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New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/culinary-chocolate/Culinary Chocolate?It’s time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to cooking and chocolate … for far too long, “make mine chocolate” has referred to dessert. Limiting your chocolate culinary exposure to the last course of the meal means that you are missing out on all of the sensational savory dishes that can be made using unsweetened chocolate bars (for sauces)and powders (for rubs). Let’s start with something simple, that doesn’t involve melting anything. Adding unsweetened cocoa powder to a rub – preferably using the best Dutch processed product that you can lay your hands on –adds depth and intensity to chicken, beef, pork or fish. Use the recipes below as a jumping off point, but keep in mind that a rub is something you really can’t get wrong. After you’ve worked with a few of these, feel free to experiment. Add more heat, more sweet, or whatever unique flavor you’d like your creation to have.

• Combine 1 Tablespoon white peppercorns with a tablespoon of whole coriander in a peppermill or mortar and pestle; grind to a fine powder. Mix with 4 Tablespoons cinnamon, 3 ½ Tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder, 4 Tablespoons ground sea salt, 2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Rub mixture on pork tenderloins, chicken breasts, or ribs before browning, then cooking.
• This rub is particular good when preparing filet mignon. Combine two tablespoons cocoa powder with one tablespoon each of cumin, sugar, and cinnamon, half teaspoon of cayenne and white pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder and salt. Coat both sides of meat before broiling or grilling. Leftover rub can be kept for future use.
• This intoxicating combination of the flavors of coffee and chocolate for a nice blend of bitter, spicy and sweet. Combine 6 Tablespoons ground espresso powder with two tablespoons each of kosher salt, brown sugar, and sweet paprika. Add two teaspoons each of black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, and one teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and cocoa powder. This rub will keep for up to six months in an airtight container and is fabulous on steaks.
Once you’ve mastered the cocoa rub and have come up with your own special concoction, consider wrapping it up in a mason jar with a festive ribbon for your gourmet friends … after all, you don’t want to keep the “chocolate for dinner” secret to yourself!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/culinary-chocolate/

Culinary Chocolate?

It’s time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to cooking and chocolate … for far too long, “make mine chocolate” has referred to dessert. Limiting your chocolate culinary exposure to the last course of the meal means that you are missing out on all of the sensational savory dishes that can be made using unsweetened chocolate bars (for sauces)and powders (for rubs). Let’s start with something simple, that doesn’t involve melting anything. Adding unsweetened cocoa powder to a rub – preferably using the best Dutch processed product that you can lay your hands on –adds depth and intensity to chicken, beef, pork or fish. Use the recipes below as a jumping off point, but keep in mind that a rub is something you really can’t get wrong. After you’ve worked with a few of these, feel free to experiment. Add more heat, more sweet, or whatever unique flavor you’d like your creation to have.

savory_chocolate

• Combine 1 Tablespoon white peppercorns with a tablespoon of whole coriander in a peppermill or mortar and pestle; grind to a fine powder. Mix with 4 Tablespoons cinnamon, 3 ½ Tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder, 4 Tablespoons ground sea salt, 2 teaspoons fresh nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cloves. Rub mixture on pork tenderloins, chicken breasts, or ribs before browning, then cooking.
• This rub is particular good when preparing filet mignon. Combine two tablespoons cocoa powder with one tablespoon each of cumin, sugar, and cinnamon, half teaspoon of cayenne and white pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder and salt. Coat both sides of meat before broiling or grilling. Leftover rub can be kept for future use.
• This intoxicating combination of the flavors of coffee and chocolate for a nice blend of bitter, spicy and sweet. Combine 6 Tablespoons ground espresso powder with two tablespoons each of kosher salt, brown sugar, and sweet paprika. Add two teaspoons each of black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder, and one teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and cocoa powder. This rub will keep for up to six months in an airtight container and is fabulous on steaks.

