Archive for March, 2012

Winter Treats

Friday, March 30th, 2012

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

SocalI feel for those of you who say it’s below zero where you live—it’s about 75º here in Southern California. Bless your hearts if you find yourself in the deep freeze. Cold days, hot meals and warm hearts! Your family loves comforting winter recipes that warm you from the inside out. From tasty beverages and treats to hearty breakfasts, lunches and dinners, chocolate meal and dessert ideas will keep you and your family smiling all winter long. The best part is the sun will be shining soon.

Chili-Day Chocolate Cookies

Chili-Day Chocolate CookiesChocolate and Chili go so well together. Here is a winter-day favorite that brings out the flavors of the deep, dark chocolate, coffee, chili and spices. It is a marriage made in heaven and one that will warm the cockles of your heart. Oh, these are equally yummy during the spring and summer.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
2 tablespoons Kahlua® liqueur
2 teaspoons cold strong coffee
4 ounces Choclatique Ebony Bittersweet Chocolate Dark Chocolate
2 ounces Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper sprayed with pan release.
  3. Combine the currants, coffee liqueur and coffee in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat and remove from heat immediately.
  4. Combine the bittersweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate, and butter in a bowl and heat in a microwave oven set on medium at 15 second intervals stirring just until the chocolate melts. Be careful not to burn. Set aside.
  5. Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a bowl; set aside.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy and pale yellow in color, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract; stir.
  7. Beat the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until well combined.
  8. Pour the currants and chocolate chips into the mixture; then fold in the flour mixture and stir until evenly combined.
  9. Scoop 2-tablespoon (or use a 340 scoop) portions onto the prepared baking sheets with enough space between so they do not run together—they will spread on the sheet.
  10. Bake until barely set, about 12 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool on the sheets until they set slightly, about 5 minutes, before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

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A Comfort Food—Authentically American

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

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

Comfort FoodWhat would we do without our comfort foods? Well, we would be far less comfortable around the dining room table. Comfort Foods are prepared in a traditional manner and usually have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. They are often simply easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest, filling and rich in calories, nutrients or both. Comfort Foods come and go in popularity often affected by the financial climate. Most often in America Comfort Foods have a nostalgic element either to an individual, region or a specific culture like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and, of course, chocolate—Choclatique Chocolate. Comfort Foods pique emotions to relieve the negative psychological effects of stress or to increase positive feelings.

Comfort Foods have been the subject of many studies since the term was first coined in 1977. College-students divide Comfort Foods into four categories—nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods.

Stress EatingIn one study of American Comfort Food preferences, males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age. The consumption of Comfort Foods is triggered by positive emotions in men, and by negative emotions in women. The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women.

The recipe below is an Authentically American Comfort Food dessert that will trigger only the most beneficial emotions in men and women—both young and old and has the comfort elements of chocolate and peanuts.

Silky Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Butter Crunch

If you love the ”comforty” combination of chocolate and peanut butter you will fall in lust with this luscious, elegant, rich milk-chocolate dessert mousse crowned with a roasted-peanut cream and an addictively crunchy cornflake topping mixed with peanut butter, milk chocolate and peanuts.

Ingredients for the Peanut Cream:

3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped

Ingredients for the Mousse:

2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 pounds milk chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 ounces Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
9 large egg yolks

Ingredients for the Crunch:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 ounces Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions for the Peanut Cream:

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer with the chopped peanuts. Let the peanuts and cream stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Strain the peanut cream into a medium bowl; discard the chopped peanuts. Wipe out the saucepan, add back the cream and bring to a simmer.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin and chopped white chocolate until melted and well blended. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate the peanut cream until it is set, about 2 hours.

For the Mousse:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until boiling. Put the milk chocolate and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl and add the hot cream. Let stand until melted, then whisk until very smooth; let it cool.
  2. In another small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg yolks at high speed until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup while beating at high speed; be careful not to pour the syrup directly onto the beaters. Beat until the mixture is cool, pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture until no streaks remain. Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1-1/2 hours.

For the Crunch:

  1. Line a medium baking sheet with wax paper. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and chocolate at high power at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in the cornflakes and peanuts and spread the mixture on the baking sheet in a 1/2-inch layer. Freeze until firm, about 1-1/2 hours. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Spoon the mousse into 8 glasses or small serving bowls and top each with a scoop of the peanut cream. Sprinkle with the peanut crunch and serve.

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Yay! Cupcakes Are Here To Stay!

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

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

CupcakeIn my new book, Choclatique (Running Press), I wrote that the best birthday party I ever had was my eighth where mom made old-fashioned, Texas State Fair-style corndogs and chocolate cupcakes. Now this was many years ago when you could find cupcakes in any little bakery. They were nothing special—just something else to fill the display case made with the leftover cake batter and decorated with that inexpensive chocolate compound frosting. At holiday time they would top them with a few sprinkles to add to the festive mood.

