Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

The ChocolateDoctor’s Chipotle-Chocolate Crackers

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

I like to think of these as richly dark and delightfully crisp chocolate crackers, but with a nice firm spicy finish at the end—a rather delightful surprise and satisfying little burn on the back of your tongue. It’s the kind of heat that will get your attention and perk up your taste buds.

Spice and chocolate is no new thing. Actually, it’s the perfect marriage of flavors and that’s the way it all started when Montezuma had is cocoa beans blended with cinnamon and chili and frothed into a royal drink.

So it’s clear that chocolate and spice combinations aren’t anything new, and the appeal is widespread; they’re more than just your average chocolate treat. With these cookies, we take advantage of the unique smoky notes and robust flavors of the chipotle chili, and the smoked jalapeño pepper, which balance the dark chocolate perfectly in a truly unique and decadent treat.

These crackers can be eating on many occasions. I like to eat these with a salad or soup, with a cup of coffee, hot chocolate or even with a very cold glass of milk.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Freeze Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 8 to 10 minutes
Cool Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield: 25 to 30 Crackers

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoons sharp paprika
1 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely ground toasted blanched almonds

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, cocoa powders, paprika, chipotle chili pepper and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add both sugars and beat for 2 more minutes.
  3. Reduce to low speed, add the egg whites, vanilla extract and beat 1 minute longer. The egg whites will separate in the batter, but the dough will begin to come together when the flour mixture is added.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix just until it is absorbed into the dough. Stir in the ground almonds with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Turn the dough out onto your work surface. It should be smooth and soft. Divide it in half, and shape each half into a disk. Place a disk between two sheets of wax paper or plastic food film and roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.
  6. Freeze the rolled-out dough for at least 30 minutes.
  7. With a rack positioned in the center of your oven, preheat the oven to 350º F.
  8. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  9. Working with half the dough at a time, use a 2-inch biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut as many crackers as you can save the scraps of dough to be rerolled later.
  10. Place the cut cracker dough about an inch apart on one of the prepared baking sheets.
  11. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway point. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  12. Repeat with remaining dough, using cooled baking sheet.
  13. Combine the scraps of dough, shape into a disk, roll and freeze for about 15 minutes. Cut and bake as above.

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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 Chocolate Profiteroles

Friday, June 28th, 2013
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I love profiteroles (pronounced pruh-FIHT-uh-rohl). I can’t imagine why I haven’t added this recipe to my blog before today. Profiteroles can be found in Europe, the Mediterranean countries and America. They are small, crisp, hollow rounds of pâte à choux (pastry) that are filled with sweetened whipped cream, pastry cream or ice cream. In America a larger ‘profiterole’ is called a cream puff. If you pipe out the choux pastry in a long line it is an éclair. These different shapes and sizes can be filled with both sweet and savory fillings. Profiteroles are light, delicate hollow pastry puffs which are easy to make, but everyone will think you are a top-notch pastry chef.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook & Bake Time: 35 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: Serves About 12

Ingredients:
To Make the Pâte à Choux (dough for the profiteroles pastry shell):

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

To Make the Cream Filling:
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

To Make the Chocolate Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Choclatique Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 425º F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the butter, 2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips and salt until the butter and chocolate have melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  4. Rapidly stir in the flour until no dry lumps remain. Return to medium heat and stir until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
  5. Transfer dough to stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  6. While the mixture is still warm beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding the next egg only after the last one has been completely incorporated into the mixture. You should have a smooth, silky paste.
  7. Drop the pâte à choux onto the prepared baking sheet in evenly spaced dollops about 2 tablespoons or a small scoop each.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. until the pastries have puffed up and turned golden brown.
  9. Transfer the pastry from the baking sheet to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature.
  10. Beat 1 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks; stir in the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
  11. Bring the remaining cup of heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth.
  12. To assemble, poke a hole into the bottom of each pastry and using a pastry bag fill with the cocoa cream.
  13. Place the filled profiteroles onto individual serving plates and top with the warm sauce.

