Chocolate and Your Skin

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.

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Happy New Year!

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.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Completely Flourless Chocolate Cookies (Low-Carb & Gluten-Free)

December 27th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

If you looking for an after-holiday break from all the high-carbs and overly sweet cookies try my Completely Flourless Chocolate Cookies which are low-carb, gluten-free and, well… completely flourless. Choclatique Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is the perfect replacement for the flour and who can go wrong with that much cocoa?

You will need to use Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder for best results. It is a Dutch-processed cocoa powder that reduces some of the natural acids in cocoa. If you are not fearful of chocolate overdose, you can also add some sugar-free chocolate chunks to the cookies—I suggest Choclatique Sweet Deceit Dark Chocolate Pastilles, roughly chopped. A quarter cup is plenty.

This recipe is so simple, so… ready, set, prep and bake!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 Cookies

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
3 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 ounces Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 ounces Truvia, or similar granular sugar substitute
1/4 cup Choclatique Sweet Deceit Dark Chocolate Pastilles, roughly chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375º F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs and mix with melted butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix the cocoa powder with Truvia.
  5. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix thoroughly together.
  6. Add the chopped chocolate if using.
  7. Scoop, form and flatten 8 large cookies with your hands and place in the baking sheet.
  8. Chill the cookies in a refrigerator for 20 minutes to set the butter.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  10. Transfer the cookies to wire rack and let them cool completely before eating.

ChefSecret: Slightly wet your hands before flattening to prevent sticking.

Note: Carb count is 1.5g net carbs, calories 160, if you’re counting.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Christmas Chocolate Mousse

December 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Irving Berlin wrote the lyrics and Bing Crosby first made it famous in the movie Holiday Inn. The song was almost cut because the studio thought it was too mushy—but better heads prevailed and thankfully, it didn’t wind up on the cutting room floor. Today, almost every child (and adult) seems to dream of a White Christmas. There is redemption and beauty with a fresh layer of snow that enhances the splendor of the winter season. Its beauty is peaceful as well as a refreshing scene to behold.

This Christmas, whether you live in Albany or Albuquerque, Las Vegas or Lancaster, you can enjoy a Choclatique White Christmas with my White Christmas Chocolate Mousse. This mousse recipe will have all your family and friends singing that very famous song.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 to 4 hours
Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
12 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique White Chocolate Curls, for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan add the heavy cream and cornstarch, stir until smooth.
  2. Heat the cream to a low boil, stirring constantly, until the corn starch has thickened the cream.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract and the chopped white chocolate.  Stir until smooth.
  4. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool to room temperature.
  5. While the chocolate is cooling, add egg whites and cream of tartar to a mixing bowl.
  6. Whip the egg whites until just before soft peaks form.
  7. While still whipping the egg whites, sift in the sugar and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
  8. Fold the whipped egg whites into the cooled white chocolate mixture in thirds.
  9. Spoon into dessert dishes or leave in a glass bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours before serving.
  10. Top with white chocolate curls and garnish the plate with fresh berries.
  11. Eat, enjoy and sing!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Frozen Chocolate Eggnog

December 13th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I really love this time of year in California where many people go to the beach on Christmas day. Yes, Christmas weather in Los Angeles can be in the 80’s. Eat you heart out Minneapolis!

This is beverage sort of like an eggnog Frappuccino—Eggnogaccino. It is made in a blender with my Basic Eggnog recipe  or even with the store-bought stuff you find around the holidays. It can be made with or without alcohol. It’s indulgent, great tasting, quick to make and loaded with chocolate flavor.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Yield: Makes one 16 ounce serving

Ingredients:
1 cup prepared eggnog (store-bought)
1 cup of ice
5 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix
2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao or light rum
2 ounces whipped cream, the aerosol can will do
1 teaspoon Choclatique Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:

  1. Using a blender combine the prepared eggnog, ice, Dark Chocolate Drinking Mix and chocolate liqueur.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Top of the frozen eggnog with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate curls over top.
  4. Serve immediately.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Frozen Hot Chocolate Margarita

December 6th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Friday after 6 is happy hour time at Choclatique. That’s when our team goes out to celebrate the end of the work week and see how we can make it even better on Monday. Last Friday we decided to stay a little later and get some more things off our do lists.

We had some Choclatique Dark Drinking Chocolate left in the dispenser and a bottle of tequila nearby and decided to see if we could make them work together. We started with the tequila—a good tequila is slightly spicy with vanilla back notes—which goes well with chocolate. All we had left to do was add in the coffee-flavored Kahlua, fresh milk and orange liqueur and blend—this drink is crazy good. It’s a delicious way to finish the week with great co-workers and friends with adult chocolate fun.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Blend Time: 40-45 seconds
Serves: 12 to 16

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon Choclatique Chocolate Decoratifs
1 1/2 cups ice, crushed
1/2 cup whole milk, very cold
1/2 cup Choclatique Dark Drinking Chocolate mix
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1 oz. Kahlua
1/2 oz. Grand Marnier

Directions:

  1. In one small bowl, add sprinkles. In another, add the chocolate syrup.
  2. In a blender, combine the rest of the ice, milk, drinking chocolate mix, tequila, Kahula and Grand Marnier.
  3. Blend in until combined and frothy.
  4. Dip the rims of chilled glasses into the syrup first, then the sprinkles. Pour the blended drink into the glasses and serve.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Angel Food Cake

November 27th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Angel Food Cake is made with a large quantity of egg whites (usually the whites from about 11 to 13 eggs) without any shortening or leavening. Angel Food cake is thought to be a takeoff of a sponge cake or a Pennsylvania Dutch wedding cake. Indications are with the abundance of cake molds found in southeastern Pennsylvania, the angel food cake originated there in the early 1800s.

