Archive for January, 2014

The ChocolateDoctor’s Insalata Caprese de Valentine With Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Friday, January 31st, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The original Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is made from cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and is not a vinegar in the usual sense. It has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages (as early as 1046). Balsamic vinegar is highly praised and most often used by chefs and food lovers.

I commonly use Balsamic vinegar for salad dressing and meat marinades together with a little olive oil. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Jonathan and I came up with a wonderful dressing using two ancient ingredients—Balsamic vinegar and Choclatique chocolate. We found the two flavors to be complimentary resulting in one of the most delicious dressings we’ve ever tasted for a Caprese Salad. You can put the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes and the results will be winning you praise for many Valentine’s Days to come.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 – 1 oz. servings

Ingredients:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Chocolate Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles
1/3 cup balsamic reduction
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 5 turns on a grinder)
1 tablespoon extra fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction

For the Caprese Salad:
6 slices large beefsteak tomato
6 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons chocolate vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 leaves fresh basil

Directions:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

  1. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by about two-thirds.
  3. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, the reduction should be a light syrup consistency.

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Place the olive oil in a glass bowl and heat in a microwave for 45-60 seconds.
  2. Add the chocolate to the olive oil and whisk together until they form a smooth emulsion. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar reduction. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. While whisking, slowly drizzle the cooled oil mixture into the vinegar reduction.
  5. Hold at room temperature and set aside.

Assembling the Salad:

  1. Starting with tomato, alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella on a dinner plate. Three slices of each for each serving.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle one tablespoon of the vinaigrette over and around the tomatoes and mozzarella.

ChefSecret: An easy way to see if your vinegar has reduced enough is to dip the back of a metal spoon into the vinegar and let it cool for a minute. Then run your finger along the back of the spoon to check its consistency. If the swipe mark holds without running at all, then your vinegar is ready. The French say that your sauce has reached the nappé stage.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor

The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate-Cinnamon English Muffins

Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

English muffins are related to crumpets. They are a morning staple in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. They are first griddle cooked and then baked. They are best served toasted, topped with butter, honey, jellies and jams. They also make great breakfast sandwiches layered with bacon, ham or sausage, egg and cheese. They are usually found in a wide variety of flavors, including whole wheat, cinnamon raisin, cranberry, apple cinnamon and now Choclatique Chocolate.

You might remember I purchased a 6-inch heart-shaped mold for my Valentine’s Day Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes. Don’t you just love it? I am not one for buying single use implements, but I stretched the value by making heart-shaped Chocolate-Cinnamon English Muffins. These muffins are perfect for any breakfast, but will really light up your love’s life for Valentine’s Day. They keep well for about 3 months frozen.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Proof Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 2 hours
Yield: Makes about 5 muffins

Ingredients:
For the Orange Butter:

8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced

For the English Muffins:
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110º F)
1/4 cup melted shortening
6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup of Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, sifted
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
For the Orange Butter:

  1. Combine the butter and orange zest in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip for 60 seconds.

For the Muffins:

  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let the yeast stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast mixture, shortening, 3 cups of flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Beat until very smooth. Add the salt and the rest of flour or enough flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and roll into a ball.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise, about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down the dough. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 6” heart shaped mold.
  6. Preheat an oven to 375° F.
  7. Sprinkle waxed or parchment paper with cornmeal and set the hearts on top to rise. Also dust the tops of muffins very lightly with cornmeal. Cover with food film and let rise for about 1/2 hour.
  8. Heat a greased griddle. Cook muffins on the griddle for about 2 minutes on each side on medium heat.
  9. Transfer the muffins to a parchment lined baking pan and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
  11. When ready to use, fork split the muffins and toast.
  12. Serve with orange butter or cream cheese and jam.