ChefSecret: The choux paste can be piped through a pastry bag or dropped with a pair of spoons into small balls and baked to form largely hollow puffs. After cooling the baked pastry balls inject with filling using a pastry bag and narrow piping tip, or slicing off the top, filling, and reassembling.

The most common fillings are whipped cream, pastry cream or ice cream. They can be topped with powdered sugar or chocolate sauce. They can also be served plain, with a crisp caramel glaze or with fruit. Filled and glazed with caramel, they are assembled into a pyramid of pastry and turned into a croquembouches. These sculptures of pastry are often served at weddings in France and Italy, and during the Christmas Holiday in Germany and France.

Leftover profiteroles may be stored sealed in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

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A Chocolaty (End of) Summer-Time Salad or Side

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

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

ChiliThe secret ingredient to my award-winning chili is a hint of chocolate. I’ve been told that the famous Cincinnati chili joint—Skyline—use a cocoa in their chili. Several of us in the test kitchen are always trying to discover new, less common ways for the use to use chocolate in savory foods. This is really nothing new for us, we’ve made Cacao-Studded Prime Rib, Corn Cakes, authentic Mexican Mole and even an Italian Salad Dressing kissed with the taste of chocolate. Don’t laugh unless you’ve tried it.

ChocolateBut now that we are nearing the end of the summer (though you wouldn’t believe it here in sunny Los Angeles), who wants to cook in a hot kitchen? Since I must get my quota of chocolate each day, I chose instead to develop a couscous salad with a luscious (I love the sound of the word luscious when talking about chocolate) blend of fruits, nuts, herbs, and—Big Surprise—CHOCOLATE! Dried CherriesThe flavor is very complex, but still summer-like with the orange zest, toasted pistachios, chopped mint, dried cherries, and cocoa. If you think there a lot going on here; you’re correct…but all works well and you will find it fragrant and fresh as each ingredient holds its own in every bite. Together they become nothing short of a beautiful, sensational symphony.

MintThe cocoa plays more of a supporting roll in this dish, rather than bold, center stage it plays in most desserts. The earthy cocoa acts more like a spice and produces a warm nutty background that balances the brightness of orange and mint. The best part is it’s so easy to make.

Cherry Pistachio Orange Cocoa Couscous Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 2 to 4, but easily doubled or tripled

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon, extra virgin olive oil, plus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dry small pearl couscous
1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tablespoon orange honey

Couscous SaladDirections:

  1. Combine the water, 1 teaspoon of oil, orange zest and salt in a medium saucepan; Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in couscous; cover the pot, and remove from the heat. Let it stand covered for about 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff the couscous lightly with a fork.
  2. Stir in chopped pistachios, cherries, cocoa powder, chili powder, mint and remaining tablespoon of oil. Add salt to taste. Taste and stir in honey if you’d prefer a sweeter taste.
  3. Serve it warm or chilled.

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Which Came First, The Easter Chicken or the Easter Egg?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Giving baby chicks at Easter is a tradition that has its roots in ancient history. Eggs are widely recognized as symbols of new life, and are often included in various spiritual traditions. As symbols, they are most familiar to Western culture as Easter decorations and treats. Eggs and baby chicks are as prevalent as the bunny at Easter.

An egg is also a symbol of the rock tomb from which Christ emerged when he arose again. Likewise the chick, hatching out of the egg symbolizes new life or re-birth.

It is the influence of traditional spring rites that makes Easter so egg-special. And myths coming down to us from an incredibly distant past have shown man’s relationship with the egg to be very deep seated. This is caught in the old Latin proverb: “Omne vivum ex ovo,” which means “all life comes from an egg.”

From ancient India to Polynesia, from Iran, Greece, and Phonecia to Latvia, Estonia, and Finland, from Central America to the west coast of South America, there are myths that the whole universe was created out of an egg. Thus, it is not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures eggs have been held as an emblem of life. The concept of all living beings born from an egg is also a foundational concept of modern biology.

Eggs were viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages. In early Christian times, the egg was a symbol of new life just as a chick might hatch from the egg. The Easter egg tradition may have celebrated the end of the privations of Lent. It is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, including the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals.

