Archive for August, 2013

The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate Chip Lemon Brownies

Friday, August 30th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Our customers love our Snowy White Chocolate! In fact, more customers purchase our 10-pound blocks of white chocolate than blocks of Dark or Milk Chocolate which is counter to most consumer trends. No kidding, there are days when we send out hundreds of pounds of Snowy White Chocolate. We wanted to find out why, so we inserted a questionnaire in every box of Snowy White that we shipped to see what recipes customers were making. I thought it would be fun to share some of the best of the best recipes that were sent.

If you love yummy, tart lemon bars then this recipe is one you’re going to want to make immediately. It is more or less a traditional lemon bar with the addition of Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate and White Chocolate Chips. Please use fresh lemon juice and zest—it makes a big difference.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 25 to 27 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients:
For the brownie:

2 tablespoons lemon zest, freshly grated
3 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (plus a little more for the pan)
1/3 cup Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, melted
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Chips

For the tart lemon glaze:
1 rounded cup powdered sugar
8 teaspoons lemon zest
4 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Butter and flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan, shaking out the excess flour and set aside.
    3. Zest and juice the two lemons and set aside.
    4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the flour, sugar, salt and softened butter until combined.
    5. Add the melted white chocolate and continue to mix.
    6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.
    7. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
    8. Fold in the white chocolate chips.
    9. Pour into baking dish and bake for 25-27 minutes, you should start to see the edges turn a light golden brown. Do not overbake, or the bars will be too dry.
    10. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
    11. Sift the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.
    12. Spread half the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let the glaze set for about 10 minutes.
    13. Spread the other half of the glaze over the bars, and let it set (it will not harden like most lemon glaze bars).
    14. Cut into bars and serve.

ChefSecret: Lightly coat the chocolate chips with a dusting of all-purpose flour before folding in to the batter. This will prevent the chocolate chips for settling to the bottom of the bar while baking.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Batter Fresh Fruit Cobbler

Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Batter cobblers are a lazy baker’s rustic country pie. Well, maybe that’s an over-generalization. However you classify them, they are the perfect dessert for a summer dinner or afternoon picnic. They’re easy to make. They transport easily and don’t require any refrigeration. All this being said, they are as delicious as any American pie and you don’t have to worry about nicking the ends of the crust and damaging that picture-perfect look. In fact, you won’t find a simpler, more delicious homemade dessert than a fruit cobbler. I added a Choclatique touch to the batter with a little cocoa powder. Go ahead and splurge and top it with a little freshly-whipped Cinnamon Chantilly or a scoop of ice cream.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 40 to 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Nutra Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 cups of sliced fresh Freestone peaches
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon crystalline sugar

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position, and heat oven to 350º F.
  2. Put butter in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan (cast iron works best); set in oven to melt. When butter has melted, remove pan from oven.
  3. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the milk; whisk to form a smooth batter.
  4. Pour batter into pan, and then scatter fruit over evenly over the batter. Sprinkle the lemon juice and zest over the fruit. Sprinkle with crystalline sugar.
  5. Do not mix. As the cobbler bakes the batter will rise up over the fruit creating a flaky, crisp pastry.
  6. Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream, a small scoop of ice cream, or my Cinnamon Chantilly (see recipe below), if desired.

ChefSecret: If you don’t have fresh peaches you can use nectarines, or whole blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, pitted cherries or a combination of fruits. You can also use a 12-ounce package of frozen berries.

Cinnamon Chantilly

Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk to stiff peaks.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Tracking Down the Source of Chocolate: Equatorial Guinea

Friday, August 9th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I have had four careers in the last 45 years….a producer for ABC-TV covering the war in Vietnam, an art director and director in the film industry, a restaurateur with over 350 establishments and the co-founder of Choclatique. I’ve shot great action films and been shot at. I have directed famous and popular movie stars and have been credited with producing one of the top ten worst movies in history. I’ve opened restaurants that have been spectacular successes and one which was a spectacular failure. The most fun I have had has been the development of the brand and the fantastic products we make at Choclatique.

Last month I spent several weeks in Equatorial Guinea which, up until the mid twentieth century, was a large exporter of cocoa beans. I was in search of discovering great chocolate on the Dark Continent (If you prepare the recipe for Sofitel’s Cold, Welcoming Chocolate Beverage you will see and taste exactly what I mean about great chocolate). The Spanish brought a cocoa culture to Spanish Guinea, now known as Equatorial Guinea, West Africa in the late 1700’s.