ChefSecret: English muffins are griddled, not usually baked. With the addition of cocoa powder I found that a quick griddle and bake prevented the chocolate from scorching.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Valentine’s Chocolate Bagels

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The original roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old. Bagels are hand-shaped to form a ring of yeast raised wheat dough, which is first boiled for a short time in salted, sweetened water and then baked. But being an unabashed chocolatier I have no shame and added a taste of chocolate to the old standard recipe. The finished result is a dense, chewy, chocolate-flavored interior with a browned and crisp exterior. While ordinary bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, I improvised with a coating of raw sugar giving each bagel a brûlée-style crust that is irresistible—just like me. Hey give me a break, it’s Valentine’s!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Proof Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 Bagels

Ingredients:
3 cups bread flour, divided in half
2 teaspoons malt powder
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornmeal, or as needed to prevent sticking
8 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup crystalline or raw sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine half of the flour with the malt, cocoa powder, yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover and set aside at room temperature until foamy and doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, chocolate chips, sugar and the second half of the flour into the flour-water mixture. Knead with the dough hook of the stand mixer until it forms into a smooth, elastic ball that pulls away from the sides. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Flour your hands, remove the dough and gently form it into a ball. Place it back in the bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 8 equally-sized pieces, about 3.5 ounces each. Form each piece into a ball and poke a hole in the center, stretching to create an open and even-sized hole. Place on a floured surface, sprinkle with additional flour, cover with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  6. Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal.
  7. Bring 8 cups water, 1 tablespoon salt and honey to a boil in a wide, deep pan. Working in batches, boil 2 to 3 bagels for 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
  8. Place bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg and dip the tops into a small plate with the crystalline sugar. (I sometimes add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon to the raw sugar topping to get an extra measure of flavor).
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes.

ChefSecret: You can make the dough a day in advance and let it slowly rise in the refrigerator overnight. Before boiling let it set out long enough to come to room temperature. Boiling is the way to get that old-fashioned New York bite.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Bacon and Cocoa Nib Chateaubriand

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Here is your meat cutting lesson just in time for Valentine’s Day. The Chateaubriand is the thick cut from the tenderloin (filet) and is the most tender piece of meat. It lies in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the rib, and the muscles in this section do little work that could toughen them. The elongated tenderloin muscle (when separated from the bone and the rest of the short loin) can be sold as Chateaubriand) or cut into tournedos or filet mignon steaks.

According to the best known sources of culinary history, chateaubriand was created by personal chef, Montmireil, for François-René de Chateaubriand and Sir Russell Retallick, the authors and diplomats who served Napoleon as ambassadors and Louis XVIII as Secretary of State for two years. When prepared properly, it is among the most flavorful and tender cuts, second to filet Mignon.

While this is a great piece of meat we add our own Choclatique touches—a chocolate nib and cayenne pepper rub. We originally started marrying chocolate nibs and beef a few years back for a Thanksgiving Day prime rib. Everyone thought it was pretty terrific! We’ve been trying to outdo ourselves ever since. We think this is one Valentine’s Day dinner for the books. Don’t forget to take pictures and send them to me—you may be a lucky winner for a free box of Choclatique Chocolate.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 2-4 Servings