Once you’ve mastered the cocoa rub and have come up with your own special concoction, consider wrapping it up in a mason jar with a festive ribbon for your gourmet friends … after all, you don’t want to keep the “chocolate for dinner” secret to yourself!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/how-to-taste-chocolate/How to Taste ChocolateAt first glance, the idea of learning how to taste chocolate sounds a little bit ludicrous, doesn’t it? Unless of course, the idea is how to hold yourself back so that you can actually taste its rich deliciousness rather than cramming it in your mouth and inhaling it in one gulp. That’s a lesson I could probably benefit from. But no … I am, in fact, talking about tasting chocolate in the same way that those who love and know wine do their tastings; using all of your senses in order to truly appreciate the experience and detect the nuances that truly fine chocolate possesses. Learning to taste chocolate will give you a much deeper sense of enjoyment, and will add another layer of pleasure to your chocolate passion.
A true chocolate tasting session should involve each of your five senses. You may wonder about how you can “hear” chocolate, but in truth, the snap of a piece of chocolate can speak volumes about its quality. Dark chocolate snaps with a much clearer sound than chocolates that have more milk and fat. It also leaves fewer crumbs. The look of the chocolate will not only tell you much about its content, but also about how fresh it is and how well it has been stored; if your chocolate is dark and shiny, it is fresh and of high quality, but if it looks as though it has a light coating of dust on it, that is called bloom. Bloom occurs when chocolate has been stored improperly.In addition to the look and sound, chocolate’s texture can provide clues about its quality. Good chocolate is firm and smooth, and never feels greasy. If your fingertips are at normal temperature, pressing on a piece of chocolate for just a few seconds will result in the beginnings of slight softening and melting.
Finally, the taste and smell are the elements of chocolate tasting with which you are already most familiar. There are hundreds of different aromas that a good piece of chocolate can reveal. Take the chocolate and warm it in your hands for a moment or two in order to release the scents, then cup it in your hands and contain your nose in the hollow you’ve formed – breathe deeply. The aromas can range from floral to nutty. You might think you taste fruit, or vanilla, or even something vaguely bitter or smoky. Each contributes to the experience of the chocolate, and speaks to the sources of the chocolate as well as any essences that have been added in the chocolatier’s process. Upon tasting these flavors will become even more pronounced. Take a small bit and allow it to melt on your tongue, then spread the chocolate with your tongue around to the different areas of your palate. You’ll find that the more you savor the morsel, the more flavors will be revealed. Only once you think you have gotten everything out of the piece should you swallow.
Tasting chocolate can be a profound sensory and educational experience. Taking the time to learn about the different layers of flavor and aroma will heighten your appreciation, even during those times when all you really want to do is satisfy a chocolate craving.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/how-to-taste-chocolate/

How to Taste Chocolate

smell_the_chocolateAt first glance, the idea of learning how to taste chocolate sounds a little bit ludicrous, doesn’t it? Unless of course, the idea is how to hold yourself back so that you can actually taste its rich deliciousness rather than cramming it in your mouth and inhaling it in one gulp. That’s a lesson I could probably benefit from. But no … I am, in fact, talking about tasting chocolate in the same way that those who love and know wine do their tastings; using all of your senses in order to truly appreciate the experience and detect the nuances that truly fine chocolate possesses. Learning to taste chocolate will give you a much deeper sense of enjoyment, and will add another layer of pleasure to your chocolate passion.
A true chocolate tasting session should involve each of your five senses. You may wonder about how you can “hear” chocolate, but in truth, the snap of a piece of chocolate can speak volumes about its quality. Dark chocolate snaps with a much clearer sound than chocolates that have more milk and fat. It also leaves fewer crumbs. The look of the chocolate will not only tell you much about its content, but also about how fresh it is and how well it has been stored; if your chocolate is dark and shiny, it is fresh and of high quality, but if it looks as though it has a light coating of dust on it, that is called bloom. Bloom occurs when chocolate has been stored improperly.In addition to the look and sound, chocolate’s texture can provide clues about its quality. Good chocolate is firm and smooth, and never feels greasy. If your fingertips are at normal temperature, pressing on a piece of chocolate for just a few seconds will result in the beginnings of slight softening and melting.
Finally, the taste and smell are the elements of chocolate tasting with which you are already most familiar. There are hundreds of different aromas that a good piece of chocolate can reveal. Take the chocolate and warm it in your hands for a moment or two in order to release the scents, then cup it in your hands and contain your nose in the hollow you’ve formed – breathe deeply. The aromas can range from floral to nutty. You might think you taste fruit, or vanilla, or even something vaguely bitter or smoky. Each contributes to the experience of the chocolate, and speaks to the sources of the chocolate as well as any essences that have been added in the chocolatier’s process. Upon tasting these flavors will become even more pronounced. Take a small bit and allow it to melt on your tongue, then spread the chocolate with your tongue around to the different areas of your palate. You’ll find that the more you savor the morsel, the more flavors will be revealed. Only once you think you have gotten everything out of the piece should you swallow.
Tasting chocolate can be a profound sensory and educational experience. Taking the time to learn about the different layers of flavor and aroma will heighten your appreciation, even during those times when all you really want to do is satisfy a chocolate craving.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/orlando-adds-a-sweet-spot/Orlando Adds a Sweet Spot
There are tons of people who absolutely live for visiting the Magic Kingdom and all of its surrounding theme parks – between Disney, Sea World, and Universal Studios Orlando has become a vacation mecca. But there are some (like me, for example) who just don’t understand making the trip on a regular basis: one and done is more my style when it comes to Shamu and Mickey. But now comes word that Orlando has added a brand new attraction that just might make me revisit my “no-more-Orlando” stance … the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour.
Located just a short drive from the Orlando International Airport and all of Orlando’s iconic theme parks, Chocolate Kingdom is a chocolate lover’s dream. There’s a museum, a store, and a factory all located within a single facility. Though I think it would have been perfectly fine to have offered a straightforward educational program (with the normal amount of snarky humor and current events references that can be found from any self-respecting tour operation), the management apparently couldn’t tear themselves free from the town’s love of costumes and story-telling.
The tour is led by a handsome prince and his perky dragon companion, who take you on a journey to a land that is marginally fanciful, mostly factual.  There’s a Cacao Tree Greenhouse and a chocolate river, but what was most interesting for me was the factory itself, which uses old-fashioned equipment to illustrate the process all the way from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar.
In what is a true stroke of marketing genius, guests are even offered the opportunity to create their own customized bar of chocolate to bring home as a souvenir – and speaking for myself, I’ll take a personalized bar of chocolate over a pair of mouse ears any day.
The Chocolate Kingdom is open every day of the week from noon until 8 p.m., with tours running every hour on the hour, and it does offer a nice, air-conditioned break from the walking and riding and standing in line that you’ll encounter at all of Orlando’s more traditional and better-known venues.  One bit of advice – I’d save the tour for immediately before you’re returning to your hotel or to the airport, as we have all made the mistake at one point or another in our lives of letting a bar of chocolate sit in a super-heated car for more than a few minutes.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/orlando-adds-a-sweet-spot/

