The ChocolateDoctor’s Miraculous “Fivers” Chocolate Chippers

June 9th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

Take a look at the beautifully layered texture of this giant chocolate chip cookie. Isn’t it beautiful and luscious? This is more lumps of chocolate lightly held together with a little crisp cookie dough. If you love chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, then this is the real ‘Got Milk?’ cookie. The name is a misnomer as it is really a chocolate wafer cookie rather than a chip.

Use Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles for best results.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 24 hours
Bake time: 18 to 20 minutes
Yield: 20 5-inch cookies

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
3-1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1-1/4 pounds Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles
Sea salt for lightly sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light, fluffy about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until combined.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix.
  5. Using a rubber spatula scrape down bowl again.

  1. Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder and salt over dough and mix it until fully combined. (More on this later—see ChefSecrets below)
  2. Add the flour all at once and mix it in short bursts until it almost completely disappears. Do not overmix the dough. Overmixing the dough at this point will make a tougher cookie.
  3. Fold in the chocolate pastilles without breaking them. You want to see those beautiful layers.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The cookie dough will hold well for up to 4 days.
  5. Preheat an oven to 325° F. Be prepared to bake in small batches—6 cookies to a large tray.
  6. Line two large baking sheets with parchment baking paper or Silpat baking mats.
  7. Form the dough into 3-1/2-ounce balls (100 gram)—weigh them out. These will be larger than golf balls, but don’t let that scare you. If any chocolate pieces are exposed cross the tops or sides of the balls of dough, try to push them back in it.
  8. Arrange the dough balls far enough apart on the baking sheets as they will spread out to at least 5-inches as they bake. Using the bottom of a large glass dipped in water gently push them down to flatten.
  9. Lightly dust the tops of each cookie with a few grains of sea salt.
  10. Bake cookies for 18 to 20 minutes (depending on your oven), until no darker than golden brown.
  11. Check the cookies often after the first 15 minutes. Do not over bake.
  12. Cool the cookies on the baking trays for 10 minutes they will continue to cook; then transfer them to racks.

ChefSecrets: I found that you will get a better texture when adding the baking soda, baking powder and salt after the dough comes together. If you are using an electric oven, you might want to consider double panning your trays to prevent the cookies from getting too dark or burning on the bottom.

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Need Chocolate… NOW!! Those Chocolate Cravings Are Real

June 3rd, 2016

While there are plenty of t-shirts, key chains, throw pillows and other tshotshkes that offer humorous axioms about our NEED for chocolate, the fact is there are some solid scientific and medical reasons that confirm that our cravings are real.

First, there are over 300 chemical compounds in dark chocolate some of which react within the human brain to affect and alter mood and reduce stress. For example, both sexes benefit when our brains release dopamine in response to the pleasurable experience of eating and enjoying chocolate. Additionally, research has shown that the flavanols in chocolate help us to react more effectively to stressful situations than when those flavanols are not present.

Consumption of cocoa increases nitric oxide, a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies. Nitric oxide acts on small receptors in our blood vessels and prompts the vessels to dilate. This process lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with many types of heart disease including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is also associated with cognitive decline, dementia, and stroke.

For females, Nutritionist Lisa Eberly, RD, says there are physiological-based reasons why chocolate cravings may seem more intense during your period. Chocolate contains relatively high levels of magnesium and potassium. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and potassium aids in proper muscle function. Eating chocolate therefore can help relieve muscle cramps, including pelvic that affects so many women during their periods. Magnesium and potassium can aid in relaxing the cramps and the pain associated with them.

Chocolate is also high in iron, and iron levels tend to fall during periods due to blood loss, resulting in fatigue. Chocolate consumption helps to boost iron levels which, in turn, help to improve energy levels. Further, chocolate contains caffeine which can provide an energy boost as well as reduce inflammation associated with pain and headaches.

And if all of the physical explanations are reason enough for you to nibble on a piece of luscious dark chocolate, well then, do it just for the taste! Choclatique’s 64% Private Reserve and our 76% Elephant Chocolate are sure to put a smile on your lips and a spring in your step!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cocoa-Dusted, Honey-Coated, Roasted Almonds

May 26th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

I must confess, I am a perpetual snacker. If there were a Snacker’s Anonymous, I would have to become a charter member. I’ll snack on just about anything that is sweet and crunchy. The crunch is my *trigger food and what I’m craving.