Chocolate CupcakesI was always partial to the chocolate cupcakes from Royal Bakery just outside Beverly Hills. This was our family’s one-stop bakery; they made really great breads and pretty good pastry. The cupcakes were a nickel a piece. I could put down about 3 at a time. When they raised the price on them, mom put me on a 1950’s style austerity diet and limited me to just one—which was probably a good thing.

And then the unthinkable happened… cupcakes all but disappeared. They were no longer displayed between the Bavarians and the Danish. You could still find Hostess crème filled “belly bombers” in the grocery aisle, but cupcakes were nowhere to be found in the bakery.

SprinklesSo you can imagine I got all excited when the first Sprinkles opened about a mile east of our office in Beverly Hills. Now, if you have had your head in the sand for the past 5 years or so and don’t know about them, Sprinkles is the store that single-handedly brought back cupcakes. I like to call it the Sprinkles Phenomena. These are not just any cupcakes, but these are designer cupcakes made with different batters and frostings, well merchandised and uniquely decorated in and sold in an upscale environment that always seems to have a block-long line of hungry customers, devoted Hollywood stars and serious epicureans alike trying to get in. That’s not all that got upscaled—somewhere along the line the price per single cupcake rose to $3.50 each or $39 a dozen.

Cupcake ShopAs you can imagine, since Sprinkles first opened, locally owned cupcake shops have been popping up all over the place. While some have argued that this trend won’t last, the plethora and popularity of shops opening up all over the U.S. —and now the world—say otherwise. There is even an entire Food Network competition celebrating the cupcake.

Of course, many of us have our own favorite cupcake shop near to where we live, but during these troubled times a $3.50 cupcake is rather dear, so why not make your own? As a chocolate cupcake fanatic and a pastry chef, I still like to make my original recipe which tastes pretty much like the cupcakes I used to get from the long-gone Royal Bakery. Why not give my recipe a try?

The ChocolateDoctor’s Easy-to-Make Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy-To-Make Chocolate Cupcake
Total Time: 35 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 22 minutes

Makes: 12-14 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note: Use the best cocoa powder you can afford; it makes a difference.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F, then turn it down to 350º F just prior to baking.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, cream the butter until it is soft, then add the sugar. Beat about 4 minutes longer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until they are well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate them.
  5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar and beat it just to combine. Add 1/2 of the liquids (milk and vanilla), scrape down bowl and beat to combine. Continue adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately. Finish with the dry ingredients. Do not over-mix.
  6. Fill muffin tins 2/3′s of the way and bake for about 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool before decorating.

Old Fashioned, Delicious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1/4 pound (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, plus a few tablespoons to adjust consistency
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat the butter and the cocoa until smooth, then add the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating with each addition.
  2. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat for about 3 minutes.
  3. Using a disposable pastry bag pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes.
  4. “Sprinkle” with Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls & Real Chocolate Decoratifs.

ChefSecret: This is a great starter recipe for kids and newlyweds.

Choclatique by Ed EngoronIf you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime 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.

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Authentically American

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

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

Made In USAI’m old enough to remember when the words, Made in America, printed on the back of a label still meant something. It stood for both functional and innovative products made by caring United States labor.

Evening NewsNow I don’t have to watch the evening news to realize finding Made in America products has become a challenge. I tried to take a simple test this week to “buy American” and it was hard for me to identify eco-friendly, stylish items that are both beautiful and affordable and Made in America. There are still small, innovative companies, like Choclatique that are proving that job creation, manufacturing pride and technological innovation still allow U.S.-based companies to win the battle to survive in this challenging economy, but they are few and far between.

Manufacturing JobsMany people think only about price when making a purchase. They should also think about the quality of what they are buying and where it is manufactured… not only for the carbon footprint, but also to keep people employed in the United States. For the last 150 years, a factory job was an opportunity to step into the middle class—and to ensure opportunities for the next generation. In the past twenty years, we have let many manufacturing jobs slip away—shipped precious equipment and knowhow overseas neglecting to pass down the intellectual knowledge base to our offspring thus crippling our ability to preserve the manufacturing sector for future generations.

FordFinally, some of our leaders are starting to understand that this may very well be our undoing and they have begun a return to a somewhat ethnocentric view of purchasing items that are made in the USA, not only to preserve jobs and skills, but also to assure they’re purchasing quality products. The manufacturers must also continue their emphasis on quality and remain focused on being price-conscious as well. This is the only way to ensure that the manufacturing sector will begin to rebound.

Hot Fudge Sundae TruffleWhen we started Choclatique, one of our marketing group co-workers’ children was celebrating his 11th birthday with a box of Choclatique chocolate truffles. After eating Root Beer Float and Hot Fudge Sundae truffles he declared to his dad that these were Authentically American. First thing Monday morning, Tom came in with our new tag line thought up by his son.

