Archive for the ‘Confections’ Category

Choclatique, The Book

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

When the doorbell rang the delivery I’d been expecting finally arrived—seventeen cases of books. Now these weren’t just any books… these were the new Choclatique dessert books that I started writing more than three years ago.

Choclatique by Ed EngoronWow! As I ripped open the first box I found the beautiful, embossed and foil-stamped cover depicting a balloon whisk with a mixture of satiny melted chocolate dripping from the bail. It was so realistic, I thought I could smell the aroma permeating from the pages within. I was poised to take a lick when our logistics manager, Dave, came in and told me he had the first order for the book. This is exciting stuff for a guy who hasn’t written a cookbook since he penned Stolen Secrets back in the late 1970s.

This is no ordinary cookbook. Like others, it has recipes, of course—over 150 to be exact—all using an easy to make ganache that makes professional looking and tasting, scrumptious desserts. Also, like many other cookbooks there are beautiful pictures. The food photo images were shot by the talented Jason Varney. The only thing that I requested was that the pictures not look too polished… I didn’t want to scare away a less confident reader from trying out the recipes.

Here is how the book differs from other ordinary cookbooks. The book is based on five basic ganache recipes that you can mix and match to result in over 640 recipes and variations from the basic written text.

This book is also an adventure… it captures just 12 of a lifetime of stories of my travels to over 130 countries from the Amazon to the Serengeti in search of the best chocolate the world has to offer.

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

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

Each recipe in Choclatique has been tested in the Choclatique Chocolate Studios at least five times. I have 25 pounds of extra weight to prove it. Five different artisans made each dessert to prove their accuracy and language.

The copy was proofed by an army of people. I wrote the original copy sending it on to my partner, Joan Vieweger, who then sent it back to me with corrections. The manuscript (MS) then when to Dave who checked it for spelling and grammar errors against the original copy. Mary Goodbody, author of over 60 books, then read the MS for continuity of style. Each time the book passed through different hands it was sent back to me with changes that I either excepted or rejected. When I felt it was ready, it was then forwarded to our publisher, Running Press, and our “super editor” Geoff Stone who parceled it out to a copy editor for the Adventures and a recipe editor for, you guessed it, the recipes. The MS was then completely reviewed one last time by Geoff, Mary, Joan and finally me. I must admit each time the MS was reviewed and corrected it made it a better read.

The original MS had over 250 recipes and nearly three dozen adventure stories. Nearly half have had to be put aside in order to keep to the original 300 page format. But I am one of those writers who believes that every word and recipe is a pearl so they won’t be in digital suspense for long; they will be the basis for my next book—maybe we’ll name it The Rest of Choclatique.

As I write this installment of the Choclatique blog, I am off on the first of many weeks of book tour/promotion. First stop, Charleston, South Carolina and an appearance on Lowcountry Live!

Watch for ChocolateDoctor sightings (that’s me) in your area and on A Million Cooks and be sure to check out Choclatique, the book, found in bookstores around the world, Amazon, Walmart, Target and of course our remodeled website at Choclatique.com.

As always I wish you sweet dreams and chocolate wishes!

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

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

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The Chocolate Psychic

Monday, August 1st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Look into my eyes… I am Karnack, The Prince of Prognostication, The Chocolate Psychic.

If the eight desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose—assuming you had no dietary restrictions – (sorry, you can only pick one)! Trust me….this is very accurate. Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists think about you.

REMEMBER – No Cheating. Make your choice before you check the meaning. After taking this dessert personality test, send this e-mail on to others.

Here are your choices:
1. Angel Food Cake
2. Chocolate Brownies
3. Lemon Meringue Pie
4. Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Icing
5. Strawberry Short Cake
6. Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing
7. Chocolate Ice Cream
8. Carrot Cake

Play by the rules. No, you can’t change your mind once you scroll down, so think carefully about what your choice will be.

Okay?

Now that you’ve made your choice, this is what the researchers say about you…..

Now it’s okay to SCROLL DOWN

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE—You are sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. CHOCOLATE BROWNIES—You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE PIE—Smooth, fun, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent caregiver and a good teacher. But don’t try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, you set your own style because you do your own thing. You shine when it comes to helping others and have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING—You are fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not very grounded in life, but not very indecisive and lacking motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE—You are romantic, warm and loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. You can be very emotional at times but a true person in every way. You like to do things for yourself and help others learn about themselves.

6. CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING—You are vivacious, always ready to give and receive. You are very creative, adventurous, ambitious and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. You won’t settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM—You like sports, whether it’s baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don’t like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE—You are a very fun loving person, who loves to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends. You were meant to lead and teach others. You are a wonderful role model.

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Oreo Cookies

Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Over 362 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first introduced in 1912, making Oreo the best selling cookie of the 20th century. It is found on store shelves in the cookie aisle of super-markets, but it is also an important ingredient for ice creams, cheesecakes, pies, cakes, puddings, doughnuts and even the McDonald’s McFlurry, Dairy Queen’s Blizzard and the Domino’s Oreo Pizza. Oreos are even battered and deep fried at carnivals and county fairs.

But where did the Oreo get its moniker? A few years back, a TV-spot for the Got Milk? campaign showed a clever false etymology for the Oreo name. Some think Oreo comes from the Greek root for appetizing as in orexin or orexigenic (appetite stimulating) or anorexic (loss of appetite). There are other theories pointing to the origin of the name ‘Oreo’, including derivations from the French word ‘Or’, meaning gold (as early packaging was gold), or the Greek word ‘Oros’, meaning mountain or hill (as the original Oreo was mound shaped) or even the Greek word ‘Oreo’, meaning beautiful or nice. Wow, who would have thought that the Nabisco marketers would have gone back to Greek mythology for the name of something so all-American?

But as American as the Oreo is, it has also been introduced around the world. Oreo cookies were introduced to Chinese consumers in 1996 and sales gradually grew into the fast-growing Chinese biscuit. In 2006 the Oreo cookie became the best-selling biscuit in the People’s Republic of China, after altering its recipe to have a lower sugar content to suit local tastes. In 2004, Norway started selling Oreo cookies. It was welcomed by consumers, and is the top-selling cookie to young people. In 2005, the Norwegians stopped the importation of Oreos and started to make them in country.

In May 2008, Oreo cookies were repackaged and relaunched in the UK in the more popular British tube design with a multi-million pound advertising campaign centered on the catchphrase Twist, Lick and Dunk. Canadian Oreos contain coconut oil, giving them a different taste from the American counterpart. In 2011 Oreos hit Polish, Croatian and Indian markets.

Aside from good old regular cookies, Oreos have been produced in many different varieties since they were first introduced. This includes Mini, Double Stuf, Triple StufBerry Burst, Blizzard Crème, Golden (vanilla wafers), Fudgees, WaferStix, Chocolate Crème, Big Stuff, Double Delight, Cool Mint Creme, Peanut Butter Crème, Banana Split Crème, Fudge Covered, 100 Calorie Pack, Sugar-Free, Reduced Fat, Vend Pack and Dulce de Leche Oreos sold in Chile and Argentina. There are also special limited edition Halloween and Christmas Double Stuf Oreo cookies produced with colored frosting depicting the current holiday.

In 1990, comedian Weird Al” Yankovic wrote a tribute to the Oreo titled “The White Stuff,” a parody of the New Kids on the Block single ‘You Got It (The Right Stuff)’. The song focuses on the virtues of the crème filling inside an Oreo. That same year songwriter Lonnie Mack wrote a song titled “Oreo Cookie Blues” from his album Strike Like Lightning. The song is focused on how much Lonnie loves his Oreo cookies. In 2010, country singer Abi Lester recorded “Flaming Red,” a song on her She Dreams album, in which she sings about eating a whole box of Oreos in bed.

While I don’t think I can out-write “Weird Al” or out-sing Abi, I don’t think either one can hold a candle to my Screaming-Easy Oreo Cookie Chocolate Truffles. The recipe uses Choclatique Chocolate Chips for coating a center filling made from, you guessed it, Oreo cookies.

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Now They’re Gunning for Tony the Tiger

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Tony the TigerIn my April 28th blog, Colorless Food—It’s Enough To Make You Blanch, I discussed the meddling members of the government (Republican and Democrat) who can’t resist sticking their big fat noses into areas they know nothing about. It’s insanity how they just can’t resist tinkering with our foods when they should be coming up with a balanced budget. These Dopes de Cuisine now have their sights set on none other than Tony the Tiger, the M&M Boys, the Girl Scouts of America, and the corner lot baseball team.

The government’s Food Gestapo is now staging an all out war on marketing to kids. Tony the Tiger, some NASCAR drivers and cookie-selling Girl Scouts may soon be out of jobs unless food manufacturers begin to reinvent their products to satisfy this administration’s food police. The word is out say several federal regulatory agencies; either retool your recipes to contain lower levels of sugar, sodium and fats, or no more advertising and marketing to children or teenagers.

It’s not just the usual suspected foods that are being targeted, such as Thin Mint cookies sold by scouts or M&Ms and Snickers, which sponsor cars in the Sprint Cup, but pretty much everything on the menu.

Although the intent of the guidelines is to combat childhood obesity—a laudable goal—foods that are low in calories and fat and that some consider healthy foods are also targets, including hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, pretzels, popcorn, nuts, yogurt, wheat bread, bagels, diet drinks, fruit juice, tea, bottled water and even milk.

Both Consumers and food industries’ executives are in an uproar over the joint proposal written by the Federal Trade Commission, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The most disturbing aspect of this interagency working group is that after it imposes multibillions of dollars in restrictions and “suggested” changes on our foods, there is no evidence there will be any positive impact on the scourge of childhood obesity. The more you tell children they can’t have something, the more they want it. It’s kind of like this… what happens when I tell you not to think of the color red. What is the first color you think of?

The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children, Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulation Efforts says it is voluntary, but industry officials say the intent is clear: Do it, or else.

Unemployment isn’t high enough? It’s not just the food industry that will be impacted. Television shows that depend on the advertising revenue will be affected, critics of the proposal say—at a cost of $5.8 trillion in marketing expenditures that support up to 20 million American jobs.

Here again the “rule” of unintended consequences is rearing its ugly head. This is the culinary corollary to “Are we spending too much or taxing too little?” — “Are we eating too much or exercising too little?” Mom was right, “Everything in moderation.”

If the food is not reformulated, no more ads or promotions on TV or radio, in print, on websites, or other digital advertising such as e-mail and text messaging, packaging, and point-of-purchase displays and other in-store marketing tools; product placement in movies, videos, video games, contests, sweepstakes, character licensing and toy branding; sponsorship of events including sport teams and individual athletes; and, philanthropic activity tied to branding opportunities will be affected. That also includes softball teams that are sponsored by food companies and school reading programs sponsored by restaurants.

The sad part is many of the foods targeted in the proposal are the same foods approved by the federal government for the WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children.

Chocolate is an indulgent treat. It has a certain amount of fat and sugar which gives chocolate its distinctive flavor and texture. While at Choclatique we use natural ingredients, if we were to remove the pure cane sugar grown in Hawaii and the cocoa butter processed in California, you might as well suck on a bitter chocolate stone.

These are decisions that parents should be making for their own kids. These should not be government decisions. Now I ask you, does this make any sense at all?

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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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The Appeal of ‘Healthier’ Sweets

Friday, June 10th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

You don’t have to convince a kid to eat a piece of candy. But to help grown-ups justify indulging in a chocolate bar or a handful of jellybeans, candy companies are touting new health benefits of their products. Though health benefits are not the direct reason for consumers to grab up the sweet stuff, it is an added incentive.

At Choclatique, we know that consumers buy candy primarily for the taste, but it does factor in that consumers are more focused on their diets these days and are trying to eat more healthfully. We think it’s more than just an added benefit.

One of the best-known healthful treats is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate makers were among the first to educate consumers on the ‘better for you’ positioning, especially promoting the antioxidant content. But more recently, candy companies offering assorted fruit flavors have been getting in on the health trend as well.

We’ve known for a long time that consumers read labels and look for confections with no preservatives, artificial colors or flavors which are the basis for Choclatique products. They’re also interested in candy made without high-fructose corn syrup—using pure cane sugar instead. Now, we are finding many snack and candy companies are promoting products with additional antioxidants. Pomegranate and other fruits big on health benefits have become a popular addition to many candies. Some of the newest flavors of licorice include blueberry and pomegranate made from real juice. Chocolate manufacturers, while still marketing their dark chocolate for its health benefits, have also moved on to chocolate low in sugar or completely sugar-free and the blending of fruits high in antioxidants such as strawberry, orange, blueberry, cherry and pomegranate.

