Archive for January, 2011

Farewell Fairchild

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Barbara FairchildI always really liked Barbara Fairchild even before I met her. When Joan and I moved The Food Show over to ABC, she was one of the first to call us to wish us good luck. As the Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appétit, Barbara kept the magazine relevant and presided over at least two redesigns of this classic food magazine. I can’t remember a single issue of the magazine where there was not at least one chocolate recipe.

During Barbara’s time at Bon Appétit, she was honored with three James Beard Awards, and oversaw the highly successful The Bon Appétit Cookbook, released in the fall of 2006 and was named one of the top books of the year.

In more recent years she became a bi-coastal traveler having management and creative responsibilities in both Los Angeles and New York. I can attest to the fact that traveling back and forth can take its toll. December was Barbara’s last issue of Bon Appétit with her at the helm. I am sure she will be on to bigger and better things. So, thank you, Barbara, for all your contributions to our industry.

Bon AppétitWhen I received my February issue of Bon Appétit I was curious to see if the magazine had changed and what kind of attention the new editorial team would give to chocolate. I didn’t even have to open the magazine to see that chocolate is still an important part of their attention. Thank you Victoria, Katie, Hugh and Sarah. Beginning on page 86 is a section all about cocoa power. The article written by Alice Medrich and beautifully photographed by Christopher Griffith is up to the standards we have all learned to appreciate.

The recipes include Crisp Cocoa Pecan Cookies, Chocolate Stout Float, Bittersweet Cocoa Soufflés, Cocoa Layer Cake (that I felt I could have eaten right off the page), and of course, the cover shot of Cocoa Brownies with Brown Butter and Walnuts. These brownies look like those wonderfully fudgy-in-the-middle and chewy-on-the-outside, made-from-scratch, shiny, crackly top home made goodies with results that you can never get from a store-bought brownie or a mix (except ours, of course).

Chocolate CakeI always like using browned butter with chocolate. It adds a rich, nutty flavor that can’t be duplicated with any other shortening. When I am making a recipe that calls for creaming the butter with sugar, I will brown the butter and then cool it so that it creams just like fresh butter that hasn’t been browned. Give it a try, you’ll love the results.

And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of this month’s issue of Bon Appétit. I promise you will love the chocolaty recipes you’ll find inside.

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Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

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

Ruth WakefieldAs with many great inventions, the chocolate chip cookie was a culinary accident. It was first made by Ruth Wakefield in 1930 when she was trying to make one of her favorite recipes—Butter Drop Do Cookies. Ruth was making a fresh batch to share with some of the guests at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, a very popular restaurant that featured home cooking.

Chocolate Chip CookiesThe recipe called for the use of unsweetened baker’s chocolate. But one afternoon Ruth found herself without the required ingredient. She substituted a semi-sweet chocolate bar that she cut up into pieces. However, unlike the baker’s chocolate, the chopped up chocolate bar did not melt completely, the small pieces only softened and left luscious pools of chocolate in the middle of the buttery dough.

Toll HouseThe restaurant’s popularity was not only due to her home-cooked style meals; her policy was to give diners a whole extra helping of their entrées to take home with them along with some of her homemade cookies. Ruth memorialized the recipe in her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, which was published in 1936 by M. Barrows & Company, New York. It included the recipe “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie”, which rapidly became a favorite to be baked in homes all over America.

So how did it become America’s most favorite cookie? As it happened, the chocolate bar she used had been given to her by Andrew Nestle of the Nestle Chocolate Company. As the Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe became popular, sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bar increased. Andrew Nestle and Ruth Wakefield struck a deal; Nestle would print the Toll House Cookie recipe on its packaging and Ruth Wakefield would have a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.

Ed's Best Chocolate Chunk Cookie MixChocolate chip cookies can be made from scratch (see recipe) or you can purchase one of Choclatique’s failure-proof bakery mixes—Ed’s Best Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix. Regardless of which way you choose to go, you can always have fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chunk cookies ready for the kids when they come home from school.

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Chocolate Fondue

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

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

Perfect for the Holidays

FondueI can’t think of a better way to entertain for the holidays than with a steaming hot pot of chocolate fondue. I can’t remember when I first discovered my love for chocolate fondue, but I can tell you it is a child’s dream dessert come true. It’s kind of like being in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory, or in this case, the Choclatique Chocolate Studios looking at and inhaling those beautiful streams of melted chocolate.

Chocolate fondue can be made with any type of chocolate—dark, milk or white. You can use the inexpensive brown stuff or a good premium chocolate like Choclatique. Keep in mind that by going with dark chocolate fondue over the milk chocolate versions, you will be receiving many health benefits as dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which are able to fight off free radicals in the body. There is also the absence of milk in pure dark chocolate, which is beneficial for many lactose intolerant individuals.

Fun with Flavor

Peanut ButterIt’s so easy to make fondue yourself with homemade ingredients which give you the opportunity to custom blend to your own tastes. Marshmallow FluffYou can add 1/4 cup of sour cream to 2 cups of dark chocolate and have a Chocolate Sour Cream Fondue; go a little bit nutty by adding 1/4 cup of peanut butter to 2 cups of milk chocolate or be completely outrageous and add both 1/4 cup marshmallow fluff—the store bought fluff stuff—and 1/4 cup peanut butter to 2 cups of either dark or milk chocolate to create your own S’Mores Fondue.

cinnamonKid’s stuff you say? Then be a little more sophisticated and add just a touch of spice—a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne to 2 cups of dark chocolate—to give you a delicious fondue with a bit of a kick. Playing on the adult theme you can add a little liquor to your dark magic… a couple of tablespoons of rum, Kahlua or Grand Marnier will add a very special adult flavor.