Orlando Adds a Sweet Spot

chocolate_kingdom_factory

There are tons of people who absolutely live for visiting the Magic Kingdom and all of its surrounding theme parks – between Disney, Sea World, and Universal Studios Orlando has become a vacation mecca. But there are some (like me, for example) who just don’t understand making the trip on a regular basis: one and done is more my style when it comes to Shamu and Mickey. But now comes word that Orlando has added a brand new attraction that just might make me revisit my “no-more-Orlando” stance … the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour.

Located just a short drive from the Orlando International Airport and all of Orlando’s iconic theme parks, Chocolate Kingdom is a chocolate lover’s dream. There’s a museum, a store, and a factory all located within a single facility. Though I think it would have been perfectly fine to have offered a straightforward educational program (with the normal amount of snarky humor and current events references that can be found from any self-respecting tour operation), the management apparently couldn’t tear themselves free from the town’s love of costumes and story-telling.

The tour is led by a handsome prince and his perky dragon companion, who take you on a journey to a land that is marginally fanciful, mostly factual.  There’s a Cacao Tree Greenhouse and a chocolate river, but what was most interesting for me was the factory itself, which uses old-fashioned equipment to illustrate the process all the way from the cacao bean to the chocolate bar.

In what is a true stroke of marketing genius, guests are even offered the opportunity to create their own customized bar of chocolate to bring home as a souvenir – and speaking for myself, I’ll take a personalized bar of chocolate over a pair of mouse ears any day.

The Chocolate Kingdom is open every day of the week from noon until 8 p.m., with tours running every hour on the hour, and it does offer a nice, air-conditioned break from the walking and riding and standing in line that you’ll encounter at all of Orlando’s more traditional and better-known venues.  One bit of advice – I’d save the tour for immediately before you’re returning to your hotel or to the airport, as we have all made the mistake at one point or another in our lives of letting a bar of chocolate sit in a super-heated car for more than a few minutes.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/cocoa-camouflage/Cocoa CamouflageWe all remember the words from the Mary Poppins song (oh, yes you do – no sense in denying it) about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Well here’s a new take on that old idea that offers all of us the opportunity to increase our intake of vegetables and fiber every day. You’re going to combine healthy spinach with your favorite non-vegetable (that would be chocolate), throw in a bunch of other good-for-you ingredients, and end up with a smoothie that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, has less than two hundred calories and can be made in less than five minutes. As if all of that weren’t enough, the concoction is absolutely delicious. The spinach is so undetectable that you’ll be able to slip the green stuff past unsuspecting spouses and veggie-hating kids – and you’ll find them asking for more.
The real beauty of this recipe is that it’s really just an idea rather than a formula. If you start with the basic premise of combining a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach with some fruit, two tablespoons of dark cocoa powder and a milk-type product, you can alter it to suit your tastes, the fruits that are in season (or in your freezer), and whatever you have on hand.  What I’ve provided below are a couple of recipes that will give you the basic premise and get you started.  Change the fruits, add some protein powder, throw in a bit of agave nectar to sweeten it a bit – dress it up or down as you please. Enjoy!


