines were measured before and after DC consumption.
The results were described as follows:
After DC [dark chocolate] consumption, we observed a significant increase in the HDL cholesterol level (Delta% = +10.41±13,53; p ≤ 0.05), a significant decrease of total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta %= -11.45±7.03; p ≤ 0.05), LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio (Delta % = -11.70±8.91; p ≤ 0.05), and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) (Delta % = -32.99±3.84; p ≤ 0.05). In addition, a reduction in abdomen circumference was observed. We also found a positive correlation between changes in atherogenic indices, and IL-1Ra, abdomen reduction.
The authors concluded:
Our findings suggest that regular consumption of DC could be useful in maintaining a good atherogenic profile, due to the favorable effects on HDL cholesterol, lipoprotein ratios and inflammation markers.
This study should debunk several myths regarding chocolate consumption, such as ‘it makes you fat,’ ‘it clogs your arteries,’ or ‘it is bad for blood sugar.’ While low-cocoa chocolate, which is often high in sugar and may contain cow’s milk products, preservatives and lower quality fats, may not translate into the benefits observed in this study, a high-quality, high-cocoa chocolate may go quite a long way in enhancing general health and well-being. This is especially so if one chooses organically-produced, fair-trade and preferably raw chocolate. The raw part is especially important as the potent antioxidant compounds in cocoa are found at much higher and physiologically relevant concentrations in the non-heated and unprocessed forms. Indeed, according to the authors of this study, “[the] health properties of cocoa consumption were mainly related [in previous research] to the antioxidant properties of polyphenolic compounds, among others monomeric flavanols, epicatechin, catechin and oligomeric, procyanidins.”
The specific sample of dark chocolate used in this study was assayed to contain the following compounds:
It is believed that one of the primary lipid-modulating, and HDL-raising compounds in high-quality chocolate is the saturated stearic acid found in the cocoa butter. This is also a counterintuitive finding since many decades of propaganda has convinced the mainstream that ‘saturated’ fats are bad and ‘unsaturated’ fats are good. As the researchers state:
Because of its high saturated fat content, chocolate is often postulated to have a hypercholesterolemic effect. However, the high content of stearic acid (~30% of fatty acids) is considered to be neutral with respect to total and LDL cholesterol, and positive on serum concentration of HDL.”
It is truly remarkable that the dark chocolate was capable of raising the so-called ‘good’ HDL cholesterol 10% within only 7 days. This is a feat pharmaceutical lipid-modulating drugs can not accomplish, unless we are talking about patented forms of niacin (Niaspan) or fish oil (Lovaza), which really don’t count since they are really just glorified dietary supplements.
Previously, we looked at how chocolate – believe it or not – could replace the need for the $29 billion dollar plus cholesterol-lowering statin drug industry, by addressing and remedying the underlying pathology of the blood vessels (endothelial dysfunction) that leads to atherosclerosis and eventual cardiac morbidity and mortality. We feel the research, if you would like to peruse it, is remarkably compelling: Chocolate Gives Statins A $29 Billion Run For Their Money
When it is all said and done, chocolate should not be viewed simply as a natural “medicine,’ to suppress bodily symptoms or clinical parameters, as anyone who ‘loves’ the way it makes them feel can plainly tell. As my friend Marc David pointed out in his recent article on Vitamin P[leasure], the experience of joy within the enjoyment of chocolate is itself a highly medicinal ‘nutritional fact’ that will never make it onto the label of a product, nor will be easily (if ever) comprehended through clinical trials. Let the research support what most of us already know: food can be medicine, yes, but the point is to use it in moderate, culinary doses so that mega-dose, heroic ‘medicine’ will never become necessary. [this is one of the basic principles of my project with Tania Melkonian called EATomology]
For additional research on the health benefits of chocolate and/or cocoa please visit our research page dedicated to the topic: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/substance/chocolate
 ROMERO-CORRAL A, SOMERS VK, SIERRA-JOHNSON J, KORENFELDY, BOARIN S, KORINEK J, JENSEN MD, PARATI G, LOPEZJIMENEZ F. Normal weight obesity: a risk factor for cardiometabolic dysregulation and cardiovascular mortality. Eur Heart J 2010; 31: 737-746.
 DI RENZO L, GLORIA-BOTTINI F, SACCUCCI P, BIGIONI M, ABENAVOLI L, GASBARRINI G, DE LORENZO A. Role of interleukin-15 receptor alpha polymorphisms in normal weight obese syndrome. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 2009; 22: 105-113.