Chocolate MoldsThese two words help us continue to execute our company mission. It became an imperative to buy as much Made in America products as possible. Choclatique’s procurement policy is to buy sustainable, American-made and sourced products. Obviously there is very little chocolate grown in the United States—just a few farms on the Hawaiian Islands. But all of our chocolate is processed right here in California along with all of our natural flavors, extracts and compounds. Double-faced satin ribbon is made in New England, molds are made in Buffalo. Everything chocolate we make is made right here in our California Chocolate Studios by professional artists and chocolatiers who are all American citizens or craftsmen and women with legal status to work in the United States. We are proud to be Americans and support the United States economy.

Chocolate ChipsLike this week’s blog above, I want to share an Authentically American easy-to-make recipe—No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares—that uses American Chocolate from Choclatique, Grape Jelly from Smucker’s and Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter made from US-grown peanuts. I hope you enjoy it.

The ChocolateDoctor’s No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter SquaresTotal Time: 45 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 24 squares

This is one of those habit forming Authentically American favorites that everyone remembers from their childhood—only better. It has a layer of creamy sweet peanut butter topped with jelly and a layer of chocolate. It is similar to those famous peanut butter cups you find in an orange wrapper, but with an added treat of the grape jelly. This recipe is quick and simple to make, requires no baking and is luscious and fulfilling every time.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter
2 cups creamy peanut butter (I prefer Skippy)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup Concord grape jelly (I prefer Smucker’s)
2 cups (12 ounces) Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/4 pound (1 stick) of the butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and graham cracker crumbs. This will make a stiff dough for the base.
  2. Spread dough in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Press down evenly. Next, evenly spread the jelly over the graham cracker base. Refrigerate while making the next steps.
  3. Melt remaining 1/4 pound (1 stick) of butter over low heat or in a microwave oven. Add the chocolate chips and continue to heat. When the chocolate is soft, stir gently. Continue heating until lumps are all melted. Stir, and then spread this mixture over the peanut butter layer.
  4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, and then cut into squares. Store covered in the refrigerator.

If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its effects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great anytime 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.

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Simplicity

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

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

WikipediaSimplicity, as defined by Wikipedia, is the state or quality of being simple. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. Something is simple or complex depending on the way we choose to describe it.

Happy FamilyIn my book, I share a series of my philosophies—Box-top Wisdom. Here is one that fits especially well during these hectic times. ”I subscribe to simplicity when it allows mankind to spend his or her valuable time improving humanity, inspiring youth, preserving the family & raising our consciousness for the foods provided by the Creator.”

Crazy PeopleSo I’m taking it to heart. Rather than talk about a lot of the technical aspects of chocolate or our crazy politicians that make me see red, I thought I would introduce you to some delicious, new, easy-to-make recipes that require the ingredients you probably already have available in your own pantry or you can find on our website.

ChocolateIn some cases, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity or clarity. And, that is the essence of the Old Fashioned Cheesecake recipe referenced below. All things being equal, the simplest cheesecake is the most likely to be the best. By living a simple lifestyle, you don’t have to deny yourself the niceties such as chocolate and cheesecake. So pull out your mixer and begin.

The ChocolateDoctor’s Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate CheesecakeI was once told that you should never serve cheesecake of chocolate with a seafood dinner. This admonishment never stopped the owner of the famous Palm Restaurant in New York City. They always had a great New York Cheesecake and something chocolate on the menu. When I opened the original Fanny’s Fish Market in Foster City I figured, “What the heck—go for it” and went for them both. Here is the simplest and most delectable cheesecake in my recipe box that goes well with everything even as a great dessert after a fish or lobster dinner.

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (lots of waiting time)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 50 to 60 minutes, plus 60 minutes resting time
Cooling Time: 12 to 24 hours

Serves 12 to 16

Ingredients:

9 oz. (1 box) thin chocolate wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups (12 ounces) Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
2 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine chocolate wafer crumbs and butter. Spray the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with flavorless vegetable spray. Pat firmly into a 10-inch springform pan, covering the bottom and 3-inches up sides. (You can use the back of a spoon or a drinking glass to squeeze the crust into every nook and cranny.) Chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  3. Heat the cream in a microwave oven (do not boil). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and cocoa powder with the cream cheese beating until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla, mixing until blended. Pour into the prepared crust.
  5. Bake at 300º F. for 50 to 60 minutes. The filling should be slightly jiggly. Don’t worry, the cake will firm up when chilled.
  6. Turn the oven off. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven with door ajar for about 1 hour. Remove, cool completely.
  7. Chill the cheesecake for 12 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. To finish, decorate the edges of the cheesecake with whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate curls.

ChefSecret: To make an extra smooth cheesecake wrap the bottom of the springform pan with plastic wrap and foil to prevent leaking during baking before filling with the cake batter. After filling put the springform pan in a large roasting pan and set it on the extended middle rack of the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil and plastic wrap will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake at 325º F.

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