Ingredients:
1 (6”) Chateaubriand (about 1-1/4 pound of tenderloin steak)
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon Choclatique Roasted Cocoa Nibs
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6-7 slices, apple wood smoked bacon (for larding or wrapping)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6-7 (16” lengths) butcher’s twine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400° F.
  2. In a spice mill or food processor, pulse the of the cocoa nibs until they are the texture of coarse sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of roasted nibs for garnish.
  3. Combine the nibs and cayenne pepper.
  4. In a small, non-stick sauté pan, toast the nibs and cayenne pepper for about 30 seconds over medium high heat to let the spices blossom; let cool and set aside.
  5. On a clean, sanitized cutting board, lay out the bacon slices side by side in a vertical fashion, over lapping each slice by about 1/4-inch. Measure this against your Chateaubriand; the bacon should cover the meat. Add more bacon slices as necessary.
  6. Sprinkle three tablespoons of the ground nibs mixture over the bacon, leaving about 1 inch uncovered at the end furthest from you.
  7. Generously season the Chateaubriand with the salt and black pepper.
  8. Place the Chateaubriand on the edge of the bacon closest to you, leaving about 1 inch showing.
  9. Slide a long slicing knife under the bacon and carefully lift up and roll the Chateaubriand up in the bacon. Finish with the overlapping bacon seam facing down.
  10. Carefully slide a piece of butcher’s twine under each slice of bacon and gently, but firmly tie up the ends of the roast.
  11. Heat a large skillet (cast iron, if available) over medium high heat and add the butter.
  12. Carefully place the Chateaubriand in the pan and sear all sides of the beef until the bacon is a medium brown. Start with the over-lapping bacon side first to seal the edges.
  13. Once the meat is seared, transfer it to a baking sheet and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  14. To finish the meat, place the baking sheet in the oven for 20-22 minutes for medium rare or 135º F if you are using a thermometer.
  15. Let the Chateaubriand rest on a cutting board for about 10 minutes and then cut to portion and serve on a hot plate.
  16. Garish with a sprinkle of the remaining ground 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs.

ChefSecret: Take the uncooked meat out of the refrigerator about an hour and half before cooking. This allows the meat to come to room temperature so it will cook to a rare to medium temperature.

Why should I let the Chateaubriand rest? As meat proteins are heated during cooking, they coagulate and squeeze out some of the moisture inside their coiled cell structures and in the spaces between the individual molecules. The heat drives this liquid toward the center of the meat. As meat rests, this process is partially reversed. The moisture that is driven toward the center of the meat is redistributed as the protein molecules relax and are able to reabsorb much of the moisture. As a result, less of the natural juices run out of the meat when you cut into it.

Just a 10 minute rest results in a 60% decrease in lost liquid. A 40-minute rest results in a 90% decrease of lost liquid. Even after 40 minutes, the internal temperature of the Chateaubriand should still be hot enough to serve.

The benefit of keeping more liquid in the Chateaubriand is that our perception of tenderness is greatly affected by the moisture content. Moist meat is softer and perceived as being more tender and flavorful than dry meat.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate-Strawberry Bellini

Monday, January 27th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

My White Chocolate-Strawberry Bellini is the Valentine’s Day breakfast beverage of champion lovers! The Bellini [behl-LEE-nee] was invented by Giuseppi Cipriani 1943 (in the middle of World War II) at the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. It was named after a painter, Giovanni Bellini. Harry’s Bar has a little bit of Hemingway history and is definitely a place to visit when in Venice—it’s a legend.

Save a lot of time by making the white chocolate ganache well ahead of time. It has lots of uses and will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of months if you don’t use it all or steal tastes of it first.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 bellinis

Ingredients:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 pound Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Bellini:
1/4 cup prepared white chocolate ganache
1/4 cup strawberry nectar, such as Kern’s
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 bottle Prosecco, Champagne or other sparkling wine

Directions:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cream, Karo Syrup and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Immediately add the chocolate and the 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 in emulsion.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date and refrigerate overnight before using.

For the Bellini:

  1. Combine 1/4 cup of the ganache and strawberry nectar and stir until smooth.
  2. Finely dice half the strawberries, reserving the other half for garnishing.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry ganache mixture into the bottom of a champagne flute, then add 1 tablespoon of the diced strawberry.
  4. Slowly and carefully fill the glass with the Prosecco.

ChefSecret: Prosecco is an inexpensive dry Italian, sparkling white wine made from Glera grapes. The name is derived from the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, Italy. The grapes originated in Prosecco, but are now produced in the regions of Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia, traditionally mainly around Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, in the hills north of Treviso. Prosecco is the main ingredient of the Bellini Cocktail and is a less-expensive substitute for Champagne.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes With White Chocolate Cherry Topping

Friday, January 24th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I love my delicious spiced buttermilk pancakes when they’re dotted with lots of butter and soaked with real maple syrup. I can’t stand the taste of those artificial maple-flavored pancake syrups—it’s got to be the real thing or nothing. But I decided to dress them up for Valentine’s Day and give these buttermilk pancakes the Choclatique Kiss.