The coloring of eggs is an established art, and eggs are often dyed, painted, and otherwise decorated. Eggs were also used in various holiday games: parents would hide eggs for children to find, and children would roll eggs down hills. These practices live on in Easter egg hunts and egg rolls. The most famous egg roll takes place on the White House lawn every year. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs—solid or hollow, the latter filled with confections such as jellybeans. Candy Easter eggs can be any form of confectionery such as hollow chocolate eggs wrapped in brightly-colored foil or delicately constructed of spun sugar and pastry decoration techniques. The ubiquitous jelly egg or jellybean is made from sugar-coated pectin candy. These are often hidden, supposedly by the Easter Bunny, for children to find on Easter morning.

At Choclatique, we pay homage to both the chicken and the egg with our chocolate Chicks. Chicks are a delicious change from traditional Easter candy. These exceptional chocolates truffles have been hatched just in time for spring with an array of vibrant colors and luscious flavors. Chicks are the perfect choice for a special Easter basket addition or even a baby shower.

Strawberry & Cream ChickEveryone marvels over our delicate chocolate eggs cracked in the middle with a tiny chick emerging from within. Our Chicks are made with our premium quality, great-tasting chocolates and wonderful truffle fillings. Chicks are individually hand-painted and decorated by our talented artisans in our Chocolate Studios. Flavors include Cranberry Bog Chick, Sticky Almond Chick, Triple Chocolate Chick, Strawberries & Cream Chick, Chocolate-Marshmallow Chick, Chocolate Mousse Chick, Mint Chip Chick and several other chirping delights.

Chocolate Marshmallow ChickChocolate lovers are peeping with joy over Choclatique Chicks with the unique blend of gourmet chocolate and flavorful fillings. For those of you who like their Chicks unadorned and without fillings, we also offer Naked Chicks, solid chocolate tweets available in our premium Private Reserve Dark, Heritage Milk, Snowy White or a mixture of all 3! Chicks have become a new family tradition and a favorite for many Easters to come.

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“Origins” – The explosive new science of pregnancy

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

From obesity to diabetes, how startling discoveries about the womb are changing the way we think about health.

Women have heard for years all the things that are bad to eat when pregnant, but now we are learning that chocolate may be just what the doctor ordered.

We know childhood diabetes, teenage obesity, chronic depression and heart disease afflict millions of Americans in nearly epidemic proportions. And now, according to Annie Murphy Paul’s new book, Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives, we are just starting to learn that those conditions may originate, at least partly, in the womb.

We’ve all heard about the effects of thalidomide exposure and fetal alcohol syndrome, but in recent years, the burgeoning science of “fetal origins” has made some surprising new discoveries about how conditions in the uterus can affect an adult person’s health in the future.

For instance, pregnant women who were close to the Twin Towers on 9/11 and developed post traumatic stress disorder gave birth to babies with low levels of cortisol, a hormone that regulates stress. Women who are depressed while pregnant are likelier to deliver premature babies with low birth weights. These scientific discoveries reinforce the notion that, while a person’s genetic code only offers a template for development, the conditions in the womb fine-tune the expression of those genes. It is the perfect welding of nature and nurture.

Origins investigates the consequences that the nine months of gestation have for infancy, childhood, adulthood and even old age. We get our DNA at the moment of conception, but the way our genes behave and the way they’re expressed, can still be affected by the environment. Now we’re learning that this kind of epigenetic modification, as it’s known, happens most consequentially in the uterus.

And not at all surprising, we are what we eat or you are at least what your mother has eaten 9 months prior to your birth.

Chocolatique BarThe expectant mother should eat fish, making sure it’s low in mercury. And here’s the best part—Moms-to-be should also eat a moderate amount of, you guessed it—chocolate! Chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of preeclampsia (hypertension and related problems during pregnancy).

Expectant mothers should also perform a moderate amount of exercise, because that gives the fetus a workout, too. And, moms and the people around them should help maintain a moderate level of stress because that actually accelerates fetal brain development.

