November 2011

Do You Like Chocolate Milk?

This is one of America’s staples.

According to an NPR article, chocolate milk has been linked to faster muscle recovery if sipped during or after intense exercise. While that may be true, many schools are banning the beverage. Why? It is estimated that the frothy dark moo drink contains as much sugar as a can of Pepsi or Coke. Therefore it “doesn’t belong in schools”, say Ann Cooper, director of Food Services in Colorado at the Boulder Valley school district. Some refer to her as the renegade lunch lady.

Chocolate Fountain Don’ts

With holiday party planning in full swing, more than a few hosts and hostesses I know are planning to add a chocolate fountain to this year’s buffet table.  Chocolate fountains are attractive centerpieces, and they create delicious deserts and hors d’oeurves without creating a lot of extra work for the chef.  However, there are a few “don’ts” that should be kept in mind if you are planning include a chocolate fountain for your guests.

How to Make a Holiday Season Worthy Chocolate Mousse

Holiday Chocolate Mousse

 

I have found my new favorite dessert to make during this holiday season, chocolate mousse. This recipe, adapted from the Woman's Day September 2011 issue, has potential for not only mousse, but also pies and bon bons. I wasn't feeling all that spry on the day I wanted to bake, but I still wanted to make something different and special. I decided to go for the mousse, which meant I didn't need the pie crust.

Loosen Your Belt for this Recipe

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes with Red Licorice Filling and Marshmallow Frosting

Dive into this sweet when nothing else will satisfy your cravings, it’s a combination of not only chocolate, but cherry and marshmallow, which is sure to please late night by a warm fire especially as the months are starting to get colder. So wrap up in a blanket and enjoy this recipe provided by the food network for chocolate cherry cola cupcakes with red licorice filling and marshmallow frosting.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cherry cola, warmed in microwave for 1 minute
  • Red Licorice Filling, recipe follows
  • 2 cups crushed yogurt-covered pretzels
  • Marshmallow Frosting, recipe follows
  • Cherry Cola Glaze, recipe follows

Pecan Pie: Does Bourbon and Chocolate Make it Better?

"The chocolate and bourbon add a unique flavor to the already rich taste of pecan pie. "

I am a Georgia girl who loves her pecan pie.  During this past year one of my greatest joys was living in a house with numerous pecan trees that made it easy to make homemade pecan pies throughout the winter.  Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to a bourbon and chocolate pecan pie recipe she found on Food Network.  The recipe was from the show Food 911 featuring Tyler Florence (one of my favorites) and I was eager to try it out.  After all, I love chocolate and have yet to run into anything that wasn’t improved by bourbon.

The recipe requires:

3 Eggs

½ Stick Butter (Unsalted)

2 oz Chocolate (Unsweetened)

1 ½ Cups Pecans (Halves)

1 Cup Sugar

How to Make S'mores Over an Open Flame

Homemade S'more Recipe

 

 

Last week my husband and I had a few friends over when the temperatures dropped several degrees here in north-central Florida. Anyone who lives in Florida knows that you have to wait quite awhile to see any signs of colder weather. Everyone I know tends to get kind of excited when it finally arrives. Several leaves and branches had piled up on the burn spot in our yard. It was time to light a bon fire to get rid of our yard waste. We got the bright idea to make some homemade s'mores with everyone while keeping warm and sharing good times once the sun went down.

Check out Chocomap

Imagine you’re in Paris, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and taking in all the sights when you suddenly have the desire for some chocolate. Of course, you’re in Paris, the city of romance, and chocolate just happens to pair well with romance. You wish you could look up a chocolatier in the city. Yet, this is your first time in Paris, so you have no idea where to look for such a place.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Perfect Recipe for Thanksgiving

 

This might just be the perfect recipe for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it combines the great flavors of fall to cleanse you palette after turkey and gravy. Take advantage of this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis for chocolate orange cupcakes with limoncello frosting:

 

Cupcakes:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • Orange juice (instead of water in cake mix)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup diced candied orange peel (about 8 ounces)

Frosting:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened (1/2 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons limoncello (you can substitute with 2 tablespoons lemon juice for minors)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup finely diced candied orange peel, for garnish
  • Special equipment: cupcake liners, 2 muffin pans

How to Make Hot Mocha Coffee

Hot Chocolate Mocha Coffee

 

One of my favorite hot drinks to sip on during the winter months is a hot chocolate mocha coffee I make from scratch at home. Not only is making your own coffee cheaper, you can experiment with the mixture until you get it to taste the way you want it to. I've come to find out that some people prefer espresso and others like their drink made out of regular coffee. I, myself, mix the drink with regular coffee.