These Cocoa-Dusted, Honey-Coated, Roasted Almonds hit the mark on all attributes—sweet, crunchy, chocolatey and a little bit salty. They have a healthy side being low calorie, low carb and gluten-free. They are even a paleo-acceptable, better-for-you snack.

Cocoa-Dusted, Honey-Coated, Roasted Almonds are easy to make. It is a completely irresistible combination of sweet, crunch and chocolate. Store in an airtight container and the almonds will keep well for at least 4 weeks.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 18 minutes
Rest time: 60 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:
2 cups raw unsalted almonds
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
14 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons Choclatique Unsweetened Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and line an edged baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon pad.
  2. Position the almonds in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes or until fragrant. Shake them around a bit to make sure you get an even roast being careful not to burn them.
  3. Let the almonds cool completely to room temperature on the baking pan.
  4. When the almonds have cooled, combine the honey, water and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a heat resistant spatula. Continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half. Set the lined baking pan nearby so it is handy.
  5. Add the almonds and the extracts to the pot stirring until they’re completely coated. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the honey mixture has completely reduced, about 4-6 minutes.
  6. Transfer the almonds to the parchment-lined baking sheet, and spread them out in a thin, single layer. For best results, make sure the almonds aren’t touching one another or gloppy with honey.
  7. Let the almonds cool completely to room temperature; then let them set-up for an additional 30-60 minutes.
  8. Add the cocoa powder to a medium bowl. Carefully pull apart the almonds if they’re stuck together, drop them into the bowl a few at a time, and stir with a fork until they’re coated with cocoa powder.
  9. Store in an airtight container and the almonds will keep well for at least 4 weeks.

ChefSecret: Some people don’t like the taste of unsweetened cocoa powder. If so, you can easily add a tablespoon of sifted confectioner’s sugar to the cocoa powder for a sweeter taste profile. For a quick shortcut, roasted lightly salted almonds may be substituted for raw almonds and right to the liquid steps.

*A trigger food is what gets your motor going—eating one particular food until you nearly burst. My main trigger food is peanuts. Joan’s is Cheetos. I must say that these almonds could become my trigger food in a New York minute.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Easy-Peasy Chocolate-Cinnamon Rolls

May 20th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

“Nothing says ‘lovin’ like something from the oven” and hot, puffy cinnamon rolls say it best! What could go wrong when the first four ingredients are Butter, Chocolate, Sugar and Cinnamon? You’ll be blown away with this simple cinnamon roll recipe. It’s almost as fast as making those dreadful cinnamon rolls out of a tube. There is no waiting for a sweet yeasty dough to proof. You will still get the warm aroma and flavor of baked cinnamon and butter topped with a sweet white icing in mere minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 20 to 25 minutes
Cool Time: 30 minutes (if you can wait that long)
Yield: 12 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients:
For the cinnamon rolls:

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (store bought)

For the glaze:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:
To make the cinnamon rolls:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400° F.
  2. Using a pastry brush butter the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Unroll both sheets of thawed puff pastry on a clean smooth work service.
  5. Brush the top service or each with remaining melted butter.
  6. Evenly spread the chocolate mixture into the sheets and lightly roll with a rolling pin.
  7. Lift an edge of first sheet and tightly roll. Slice each roll into six equal segments. Do the same steps again with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  8. Place a rolls into the 12 buttered muffin cups.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until cinnamon rolls are a rich golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let rolls cool for 30 minutes before eating. Now they are ready to glaze.

To glaze the cinnamon rolls:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar milk and extracts, and stir until smooth.
  2. Remove the cooled muffins from muffin cups.
  3. Using the tines of a fork drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls, and serve warm.