 DI RENZO L, GALVANO F, ORLANDI C, BIANCHI A, DI GIACOMO C, LA FAUCI L, ACQUAVIVA R, DE LORENZO A. Oxidative stress in normal-weight obese syndrome. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2010; 18: 2125-2130.
 MEHRINFAR R, FRISHMAN WH. Flavanol-rich cocoa: a cardioprotective nutraceutical. Cardiol Rev 2008; 16: 109-115.
© June 27, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.
Friday, June 24th, 2016
This cake was originally made at the Palm Grill in Burlingame, California and was one of my favorite recipes reserved for brunch only. It was a recipe I shared in my first cookbook, Stolen Secrets. I tried to squeeze it in to Choclatique, but it wound up on the cutting room floor.
If you are looking for dessert drama without all the drama of making what appears to be a professional pastry chef’s labor of love, then try this Mille-Feuille Aux Chocolat. It’s just cocoa crepes and chocolate cream cheese frosting. A little bit of patience is required to stack the crepes and frost the layers. You do need to let it chill for at least 6 hours before attempting to cut it, but the results are well worth the modest effort. Hint: Most of the flavor is in the frosting.
Prep Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Chilling Time: 8 hours (2 hours for crepes plus 6 hours for the completed cake)
Yield: One 8-inch cake (serves 60 to 8 people)
For the cocoa crepes:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Unsweetened Natura Cocoa Powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2-1/4 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Butter for the pan
For the filling:
1-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons Choclatique Unsweetened Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/3 cup Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, melted
1/3 cup orange liqueur (or 3 tablespoons of frozen orange juice concentrate)
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon cold strong coffee
1/4 cup Choclatique Chocolate Curls (for decorating)
To make the crepe batter:
- In a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk in the salt.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until smooth and webby (it will be very thick).
- In a slow, steady stream, whisk in the butter, then the milk and the vanilla and almond extracts, until the batter is smooth (if there are any lumps, strain the batter through a fine-mesh sieve and into a medium bowl).
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (the batter can be made a day ahead and held refrigerated).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Set an 8-inch nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Lightly brush a little butter on the pan for the flavor, browning and texture.
- Gently stir the crêpe batter, then pour 1/4 cup of batter into the skillet. Holding the skillet by the handle, tilt and turn the skillet to quickly disperse the batter; pour off any access batter back into the bowl.
- Cook the crepe until the underside pulling away from the sides, about 1-1/2 minutes. Lightly jerk the skillet to loosen the crepe, then flip the crepe over using a spatula, a more vigorous jerking motion or your fingers.
- Cook on the other side for about 30 seconds, then slide the crepe onto the parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat until all of the batter is used (you’ll end up with about 20 crepes total, and will need 18 for the cake). Refrigerate the crepes on the baking sheet until completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
To make the cream cheese filling:
- In a fine-mesh sieve set over the bowl of a stand mixer, sift the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Add the cream cheese, orange liquor, orange marmalde and the cold coffee. Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer combine the mixture on low speed until well blended and smooth.
- Lightly butter the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan to make it easier to release.
- Remove the crepes from the refrigerator. Place 1 crepe in the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan so it lies flat. Add 1/4 cup of the filling to the center of the crepe and use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the filling over the crêpe. Repeat with the remaining filling and 17 more crêpes.
- Cover the springform pan with food film and chill the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or, better yet overnight.
- Refrigerate the leftover filling this will be your final frosting to finish the cake.
- Remove the cake from the refrigerator, undo the springform pan and set it on a cake plate or platter.
- Evenly spread the remaining filling on top and sides of the cake.
- Sprinkle chocolate curls over the top of the frosted cake.
- Slice and serve.
ChefSecret: Crepes are amazingly easy to make, but if you’re feeling a bit lazy and don’t want to bother making the cocoa crepes fresh you can find frozen plain crepes in your grocer’s freezer.
Friday, June 17th, 2016
Watch out Carnegie Deli, Choclatique is in the house (or at least in the bakery). Who doesn’t love a beautiful Babka… that’s a crumb-topped coffee cake?
This famous New York-style coffee cake recipe is derived from Eastern European Jewish bakeries and today is most often found in better delis and bakeries in New York City. While you may know it as a loaf cake, it is also luscious in the form of a muffin. You can devour this delectable hot-out-of-the-oven and consume every sweet, gooey, crumb faster than you can say, “What’s up?”