 

Things You'll Need:

  • Coffee
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Sugar
  • Milk
  • Water

 

  1. Brew your cup of coffee as you would a regular cup.
  2. Put two tablespoons of cocoa powder into the bottom of your coffee cup.
  3. Pour your freshly brewed coffee over the cocoa powder you poured in. Leave enough room to add some milk to top of your drink.
  4. Stir the powder and the coffee together until blended.
  5. Add in milk to fill up the rest of your coffee cup.
  6. Stir the milk into the coffee and cocoa and stop when the ingredients have blended together.
  7. Sweeten with sugar as needed to tone down the bitterness taste of your hot chocolate mocha coffee drink without added sweetener. Adding sugar to the mix will reduce bitterness. I recommend using an artificial sweetener or the lowest amount of sugar you can get away with and still enjoy the taste, for those who typically don't add sugar to their coffee.

 

Chocolate and Beer

A Perfect Pairing

 

Chocolate drinks have forever been something you have thought as given to children, such as hot cocoa and chocolate milk, but chocolate has taken on a whole new adult look, which surprisingly isn’t really that new-age either. Dating back to the era of Mesoamericans, the start of beer and chocolate began. They had developed chocolate as a by-product of fermenting cacao fruit to make a beer-like drink called chicha that is still brewed in Southern American by tribes.

What Are Chocolate Truffles?

Do they contain mushrooms?

One of my favorite chocolate candies is the Lindt chocolate truffle. They are these balls of chocolate ecstasy. I like to let them just melt slowly in my mouth. The outside is semi-soft chocolate and the inside is this really rich liquid that will coat your entire tongue and cover all your taste buds.

 

Over the years when I've offered them to various people I get asked the same question: "Do they contain mushrooms?" This is because of course there are a type of mushrooms called truffles - you know the ones that grow just under the surface of the soil and they use pigs (literally) to sniff them out to collect them. They are a delicacy in fact and very popular in French cuisine.

 

However....

Are You REALLY Eating Dark Chocolate?

"avoid chocolate that has "alkali chocolate" or "dutch chocolate" listed on the ingredient label."

Traditionally, dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar. However, the chocolate bean is very expensive and some chocolate manufacturers have been looking for a way to label their produce "dark chocolate" without having to actually use more cocoa. It's like almost everything else in the food manufacturing business. It all comes down to money.

 

Why is this important to the consumer? There are several reasons:

Orange County Chocolate Festival

Is all the Halloween candy gone? Maybe you’ve just gotten tired of that fake corn syrupy taste in your mouth that comes along with eating all those fun size Crunch! bars and Hersey’s chocolates. If you have the taste for a true chocolaty explosion on your taste buds, where you can taste little nibs from a real cocoa bean, you may delight in reading below.

Chocolate lovers rejoice! If you live or are going to be traveling through Orange County this weekend, you can get your fix.

Chocolatiers, bakers, candy makers and wine tasters will be present at the event sampling products and offering good deals for chocolate and candy fiends. For those wanting to check out both days of the festival, there’s even a hotel room package deal for the real hardcore chocolate enthusiast. Admission for the event is $25. While that may sound steep, your admission includes 8 chocolate samples and 3 wine tastings. Additional tasting and sampling tickets can be purchased inside the event.

These chocolates are clear winners!

Annual Good Food Award Winning Chocolates

Many fine foods, including chocolate, are often judged by their taste. The Good Food Awards, however, take a different approach. They review and identify the tastiest product in categories such as chocolate, charcuterie, coffee, cheese, beer, pickles, preserves and spirits. These selections are not judged solely on their taste but also on the way they are made. Judges, drawn from the ranks of food producers, farmers, journalists, and independent grocers, look for foods that not only taste good but are also created in a responsible way.     
    Ingredients, for example, must be all natural, and contain only the freshest seasonal items without artificial ingredients. They must be grown without synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMO free. Responsible growing practices including Fair Trade must be evident in the production and manufacture of everything that goes into each item. Farming, and manufacturing processes, must be environmentally friendly regarding the use of energy, resources, and recycled materials.
    The result is not just the best tasting product in a variety of categories but products you can feel good about eating. Except for the calories of course.    
    This year a number of fine chocolates have been awarded the Good Food award. The chocolates are as varied as the regions of the country they come from.


    Charles Chocolates, from San Francisco, Ca, won this year for their Sweet Salty Cashew bar. The chocolate is a single origin cacao sourced from small plantations in Venezuela. Local organic eggs and milk are used to create this sweet treat.