Archive for May, 2012

The Month of June Empanadas

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

On my monthly trips to Lisbon, my friend, Paul Nitschmann, and I usually go out for a drink or two and order some empanadas. Actually empanadas trace their origins to Galicia and Portugal. They first appeared in the Iberian Peninsula before the Renaissance during the time of the Moorish invasions.

A cookbook published in the Catalan language in 1520, Libre del Coch by Ruperto de Nola, mentions empanadas filled with seafood among its recipes of Catalan, Italian, French and Arabian foods. In turn, it is believed that empanadas and the similar calzone are both derived from the Indian meat-filled pies, samosas.

In Portugal, an empanada is prepared similarly to a large pie with a larded crust which is then cut in pieces, making it a portable and hearty meal for working people. The fillings for Portuguese empanada usually includes tuna, sardines, cheese or chorizo (Portuguese sausage), but can instead contain Bacalhau (salted cod) or various cuts of pork. They are then fried and usually served at room temperature.

My dessert empanadas are very different. First of all, they are baked and not fried, and the dough is made with cream cheese instead of butter or lard. They are beautifully light with a rich, full-flavored, spiced chocolate ganache. Make them ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before baking. In you lived in the Northern California area, we used to serve them during the month of June at my Customs House Restaurants. I have never shared this recipe before.

Baked Chocolate Empanadas

empanadas2

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling Time: Overnight
Assembly time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: 2-1/2 dozen

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons extra for rolling
1 cup Azteca Chocolate Ganache (see recipe below)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
The Day Before:

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smoothly blended. Beat in the flour.
  2. Shape dough into a smooth ball, wrap in foil or cling wrap, and refrigerate overnight or up to a week.

At Baking Time:

  1. Remove dough from refrigerator 30 minutes before using. Start heating oven to 375ºF.
  2. Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling service. Roll chilled dough thin. Cut with 3 or 4 inch round cookie cutter. Place about 2 teaspoonfuls of chocolate ganache in center of each round, moisten edges with water.
  3. Fold round over and press edges together.
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the dough before baking.
  5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 17 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately roll in sugar mixed with cinnamon (traditional) OR in confectioners’ sugar if preferred.

Spiced Azteca Dark Chocolate Ganache

I chose Spiced Azteca Chocolate Ganache because the combination of flavors (cinnamon and chili) is a treasure commonly paired with chocolate in Aztec culture and is perfect for empanadas. This is definitely a recipe in which you’ll want to buy the best chocolate you can afford, as you can easily transform this ganache into truly gourmet truffles.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Chilling Time: 3 to 4 hours
Yield: 2 pounds of ganache

Ingredients:
11/4 cups heavy cream
4 cinnamon sticks, about 3 inches long
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1 pound Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
1/2 pound Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate (33%), chopped
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cream, cinnamon sticks and chili powder to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the cinnamon sticks and discard.
  2. Immediately add the chocolate and vanilla to the pan and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 2 hours to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache emulsified.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date, and refrigerate overnight before using.

Note: Ganache will keep refrigerated for up to three months.

ChefSecret: For additional depth of flavor, squeeze some fresh orange zest over the melted ganache and stir into the mixture to release the oils from the skin and complement the fruitiness of the dark chocolate.

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Doctor Mudd’s Chocolate Ice Cream Pie

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Ice Cream Pies were originally made from cookies and cream. These ingredients are combined in such a way as to create a multi-layered rich dessert. My recipe is composed of layers of caramel, espresso fudge and chocolate ice cream built upon a chocolate cookie crust.

Ice cream pies are never baked. They can be made simply for an after dinner dessert or gussied up for a special event. Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham had ice cream pies as their wedding cakes. They are most popular for birthday cakes. The best part is they’re easier to make than one would expect.

Oh, who is Doctor Mudd? Well, he’s the man who created this Chocolate Ice Cream Pie.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Freezing Time: 5 hours
Ready In: 6-1/2 hours
Yield 1 – 9 inch pie
Serves 8 to 10 people

Ingredients:
2 cups chocolate wafers or chocolate graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream, scalded (scald = heat until just below the boiling point)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles (72%)
1/4 cup Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup brewed espresso
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
4 cups chocolate or chocolate chip ice cream, softened

Directions:

  1. Measure all ingredients and have at your side.

For the Crust:

  1. Combine chocolate wafer crumbs and 4 tablespoons butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

For the Caramel Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and the water. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Bring to a boil, and continue boiling without stirring until the syrup turns a light amber. While the syrup is boiling, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet basting brush from time to time to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in scalded cream. Be careful as it will boil up close to the top of the pan. Continue stirring, over low heat until all the caramel is dissolved into the cream.
  3. Stir in 4 tablespoons butter and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Pour the warm caramel sauce over the crust, rolling it up the sides of the crust. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

For the Espresso Fudge Sauce:

  1. Combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, 4 tablespoons butter and espresso in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth.
  2. Add 3/4 cup of sugar and corn syrup; increase heat to medium, and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Increase heat until the sauce reaches a low boil. Cook without stirring until the mixture thickens, about 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful not to scorch.
  4. Remove the espresso fudge sauce from the heat, and cool to room temperature. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the frozen caramel layer, and return the crust to the freezer. Keep remaining sauce just warm enough so that it remains pourable.