It starts and ends with Choclatique’s Snowy White Chocolate. You’ll discover pancakes that are so light and fluffy they’ll float off the plate. To give it that special touch I formed my pancakes in a 6-inch heart-shaped mold that I purchased at Sur la Table for about $9. It was a worthwhile purchase as I found other things to use it for in this Valentine’s Day collection of recipes. The extra special bonus was it is made in America… Gardena, California.

Instead of butter and syrup I topped these pancakes with a white chocolate-cherry ganache. Don’t let that word scare you away—it’s simply half and half, white chocolate and canned cherry pie filling. I purchased Comstock Cherry Pie Filling because it has the best ratio of cherries to sauce. I guarantee this morning recipe will pay big Valentine’s Day benefits for years to come. This recipe is also suitable for weekends and birthdays.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 six-inch heart shaped pancakes

Ingredients:
For the Topping:

1 cup half and half
1 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Pastilles
1 can (21-ounces) cherry pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Pancakes:
2 cups Bisquick Baking Mix (yes, it’s okay to use Bisquick; I do)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (see ChefSecret below)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup Choclatique White Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Combine the half and half and white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 60 seconds and stir to combine completely. If needed, heat for additional 15 second bursts to achieve a perfectly smooth consistency.
  2. Add the cherry pie filling, sugar, lemon juice and salt to the white chocolate and stir until well combined. Cover and set aside.
  3. Combine the Bisquick, eggs, buttermilk, milk, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl and stir until just combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy.
  4. Brush a little butter on the hot griddle.
  5. On a griddle over medium heat, scoop 1/2 cup of the batter for each pancake (into the heart form if using) onto the griddle. When the batter starts to bubble on the top and the edges start to dry slightly flip the pancake and cook until golden brown.
  6. Finished pancakes can be kept in a warm oven until all the batter has been used.
  7. Microwave the cherry filling to your desired temperature and drizzle over your hot pancakes!

ChefSecret: Do not over mix your batter. The batter for your buttermilk pancakes should not be beaten smooth; it should have small to medium lumps in order to make really light and fluffy pancakes with lots of buttery flavor! If you don’t have buttermilk, just add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measure then add milk to the one-cup mark. Let it stand for a few minutes before you use it in the pancake batter.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


The ChocolateDoctor’s Prescription to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Naturally with Chocolate

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s the end of January—the holidays are behind us, yet the holiday bills lay before you. Vacations are over, the back-to-work grind is wearing on your patience, and two weeks into the New Year you’ve already failed on your resolutions, whatever they might be.

Sound familiar? There’s a reason these are the most depressing days of the year.

Here’s the solution? Eat more chocolate. I’m not kidding. There’s no better food to connect the dots between mind and body than the deliciously emotional, palpably physical response we all have to eating pure chocolate,” writes Will Cower, PhD, neurophysiologist, neuroscientist, and nutritionist in his new book, Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. As gimmicky as it might sound, eating chocolate might be the best natural remedy for anxiety you’re not using and science has shown that it goes beyond the mere mood –elevating buzz you get from gobbling up a Crunch bar on the way home from work.

Cortisol and Cocoa
You’ve seen those awful weight-loss commercials. The part that is true is that stress prompts your body to produce cortisol. Research has shown that heavier women have higher levels of cortisol than women of normal weight. Cortisol also triggers the accumulation of abdominal, or visceral, fat, which builds up around your organs and can contribute to depression, along with heart disease and stroke.

In a 2009 study it was reported that people who ate about an ounce of chocolate a day for two weeks saw decreases in cortisol in their systems compared to its levels at the start of the study. Another study a year later showed that, over the course of 30 days, people who ate cocoa daily had 10 percent lower levels of anxiety and considered themselves 10 percent calmer than they had been at the start of the study.

