Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

The ChocolateDoctor’s Thanksgiving Day Toffee Bars

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Sometimes you just don’t have time to bake a pecan pie for the holidays. You still want that homemade look and taste of toasted pecans, but the last thing you want to do is buy a store-bought pie. This is a great solution when you need it fast.

This is a short and busy week for us at Choclatique. We will be filling orders for the holiday and trying to pull everything together for our own celebrations. It definitely puts our staff on overdrive and this is just the beginning of the holiday season for us. So last night I got a head start on something sweet and simple to test for my Thanksgiving dinner. It was quite yummy and picture perfect. The best part the recipe is that it calls for ingredients almost everyone has in their pantry.

Hey, how can you go wrong with fresh butter, toasted pecans mixed with the toffee and Choclatique chocolate? Yum!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 30 minutes
Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients for the base:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup pecan halves
TOFFEE TOPPING (ingredients and directions follow)
1 cup Choclatique Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions for the base:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine the flour and brown sugar in large bowl. With a pastry blender, or better yet, an electric food processor, cut in the butter, vanilla and almond extracts until fine crumbs form (it’s okay if a few large crumbs remain).
  3. Press mixture onto bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
  4. Sprinkle the pecans over crust.
  5. Prepare TOFFEE TOPPING (see below); drizzle evenly over pecans and crust.
  6. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until topping is bubbly and golden; remove from oven. Immediately sprinkle milk chocolate chips evenly over top; press gently onto surface.
  7. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 24 to 36 bars.

Ingredients for the toffee:
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions for the toffee:

  1. Combine the butter and 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar in small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Stirring constantly continue to boil boiling 30 seconds.
  4. Drizzle immediately over base.

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

In Charles Perrault’s lovely fairytale Cinderella, the fairly godmother turns a pumpkin into a magical, horse-drawn royal coach. This holiday season you too can transform a pumpkin into something wonderful—a scrumptious Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread. This recipe has a mild subtle spiced pumpkin flavor with accents of chocolate. It is not overly sweet and is perfect with a turkey dinner or a surprisingly delicious toasted breakfast treat. It uses the whole 14-ounce of canned pumpkin puree (typically contained in a single can) so you don’t have to try to figure out what to do with the rest.

This recipe makes 3 large loaves. Eat one now and freeze the other two for later. You can also turn loaves into muffins; simply by cupping the batter and baking in muffin tins for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. I’m sure that my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Quick Bread will become part of your new All-American Thanksgiving tradition.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour
Ready In: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 3 large loaves

Ingredients:
1 sticks (1/2-pound) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup Choclatique Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 teaspoons crystalline sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Butter and flour three 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar with the butter then add the pumpkin puree, water and eggs. Beat the mixture until smooth.
  4. Blend in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Do not overmix.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Fill the loaf pans 3/4 full. Tap on the bottom to settle.
  7. Sprinkle each loaf with 1 teaspoon of crystalline sugar.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire racks before removing from pans.

ChefSecret: Crystalline Sugar (sanding sugar or sparkling sugar) adds a sweet crunch and sparkle to everything from cookies and scones to muffins, quick breads, cake, sweet breads and pie crust. It’s a simple touch that elevates the look and taste of your baked quick breads from good to gorgeous.

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Some Thanksgiving Thoughts

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

This week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with many of the foods that have been the holiday’s custom since the very first celebration. And, as hard as it is to believe, chocolate was unknown to the early settlers and did not have a place at their first celebration—something we have changed in later years. Regardless, Thanksgiving is the authentically American holiday which is celebrated on the final Thursday in November. But did you know it was not always so?

It wasn’t until December 26, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved this date to give the country an economic boost, making Thanksgiving a national holiday and setting it to be the fourth (but not final) Thursday in November. But long before the official proclamation, it was an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God.

The event that Americans commonly call the first Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony survive their first brutal winter in New England. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The first Thanksgiving feast consisted of fowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, squash, beetroot and turkey.

Our modern day Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from the original 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This was continued in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition.

The Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans lived near the Pilgrims and taught them how to catch eel and grow corn. The Wampanoag leaders had allowed their own food reserves to be shared with the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient to keep the population alive.

Wisely these first Americans set apart this day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was quoted that, “the Pilgrims found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”

Our forefathers began to gather their small harvests and prepare their houses against winter cold. In future years some of these adventurers were employed in civic affairs, others were fishing for cod, bass and other fish, which was dried and stored, of which every family had their share. As winter approached they began to store salted fowl, of which there was plenty. Beside the abundance of waterfowl there was great supply of wild turkeys. All of this lead to a grand meal for ever person as the harvest of Indian corn was brought in from the field and stored for the winter months.

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey, corn, squash or pumpkin, cranberries and nuts. Many the recipes we use today use the very same ingredients from earlier Thanksgiving celebrations. While chocolate was not a part of the first feast, we have adapted many recipes that have been enriched with the dark stuff.

Choclatique's Dark, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini ChipsOne of my personal favorites is Chocolate Pecan Pie which is made with our Choclatique Dark, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Chips. I like this chocolate the best not only because of its wonderful rich flavor but for the miniature size. There are over 4000 mini-chips to a pound which ensures that every single bite will have a fair share of chocolate.

I encourage you to give this recipe a try and experiment with other chocolate desserts. If you have one that you think is out-of-this-world, send it to me and I will post it so others may share. Finally as we all express thanks for this year’s bounty, let’s not forget to offer a special thanks and prayers for our military men and women who are protecting us from others who do not share our beliefs.

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