But the bigger message is to keep an open mind. We are constantly learning new information about diet and its effects on our day-to-day lives. It seems that our mothers and grandmothers were correct when they told us “everything in moderation” including a little chocolate in your everyday diet.

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Napa Valley Wine Chocolates

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Cakebread Cellars had been around for about 15 years when Joan and I first met Dolores and Jack Cakebread and their son Dennis on the “Big Island of Hawaii for the first Cuisines of the Sun cooking event. At that time, Choclatique® was not even a glimmer of an idea. Joan and I were completely tied up with The Food Show (ABC) and our consulting company, PERSPECTIVES/The Consulting Group, Inc.

While we were not yet making chocolate, Joan and I were certainly consuming a lot of it (and we still are, of course). During his afternoon cooking demonstration, Jack was trying to convince all that would listen that wine and chocolate was the perfect paring of nature’s finest foods. I made a comment to one of the other attendees that I had always enjoyed my wine with dinner and my chocolate dessert with a respectful interval of time in between. I was proved to be very wrong. Jack and Dolores changed my mind when I tasted their great Cabernet and Chardonnay with shards of dark, milk and white chocolate.

It was no surprise when we released Box of Bubbly—Dom Perignon Champagne Truffles—last year and they immediately became our second highest selling assortment in the Choclatique line. This popular flavor pairing of chocolate and wine opened the rest of the country’s eyes to wine chocolates.

Wine Chocolate Varieties

California’s wine country is an array of microclimates ideal for growing fine wine grapes and the source of wines used in the making of our Napa Valley Wine Chocolate assortments. We are pleased to offer:

Late Harvest Cabernet (Dark Chocolate)
A full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon ganache with the flavors of concentrated berry and plum notes layered with a hint of herbs and green peppers with sparks of smoky oak surrounded by our 64% intense Private Reserve Bitter Sweet Chocolate.

Fall Vineyard Merlot (Dark Chocolate)
A medium-body Merlot ganache with delicate hints of berry, plum, red cherry and currant, with a soft fleshiness of perfectly ripened vines, covered with our 64% Private Reserve Dark Chocolate.

Estate Chardonnay Chocolate (Milk Chocolate)
With the faint aromas of apple, lemon, peach and tropical fruits, the overall flavor is a delicately crisp, flinty flavor with overriding flavors of ripe, fleshy grapes with a buttery quality accented by the flavor of new oak. This full-bodied ganache delicacy takes on many of the qualities of sparkling California wines.

Sparkling Blanc de Chocolate (White Chocolate)
Blanc de chocolate is a dry and crisp white chocolate ganache (33%) made from California “Champagne” with barrel-fermented flavors for added complexity. The wine has aged notes and carries vibrant, fruitful and crisp natural flavors of the sparkling wine from which it is made.

Old Oak Barrel-Aged Port Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)
A big, rich Port wine flavor that is fuller, sweeter and a bit heavier than our other wine ganache. Made from fortified wine it is heavy-bodied, sweet and smoky and holds remembrance of the past and the dreams of the future.

First-Crush Fume Blanc Chocolate (Milk Chocolate)
In memory of an old friend, Robert Mondavi, we dedicate our milk chocolate ganache to the wine he made famous. The flavors of our Fume Blanc ganache are a bit tarter in natural fruit flavors such as gooseberry, honey citrus and green apple, with subtle hints of vanilla and tropical fruits like melon and pineapple and the tell-tale smoky finish.

Zinfandel Cuvée Chocolate (Dark Chocolate)
This elegant Zinfandel ganache has a good fruit concentration of mid-palate dark fruits including raspberry, black currant and subtle pomegranate flavors with white chocolate undertones. The subtle aromas of black raspberry and earthy minerals with a hint of purple violet are evident.

Pretty in Pink “Blush” Chocolate (White Chocolate)
A flirty, yet shy pink rose chocolate ganache with the fruity flavors of ripe strawberry, juicy peach and nectarine. The aroma is a delicate balance of raspberry and black cherry, plus hints of flint and slightly tart cranberry.

Chaîne des RôtisseursChoclatique Napa Valley Wine Chocolates were “un-corked” for the first time the last week in May at the Wine and Hospitality Network event at The Hess Collection Winery in Napa, California and the Wine Country Hilton, Santa Rosa, California for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs—the world’s oldest and largest gastronomic society, founded in 1248.

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No Chocolate?

Thursday, May 14th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

What Would The World Be Without Chocolate?

As a dedicated professional foodie, I usually can’t wait to get my hands on the latest issue of Gourmet Magazine. I simply love food! I love working with it… I love talking about it… and I love eating it! But I can honestly say there is only one thing I love more than ordinary food, and that’s chocolate. After all, I am the guy who cooked chocolate pasta on KABC’s AMLA to the delight of Christina Ferrare, a chocolate and pasta fancier.

So imagine my complete and utter disappointment with the May issue of Gourmet. I scoured it from cover to cover and alas there wasn’t a single recipe or even a mention about chocolate. How could Ruth Reichl, my favorite Editor-in-Chief, have let me down so badly? Ruth, what were you thinking? There were articles on Fresh Foods, Drinks, Stir Frying, Wine and Travel. They covered Melbourne, Sailing and the Low Countries Rising. They even included an article on Obsessions—obviously theirs and not mine—as my obsession is with chocolate.

So, that made me start to think about a world without chocolate. After all, if Gourmet could put out an issue without one chocolate recipe, new chocolate thought or even a single chocolaty mention, what could be next? The world would certainly not be a better place, nor was this months Gourmet a better magazine for not including chocolate.

Now I am not a first class editor like Ms. Reichl, but I do know that I could have added a few chocolate ideas to the issue. I would have taken the Tortilla Chicken Drumsticks recipe on page 78 and improved it with a touch of mole—that rich, dark, reddish-brown delicious concoction usually served with poultry. It’s a great sauce made with onion, garlic, a variety of chilies, ground pumpkin seeds and a small amount of, you guessed it, Mexican chocolate. It would have been so easy.

On page 99 in Cucina Paradiso there is a wonderful recipe for Tuscan Cornmeal Cookies. This yummy recipe, too, could have been improved with, you guessed it, chocolate! If it were left up to me I would have substituted 3 tablespoons of the butter with a dark, rich chocolate ganache. I also would have considered dipping half of the cookie in a tempered chocolate bath to add a tantalizing chocolate dimension. After all, our Italian friends, both here and abroad, certainly love their chocolate, too.

What would the harm have been in brushing the Périgord Walnut Tart shell (page 123) with a little bit of melted chocolate? Besides the obvious flavor appeal, practically speaking, a little chocolate will keep a tart shell wonderfully fresh and flaky. There were strawberry-Vanilla Swirls (page 75); does Ruth not think that strawberry and chocolate blend well together? Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh summer berries that have been kissed with chocolate? What about the recipes for Dulce de Leche Torte (page 115) and Naranjilla Ice Cream (page 131)? Is there no room for a little chocolate among the citrusy flavors of the specialty fruit purées so well discussed? Chocolate and citrus-like flavors are like love and marriage. And what about a refreshing, ice-blended chocolate beverage for summer? It’s not just for winter anymore.

First the brokerage firms, then the banks and the car companies… everyday, life as we know it is changing! But NO CHOCOLATE in Gourmet?! That, we cannot stand for! Hopefully, Ms. Reichl, this was just an unfortunate oversight—one that will never be repeated in Gourmet again.

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Seriously Strong “Elephant” Chocolate?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

We recently introduced our newest high percentage cacao content dark chocolate—Choclatique’s Elephant…Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%). Over the last couple of months, many have asked us about its origins… and why “Elephant?”

When chocolate and coffee were first spreading across Europe, many of the importers were looking for ways of differentiating their products and brands in the marketplace.  The old tin-lined wooden boxes (similar to tea boxes from Asia) and burlap bags that the beans were shipped in really didn’t tell enough of the story to the consuming public.