ChefSecret: If you don’t have a muffin tin you can bake them in a well-buttered pie pan of a square baking pan. Make sure they are touching the sides of one another.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Sticky-Fingers Chocolate Monkey Bread

May 13th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

My friends in Lisbon at A Padaria Portuguesa (the Portuguese Baker) had never heard of Monkey Bread. Over and over again they kept dipping and pulling out another ball of bread. It was easy to see how when one monkey saw the others do it, he fell right in and did it over and over again—monkey see, monkey do.

Monkey Bread is like a giant addictive cinnamon roll on steroids. It is buttery, sticky, cinnamon-y and rich in pecans which is what makes it so delicious. If you don’t have time to make the sweet dough from scratch , try using refrigerated tube dough and tearing and rolling that dough into balls and baking to a golden brown.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Proof time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 55 to 60 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup pecans, chopped
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 batch Basic Sweet-Roll Dough, without nutmeg (see recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the pecans on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes; set aside. (Set a timer as a reminder so the nuts don’t burn). You can shut the oven off until ready to bake.
  3. Melt 1 stick butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and heavy cream; boil until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the vanilla, vinegar, rum, salt and the toasted pecans. Pour all but 1/2 cup of the pecan mixture into an 8-inch-round, 3-inch-deep cake pan. Refrigerate until almost set, about 15 minutes.
  5. Set the remaining pecan mixture aside at room temperature.
  6. Put the remaining 1/2 stick butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave until melted.
  7. Put the granulated sugar in another bowl. Pinch off tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Dip the balls in the melted butter, letting the excess drip off, then roll in the granulated sugar.
  8. Arrange in the prepared cake pan in 2 layers, leaving a bit of space between the balls.
  9. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F if using a dark or anodize cake pan.).
  11. Bake the bread until puffed and golden brown (a thermometer inserted into the center should register 175°F), about 55 minutes; tent with aluminum foil if the top is getting too dark.
  12. Remove the bread from the oven and immediately spread the reserved 1/2 cup pecan mixture on top. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate.
  13. Pull off pieces to serve.

Basic Chocolate Chip Sweet-Roll Dough

Prep time: 1 hour
Chill time: 4 hours or over overnight
Yield: 1 3/4 pounds dough

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/4 -ounce packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup Choclatique Semisweet Chocolate Mini Chips

Directions:

  1. Warm 1/2 cup water and the milk in a saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100° to 110°F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle with a pinch of the sugar; set aside, covered with a kitchen towel undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the remaining sugar, the salt and nutmeg (if using).
  4. Make a well in the center, then add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to make a thick and slightly sticky dough.
  5. Add the chocolate chips.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 6 minutes. Shape into a ball.
  7. Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough, turning to coat lightly with the butter. Cover with food film and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.
  8. Turn the dough out of the bowl, knock it down and knead briefly to release excess air; re-form into a ball and return to the bowl.
  9. Lightly butter a large piece of food film and lay it directly on the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with food film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

ChefSecret: If you choose to refrigerate the dough overnight make sure you take it out early enough to bring it back too warmer than room temperature. When touched you shouldn’t feel any chill to the dough.

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The ChocolateDoctor Says…Chocolate Ranks #2

May 6th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

According to the people at Harris Poll, chocolate gets ranked second place among comfort foods when rated by United States consumers. Pizza is still ranked numero uno.

Women love their chocolate and ice cream as their second and third choices, respectively, while men prefer ice cream and chips. But real men still eat their chocolate—chocolate is the big number two for snackers in the mid-west, deep south and far west. Chocolate is the second most popular comfort food among gen Xers, however it ranks #3 for all other generations, according to the same Harris Poll.

When do people turn to comfort foods? Forty percent of consumers turn to comfort foods for a quick pick-me-up when stressed, while 43 percent seek comfort foods after a bad day, and 33 percent turn to these foods when depressed. Conversely, almost 4 in 10 turn to their favorite comfort food after a really good day as a reward, while 37 percent seek them out on their birthdays as a special treat.

So what’s your snackin’ prescription for the day? Eat chocolate for whatever ails ya! Take two truffles and call me in the morning. Trust me, I’m a doctor—The ChocolateDoctor.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Sicilian Ricotta-Chocolate Chip Pie

April 28th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

We asked Chef Celestino Drago to cater a special dinner party for Steven Spielberg’s mom’s birthday and he did an amazing job. There was a great birthday cake, of course, but there was this—Sicilian Ricotta-Chocolate Chip Pie—hidden in the back of the kitchen.