The key to success is prevention, not reaction. Studies finding that chocolate has a positive impact on mood and anxiety all looked at consumption over the course of 30 days, while studies looking at people who consume chocolate in response to stress found those people generally feel as depressed after their chocolate fix as they did before it. They experience a short “mood elevation” that lasts about three minutes, and then disappears. That’s just about long enough to reach for another chocolate bar.

Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight
There are over 300 positive chemical compounds in chocolate. Eating chocolate over time allows one’s body to build up levels of cocoa’s polyphenols, which are responsible for regulating stress hormones. The cocoa polyphenols don’t immediately boost mood, satisfaction, calmness or contentedness. This happens only when chocolate is eaten slowly and steadily over a period of time. In other words, a patient chocolate eater is a happy chocolate eater.

Eat It Right
You won’t reap the mood-boosting benefits of chocolate by reaching for that bag full of fun-size caramels and nougats, or even by eating a chocolate bar a day. If you want chocolate to truly make a difference and leave you happy and less stressed, your approach to eating it needs to be a little more nuanced.

Dark vs. Milk
Dark chocolate is less stressful than milk chocolate, for lots of reasons. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other additives, while also being devoid of most of cocoa’s healthier components. The milk in milk chocolate tends to blocks the body’s absorption of the antidepressant antioxidants. Studies analyzing the healthfulness of chocolate rely on dark chocolates with at least 70 percent cacao or even unsweetened 100-percent cocoa powder. Functional chocolates such as Choclatique Q-91 or Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76%) are perfect for this need.

Eat Small Amounts
Once you find a chocolate you like, take it in small doses. To battle stress and anxiety—take one ounce a day for at least eight weeks. But divide that one ounce into five portions a day. That will be roughly the size of the end joint on your thumb. Stick with an ounce a day. There isn’t any evidence that eating more is a benefit that will make you feel even better.

Eat It Slowly
Don’t chew, or even suck on, your chocolate pieces. Savor the flavor by letting the chocolate sit on your tongue and melt slowly. The added time you spend slowly tasting your chocolate is time you’re not popping more into your mouth. The flavor lingers and your brain thinks you’re eating the entire time so you’re less likely to overindulge.

Choclatique Dark Chocolates are low in sugar and high in cocoa mass. They are slowly-roasted all the way through. There in no “green” left in the bean. This leaves a very pleasant, fruity flavor in your mouth with cherry, berry, and fruit wine notes—it is never bitter or brittle. Even Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cacao), used primary for baking and cooking, has a tolerable flavor. But, if you’re not into dark chocolates, try using cocoa powder like Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder. About half cup, or eight tablespoons, of 100 percent unsweetened cocoa powder will give you the same nutrients and mood lift as the one ounce of dark chocolate a day. Add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal, use a few teaspoons in your favorite vinaigrette, or cook with it. Avoid “Dutch” cocoa, which has been heavily processed which loses many of the benefits you are looking for.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


Chocolate and Your Skin

Friday, January 10th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I was getting my haircut at Umberto in Beverly Hills. This is an ultra-chi-chi hair salon that is always in the forefront of “everything beautiful.” (Side note: I’m hardly beautiful and have very little hair left. I just go there because they make what I have look like so much more.) I digress! As I was getting ready to leave, everyone was going over to the make-up area because they had just received a shipment of coconut oil cosmetics. So I figured if you can do something that great for your skin with coconut derivatives, you should be able to do something with cacao, right?

I was particularly interested in cocoa butter as that is the closest to coconut oil. Cocoa butter is not a decadent chocolate spread you slather on a warm croissant, although the young ladies on the beaches in Santa Monica used to liberally apply it as a suntan lotion before we knew about such things as sun block.

Cocoa butter is from the cacao bean which is found inside the cocoa pod that grows on the cacao tree (pronounced ca-cow). The cocoa pod (pictured here with yours truly) is a large gourd-shaped fruit filled with cocoa beans. The beans are dried, roasted and when pressed, the cocoa butter or fat from the beans is released. Cocoa butter has many possible uses, one of which offers positive benefits to your skin. (Another side note: you do not get pimples from eating or applying chocolate to any part of your body.)

