Archive for February, 2011

Helms Bakery

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

In 1926, Paul Helms of New York took an early retirement and moved his family to Southern California and its mild climate. Helms started construction on a building between Washington and Venice Boulevards in 1930 and, on March 2, 1931, the Helms Bakery opened with 32 employees and 11 specially-designed delivery coaches (trucks). By the next year, the Helms Bakery had become the “official baker” of the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympics when Paul Helms won a contract to supply bread for the 1932 games. Early Helms vehicles sported the Olympic symbol, and it also appeared on Helms bread wrappers.

Despite having never been sold in stores, Helms baked products soon became known to millions of consumers. The Helms motto was “Daily at Your Door” and every weekday morning, from both the Culver City facility and a second Helms Bakery site in Montebello, dozens of Helms panel trucks, painted in a unique two-tone yellow and blue scheme, would leave the bakery for the greater Los Angeles Basin, some going as far as 60 miles to the eastern San Gabriel Valley. This is remarkable because the network of freeways had not yet been built, so the trip would take an hour or more. Each truck would travel through its assigned neighborhoods, with the driver periodically pulling (twice) on a large handle which sounded a distinctive whistle, or stop at a house where a Helms sign was displayed. Customers would come out and wave the truck down, or sometimes chase the trucks on adjacent streets. Wooden drawers in the back of the truck were stocked with fresh donuts, cookies, pastries and candies, while the center section of the truck carried dozens of loaves of freshly-baked bread. Products often reached the buyers still warm from the oven.

I specifically remember climbing up into the cab and with extra wide-eyes watching the Helms man pull out the drawers marked fresh doughnut and brownies. All of Helms’ products had a distinctive taste, but the brownies were something of a comfort food that I can still taste and smell in my memory. They were a chewy, fudgy brownie loaded with black walnuts and iced with a rich type of butter cream frosting.

As more women entered the workplace, the freeways got more crowded and the bakery’s driver’s union wages became prohibitive. Alas, in 1969 the last Helms truck left the depot and the final whistle was blown as the company’s doors were closed for the last time.

Some of these fond memories were brought back when I was having a nostalgic conversation with one of my clients last week. She told me that her dad loved Helms’ brownies as much as I did and asked if perchance I happened to have a copy of the original recipe. As luck would have it, I did. Now I feel like singing a couple of choruses of Memories.

Helms Bakery Brownies with Butter Cream Frosting

Makes about 12 brownies

3/4 Cup (1-1/2 Sticks) Margarine, Cut in Chunks
3 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1 1/3 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Chopped and Lightly Toasted Walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Melt margarine and chocolate together in medium saucepan. Blend in sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and nuts.
  3. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until it is crispy at the edges and feels fairly firm in the center, about 30-40 minutes. Cool 30 minutes before cutting.

Butter Cream Brownie Frosting

Makes about cup of frosting—enough to frost 12 brownies

3 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
3 Tablespoons Choclatique Red (Rouge) Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup or Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons Milk


  1. Cream butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small mixer bowl.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency.

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Valentine’s Day: Buy A Box—Borrow A Quote

Friday, February 11th, 2011

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

Rose HeartAre you stumped for just the right words to put on you sweeties card? Well here’s the perfect glossary where you can Borrow-a-Quote for the day. We promise we won’t tell.

I 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

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

~Elbert Hubbard

Infantile 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

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

~Franklin P. Jones

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

~George Sand

There is no remedy for love but to love more.

~Henry David Thoreau

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

~Herman Hesse

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

~Ingrid Bergman

Love 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

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

~John Lennon

Where there is love there is life.

~Mohandas K. Gandhi

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

~Mother Teresa

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

~Oscar Hammerstein, II

Each 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.

The Picture of Dorian Gray
~Oscar Wilde

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

~Robert Frost

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

~Robert Heinlein

I love you; Not only for what you are But for what I am when I am with you Love.

~Robert Croft

To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
~William Shakespeare

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

~St. Augustine

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Love Is In the Air

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Valentine’s Day is the annual celebration of love and affection. The day is named after Saint Valentine and was established in 500 A.D. by Pope Gelasius. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their desire for each other by presenting flowers, offering candy and sending cards. The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

In the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards of verse was extended to all manner of gifts such as chocolates, long-stemmed roses and jewelry—all great complements to one another.

This year nearly 190 million Valentine’s cards will be sent with half given to family members other than husbands or wives—usually to children. When you include the Valentine’s card exchange in schools the figure goes up to just over 1 billion—teachers receiving the most Valentine’s remembrances.

Valentine’s Day has undergone a transformation from a quiet, unassuming observance to a more commercialized affair. The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of this millennium has created new traditions. Millions of people now use digital means of creating and sending Valentine’s Day greetings such as e-cards and love coupons. Last year over 15 million e-Valentines were sent.

As with everything else in this world today, there are different takes on the way people celebrate this day—some with pomp and gaiety whereas others keep it a private affair. There is an age and stage for these celebrations, but true lovers never lose their passionate, yet innocent, approach to love and life.

While many others have waxed poetic on Valentine’s Day and love from William Shakespere to Tom Clancey, Choclatique wrote the Book of Love.

30-Piece Valentine's Chocolate Truffle Hearts

30-Piece Valentine\’s Chocolate Truffle Hearts

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Book of Love

Book of Love

Choclatique’s Book of Love is a beautiful, creative and delectable expression of chocolaty love for your Valentine. There are nine wonderfully hand-decorated, heart-shaped chocolate selections in this assortment including Black Cherry Caramel; Hot, Hot Cocoa; Amaretto Latte; Grand Marnier Truffle; Gold Peppermint; Passion Fruit Caramel; Solid Dark Chocolate; Creamy Cappuccino; and Saigon Cinnamon Caramel.

The 9-piece Book of Love is now available for shipping (through February 28th for those belated cupids) or you can specify a desired ship date to arrive just before Valentine’s Day.

Choclatique’s Valentine’s Chocolate Truffle Hearts

8-Piece Valentine's Chocolate Truffle Hearts

8-Piece Valentine\’s Chocolate Truffle Hearts

Looking for love in all the right places?

15-Piece Valentine's Chocolate Truffle Hearts

15-Piece Valentine\’s Chocolate Truffle Hearts

Seeking a little romance? This beautiful assortment of luscious heart-shaped chocolates may help you fulfill your dream with that very special gal or guy… yes, guys love chocolate, too!

Each romantic flavor casts an aphrodisiac spell that is the envy of cupid himself… the perfect Valentine’s gift.

All of our delicious Love chocolates are hand-decorated, heart-shaped and cast in our rich, award-winning Private Reserve bitter-sweet, yet fruity dark;Heritage creamery milk or Snowy-White chocolate couvertures.

Sweet Deceit Valentine’s Love Truffle Hearts

30-Piece Sweet Deceit Love Truffle Hearts

30-Piece Sweet Deceit Love Truffle Hearts

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Choclatique artisans are proud to introduce Sweet Deceit Love. Thirty beautiful and decadent chocolate hearts, and each one is 100% Sugar-Free!

This assortment includes fifteen creamy milk and fruity dark chocolate solid hearts as well as fifteen luscious milk and dark chocolate truffles. Happy Valentine’s Day!

We subtly sweeten our Sweet Deceit selections with Maltitol. Sweet Deceit Love is also available in 8-piece and 15-piece sizes.

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