Spinach and Blueberry Chocolate Protein Shake
2 cups fresh spinach, washed
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 scoop protein powder (unflavored)
2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder
¾ cup milk (plain, almond, soy, coconut – whatever your preference)
Throw it all into the blender and rev it up – process until smooth.

Hidden Spinach Smoothie
2-3 cups fresh raw spinach
2 cups milk (rice, almond, coconut, etc)
2 whole bananas
6 pitted dates
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
Blend well.
Remember – you can add ice cubes or freeze the fruit to make the smoothie cold and frosty, throw in some fat-free Greek yogurt to give it a bit of a tang and tons more protein, substitute strawberries or raspberries, whatever you’d like. The spinach is the key to the drink’s healthiness, and if you use dark cocoa powder you’re boosting the anti-oxidant factor like crazy. Chocolate as health food… life is good!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/cocoa-camouflage/

Cocoa Camouflage

We all remember the words from the Mary Poppins song (oh, yes you do – no sense in denying it) about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. Well here’s a new take on that old idea that offers all of us the opportunity to increase our intake of vegetables and fiber every day. You’re going to combine healthy spinach with your favorite non-vegetable (that would be chocolate), throw in a bunch of other good-for-you ingredients, and end up with a smoothie that’s loaded with vitamins and minerals, has less than two hundred calories and can be made in less than five minutes. As if all of that weren’t enough, the concoction is absolutely delicious. The spinach is so undetectable that you’ll be able to slip the green stuff past unsuspecting spouses and veggie-hating kids – and you’ll find them asking for more.

The real beauty of this recipe is that it’s really just an idea rather than a formula. If you start with the basic premise of combining a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach with some fruit, two tablespoons of dark cocoa powder and a milk-type product, you can alter it to suit your tastes, the fruits that are in season (or in your freezer), and whatever you have on hand.  What I’ve provided below are a couple of recipes that will give you the basic premise and get you started.  Change the fruits, add some protein powder, throw in a bit of agave nectar to sweeten it a bit – dress it up or down as you please. Enjoy!

chocolate_smoothie_camoflauge

Spinach and Blueberry Chocolate Protein Shake

2 cups fresh spinach, washed

1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1 scoop protein powder (unflavored)

2 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder

¾ cup milk (plain, almond, soy, coconut – whatever your preference)

Throw it all into the blender and rev it up – process until smooth.

Hidden Spinach Smoothie

2-3 cups fresh raw spinach

2 cups milk (rice, almond, coconut, etc)

2 whole bananas

6 pitted dates

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Blend well.

Remember – you can add ice cubes or freeze the fruit to make the smoothie cold and frosty, throw in some fat-free Greek yogurt to give it a bit of a tang and tons more protein, substitute strawberries or raspberries, whatever you’d like. The spinach is the key to the drink’s healthiness, and if you use dark cocoa powder you’re boosting the anti-oxidant factor like crazy. Chocolate as health food… life is good!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/chocolate-solace/Chocolate SolaceWhen we lost my beloved father-in-law after an extended and somewhat tortuous road of a fall, surgery to repair the broken hip, two different rehabs followed by yet another fall and another broken hip. The traveling back and forth to his retirement home in Florida for each of these stages took a lot out of everybody, and when the end came it was with incredible sadness but a bit of relief too – for him and for us.
Our religious tradition brings friends and relatives to our home each evening to join us in a brief prayer service and to extend their condolences and take care of us. Nobody arrives with empty hands.

Some bring meals – nourishing soups, healthy fruit, bagels that we can put into our stomachs without thinking or preparing – but those who know us best brought us chocolate. The dining room table was so laden with chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate dipped fruit, chocolate-covered pretzels that it made us laugh just to look at it, and to think of how our friends knew exactly what foods would make us feel most loved and pampered.

The bounty was so extreme that a few days later I put together an assortment of cookies and other goodies and brought them to our next door neighbor – with two little girls, I knew that the sweets would be put to good use. When the mom opened the door and saw what I had in my hands, she both extended her condolences and accepted with gratitude, explaining that it would help them drown their sorrows as they’d just had to put their dog to sleep. “Nothing makes the girls feel better like chocolate,” she said, as she thanked me again.

I walked away glad that I’d thought of them, and wondering at the almost universal power that this simple flavor has to restore the spirit. I did a quick tour of the internet and read about a woman who has such powerful positive memories of sharing chocolate with her father through her childhood that she honors his memory every year by passing out bars of chocolate to total strangers on his birthday, telling each one the story of their shared love of the treat.  There are some who will tell you about chocolate’s impact on the brain – they’ll speak of caffeine and endorphins and the chemical make-up of the treat. But I believe that the reason chocolate works so well on a broken heart goes to memories and associations. From the time we are little chocolate is the food of comfort, the treat, the reward, the expression of love.
Hot chocolate warmed you after a day out in the cold, a Hershey’s kiss surprise in your lunch bag with a note from Mom reminded you that she loved you.  Chocolate ice cream cones on hot summer nights, licking the bowl after Mom makes brownies … when we eat chocolate it is the accumulated warmth of all of those memories that are the background music that makes us feel so cared for and loved, especially when we’re sad.  I appreciated all the chicken soup too, but for me and mine, bring chocolate to heal the soul.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/chocolate-solace/

Chocolate Solace

When we lost my beloved father-in-law after an extended and somewhat tortuous road of a fall, surgery to repair the broken hip, two different rehabs followed by yet another fall and another broken hip. The traveling back and forth to his retirement home in Florida for each of these stages took a lot out of everybody, and when the end came it was with incredible sadness but a bit of relief too – for him and for us.

Our religious tradition brings friends and relatives to our home each evening to join us in a brief prayer service and to extend their condolences and take care of us. Nobody arrives with empty hands.

chocolate_solace

Some bring meals – nourishing soups, healthy fruit, bagels that we can put into our stomachs without thinking or preparing – but those who know us best brought us chocolate. The dining room table was so laden with chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate dipped fruit, chocolate-covered pretzels that it made us laugh just to look at it, and to think of how our friends knew exactly what foods would make us feel most loved and pampered.

The bounty was so extreme that a few days later I put together an assortment of cookies and other goodies and brought them to our next door neighbor – with two little girls, I knew that the sweets would be put to good use. When the mom opened the door and saw what I had in my hands, she both extended her condolences and accepted with gratitude, explaining that it would help them drown their sorrows as they’d just had to put their dog to sleep. “Nothing makes the girls feel better like chocolate,” she said, as she thanked me again.

I walked away glad that I’d thought of them, and wondering at the almost universal power that this simple flavor has to restore the spirit. I did a quick tour of the internet and read about a woman who has such powerful positive memories of sharing chocolate with her father through her childhood that she honors his memory every year by passing out bars of chocolate to total strangers on his birthday, telling each one the story of their shared love of the treat.  There are some who will tell you about chocolate’s impact on the brain – they’ll speak of caffeine and endorphins and the chemical make-up of the treat. But I believe that the reason chocolate works so well on a broken heart goes to memories and associations. From the time we are little chocolate is the food of comfort, the treat, the reward, the expression of love.

Hot chocolate warmed you after a day out in the cold, a Hershey’s kiss surprise in your lunch bag with a note from Mom reminded you that she loved you.  Chocolate ice cream cones on hot summer nights, licking the bowl after Mom makes brownies … when we eat chocolate it is the accumulated warmth of all of those memories that are the background music that makes us feel so cared for and loved, especially when we’re sad.  I appreciated all the chicken soup too, but for me and mine, bring chocolate to heal the soul.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/debunking-the-like-water-for-chocolate-myth/Debunking the “Like Water for Chocolate” MythEvery chocophile chef makes the mistake at least once – and if you’re like me, more than once. You are melting up a couple of squares of chocolate over a double boiler and the boil gets too exuberant and splashes water into the pot ….or you run out of milk and decided to substitute in a tablespoon of water instead. Next thing you know the chocolate that was melting into a beautiful, glossy ribbon of silk is now rock hard, grainy, impossible to do anything with. Your chocolate has “seized”.