Celestino has been a good friend and has played an important role in the ever-evolving Italian dining scene in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Originally from Sicily, Celestino and his band of brothers are regarded as the pioneers of truly great Italian Cuisine in California and Celestino has become one of Los Angeles’ most celebrated chefs.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 45 to 55 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for garnish
3 large eggs
1 teaspoons Fiori di Sicilia (see ChefSecret below)
1 teaspoon orange zest, freshly grated
15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
9 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup cooked short-grained rice
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
6 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Blend 3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar, eggs, Fiori di Sicilia, orange zest, ricotta and mascarpone in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the rice, pine nuts and chocolate chips. Set the ricotta mixture aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Lightly butter a 9-inch deep, glass pie dish.
  4. Lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo sheets, alternating after each layer and buttering each sheet.
  5. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely. Brush the top completely with melted butter.
  6. Bake the pie until the top phyllo crust is golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the pie and serve. This pie is best served slightly warm or at room temperature.

Note: You will have to refrigerate any leftovers. The next day, take it out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

ChefSecret: Fiori di Sicilia is combination of citrus and vanilla with a pleasingly floral aroma. The smell reminds me of the small, old fashioned bake shops in Southern Italy. Fiori di Sicilia is the perfect marriage of flavors you taste when you combine vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet in the same bowl. I like using it in just about anything mild and sweet–anything where competing flavors, don’t interfere. It can be sourced through the Baker’s Catalogue. Remember to refrigerate Fiori di Sicilia after opening. And caution, don’t spill it on the counter–it stains.

If you don’t have any Fiori di Sicilia and just can’t wait for it to arrive then pure vanilla extract is a good substitute. Just add a half teaspoon more of the freshly grated orange zest to increase the citrus flavor. And while we’re talking about orange zest—that is just the orange part of the skin where the fragrant oil is. Don’t grate down to the white as it tends to get bitter.

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The Chocolate Doctor’s Chocolate Chip Sour Cream-Cocoa Coffee Cake

April 22nd, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

How do you take a brown sugar, nut and spice streusel sour cream coffee cake to the next level? Add a little chocolate, of course! If you fancy old-fashioned New York-style coffee cake like the kind you get at Zingerman’s but live outside the Big Apple, then you need to add this delicious coffee cake recipe to your baking repertoire. This cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe is the perfect answer for your needs. The sweet cocoa drizzle in this recipe is the perfect coffee cake topping.

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 12 to 16

Ingredients:
For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips

For the cinnamon streusel topping:
1/2 cup filling (from ingredients above)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter

For the coffee cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips

For the cocoa glaze drizzle:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (you might need a little less or more milk depending on climate conditions)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Spray a 12-cup fluted tube cake pan or 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan with pan release. Use a silver pan. Dark, anodize pans tend to burn the edges of this cake.
  3. In small bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together; divide set aside 1/2 cup of filling for the cinnamon streusel topping.
  4. In small bowl, mix cinnamon streusel topping ingredients and set aside.
  5. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  6. In large bowl, beat the granulated sugar, 1 cup butter, 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and the eggs with electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  7. Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream on low speed.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  9. Spread 1/2 of the batter in the pan; sprinkle with 1/2 of the filling mix. Top with the remaining batter.
  10. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the streusel mix.
  11. Bake about 1 hour or until cake tester inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.
  12. While the cake is cooling, heat 1/4 cup of the butter in a 1-1/2-quart saucepan over medium heat until very light brown being careful not to burn; remove from heat.
  13. Stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle.
  14. When the cake is cool drizzle the cake with the arm glaze and let set for about 30 minutes to set.

ChefSecret: I asked my German baker friend what the word streusel means. According to Henry it is “something strewn” in old German; streusel is easy to throw together and then to toss on top of a sour-cream coffee cake. Here’s another little secret, after the cake starts to stale in a couple of days it is great for breakfast lightly toasted and smeared with soft butter.