Pure Power BarsAt Choclatique, we make the Pure Power energy bar. Made with US-grown peanuts, peanut flour, cherries and blueberries, this healthy snack packs over 9 grams of pure protein and is high in antioxidants. Footed with a low sugar chocolate platform, all of the ingredients are commonly found in your own pantry. One great additional benefit is that Pure Power is also Gluten-free.

For some, price is a strong factor with consumers willing to choose a cheaper, less healthy product rather than pay a little more for something more healthful. But now, some health concerns are carrying over to the general public and consumers starting to understand that a piece of chocolate can be more than just a satiating snack. Market research shows that while healthier candies were once only reaching a niche audience… that audience is growing. There are groups, such as baby boomers and young families that are more inclined to look for health benefits than just price alone.

Elephant ChocolatesAt Choclatique, we feature Elephant Chocolate, Q-91 and Private Reserve Dark that are lower in sugar and higher in many of the healthful benefits than milk or white chocolate. We offer the appeal and benefits to a more health conscious consumer with functional chocolates while still maintaining tasteful indulgence.

If you have a passion or even an addiction to the brown stuff, let’s talk… you can look me up on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Another Shameless Plug: I want to introduce you to my new book, Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique, both the book and the chocolate, are perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

Choclatique is the first interactive cookbook. It is sprinkled with ChefSecrets which are highlighted with a QR Code. When you scan the QR Code with your smartphone, it directs you to a video where I demonstrate the “secret” technique. You can also purchase a chocolate tasting kit to compliment the book. Pretty cool!

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

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

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Is It Rude To Blog with Your Mouth Full?

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

Are you someone who craves sweet nibbles or salty snacks? Or, do you prefer spicy or sour munchies? I must confess I’m a serial snacker. Even though I am a trained chef, my snack repertoire is not all that sophisticated. That’s not surprising among chefs who work long shifts and eat anything in sight when their hard day’s work is at an end. I’m a sucker for salted-in-the-shell peanuts—my trigger food—and I occasionally indulge on traditional sourdough pretzels. I like plain popcorn—I don’t like the artificial butter flavors—and I’ve never turned down a bag of Fritos. When it comes to sweets, I’m a chocoholic. I prefer dark, but a good milk chocolate is also fantastic when I’m in the mood and it’s usually Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate. At times like this I can even bring together some of my favorite flavors with our Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites.

With the excuse that I need more experience, I cranked my expertise in snacking up a notch. This week, I am insanely excited because I got to explore my snacking inner-child at Chicago’s Annual Sweets and Snacks Expo at McCormick Place. This is an annual “snackin’” trade show hosed by National Confectioners Association where over 14,000 buyers and 500 manufactures come to see what’s new. The expo offers everything from jelly beans to popcorn companies that put movie caliber snacks to shame (hello Popcornopolis) and chocolatiers who even challenge Willy Wonka’s magic. This is the largest confectionery, cookie and snack show in the Americas. The EXPO features companies showcasing their newest, sweetest, most sour, most crunchy confectionery and snack products in one place making it one of the most valuable, time-effective events in the industry. In fact, more than 130 new companies exhibited and more buyers than ever attended the event. The EXPO attracts all of the major US distribution channels and featurestop-notch experts in some of the educational keynote sessions, making it easier than ever to discover the latest trends and discover what’s new in the world of snacking.

As I walked the EXPO floor with more than 14,000 qualified confectionery and snack professionals, including nearly 1,000 international visitors traveling from more than 60 countries. We all munched the hall from one end to the other leaving trails of crunchy crumbs.

We snacked on lentil and hummus chips with unusual and exotic flavors like black pepper, dill, chili and mint, and sweets snacks that claimed to be fortified with vitamins slated to offer consumers greater snack options when the three o’clock munchies hit.

Consumers can expect to see more snack foods and sweets that layer multiple, complex, and sometimes unexpected flavors. Combinations like habanera and lemongrass-flavored sweets, dual-filled truffles, and gourmet, artisanal flavors like cracked pepper and Asiago cheese-flavored chips.