To Assemble The Pie:

  1. Spread the softened ice cream over the caramel layer. Return pie to the freezer until firm, about 1 hour. Pour the remaining fudge sauce over the ice cream layer; freeze the whole pie until firm, about 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Wrap a hot wet towel around the springform pan for about 2 minutes to loosen the pie from the pan and then gently remove the sides of the pan.

ChefSecrets: I use a hair drier set on “high” heat blowing air around the springform pan for about 2-3 minutes and then carefully remove the sides of the pan. I always use a good quality ice cream like Häagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s for all of my ice cream pie recipes.

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Does Eating Chocolate Help People Stay Thin?

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

According to a new study recently reported on a segment on CBS News, the best way to stay thin is exercising and eating a healthy diet full of chocolate.

The study found that people who frequently ate chocolate had a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who didn’t.

The study, published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined more than 1,000 healthy men and women who were free of heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol problems. They were all enrolled in another study that measured the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, but for this study researchers assigned them questionnaires that gauged how often participants indulged in chocolate.

The researchers found that the participants with an average age of 57 and ate chocolate on average twice per week and exercised roughly 3.5 times per week had an average BMI, while more frequent chocolate-eaters had smaller BMIs, a ratio of height and weight that’s used to measure obesity.

Even though chocolate can be loaded with calories from fat, it’s full of antioxidants and other ingredients that may promote weight loss, the researchers discovered.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb“I was pretty happy with this news myself,” study author Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, claimed that “Findings show the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining ultimate weight. Our findings – that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI is intriguing,” the authors wrote. However, “It is not a siren call to go out and eat 20 pounds of chocolate a day.”

This isn’t the first study to suggest a daily dose of chocolate can do the body good. Last summer, a study of more than 100,000 people found those who ate the most chocolate were 39 percent less likely to get heart disease and 29 percent less likely to have a stroke. Months later a 10-year study of 33,000 women found a 30 percent reduced risk of stroke among chocoholics.

However experts warn not all chocolate is created equal, and some could contain lots of sugar and calories, which could lead to other health issues if consumed to excess. “I would not want people reading this to think that all [they] need to do to lose weight is eat more chocolate,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center in New Haven, Conn., said, “That would be a huge mistake.” Katz suggests dark chocolate, because of its bitter flavor, may suppress appetite whereas sweet chocolate may stimulate it.

Q-91Choclatique Q-91 is our super-dark, bittersweet, premium chocolate high in cacao mass and rich in flavanols and antioxidants. One of the most pleasant effects of eating Q-91 chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after indulging.

As noted above recent medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Chocolate is a known stimulant and is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Q-91 is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health.

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A Breakfast Fit For Mom on Mother’s Day: Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pancakes

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Don’t you do it! Do not buy another box of pancake mix when it’s so easy to make great, tasting, old fashioned, fluffy chocolate pancakes from scratch with this recipe.

These pancakes are like eating a piece of chocolate cake for breakfast, but the only difference is, that these are kind of healthy! Yup, healthy!! You can make them ahead of time and freeze them and enjoy them for dessert topped with ice cream and maybe some berries. No, it doesn’t sound weird at all to me, but then again I am the ChocolateDoctor. If you make them, you’ll understand. Take two truffles and call me in the morning.

Don’t forget to top them with chocolate butter and a drizzle of a 50/50 blend of maple and chocolate syrups. This is truly “YUM” for the morning breakfast.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 25 minutes
Yield 12 pancakes

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/3 cups milk
1/4 cup Choclatique Dark, Semi-sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in the melted butter, vanilla, egg and milk until combined.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Let the batter rest for 15 minutes to completely rehydrate the flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Preheat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour batter into the hot skillet or griddle—just about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake.
  6. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the sides and center of each pancake. Flip and cook until golden and firm to the touch, about 2 minutes.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Do not confuse Cinco de Mayo with Mexican Independence Day, which is actually on September 16.

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla where the holiday is called El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on that fateful day under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín.

Cinco de Mayo Holiday BrowniesNormally we celebrate at bars around the country where people enjoy tequila shots, Cadillac margaritas and nachos. I decided to add a little chocolate to the equation with my Cinco de Mayo Holiday Brownies. I felt that cinnamon and chili peppers are such an integral part of Mexican cuisine that they were an appropriate addition to an all-American favorite—the brownie. They are the closest flavors to what Montezuma himself may have consumed when he downed nearly 50 golden goblets of a roughly made chocolate beverage.

So enjoy the rich, spicy flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and chili, in this wonderful brownie. Better yet, make it really easy and bake-up a bag of our Choclatique Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix adding in the required cinnamon and chili.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 70 minutes
Yield: About 30 brownies

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large whole eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cups Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablepoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Line a 12×15-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about 3 inches of paper overhanging 2 sides to use as handles to help lift the baked brownies out of the pan.
  3. Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on medium until the butter is about half melted, about 1 minute. Mash the butter with sugar until well combined.
  4. Stir in eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  6. Sift the cocoa, flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and baking powder into a bowl. Sprinkle in the salt.
  7. Mix the flour and cocoa mixture into the butter and sugar mixture, stirring to blend well. Fold in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 20 to 25 minutes.
  9. Let cool in the pan, and use parchment paper handles to remove the brownies for slicing.

ChefSecret: Make it Authentic! If you can find Mexican cinnamon (canela) in a local ethnic store, use it in place of the traditional bottled ground cinnamon for a real holiday flavor.

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