With a little tinkering with the time and temperature this recipe makes great morning muffins as well.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

April 15th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

This is one of those take-you-breath-away desserts! No, kidding. I regret my photographic skills are not as good as my culinary skills.

It’s almost, but not quite a cheesecake. The only baking required is just a few short minutes to set the chocolate wafer crust. From that point forward it just whippin’ and waitin’ the 4 hours for the tart to fully chill.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour plus 3 hours
Yield: 8-10 Servings

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces Chocolate wafers (about 30 cookies from a 9-ounce package), finely ground in a food processor to make 2 cups of crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Peanut Butter Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup cold heavy cream

For the Topping:
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions:
To make chocolate crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray the bottom and side of a deep 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  3. In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate and butter and microwave at high power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted. Stir well, then blend in the cookie crumbs and sugar.
  4. Press the cookie crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the rim of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then cool on a rack.

To make the peanut butter filling:

  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla extract until well blended. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the chilled cream until firm. Fold one-third of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture to temper the texture.
  2. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.
  3. Spoon the filling into the crust, smoothing the surface with an off-set spatula.
  4. Refrigerate uncovered for about 1 hour.

To make the chocolate topping:

  1. In a medium glass bowl, combine the chocolate with the heavy cream and microwave at 50% power in 20-second intervals until the chocolate is just melted and the cream is hot. Stir the chocolate topping until blended, then let cool to barely warm, stirring occasionally.
  2. Spread the chocolate topping over the chilled peanut butter filling and sprinkle the chopped peanuts around the edges of the pie.
  3. Chill uncovered in refrigerator for 3 more hours.

To serve:

  1. Carefully remove the rim from the tart pan by gently pressing upwards on the bottom while holding the rim in place.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut the pie into wedges. Run the knife under hot water and dry it between each cut. Serve chilled.

ChefSecret: If you’re looking for something a little lighter (in color, not in flavor or richness) substitute Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate for all the Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%). Replace the chocolate wafers in the crust with Nilla Wafers. Do not allow the crust to become too thick in any one area of the tart pan otherwise it will come out too crisp making it difficult to cut. This Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart can be made a day ahead, then covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Ed’s Breakfast Baby: French Toast Pudding

April 8th, 2016
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Choclatique—150 Simply 150 Elegant Desserts, Running Press, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I ate breakfast at Richard Walker’s Pancake House in La Jolla, California. I ordered their Baked Apple Pancake (which is an apple-filled, cinnamon glazed Dutch Boy pancake). I started to make one these this weekend at home, but found I didn’t have any apples. I already had the pan heating in the oven and was ready to go. What is one to do when you have 4 hungry adults waiting for something special for brunch?

The solution… I love French toast and I love bread pudding, so I thought why not make a combination of both for a special weekend brunch. I added the chocolate chips in place of the apple mixed in with the batter and created what I call Ed’s Breakfast Baby.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 to 5 pieces of thick-cut white, egg or brioche bread, cut in large cubes
1/2 cup whipping cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1 cup of corn flakes or frosted corn flakes with almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F.
  2. Set an oven rack to lowest third of oven and place a large 12-inch skillet in the oven to heat. You want the skillet piping hot before you add the French toast mixture.
  3. Cut the bread into large thick cubes.
  4. In a blender mix the cream and the milk together. Add the eggs and the egg yolk and blend well.
  5. Add the baking powder, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract; blend until frothy.
  6. Add the butter to the empty hot skillet in the oven allowing it to brown.
  7. In a large bowl quickly add the batter mixture to the bread cubes and chocolate chips and lightly stir to mix thoroughly.
  8. Take the hot pan from the oven (close the oven door so you don’t lose the heat) and carefully pour the French Toast batter into the skillet.
  9. Sprinkle the corn flakes over the top and place the skillet back in the hot oven.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the mixture is golden brown, firm and pudding like.
  11. Remove from the oven and cut into quarters, top with powder sugar or serve with warm maple syrup. Or maybe both.

ChefSecret: If you don’t have whipping cream handy, add an extra egg, 1-3/4 cups of whole milk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter in place of the cream. You can also drizzle the French Toast with chocolate syrup instead of maple syrup.

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