Remember, if you are making your own milk chocolate fondue, there needs to be a liquid mixed with the morsels or they will stick to the pan and scorch. Many people use half and half, others evaporated milk. This is key to creating a rich, creamy, chocolate fondue for all your family and guests to enjoy. Experiment before you have company over—make a few weekend tryouts Chocolate-Dippedbefore serving for a special event in order to get the process just right.

And, what’s a chocolate fondue without some fondue dippers? Strawberries, bananas, pineapple, pound cake and pecans, almonds, and anything else you can spear with a fondue fork or dunk with a spoon will works, anything goes!

The Right Stuff

Private Reserve Dark BarNot all chocolate is created equal. For really great dark chocolate fondue we have found Choclatique Fondue Chocolate to be about the best. If your taste leans toward milk chocolate then you can’t beat Choclatique Heritage Milk Chocolate (32%) for a silky smooth milk chocolate fondue. We even offer a luscious alternative for those who must restrict their consumption of sucrose—it is our Sweet Deceit—100% Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate or Sweet Deceit—100% Sugar-Free Milk Chocolate—imagine that you can make 100% sugar-free fondue. I promise you won’t be able to tell the difference from the original premium Choclatique Chocolate and Sweet Deceit.

Presentation with Flair

Chocolate FountainWhen making fondue it’s all about how it is prepared that elevates it above the norm. Presentation is another factor almost as important as preparation. Use a good, attractive, heavy ceramic melting pot (metal fondue pots are for meat), or go crazy and put it all in a chocolate fountain and get “ooohs” and “aaahs” all evening long. If it is made right, it will taste right, and then it can be dressed up to look right.

Happy Dippings!

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Welcoming in the Healthy New Year with Chocolate—2011

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

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

Chocolate Stacks2010 has come to an end and this is the beginning of a promising new year—2011. It is an appropriate time to look back at some of the events that have taken center stage in our lives over the last year. Ivory CoastDon’t worry… I am not going to carry on about health care, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; the START Treaty or even the drubbing the Democrats took during the November election. About the only subject on a political note I have is over my concerns of tragic unrest in Ivory Coast which has the vast potential to disrupt the lives of many innocent people and further destabilize cocoa prices which are already at an all-time high.

Cacao GenomeWhat I do want to address are new learnings about chocolate this past year. The cacao genome map is being studied and we are discovering so much more about this wonderful, ancient and magical plant, including all of the health benefits that can be derived from eating a moderate amount of dark chocolate each day.

Cough DropsWe read about a new cocoa-based drug that has the potential to treat persistent coughs. The drug is a joint development by United Kingdom-based SEEK, and United States-based Pernix. This new drug contains theobromine, an ingredient naturally present in cocoa and chocolate. The drug is entering the final stages of human clinical trials and could be on market within a little more than two years. This will be the first effective non-opioid treatment for persistent or chronic cough in two decades. Human trial research in South Korea has shown that theobromine has none of the side effects associated with standard drug treatments for persistent cough.

CougherPersistent cough is a very common condition, afflicting over 800 million people worldwide, with an estimated 12% of the general population having the symptoms. Failure to treat a cough can lead to enormous consequences in terms of loss of one’s heath and well-being. Theobromine, a key compound in chocolate, has been shown to inhibit the inappropriate firing of the vagus nerve, which is a key cause of a persistent cough.

I, for one, have had a persistent, nagging cough since a bout with pneumonia several years ago and take at least one Choclatique Q-91 square—our functional chocolate—to dampen it down. As good as Q-91 is, I am still looking forward to concentrated chocolate flavored cough drops or syrups.

During the year we continued to hear about the expanded benefits of chocolate which has been used a vasodilator, or blood vessel widener, a diuretic, a heart stimulant, a cavity inhibitor and even a way to improve bad breath.

American Journal of Clinical NutritionWe also learned this year that Flavanol compounds derived from cocoa boosts the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrates the effect of cocoa flavanols on select stomach bacteria in humans and, “suggests the potential prebiotic benefits associated with the dietary inclusion of flavanol-rich foods have a beneficial effect through their selective metabolism in the intestinal tract.”

Q-91Scientists from the Nestlé Research Center reported earlier this year that a that daily consumption of just 40 grams of dark chocolate like Choclatique’s Q-91 significantly increases a person’s metabolism to help control weight maintenance. Dr. Jeremy Spencer from the University of Reading said that implications of the study are “that subtle changes in dietary habits, such as eating dark chocolate, can benefit long term health.”

Cocoa PowderManufacturers’ interest in the active compounds in cocoa started about 20 years ago when scientists sought to understand the flavor components of chocolate. The bitter and astringent compounds were isolated, and further study and clinical work showed the health benefits of the monomers and the tannins, particularly epicatechin.

Eating ChocolateScientists active in the area are keen to stress that chocolate and cocoa are very different in terms and not interchangeable. Cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor (finely ground cocoa beans) which is used in chocolate making or as Cocoa liquor contains approximately 55 per cent cocoa butter and together this comprises cocoa solids, often referred to on chocolate packaging. cocoa powder (usually about 12 percent fat) for cooking and drinks. Chocolate refers to the combination of cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, etc. in a solid food product.

Choclatique CrewAll of us at Choclatique thank you—our loyal readers and valued customers—for a great 2010 and we wish you all a healthful and prosperous 2011 filled with sweet dreams and chocolate wishes.

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