Equatorial Guinea is on the west coast of equatorial Africa, bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the south and east. Malabo, the capital, is exactly 3 degrees north of the equator (I proved this out with my trusty iPhone compass and GPS system). It has the perfect climate and just the right amount of rainfall to grow great cacao, the fruit from which chocolate is made. A tiny country, it is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. This includes the mainland (Río Muni), as well as three coastal islets (Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico) and two islands (Bioko and Annobóon). The larger of these is Bioko, formerly known as Fernando Po which is 25 miles off the coast of Cameroon. Mangrove swamps lie along the coast of the island. Río Muni is mainly tropical rain forest and is home to a variety of animals, including gorillas, snakes, chimpanzees, monkeys, leopards, elephants, and crocodiles.

Bioko was most important because of its cocoa plantations and proved to be one of Spain’s most profitable territories in Africa. When the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, the Spanish began to invest more in the development of Equatorial Guinea. The country experienced increasing prosperity with the aid of the Spanish government and the Catholic Church. Industry grew, and cocoa and timber contributed to a strong economy.

Independence was declared in 1968. With the departure of Spain the country was left in dire straits. Many of the plantations were deserted and reclaimed by the rain forest. Today the country is rebuilding and establishing a great degree of political and economic stability. With the discovery of oil and other valuable natural resources their efforts are noticeable. On Bioko, the majority of the population lives in the City of Malabo, which is Equatorial Guinea’s capital. The city is clean, and its older architecture exhibits Spanish influence while the new buildings resemble the skyline of a major American city. There are new roads being built and construction cranes throughout the city showcase the efforts of Turkish and Chinese contractors.

The main foods are cassava root, bananas, rice, papaya, mango and yams. People also hunt and fish for protein. Palm wine and malamba (an alcoholic drink made from sugarcane) are both mild and popular.

Before independence, Equatorial Guinea’s primary source of income was from Spanish-grown cocoa production. With their departure, production fell significantly leaving plantations to be reclaimed by the jungle. Over the last couple of weeks I hiked into the jungle to find these old plantations and see for myself what remained of these vast growing areas. I was pleasantly surprised to see many old heirloom plants had survived the neglect and lack of attended cultivation. The cacao I found is most likely Forastero or Criollo (only testing will tell for sure). I estimate that the trees are probably about 200 years old and may very will be derived from the ancient cacao plants that would have been found in ancient Aztec civilizations and shipped to the colony.

Like superb wine and premium olive oils, fine chocolates all carry a signature flavor. Their distinctive flavors start with the original ingredient… the cacao bean. Wine grapes vary by varietal, region of origin, harvesting methods and weather. So, too, do cacao beans with the additional complications caused by the remoteness of the growing area and the fermenting and drying environment. Sophisticated connoisseurs of chocolate claim they can identify the country of origin, cacao tree type and processing methods; and can detect whether a chocolate comprises beans from a single estate (“terroir”) or blends. I’m pretty good at tasting, but not that good.

Before the mapping of the cacao genus a couple of years ago it was thought that there were only three varieties of heirloom cacao: the Criollo, the Trinitario and the Forastero. This is now being rethought as testing is proving that there may be more varieties than originally thought. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) now has the technology to help identify and map the various plants around the world.

Grown mainly in Central America, the Criollo represents only 1% of world’s fine chocolate production. Some exceptionally rare Criollo is harvested only by dugout canoe deep in the Amazon rainforest. Its cacao is fine and sweet, with complex flavor notes. The Forastero, grown largely in West Africa and South America, comprises about 80 percent of world’s fine chocolate production and has a strong, bold taste. The Trinitario is a flavorful bean and contains qualities of both trees and is grown throughout the world, producing about five percent of world fine chocolate output.

The most exciting part of the venture which eclipsed most everything else was the national energy to make a better life for all of the people who live there. It is more than just the construction of new buildings and roads and the discovery of oil which pays for much of it. It is the people who were most giving and hospitable. With all that is going on in the world today it was great to be welcomed as an American and treated so well by everyone I met and worked with. I am looking forward to returning back later in the year.

Choclatique creates chocolate for connoisseurs and for people who just love great chocolate. Our award-winning truffles and bars demonstrate our attention to artistic presentation and flavor perfection. Every day, our chocolatiers craft each piece using the finest ingredients. We use our premium blends of dark, milk and white chocolate made from premium cacao beans from around the world. And we continually search for rare and emerging cacao plantations from which we can source. We use only the finest ingredients: fresh cream and butter; and the finest liqueurs, nuts, fruits and spices. The secret to our success is allowing the natural chocolate flavors to dominate our truffles. We don’t use artificial flavors or preservatives.

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