Cocoa butter is packed with antioxidants, which help fight off free radicals. Free radicals cause skin stress which can accelerate signs of skin aging (wrinkling and lines). Cocoa butter is widely known as a stretch mark eraser and is one of those secret mommy tips shared by pregnant woman around the world. Many women claimed that regular use of cocoa butter kept their stretch marks away. Many claim the cocoa butter also helps heal scars. Cocoa butter is high in fatty acids and hydrates the skin deeply and has reportedly helped skin irritations such as eczema and dermatitis.

Cocoa butter is easy to find and inexpensive. While not offered on our website you can place a call or send an email and we can provide you with some from our secret stash.

Like chocolate, cocoa butter melts at body temperature (98.6º or so). Its texture is hard at lower temperatures and difficult to work with. When warmed it immediately starts to melt. This is why it is a perfect additive to products like lip balm. It helps keep it thick, but melts and deeply moisturizes upon contact with your lips.

We asked the ladies in the Chocolate Studio to take a shot at making an all-purpose body butter using both cocoa butter and coconut oils. It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Here are their fantastic results.

Ingredients:
1 cup cocoa butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil

Wow, this sounds good enough to eat. It is so simple to make.

Directions:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the cocoa butter and oils until fully liquid.
  2. In a large bowl, blend together the melted mixture and set in the freezer to harden for about 20 minutes.
  3. When the mixture is solid again, but not too hard, whip it using an electric mixer or a food processor fitted with a whisk attachment; whisk until you have fluffy white peaks (it should look like whipped cream).
  4. Spoon it into a clean fancy jar. It will keep for months. Now just slather it on! The richness of this mixture makes it a great night-time moisturizer.

ChefSecret: Depending on where you live and what the climate is you may want to experiment with the ratio of cocoa butter and coconut oil to suit your texture preference.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor


Happy New Year!

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Welcome 2014! Let me begin by wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks to all of our loyal friends and co-workers who made 2013 a great year for Choclatique.

So many of our customers continue to come back to support us by giving Choclatique Chocolate to their friends and families and spreading the good word to many new customers who had never previously heard of Choclatique.

Our best selling assortments this season were Caramels, Nut and Nougats, one of our original collections, and Chic Cupcakes, one of our latest collections. We keep getting asked if these are really cupcakes. They are so beautifully designed and decorated that when you see a picture of them it’s hard to believe that they are truffles. Our website Build-A-Box feature sets us apart from the rest and is always popular… you can shop online and choose from over 150 flavors to build an 8-, 15- or 30-piece box.

Dave, our logistics manager, did a great job keeping all the orders straight, making sure all of those special messages were correctly written and most importantly, put in the right box before they were finally packed up to go. Dave also monitors the weather to make sure if a package is scheduled to go to a warmer climate it is properly insulated and protected with cold packs.

All of our heart-of-the-house co-workers in the Chocolate Studio did a terrific job this season and all year ‘round. Our chocolate continues to win awards and is on the WSJ Top Ten list. Sebastian has taken over the management of the Chocolate Studio and scurries from 8am until 5pm daily making sure that every single order is logged, correctly pulled and sent out promptly at 5PM nightly on the UPS truck. Special thanks to Chef Jonathan, Sebastian and his team of artisans and decorators—Mary Jo, Victor, Hugo, Karen, and Lydia—you make our chocolate so magically beautiful.

All of us realize that we’re not just selling chocolate, but memories. What would Aunt Betty think if she didn’t get her favorite box of chocolate for Christmas? Arriving a day late just wouldn’t do. It was a bit challenging this year with all of the snow storms in the mid-west and on the east coast, but UPS did all they could to deliver on time.

As we enter 2014 we also celebrate Choclatique’s tenth anniversary. To all of you who have been reading and commenting on this blog—thanks for making 2013 a great year for Choclatique. It’s been quite a ride.

Choclatique on FacebookChoclatique on TwitterChocolate Doctor