Napa Valley Wine ChocolatesI found wine-flavored chocolates by a New York company that are very similar to our Napa Valley Wine Chocolates that we introduced over 2 years ago. There was even a wine-flavored caramel—Cabernet to be exact—with a hint of sea salt. I discovered flower, troll and monster-shaped gummies, chocolate-coated jelly beans, straws filled with flavor beads like cookies and cream, strawberry, or vanilla that instantly transform a regular glass of milk to a snacking dessert, and crisp rice puffs dipped in dark chocolate, infused with vitamin D3 and sealed in a chocolate candy coating.

Despite a lagging economy, the snack and sweet markets experienced growth in 2010, as they’re considered affordable indulgences.

Designer DonutsThis month we are releasing our own “holey” indulgences—Choclatique Designer Donuts. Now you can enjoy the flavors of a chocolatiers’ dozen (15 different, wonderful flavors), including Almond Coconut Flake, Carrot-Cream Cheese, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Sprinkles, Cinnamon Spice, Dark Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake, Fluff-a-Nutter, Jelly Donut, Johnny Appleseed’s Apple, Marshmallow Mint Chip, Mocha Kreme, Vanilla Kreme, Vermont Maple Crunch, and Wicked Red Cherry.

Shameless Plug: I know for many it’s too early to think about the end of the year holidays, but here’s a thought for some great gift giving—Choclatique (the book). And guess what? You don’t even have to wait for the end of the year. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthday, anniversaries… actually Choclatique (the book) is perfect for just about any occasion. Signed copies will be available after October 1st.

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

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

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Candy Is Dandy

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

There is finally scientific research that says it’s all right to have a little candy and chocolate in your diet.

While it may be hard to believe candy eaters tend to weigh less; have a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumferences; and have decreased levels of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, according to a new study published in Nutrition Research.

“Candy is a unique treat that can provide moments of joy and happiness,” says Alison Bodor, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy for the National Confectioners Association. “Consumers should feel confident that candy, consumed in moderation within a diet balanced with regular physical activity, can be part of a healthy, happy lifestyle.” Isn’t that what mom always taught us?

The study showed that while candy contributes modestly to caloric intake when it is consumed, there was no association of total candy intake to increased weight/BMI — suggesting that over time, consumers were able to balance longer-term caloric intake.

It also found that diet quality was not affected by total candy or chocolate candy consumption when consumed within energy limits; chocolate candy was associated with a 15% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and candy eaters had a 14% decreased risk of elevated diastolic blood pressure and lower C-reactive protein level than non-candy eaters.

However, I still believe in the old adage that mothers have been telling us for years, “All things in moderation.”

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Hot Blog on a Stick

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

The LA County Fair

Beginning in the early 1800s, the first agricultural fairs gave rural families an opportunity to see firsthand the latest agricultural techniques, equipment, crops, and livestock. Over the course of the nineteenth century, fairs also incorporated a wide range of educational, recreational, competitive, and social activities into their programs. Within a few short generations, county and state fairs became a quintessential American tradition.

We all look at fairs with different interests. For me, if it’s deep-fried, on-a-stick, battered, breaded or dipped in chocolate you must be eating at the LA County Fair. A few of the new items this year included macaroni and cheese on a stick, deep-fried Oreos and s’mores on a stick.

This year we had to battle 108º temperatures to take part in the annual food fair experience. With more than 300 choices, I have to admit that I had to unbutton the button on my waistband just to drive home comfortably.

My first stop is always the giant cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Oops they weren’t there this year. I passed on the giant breakfast burrito, morning sandwich and the mini doughnuts in favor of Chicken Charlie’s fresh-baked waffles and fried chicken—a new family tradition that introduced a little protein into what would become a hard-packing carb day. No sooner had we finished licking the syrup from our chins than we were ready to move onto The Indian Fry Bread with all kinds of gorpy toppings. Then there were the funnel cakes with ice cream on top, and the endless concessions making fresh-fried Churros. Churros are long, extruded Mexican doughnuts that can be dipped in chocolate or, when it’s so blazing hot, smothered in cinnamon sugar.

