Archive for February, 2013

ChocolateDoctor’s Nutty Chocolate Torrone (Old-Fashioned Italian Nougat Candy)

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

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

Nutty Chocolate TorroneThe simple fact is that Torrone’s precise origin has been lost to time. One legend claims that Torrone (“big tower” in Italian) was invented for a medieval wedding in the Italian city of Cremona. However, this story does not preclude the more probable history of the confection, which some historians believe originated in ancient Greece or Rome and suggests a Sicilian introduction of Torrone into Europe, via the Arabs in the twelfth century. It is entirely possible that similar confections were invented during the same early period in China, Persia and the Mediterranean.

I usually make Torrone around Christmas or Easter. This is a fluffy white, delicious, orange and chocolate flavored Italian nougat candy. Rosa Giardinieri (Rosa’s Italian Restaurant) would always give a small box Torrone to each guest as they left her restaurant. She would always say it reminded her of communion in her church in Sicily. And, why not… eating Rosa’s homemade Torrone is a religious experience.

Don’t let reading this recipe intimidate you. It is amazingly easy to make—just a little time consuming. You can make this in many flavors, lemon, vanilla, orange to name but a few. Little squares of fluffy Torrone nougat candy is quite a treat and an old fashioned Italian tradition.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: About 24 pieces

Ingredients:
Edible wafer paper (rice paper), enough for 2 layers in pan (see ChefSecret below)
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 large egg whites
1 cup honey
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup of Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon orange oil or 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups toasted, shelled pistachios, hazelnut or almonds

Directions:

  1. On the bottom of a 9 x13-inch baking pan place the wafer paper without overlapping the edges and set aside.
  2. Sprinkle a clean surface with cornstarch.
  3. Break the egg whites into bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture just begins to simmer, about 4 minutes to make the nougat.
  5. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan; continue to heat, stirring occasionally.
  6. Beat whites until stiff peaks form; add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder, and beat until combined.
  7. When thermometer registers 315 degrees, remove nougat mixture from heat. Temperature will rise to about 320 degrees. Continue to stir until temperature drops to 300 degrees about 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment running, slowly and carefully pour the hot nougat mixture into the egg-white mixture add orange oil (at this point, whites will double in volume; let stand a few seconds; volume will return to normal). Beat until mixture thickens. The nougat will begin to stick to beaters when nearly done.
  9. Fold in the nuts.
  10. Pour the mixture onto cornstarch-covered surface; knead about 5 turns.
  11. Stretch and roll to fit pan. When fully stretched place the mixture in pan. Cover with another layer of the wafer paper pressing down to get it to stick; let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  12. Cut into slices (1 x 1/2-inch pieces) wrap with parchment paper twisting the ends.
  13. Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Torrone can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

ChefSecret: Edible wafer paper (sometimes called rice paper) is available at baking-supply stores and online at Amazon.com. It can also be used to decorate cakes, cupcakes, candy and cookies.

Torrone is best made in winter, when temperatures are cool and dry. If made on a warm, humid day, Torrone may be sticky and not set properly.

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The ChocolateDoctor Chocolate Filled Valentine Heart Cookies

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

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

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 3 hours
Servings: 60 cookies

Robert Heinlein once said, “Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” And once again Cupid is calling and what better way to your Valentine’s Heart than with a cookie—a heart-shaped cookie. This Valentine’s Day make a wonderfully peppermint-flavored chocolate filled cookie hearts Each cookie is drizzled with 2 different icings, one milk chocolate, the other peppermint pink.

Heart CookiesIngredients for the cookies:
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Ingredients for the chocolate filling:
1 3/4 cups Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)

Ingredients for the peppermint drizzle:
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 drop peppermint extract, or to taste
1 drop red food coloring, or as needed
4 1/4 teaspoons whole milk, or as needed

Ingredients for the chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup Choclatique Heirloom Milk Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening

Directions for the cookies:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  2. With an electric mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter, 3/4 cup shortening, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, 1/4 cup milk and 1-1/2 teaspoons of peppermint extract.
  4. Gradually beat in the flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms soft dough. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, cover and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  6. To make filling, melt 1-3/4 cups of milk chocolate pastilles with 2 tablespoons of vegetable shortening in the top of a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Stir the mixture until very smooth, and remove the filling from the heat to cool and slightly thicken.
  7. Remove one piece of cookie dough from refrigerator at a time, and working on a floured surface, roll the cookie dough out 1/8-inch thick cutting 120 hearts (total) with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place half the hearts onto ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Carefully spread the hearts with about a teaspoon of the chocolate filling, avoiding the edges, and top each with another heart cookie. Gently pinch the edges of both cookies together to enclose the filling.
  9. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes until firm.
  10. Let the cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets before removing to finish cooling on racks.

Directions for the peppermint drizzle:

  1. Mix together the confectioners’ sugar, 1 drop of peppermint extract (to taste), red food coloring to your desired shade of pink or red, and milk as needed in a bowl to make a smooth, thin icing.