Prep and proof time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes (the internal temperature should be 190°to F 200°F)
Yield: 40 medium babka muffins
For the dough:
6 packets or 4-1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1-3/4 cup warm water
7-8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons sea salt
For the chocolate filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces box instant chocolate pudding (I’m not one to use boxed ingredients, but this one works)
1 large egg
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water
For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
For the chocolate drizzle:
1-1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoon warm milk (just to get the perfect drizzle consistency)
For the dough:
- Start by mixing the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let it sit until it begins to dissolve and foam.
- Add the remaining dough ingredients and mix well. The dough should have a smooth, springy consistency. If it’s a bit sticky, you can add a little more flour and knead until smooth. Don’t add too much or it will be tough and dry.
- Cover the dough with food film and let rise for one hour in a warm place in your kitchen.
For the chocolate filling:
- Combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
For the crumb topping:
- In a medium-size bowl, use forks or your fingers to combine crumb topping ingredients to create large clumps of crumb topping. Set aside.
Preparing the muffins:
- Line two muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and coat with non-stick spray. Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal pieces. Sprinkle a bit of flour on your work surface and on your rolling pin. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a large rectangle, working the dough until it’s very thin; about 1/4-inch.
- Spread 1/4 of the filling thinly over the dough, to about 1/2-inch from edge. Roll up lengthwise, fold in half, and then cut through at the fold to get two evenly sized ropes. Turn one rope around so that you have a thin end matched up with a thicker end of the rope. Pull on the dough robles gently to stretch.
- Twist both ropes together until they start cracking.
Forming the muffins:
- Pull gently on the twisted rope again to make it as long as possible. You will be slicing 10 pieces out of each rope. Cut rope in half, and then cut each half into five even slices. They will be very messy and gooey at this point, but you can just drop them into the muffin liners and not worry about placement—neatness doesn’t count.
- Repeat process with remaining the three (3) pieces of dough and remaining filling.
Baking the muffins:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º F.
- Sprinkle muffins with crumb topping and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Bake for 15 minutes or until muffins are set.
- Check bottoms for doneness, as this is a heavy dough and tops can look finished before inside is set. An instant read thermometer should read 190° to 200°F. Using an instant read thermometer is the best way to test all fresh-baked goods.
For the glaze:
- Combine the powdered sugar, cocoa, instant espresso granules and warm milk. Add more milk or more sugar as needed until the proper glaze consistency is achieved.
- Drizzle over babka muffins and allow to harden before handling or freezing.
ChefSecret: Babka is best served warm and fresh. Yeast-style cakes go stale quickly, so freeze them as soon as they are cool if they will not be eaten within 24 hours. Re-warm in an oven (not a microwave) to bring back that wonderful fresh-baked taste.
Friday, June 3rd, 2016
While there are plenty of t-shirts, key chains, throw pillows and other tshotshkes that offer humorous axioms about our NEED for chocolate, the fact is there are some solid scientific and medical reasons that confirm that our cravings are real.
First, there are over 300 chemical compounds in dark chocolate some of which react within the human brain to affect and alter mood and reduce stress. For example, both sexes benefit when our brains release dopamine in response to the pleasurable experience of eating and enjoying chocolate. Additionally, research has shown that the flavanols in chocolate help us to react more effectively to stressful situations than when those flavanols are not present.
Consumption of cocoa increases nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies. Nitric oxide acts on small receptors in our blood vessels and prompts the vessels to dilate. This process lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with many types of heart disease including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is also associated with cognitive decline, dementia, and stroke.
For females, Nutritionist Lisa Eberly, RD, says there are physiological-based reasons why chocolate cravings may seem more intense during your period. Chocolate contains relatively high levels of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and potassium aids in proper muscle function. Eating chocolate therefore can help relieve muscle cramps, including pelvic that affects so many women during their periods. Magnesium and potassium can aid in relaxing the cramps and the pain associated with them.
Chocolate is also high in iron, and iron levels tend to fall during periods due to blood loss, resulting in fatigue. Chocolate consumption helps to boost iron levels which, in turn, help to improve energy levels. Further, chocolate contains caffeine which can provide an energy boost as well as reduce inflammation associated with pain and headaches.
And if all of the physical explanations are reason enough for you to nibble on a piece of luscious dark chocolate, well then, do it just for the taste! Choclatique’s 64% Private Reserve and our 76% Elephant Chocolate are sure to put a smile on your lips and a spring in your step!