Archive for June, 2011

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

Happy 4thThe 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!

Chocolate FountainThe 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.

Berry ParfaitsAnother 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-Dipped StrawberryChocolate 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 Chocolate of Barcelona

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

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

BarcelonaAs I was planning my trip to Lisbon, Portugal next week I found that I have a stop-over in Barcelona. What could be better than an afternoon in the old chocolate capital of the world? The harbor of Barcelona was the port into which the very first shipments of cocoa from the New World arrived more than 500 years ago, making it the ideal home to the Museu de la Xocolata—Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum.

PicassoThe Catalan Capital is a beautiful city with a diverse culture and history and Barcelona’s museums offer visitors a wide range of aesthetic experiences – in fact, they can be seen as a perfect illustration of just how beguilingly this city can be.

Two of Barcelona’s most popular museums are devoted to artists—the works of Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso – the first born in the city and the second generally acknowledged as an adopted son.

Museu de la XocolataThe third is the Museu de la Xocolata which is housed in an outwardly unimposing but historical building. From the aroma wafting through the narrow twisted streets lets visitors know to be prepared for an idiosyncratic and glorious celebration of the world’s most famous treat.

Inside the museum the history of chocolate is demonstrated from the discovery of the first cocoa beans brought back by the New World explorers, including Christopher Columbus himself, the progressive history since its origins as a spicy drink to its delight as a French sweet all the way through time to its present predominant position in the commercial world.

Chocolate BuildingThere are displays of machines and tools representing the chocolate maker’s art as well as fantastically detailed reconstructions of many of Barcelona’s most famous architectural sites – painstakingly and lovingly recreated from nothing but chocolate. There is even Snowy, an albino gorilla (from whom we named our Snowy White Chocolate) who has been meticulously constructed from white chocolate.

This “delicious” museum demonstrates chocolate’s many different purposes: as a medicinal element, an aphrodisiac, a nutritional treasure and everything in between, both legend and reality. They offer different workshops for children and adults.

Hot ChocolateSave a little time to stop by the chocolate café and bar where they sell great hot chocolate, thick enough to hold a spoon on its edge in the cup. While enjoying your chocolate, swivel around on your stool and watch the students next door being put through their paces as they try to achieve master status as pasty chefs and chocolatiers.

Old Chocolate Processing MachineThe Museu de la Xocolata is located in the Antiguo Convento de San Agustín at Carrerr de Commerç, 36. It is a pleasant short walk from Arc de Triomf Metro station (Red Line, 1), beginning on the Passeig Lluis Companys or due east of the Metro at Juame 1 (Yellow Line, 4), just a few minutes past the Picasso Museum in the Gothic District.

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The Magic of Chocolate Ganache

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

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

KarenThis week, Karen (our senior chocolatier) and I made ganache for an upcoming video shoot for my new cookbook, Choclatique. The publisher has added QR Codes to several of the recipes’ ChefSecrets which link to a demonstrations of the ChefSecrets. All you have to do is scan the QR Code with your Smartphone and it will take you to the video. QR CodeChoclatique (the book) is all about making desserts using chocolate ganaches as building blocks. Ganache may sound pretty fancy, but it is really so simple to make. Ganache is also very versatile and, best of all, virtually everyone has the skills and tools to make it can without the fear of failure.

Basic Ganache

Chocolate Stack

A basic ganache consists of just two ingredients: chocolate—dark, milk or white—and heavy cream (unless you are making a dairy-free dark chocolate ganache, but more on that secret in the book). And the method is always the same:

  • Bring the cream to a boil, then remove from the heat let it sit for a moment so as not to scorch the chocolate and then pour the cream over a bowl of chopped chocolate.
  • Let it stand, covered, for a moment to soften the chocolate, then whisk until smooth and it all comes together.
  • Cupcake with Ganache FrostingFor best results I always recommend to let it cool overnight at room temperature. Placing your ganache straight to the refrigerator after mixing can cause it to separate. The process of cooling the ganache slowly helps the molecules from the chocolate and cream to bond more securely, giving it a nice shine. So be patient.

What I love most about chocolate ganache is that it can be poured as a coating, chilled and made into truffles, whipped into a delightfully light frosting or filling or just mixed into white frosting, whipped cream or even butter for an instant, chocolaty flavor thrill.

Ganache With Panache

Grand MarnierYou can enhance any basic recipe by adding butter, pure extracts or bold flavored liqueur, i.e. Grand Mariner or Chambord. I will often use a little whisky, where appropriate, too.

Add liqueurs or extracts after mixing the cream and chocolate together. A good place to start is with 2 tablespoons per half cup of cream. Taste it (that’s always the best part) and then, if necessary, add a little more to your preferred taste. Adding extracts and other flavorings to milk and white chocolate is a great way to moderate the sweetness level of the ganache.

Milk ChocolateDepending on your chocolate, you will have a different ratio of dark or milk chocolate to heavy cream. I like to start at a 50% / 50% ratio, but with some chocolate I go as high as 60% / 40%. White chocolate may require a higher chocolate-to-cream ratio than dark chocolate. I recommend using a ratio of 70% / 30% chocolate to cream; that’s because of the lack of chocolate mass in white chocolate and the high amount of fat from the heavy cream and the milk and cocoa butter in the white chocolate. It’s okay to experiment until you get it just right. These ratios will create a firm-textured ganache that can hold its shape.

Chocolate Truffle BallsOnce your ganache has cooled overnight, scoop little balls using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop and roll into a small ball. Dip the truffles in coating chocolate, or simply roll in cocoa powder, sprinkles, jimmies or sugar. These dipped truffles make wonderful, inexpensive, homemade gifts!

EclairsUsing a ganache as a glaze to coat cakes, soufflés, éclairs or petit fours is a delicious and fairly simple way to create stunning desserts. For a pourable glaze that sets up soft and shiny, use equal parts chocolate and cream. I like to add a little corn syrup to enhance pourability and shine. Ganache is also great warmed in a fondue pot with fresh fruit, cookies, marshmallows or pound cake for dipping.

Frosted Chocolate CakeFor an instant frosting, let it set up at room temperature, then chill. Beat with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment. Use to fill or frost cakes as you would any pre-made frosting from a can.

Shameless Plug: You will be able to find everything you ever wanted to know about ganache in Choclatique. It’s the perfect gift for brides, grooms, grandchildren’s birthdays, anniversaries… actually Choclatique (the book and chocolate) are 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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The Appeal of ‘Healthier’ Sweets

Friday, June 10th, 2011

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

Chocolate KidYou 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.

Dark Chocolate SquaresOne 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.

PomegranatesWe’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.

QR CodeChoclatique 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.Peanuts 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.

Sweets and Snacks ExpoWith 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.

ChipsWe 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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