Archive for November, 2011

Chocolate-Covered Figs for Fall

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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

Fig and Peanut Sea Salt TruffleFall brings nature’s show of colors to California fig orchards, crispness to the air, and warm thoughts for the holidays. Each year at Choclatique we make a limited edition of our holiday assortments with a distinctive Fig & Peanut Sea Salt Truffle in the center of the box. For obvious reasons, this has become one of the most popular flavors at this time of year with some people ordering a whole box of just this holiday favorite. It is perfect for holiday gift giving and entertaining. It might be because of all the antioxidant power in both the figs and chocolate or it might be that it just tastes so darn good.

FigsThere are several great choices of figs this time of year—golden Calimyrna and dark purple Mission figs which bring elegance and unequalled flavor to your holiday gifts or table. Whether you’re going big this year and buying a bulk box of Missions or Calimyrnas to bake up a storm (and get the best price), or you’re putting together gift baskets featuring beautifully packaged, hand-packed figs, you should be able to find whatever you need.

When cooking with figs you’ll find a diverse collection of incredibly delicious recipes on the California Fig Advisory Board website which offers a wealth of wonderful holiday food gift ideas. One of my favorites featuring chocolate that didn’t make into my new book, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes, is shown below.

In this recipe, we have showcased both sweet and chewy California-grown figs and Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) to make an elegant and delicious addition to your holiday table or a homemade gift to give to friends and family.

Dipped Stuffed Figs

Choclatique Dipped Stuffed Figs

Inspired by the California Fig Advisory Board

Ingredients
15 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brandy*
15 to 30 small pieces candied ginger, toasted nuts or chocolate
6 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. With a sharp knife, cut a small slit in the bottom of each fig.
  2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water; stir in brandy and add the figs. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the figs have plumped.
  3. Drain the figs, cool and dry thoroughly.
  4. Stuff one or two pieces of ginger or nuts into each fig.
  5. Place chopped chocolate in a 1-cup glass measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on medium/50% power until almost melted, stirring after every 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
  6. Remove from microwave and stir until melted.
  7. Hold stem of each fig and dip in melted chocolate. Place figs, stems up, on wax paper-lined tray until chocolate sets.
  8. Repeat the melting and dipping process with the white chocolate to create a small white footer on each fig.
  9. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

*ChefSecret: Substitute the brandy with 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla for a liquor-free dessert.

Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes

If you’re looking for the perfect cookbook for the holidays may I suggest Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you would like to know about how chocolate affects the human body and improves one’s disposition, it is the perfect primer. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and enhancing your sweet disposition and those all around you.

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 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

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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Meet Karen Centeno

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

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

One of the people who make a difference at Choclatique

Karen is our senior chocolatier. She’s been with Choclatique from the very beginning and worked on the creation during the very long research and development years when we first got started. She started as an assistant, but soon showed she had much more artistic talent than she even realized. I remember we were working in the lab when she showed me how she would decorate one of our beautiful confections. It was so beautiful I was surprised to hear that she had never worked with chocolate before and had never done much in the way of conventional art work.

Christmas Crunch BrittleWhen working at Choclatique, every piece has to be a miniature masterpiece. Decorating a molded piece of Choclatique chocolate starts by paint molds with the desired design inside-out and up-side down. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience. When you look at the detail, you have to admire how much goes into just a single piece of chocolate. Karen is responsible for chocolate production and training all of our decorators.

Chocolate EuphoriaOne of the things that I particularly love about Karen is her up-beat personality and wicked sense of humor. She comes to work every day with a big smile on her face. She keeps everyone laughing in the Chocolate Studio every single day no matter how busy we are. I think it may be the euphoria she feels when she eats our chocolate.

Karen played an important part in testing the recipes in Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its affects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

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 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

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 on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


Michael Pollan Is A Putz

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

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

Now he says, “High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Not Necessarily Worse Than Sugar.”

Michael PollanIn the past, when Michael Pollan talked about the food industry, people listened. You might know him as the author of In Defense of Food. Pollan used to wield a lot of influence among those who care about mindful eating, both in terms of health and sustainability, but as with all food terrorists he so exaggerated his unscientific and repeated condemnation of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as particularly harmful has he lost his creditability. He had done great harm to the sweetener’s reputation over the past few years with his damaging remarks.

But now Pollan is changing his public stance on HFCS. He was asked about the dangers of HFCS in a recent interview with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and he flip-flopped on his past opinion.

High-Fructose Corn Syrup“I’ve done a lot to demonize it (HFCS),” he says. “And people took away the message that there was something intrinsically wrong with it. A lot of research says this isn’t the case. But there is a problem with how much total sugar we consume.” High-fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar, so it traditionally was pumped into a lot of foods, including savory items.

“It shows the brilliance of the industry, which is always a couple of steps ahead of me,” Pollan says. “They started giving products made of real sugar health claims and [are] trying to make sugar look good.” And that is a problem.

In the same interview, he cites both the demonization of high-fructose corn syrup and the craze for gluten-free products as examples of the faddishness of nutritional thinking.

As with all of these self-proclaimed experts, this guy doesn’t know which end is up. Both sugar and corn products are natural and sustainable and are easily grown right here in the United States keeping a lot of our farmers in business. Quite frankly, I think Pollan just likes to hear the sound of his own voice and the cash register ring when he sells his over-priced books.

Now, at Choclatique we don’t use a lot of corn syrups. We probably use as much rice syrup as the alternative. We do use Hawaiian-grown cane sugar as we like the taste and the functionality of what it does for our confections. I don’t own stock in Archer-Daniels-Midland, the largest provider of corn syrups. I don’t work for them nor consult with them so I have no ax to grind unless it’s with people of influence who, quite frankly, don’t really know what the hell they’re talking about.

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Meet Dave Rubinstein

Friday, November 4th, 2011

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

One of the people who make a difference at Choclatique

DaveDave makes sure that Choclatique chocolate looks as great when you get it as it did when it left the Chocolate Studio. Sometimes that can be hundreds of boxes a day to keep track of. He keeps his steady hand on the pulse of the shipping department to make sure we never disappoint anyone. After all, we are doing more than just selling chocolate, we are providing memories. Dave knows we can never be late delivering a birthday, anniversary or Valentine’s Day box of chocolate.

As an avid record collector and deejay, one of Dave’s other interests is music. He’s also something of a pop culture historian by virtue of the fact that he spent much of his formative years watching television and films. These days, he plans on spending more time hiking and trying to work off some of the extra calories he’s taken on as one of Choclatique’s taste testers (all in the name of Quality Assurance, of course).

Choclatique by Ed EngoronDave was one of our proofreaders for Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. I don’t know how many times he read the manuscript, but I’m sure he must have been dreaming about recipes for weeks. If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its affects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor