Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Chocolate’
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011
Fall brings nature’s show of colors to California fig orchards, crispness to the air, and warm thoughts for the holidays. Each year at Choclatique we make a limited edition of our holiday assortments with a distinctive Fig & Peanut Sea Salt Truffle in the center of the box. For obvious reasons, this has become one of the most popular flavors at this time of year with some people ordering a whole box of just this holiday favorite. It is perfect for holiday gift giving and entertaining. It might be because of all the antioxidant power in both the figs and chocolate or it might be that it just tastes so darn good.
There are several great choices of figs this time of year—golden Calimyrna and dark purple Mission figs which bring elegance and unequalled flavor to your holiday gifts or table. Whether you’re going big this year and buying a bulk box of Missions or Calimyrnas to bake up a storm (and get the best price), or you’re putting together gift baskets featuring beautifully packaged, hand-packed figs, you should be able to find whatever you need.
When cooking with figs you’ll find a diverse collection of incredibly delicious recipes on the California Fig Advisory Board website which offers a wealth of wonderful holiday food gift ideas. One of my favorites featuring chocolate that didn’t make into my new book, Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes, is shown below.
In this recipe, we have showcased both sweet and chewy California-grown figs and Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) to make an elegant and delicious addition to your holiday table or a homemade gift to give to friends and family.
Choclatique Dipped Stuffed Figs
Inspired by the California Fig Advisory Board
15 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brandy*
15 to 30 small pieces candied ginger, toasted nuts or chocolate
6 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped
- With a sharp knife, cut a small slit in the bottom of each fig.
- In a small saucepan, over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water; stir in brandy and add the figs. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the figs have plumped.
- Drain the figs, cool and dry thoroughly.
- Stuff one or two pieces of ginger or nuts into each fig.
- Place chopped chocolate in a 1-cup glass measuring cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Heat on medium/50% power until almost melted, stirring after every 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.
- Remove from microwave and stir until melted.
- Hold stem of each fig and dip in melted chocolate. Place figs, stems up, on wax paper-lined tray until chocolate sets.
- Repeat the melting and dipping process with the white chocolate to create a small white footer on each fig.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
*ChefSecret: Substitute the brandy with 1/2 cup water mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla for a liquor-free dessert.
Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Recipes
If you’re looking for the perfect cookbook for the holidays may I suggest Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you would like to know about how chocolate affects the human body and improves one’s disposition, it is the perfect primer. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and enhancing your sweet disposition and those all around you.
CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
I was always told by my mother, “Eat it all at once or you’ll be sorry.” Sure enough, upon taking a bite of this luscious cherry covered in chocolate, my chin and t-shirt was quickly covered with the white creamy liquid center of the chocolate.
Chocolate Cherry Cordials were originally a French invention—chocolate covered Kirsch-soaked, marinated whole cherries which became liquid centers—soon found their way to the United States. In 1864 Cella’s Confections of New York started making liquid center cherries. In 1929 they began large scale production, but The Brock Candy Company (later renamed Brach’s) was well positioned to become a major competitor and steal the market share away from Cella’s.
During the 1930s, Brach’s introduced its own version of chocolate covered cherries, which quickly became a nationwide favorite. That particular candy not only helped the company survive the lean Depression era but would remain one of its biggest sellers for the next 60 years. Eighty years later Choclatique reinvented this famous confection using the original French recipe.
In this 1952 photo of the Brach’s Candy Company in Chattanooga fondant-covered cherries receive the bottom coating of chocolate.
Making Chocolate Cherry Cordials isn’t all that difficult. You don’t have to have a lot of equipment and be a sophisticated candy maker and you don’t have to take a small syringe and inject the creamy liquid inside the chocolate. That’s accomplished by making a sturdy fondant to wrap around each cherry and then dipping them in chocolate.
This home version of our Chocolate Cherry Cordial recipe is the very best I’ve tried and is similar to how we make them here at Choclatique.
I like to marinate my cherries in brandy, Kirsch or Grand Marnier for a minimum of 2 days—longer is much better. I like to wait 3 to 4 weeks before eating them to allow the enzymes to work their magic and liquefy the fondant. For the best results, please follow the recipe exactly as stated.
50 marinated maraschino cherries with stems, well drained
4 cups of brandy, Kirsch or Grand Marnier
3 tablespoons room temperature butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brandy
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 pounds dipping chocolate couverture, Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%), or Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate (33%).
- Prepare in advance: In a strainer, drain the maraschino cherries for about 2 hours; then marinate them with the liquor of your choice for a minimum of 2 days (longer is better).
- Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, corn syrup, salt and brandy in a large mixing bowl blending until smooth; about 5 minutes. Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and mix well for another 5 minutes to create the fondant. Knead the fondant by hand until smooth, silky and shiny; wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, drain the cherries. When the fondant has set, carefully shape a flattened marble-size piece of fondant around each cherry; place on wax paper-lined tray. Chill the wrapped cherries until firm, about 2 hours.
- Melt the chocolate and temper accordingly. Holding the cherries by their stems, dip each cherry in tempered chocolate and place on a wax paper-lined tray. Store in a covered container in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks to fully “ripen” and to attain the “liquidy” center.
Be sure to get a head start on the holidays as it take several days for the centers to become liquid. If you don’t want to go to the trouble and wait for the centers to liquefy you can purchase Chocolate Cherry Cordials directly from our website.
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique
This Sunday, April 4th, is Easter Sunday. Beyond the religious significance to the faithful, Easter has become one of the candy and chocolate industries’ biggest holidays. From jelly beans and marshmallow chicks to foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and hollow bunnies, Easter gives kids of all ages an excuse to indulge a little. Perhaps it’s the effect of the particularly long, cold, wet and snowy winter, but the fact that the holiday arrives ten days earlier than last year hasn’t dampened expectations for a banner year in sales. The National Retail Foundation reports that total Easter spending is expected to reach over $13 billion! Of course that total includes food, flowers, decorations, greeting cards, clothing and yes, candy and chocolate.
Easter was a major holiday in my childhood. I remember that my Great Uncle Tony, a pharmacist and proprietor of a local drug store (similar to the one shown), always brought me a taste of the newest seasonal candy when it came into the store. I wasn’t very discriminating back then—if it had sugar and/or milk chocolate, I was game.
As a young child an over-sized hollow bunny or extra large bag of jelly beans did the trick. But as I got a little older, nothing brought me the excitement as the newest seasonal chocolate assortment did. The ritual of removing the outer wrapper, sliding open the lid and breathing in the sweet aroma of chocolate… there was—and is—nothing like it. Were it not for my Granny interceding at just the right moment, I’m certain I could have polished off that one-pounder in no time flat. She helped me to appreciate those chocolate moments.
She allowed me to have just two in that first moment, so selection was critical. Not being a big fan of the coconut back then (I used to refer to it as eating hair), nor having yet acquired the appreciation for the richness of a solid piece of gourmet chocolate, I ultimately learned to look before I leaped.
There wasn’t much color used back then and the fillings and designs were very simple relative to today’s offerings, so I looked for the subtle differences in size, shape, the twist of the drizzle, the hint of a possible nut… all were clues to treasure inside. Even shaking the chocolate could even be rewarding if one was in pursuit of the elusive chocolate covered cherry. My favorite was the nutty caramel.
I’m happy to say that I still have that childlike excitement whenever I open up a box of assorted truffles—whether ours or another artisans’. I still stop and take in with full measure the chocolate aroma when I open the box, and then I let my eyes dance from piece to piece to piece, struggling to decide which one to try first. Fortunately, I went from candy store kid to chocolate studio owner, so I don’t have to choose just one or two and I don’t have to wait for a holiday to enjoy our chocolates… neither do you. But there is still something special about savoring Easter memories of my Granny and Uncle Tony and those special boxes of chocolate.
Create your own holiday memories with Choclatique…
Monday, November 23rd, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
As the co-founder of Choclatique and as a lover of everything chocolate I am always looking for new “flavor thrills” that are made with chocolate—anything chocolate… everything chocolate. That could be the sweet use of chocolate for great muffins, brownies and confections or something savory like an exotic Mexican chicken mole, chocolate-covered short ribs or my fantastic chocolate-kissed barbecue sauce.
My good friend Richard Altuna, our retail designer, who has added so much to the success of Choclatique, has called me fearless in the face of chocolate so I decided that it might be a good idea to bring a little Thanksgiving cheer to the chocolate lovers of America who are looking for more than just another ordinary turkey to show their thanks for this week’s holiday feast.
Two of my favorite things in the world are a standing rib roast (I used to work for Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Los Angeles—the home of great prime rib) and cacao. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound particularly strange, but try bringing them together. Now that was a challenge that I took up earlier in the year for another publication.
You have to always remember that chocolate, or more to the point, cacao beans, can be used in many different forms. For instance, at this very moment, Chef Wayne and I are in the middle of a 3-week test using whole cacao beans marinating in 100 proof vodka to see if we can develop a great tasting chocolate-flavored neutral spirits beverage. Chocolatier Karen and I have worked on the development of coffee and tea-related solid dark chocolates as a way to provide unique high-impact chocolate flavors, extra-high in antioxidants. This would be a more functional use of chocolate similar to our Q-91.
But, I digress… what does all this have to do with a Thanksgiving Day feast? Fear not, the Chocolate Ambassador to the rescue. Take a look at the prime rib marinade and recipe attached (using Choclatique Cocoa Nibs) and discover for yourself that chocolate should be used for more than just sweet confections and desserts.
Happy Thanksgiving and many thanks to all of our friends and associates who have helped make Choclatique the popular, award-winning company that we are today.
Happy Holidays… don’t forget to order your chocolate early for everyone on your list! www.Choclatique.com
CACAO NIB PRIME RIB
Two of my favorite things in the world are a standing rib roast and a piece of chocolate. Okay, I know that doesn’t sound particularly strange, but try bringing them together. Fear not, take a look at the marinade recipe below and discover for yourself that chocolate should be used for more than just confections and desserts.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Hold Time: 10-12 hours or Overnight
Cook Time: 2-1/2 Hours
Rest Time: 30 Minutes
Yield: Serves 6
- 3 tablespoons Choclatique Cacao Nibs
- 3 teaspoons Dried Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Whole-Grain Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Molasses (unsulfured)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
- 3 tablespoons Golden Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 1 each Standing Rib Roast (3 bone or boneless prime rib)
- Make the dry marinade by combining all of the spices in the bowl of a food processor and process until the cacao nibs break into small particles (about the size of coarse salt).
- Generously cover the meat with the dry marinade and tightly wrap in plastic food film. Marinate the prime rib overnight in the refrigerator.
- Remove the prime rib from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you start cooking to temper it to room temperature.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325-350ºF.
- Place the prime rib fat side up in roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack.
- For medium to rare cook until the internal meat temperature reaches about 125ºF (roughly 18-20 minutes a pound). But why gamble, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer.
- Allow the prime rib to sit, loosely covered under a foil tent, for 20-30 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to calm down.
Note: Use the leftovers to make Beef Enchiladas Mole or a steaming pot of your favorite Chili.
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
What goes best with a pretty lady and a beautiful location on a fabulous day? Choclatique Chocolate, that’s what. And that was the case in mid-July when Taina Franke from EMD, the company that helps us make our Choclatique Gemstones and Moon Rocks sparkle, held a customer event at the Waters Restaurant in Irvine, California.
It seems that everybody loved the taste of the Choclatique Moon Rocks and was fascinated by the color and the shiny, perfectly tempered chocolate. EMD is one the companies that Choclatique partners with to help us continue developing unique Authentically American Chocolate with all of our amazing flavors and decorations in our nearly 200 different confections.
One way or the other it all comes together. The inspiration for developing the Choclatique Jewel Box first came from Jay Lazar the president of our advertising agency in New York City. Jay had a client that wanted a customer gift for their retail stores that would replicate some of the actual jewelry they were selling. Jay had shown them our Choclatique Moon Rocks Collection and suggested that we were the ones to recreate their jewelry in chocolate. In less than two weeks we transitioned from rustic, gold-veined moon rocks to the Choclatique Jewel Box filled with precious and semi-precious stones.
Challenges in production—creating Moon Rocks and Gemstones— involves our “precious” and “semi-precious” co-workers in the Chocolate Studios who translate our customers’ marketing ideas into luscious and delectable chocolate confections.
All of us at Choclatique continue to create innovative flavors and designs that gain the attention of buyers and the media who continue to create “the buzz” about Choclatique. Our public relations team from Venture IAB, headed by veteran publicist, Sabina Gault (along with Monica and Michael), send samples of everything new and the words to describe them to anyone who will listen and taste. We have found that when we get people to taste Choclatique they quickly become disciples of the brand.
What’s new for the rest of 2009? It’s our Choclatique Napa Valley Wine Chocolates, The Jewel Box Collection, the Boo Box (an 8-piece spooky and scrumptious box of Halloween ghosts), and the new Holidays assortments (with 15 new flavors), plus Homemade Holiday Marshmallow will also headline our offerings. Peanut Brittle Bites, Chocolate Covered Peanut Brittle Bites, Chocolate Almond Butter Toffee Bites and the adorable Choclatique “Chicks” for next Easter all will be available.
Coming in late September are our new Choclatique Baking Mixes. If you love to bake, but sometimes don’t have the time to gather and mix all the ingredients we have created Chocolate, Chocolate Brownie Mix, Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins, Ed’s Best Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting Mix. They’re superior to any store-bought bakery mixes because they are all made with ground chocolate, not just cocoa. They are super-easy to bake, frost and decorate at home. You won’t have a long wait for the compliments.
All of these products have been developed in the Choclatique Chocolate Studios with the support and assistance of our American strategic suppliers.