That said, some suspect the origins of Angel Food cake are very mysterious, all the more so since they seem to derive from the mysterious East. The theory is that a family who lived along the Atlantic Coast moved to a quiet place along the Hudson River and opened a boarding house. A friend presented one of the ladies of the family, who was remarkably skilled as a cake-baker, a recipe that had come to her from a friend in India. Sometime later, cake-baker of the family opened a bakery specializing in cakes, including the mysterious one from the East.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 60 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
2 cups egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, cake flour and cocoa. Sift together 3 times, and set aside.
  3. In a clean large bowl, whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until very stiff. Fold in white sugar 2 tablespoons at a time while continuing to mix. Fold in flour mixture, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a 10 inch tube pan.
  4. Run a knife or spatula around the perimeter of the pan and through the batter one time to reduce any air pockets formed when filling the pan.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  6. Remove from the tube pan and let cool completely.
  7. To serve, paint a plate with a little chocolate sauce and drizzle a little chocolate sauce over the top.

ChefSecret: Cream of tartar or potassium bitartrate (also known as potassium hydrogen tartrate) crystallizes in wine casks during the fermentation of grape juice, and can precipitate out of wine in bottles. The crystals (wine diamonds) will often form on the underside of a cork in wine-filled bottles that have been stored at temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F), and will seldom, if ever, dissolve naturally into the wine. In its ground powder form it is the perfect stabilizer for egg whites and whipped cream.

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Stressed

November 20th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

It’s nearly the end of the year… just a few short weeks from Christmas and you haven’t even started shopping. You just got a cancellation notice on your health insurance and your expected year-end commission has been cut in half. Are you feeling stressed?

Stress is a normal part of life, but we also need to find ways to relieve it. Two squares of dark chocolate—Choclatique Elephant or Q-91 Chocolate—could be just the prescription the doctor ordered to change your attitude by lowering your stress hormone levels.

Why do I we get so wound up when feeling stressed? Going back to our caveman instincts, stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones in our brains that prepare us for action to either fight or flee. If we don’t take action, the stress response can create health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stress is very damaging to our bodies and minds.

As recently reported in the online issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, a group of Swiss researchers tracked volunteers that were highly stressed. In this study, strong evidence indicated that daily consumption of only 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate—low in sugar—during a period of two weeks was sufficient to modify the metabolism of the healthy human volunteers. The chocolate also appeared to help correct other imbalances in the body that are related to stress.

Now you may ask, won’t chocolate make people fat? That’s certainly possible, but scientists at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, point out other positive benefits… dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which are beneficial to health overall and other substances in chocolate appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol along with other medical conditions.

So take this as free advice from the doctor—The ChocolateDoctor… take two chocolate squares and call me in the morning. Here’s wishing you sweet dreams and stress-free chocolate wishes for the holidays!

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Ginger Cookies With White Cream Fondant Icing

November 15th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Ginger cookies are such a delight around the holidays and these chocolate-ginger cookies are no exception! Home-baked ginger cookies were the rage in the 1950s and are making a comeback right now. The richness of the chocolate and the vibrancy of the exotic spices are extraordinary. If you’ve never had a chocolate and ginger cookie combination, it will quickly become one of your favorites. In fact, people who don’t even like ginger love these soft, cakey cookies. The white cream fondant icing is the perfect topping for these cookies. Call me the Ginger Bread Man!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 9 to 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: About 12 Cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup black strap molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup hot tap water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Cream Fondant Icing:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whipping cream

Directions:
For the Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º F.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or very lightly grease the baking sheet.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar, egg, and molasses.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the mixture.
  5. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and mix well.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to chill the dough for at least one hour to let it rest.
  7. Drop 1/4 cup mounds of the chilled dough on the prepared baking sheet—spaced well apart to allow for spreading.
  8. Bake 7 to 8 minutes until they are set; when lightly touched with a finger almost no imprint remains. While they are still slightly warm, frost with Cream Fondant Icing.

For the Cream Fondant Icing:
Mix all the ingredients together and whip it until it is well blended.

ChefSecret: Remember, real butter makes the best cookies.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Dutch Baby Pancake

November 8th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

My first introduction to Dutch Baby pancakes was the cover of Sunset Magazine years ago. It was the pretty cover shot that caught my attention. Within a week it was on the brunch menu at my Palm Grill Restaurant in Burlingame, California. It looked as good coming out of the kitchen as it did on the Sunset cover. The problem was the time it took to bake and the amount of oven space that was available. We got so many orders that it became a bottleneck in the kitchen. So now it is reserved for special guests at home. Dutch Baby Pancakes are not only for breakfast or brunch but are great for dessert as well, especially with the addition of Choclatique Chocolate.

Chocolate Dutch Baby Pancakes combine the light, eggyness of a popover with the tenderness of a crêpe. There is a secret to making it perfect every time. It is the combination of the light, thin batter and a piping hot skillet. When these two forces are in motion you get a giant, puffy pastry that begs to climb out of the pan. To be served immediately.

Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 25 min
Yield: 1 pancake / 4 servings

Ingredients:
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting
Strawberries, Blackberries, Boysenberries or Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips for serving, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 425º F for about 20 minutes before you are going to bake. It has to be a very hot oven.
  2. In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, almond extract and granulated sugar. Blend until well combined, about 1 minute.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet or a non stick sauté pan, (I used a medium size paella pan), melt the butter in the oven until it just about to brown.
  4. Working quickly, pour the batter into the very hot skillet and immediately transfer back to the oven.
  5. Bake until puffed and set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately with berries and or chocolate chips if desired.

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