When you’re at the Fair, meals and snacks all start to morph together. It’s kind of like being a chain smoker—you barely finish eating one treat before picking up the next stack of goodies with the napkin left over from the last one. I must admit that the fair food even replaced my death grip on my ever-present Blackberry.

We next found ourselves on Birch Avenue at Mom’s Giant Cookies and Gingerbread Treats—the home of Gingerbread-Man-on-a-Stick. The Ginger Bread is made with a little touch of cocoa… so yummy! And Mom’s Giant Cookies next door—always my favorites as a kid—are so packed with chocolate chunks that the dough barely holds them together.

Want BBQ? The secret to Big Bubba’s Bad to the Bone BBQ is a touch of chocolate they put into their BBQ sauce. Likewise, King Taco adds a little chocolate to their Chile Colorado. The chocolate adds depth of flavor and additional richness to both. There was even a little healthier food, such as yogurt, frozen yogurt smoothies, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and salads, too!

Unless you were making deep fried Reese’s Whips or Peanut Brittle, it was tough day to be in the candy business let alone to make chocolate. The fudge was melting, the chocolate-dipped apples were withering—as were we—and if you grabbed an ice cream cone, you had to eat it faster than the quarter horses were running a furlough at the race track next door.

While I look at the LA County Fair through food-colored glasses, it is still a place where people proudly display animals, produce prize-winning baked goods, and of course, there’s plenty of entertainment, games and scary midway rides. Even though the weather was stifling, we still had a great time and enjoyed the new uses of chocolate that we discovered.

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Fly the Haughty Skies of “Air Chance”

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

I travel to Europe at least once a month. No matter how hard I try to avoid Air France the connections through Charles De Gaulle just outside of Paris seem to always be the best. Paris is, well, just so French, if you know what I mean. Something (everything) always seems to go wrong travelling through Paris adding hours to the trip.

One trip it was lost luggage; another had the baggage workers on strike delaying the flight for hours. There was a flight controllers “work to rule,” which did nothing more than delay hundreds of flights over a three day period. A general strike last month closed the airport down for two days. It’s more like flying “Air Chance” than Air France.

Last month was no different—the cabin cleaners staged a one hour strike causing a 2-hour delay. The airline caterer must have been upset about something because the duck used in making my canard a la orange died in vain after being mutilated by a very untalented cook. The questionable chocolate desserts were also a waste of calories… now you know that it’s bad if I don’t eat the chocolate.

So this month I got smart and made a few purchases at the gourmet store at the airport before heading for home. I got a very freshly-baked baguette… still warm to the touch; a tin of pâté de foie gras kissed with Cognac; a jar of marinated white truffles and a small wedge of Camembert cheese. I already knew the airline had an ample supply of good French Champagne and a bottle of 6 year-old Portuguese Port.

I saw nothing of interest for dessert and besides I do need to lose a few pounds. I was very content with my airplane picnic and thought I was ready to go until I spotted a small kiosk selling Ladurée macarons. Ladurée is a luxury cake and pastry boutique brand based in Paris, France. It is known as the inventor of the double-decker macaroon where fifteen thousand are sold every day. They are considered the best macaron shop in the world. When I speak of macarons, I am not referring to macaroons, those mounds of coconut and almond kosher cookies sold during Passover in Jewish sections of the supermarket which can be mistaken for damp paper weights. I am talking about a beautiful meringue-based confection made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour, and both granulated and confectioners’ sugar.

While Ladurée is highly esteemed for making exceptional quality macarons in traditional and creative flavors, other French patisseries such as Pierre Hermé and Fauchon are also well known for their macarons as well. Outside of Europe, the pastry has attracted itself to mostly cosmopolitan cities, notably New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto. New York has recently witnessed a surge in macaron shops.

The confection is characterized by its smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference and flat base. Connoisseurs in general and Ed Engoron in particular prize the delicate, egg shell-like crust that yields to a moist and airy interior. The macaron can be filled and held together with a buttercream frosting or jam filling sandwiched between two macaron cookies. Macarons can be found in a wide variety of flavors that range from the traditional (raspberry, vanilla) to the exotic (truffle, matcha tea) to my favorate—chocolate.

You might think something that beautiful is difficult to make. To the contrary they are quite easy. Recipe for Chocolate Macarons.

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