Directions for the chocolate drizzle:

  1. Melt 1/4 cup of milk chocolate pastilles with 2 teaspoons of vegetable shortening over hot (not boiling) water in a double boiler; stir and heat until the mixture is thin enough to drip in strings from a spoon.

Directions for decorating:

  1. Drizzle each cooled cookie with a little peppermint drizzle on one side, and a little chocolate drizzle on the other. Let the cookies stand so the drizzle sets, about 30 minutes.

ChefSecret: Do not thicken the chocolate filling too much or it will become hard to spread and will tear the fragile cookie dough. If you have enough chocolate filling left over you can use it to drizzle instead of making the chocolate drizzle. You will have to rework the trim from the dough in order to get the full 60 count on the cookies.

If you’re looking for those special words to for that special person here are my best Valentine’s Day Borrow-A-Quotes:

Heart 1I 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

Heart 2The love we give away is the only love we keep.

Elbert Hubbard

Heart 3Infantile 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

Heart 4Love doesn’t make the world go ’round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.

Franklin P. Jones

Heart 5There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.

George Sand

Heart 6There is no remedy for love but to love more.

Henry David Thoreau

Heart 7A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.

Ingrid Bergman

Heart 8Love 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

Heart 9Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.

John Lennon

Heart 10Where there is love there is life.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Heart 11The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

Mother Teresa

Heart 12Do you love me because I’m beautiful, or am I am beautiful because you love me?

Oscar Hammerstein, II

Heart 13Each 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.

From The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

Heart 14Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

Birches
Robert Frost

Heart 15Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

Robert Heinlein

Heart 16If I know what love is, it is because of you.

Herman Hesse

Heart 17I love you; Not only for what you are But for what I am when I am in love with you.

Robert Croft

Heart 18Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

St. Augustine

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Happy Valentine’s Day Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Love Cookies

Thursday, February 7th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

When certain foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes and to retain moisture. I use minced red beets in many of my chocolate cake recipes.

Red Velvet cake was made famous by Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Now you can find Red Velvet cupcakes most anywhere at places like Sprinkles which specializes in a line of very unique cupcakes.

So, I thought if you can “red velvet” cakes and cupcakes, why not cookies? My Valentine’s Day Red Velvet cookie recipe has a light cocoa flavor, is deliciously chewy, gorgeously red and most scrumptiously delicious! Red Velvet is a delicate combination of cocoa and vanilla flavor blended so one does not stand out from the other. If you use too much cocoa, not only does it take the flavor out of balance, it muddies up the beautiful, pure red color.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 9 to 11 minutes
Ready In: 20 minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon canned red beets, minced
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. In a mixing bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the vinegar and beets continuing to blend until completely incorporated.
  5. Mix in the egg.
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and red food color and mix until completely blended and the color is red throughout the dough.
  7. With mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Do not over-mix or the cookies will get tough.
  8. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  9. Scoop the dough out by the heaping tablespoonful and shape into balls. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for 9 to 11 minutes in the center of the oven turning the baking sheet half-way through.
  10. Allow the cookies to cool on cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.
  11. If you don’t eat them all at once you can store the cookies in an airtight container.

ChefSecret: If you want more chocolate flavor you can easily substitute the white chips with Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Chip-Cherry Monkey Bread

Friday, February 1st, 2013

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

Monkey BreadOriginal recipes for the Monkey Bread (sometimes called Puzzle Bread) first appeared in American women’s magazines after World War II. It is a very traditional, mid-western bread most often served for breakfast.

The traditional Monkey Bread is usually made with pieces of sweet yeast dough (often frozen) which are baked in a cake pan on high heat after first being individually covered in melted butter, cinnamon, sugar and chopped pecans. It is traditionally served hot so that the baked segments can be easily torn away with the fingers and eaten by hand. At Choclatique, I’ve given the classic Monkey Bread a make-over with the addition of chocolate. It can be a family-pleasing breakfast bread or a hot dessert served after dinner drizzled with a little chocolate sauce.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 to 55 minutes
Ready In: 60 to 65 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans (12 oz. each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9- or 10-inch Bundt pan.
  2. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder in a plastic bag.
  3. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Shake 6 to 8 biscuit pieces at a time in the sugar mix.
  4. Place the pieces in the bottom of the well buttered pan arranging chocolate chips and chopped cherries as you go.
  5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture between each layer of dough.
  6. Continue until all the biscuit pieces are coated and placed in the pan.
  7. In small bowl, mix the brown sugar and the melted butter until smooth and pour over the biscuit pieces.
  8. Bake 45 to 50 minutes on the bottom rack or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center.
  9. Allow the bread to rest for 10 minutes.
  10. Invert the pan onto a baking sheet or a large plate to serve. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart. Serve warm.

ChefSecret: Monkey Bread can also be layered with Choclatique Heirloom Milk Chocolate Pastilles in place of Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips.

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