Animal-style logos appeared on the scene right around the turn of the 20th century. They were designed and put in place on smaller retail containers in stores selling chocolate and coffee throughout the British Empire. The story that they were trying to convey to the public was that their brand of chocolate (or coffee) were both strong and “full-value.” The early logos that the importers used to portray strength were large animals—rhinoceros was a favorite. But, how many rhinos on packages of chocolate can be on the market at the same time without creating general confusion? Elephant and hippopotamus caricatures were next to be seen, followed by horses, eagles and even a few non-animal logos like clipper ships and tall mountains. But the consumer kept coming back for the products portrayed by rhinoceros and elephants.

Ed, Noi & Oon

Ed, Noi & Oon

At Choclatique the founders have a “thing” for elephants. I have traveled to over 130 countries in search of great chocolate sources and have spent many months in Asia where elephants have been an important part of the history and culture of the region.

I have a favorite place just outside of Bangkok which is one of the few elephant refuges in the world where you can spend hours in close contact with the very strong, but playful pachyderms. Look closely, and you’ll see that we’re all smiling! Yes, elephants smile and they laugh, too!

Tasting Chocolate

When seriously tasting chocolate, you should allow the chocolate to slowly melt in your mouth to savor the flavor. With Elephant you’ll get big, rich chocolate flavor with the essence of ripe cherry, berry, wine and then more deep chocolate over complex layers of tart citrus, tropical red and yellow fruit and roasted nutty notes. This is all held up by the solid, rich and intense deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the tongue and palate with a long, pleasant chocolate finish.

Choclatique's Elephant Chocolate

Choclatique’s Elephant Chocolate

We have found these tastes to be right in sync with the flavors that Americans love when eating chocolate.  Oh, and by the way, people really love the look of the beautiful, detailed custom mold we had designed just for our Elephant Chocolate.

Choclatique’s dark chocolates—Private Reserve (64%), Ebony (72%), Elephant (76%) and Q-91 (91%) are never bitter or brittle, and they have a naturally intense dark chocolate flavor which requires the use of less sugar. When you tastes our Elephant Chocolate you will see (and taste) the “fruits” of our labor.

If you love elephants, too, and want more information about how to help save these big, gentle creatures, check out Windy Borman and “The Eyes of Thailand” at: dvaproductions.com

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Do You Inhale?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Tuesday morning Megyn Kelly on Fox’s America’s Newsroom ran a segment on a guy who “invented” a chocolate inhaler. His claim—it is a great chocolate replacer. Megyn was fast to declare it “a lot of hooey.” And, I’m here to tell you that chocolate is much more than just aroma. So, Megyn, thanks for playing the “Hooey Card,” especially when it comes to chocolate.

Chocolate! There are few foods about which people feel as passionate. One of the most pleasant effects of eating chocolate is the “euphoric feeling” that many people experience after eating it. Chocolate contains more than 300 known beneficial compounds. The small amount of caffeine found in chocolate (1.4 oz of chocolate = 1 cup of decaf coffee) combined with Theobromine, a weak stimulant also present in chocolate, provides the “lift” that chocolate eaters experience. Phenyethylamine is reputed to be a mood elevator and an anti-depressant. Say good-bye to your Prozac. Chocolate is also thought to be an aphrodisiac. Set aside your Levitra. Chocolate has even been proven healthful for the well being of expectant moms.

Medical research has linked the antioxidants found in cacao—the fruit from which chocolate is made—to decreases in blood pressure and reductions of “bad” cholesterol levels. Good high cacao content dark chocolate is low in sugar and rich in flavanols which many physicians and nutritionists say are beneficial to your health. Scientists are still developing their opinions on the health benefits of dark chocolate, but the research has certainly reduced the stigma of a moderate daily chocolate habit.

Elephant Collection

Elephant Collection

We sent Megyn a box of our new Elephant Chocolate (76% cacao). This is seriously strong chocolate made for American tastes. On her first bite she will get the hit of big, rich chocolate and then the essence of ripe cherry, berry and wine over complex layers of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted nutty notes all held together by the solid, deep chocolate base. This high cacao content, medium-bodied, very intense chocolate is smooth on the palate with a long and pleasant finish to allow one to savor the flavor. So, you should check it out by tasting. Trust me, you can’t get all that from an inhaler!

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