The only time I had ever heard the word seized used before this happened to me – outside of a medical situation – was when somebody referred to their engine that had gone with its “Check Oil” light on for months – apparently engines without oil are almost as bad as mixing chocolate and water. Lesson learned.
But now comes word that the whole “don’t ever ever EVER” mix chocolate and water” thing is not true – there’s a recipe floating around the internet that has nothing BUT good quality dark chocolate and water, and it yields a fabulous chocolate mousse! The idea of sacrificing a high-quality bar to a recipe that sounds questionable was daunting, but the idea of a two-ingredient dessert where one ingredient comes from the tap balanced out my fear. The good news is: it’s great!
The recipe is as simple as you would imagine considering the dearth of ingredients – in fact, the chocolate has the purest possible taste. But you can dress it up by switching out your chocolates, adding flavorings or liqueurs, or decorating the final product with fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate curls or whatever your heart desires.
Try this once and it will become your go to dessert – especially when you have last minute company and nothing in the cabinets but your favorite chocolate bar!
9 oz bar good quality dark chocolate
3 oz water, brought to a boil
(1 Tablespoon of your favorite liqueur if you’d like)
The equipment for this recipe is equally simple; you need a saucepan, two mixing bowls, and a whisk or electric hand mixer, whichever you prefer. Fill one of the mixing bowls with ice water and set the other one on top of it so that the bottom of the top bowl is actually touching the cooling solution. Bring your three ounces of water to a boil and add your chocolate and liqueur. Stir until melted, then pour it into the top bowl. Whisk or mix away until it reaches a creamy consistency. If you go too far and your work product becomes grainy, no worries – just heat it up a bit and then start whisking again.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/debunking-the-like-water-for-chocolate-myth/

Debunking the “Like Water for Chocolate” Myth

Every chocophile chef makes the mistake at least once – and if you’re like me, more than once. You are melting up a couple of squares of chocolate over a double boiler and the boil gets too exuberant and splashes water into the pot ….or you run out of milk and decided to substitute in a tablespoon of water instead. Next thing you know the chocolate that was melting into a beautiful, glossy ribbon of silk is now rock hard, grainy, impossible to do anything with. Your chocolate has “seized”.

debunk_like_water_for_chocolate

The only time I had ever heard the word seized used before this happened to me – outside of a medical situation – was when somebody referred to their engine that had gone with its “Check Oil” light on for months – apparently engines without oil are almost as bad as mixing chocolate and water. Lesson learned.

But now comes word that the whole “don’t ever ever EVER” mix chocolate and water” thing is not true – there’s a recipe floating around the internet that has nothing BUT good quality dark chocolate and water, and it yields a fabulous chocolate mousse! The idea of sacrificing a high-quality bar to a recipe that sounds questionable was daunting, but the idea of a two-ingredient dessert where one ingredient comes from the tap balanced out my fear. The good news is: it’s great!

The recipe is as simple as you would imagine considering the dearth of ingredients – in fact, the chocolate has the purest possible taste. But you can dress it up by switching out your chocolates, adding flavorings or liqueurs, or decorating the final product with fresh fruit, whipped cream, chocolate curls or whatever your heart desires.

Try this once and it will become your go to dessert – especially when you have last minute company and nothing in the cabinets but your favorite chocolate bar!

9 oz bar good quality dark chocolate
3 oz water, brought to a boil
(1 Tablespoon of your favorite liqueur if you’d like)

The equipment for this recipe is equally simple; you need a saucepan, two mixing bowls, and a whisk or electric hand mixer, whichever you prefer. Fill one of the mixing bowls with ice water and set the other one on top of it so that the bottom of the top bowl is actually touching the cooling solution. Bring your three ounces of water to a boil and add your chocolate and liqueur. Stir until melted, then pour it into the top bowl. Whisk or mix away until it reaches a creamy consistency. If you go too far and your work product becomes grainy, no worries – just heat it up a bit and then start whisking again.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/molten-chocolate-made-easy/Molten Chocolate Made EasySo here’s a little secret for all of you who love the taste and texture of cake combined with hot gooey fudge but who are kitchen averse or who think that all really rich and decadent chocolate desserts require a degree from a fancy culinary school. You know that dessert that all the fancy restaurants serve … the one that they tell you about when you’re first placing your drink order because it takes so long to prepare but it’s so worth it? Some places call it molten chocolate cake, or lava cake. It is absolutely luscious, a sheer chocolate delight – and sinfully easy to make. That’s right, all that hoopla about needing extra time is just so much hoke.

Restaurants have them pre-made and then they just pop them in the oven … and you can too. Whether you want to surprise your kids with something extra special as a result of good grades or stir up warm feelings in the one you adore, the molten chocolate cake is one of those desserts you can make a fuss about having made, pretend that you slaved over, when it fact it is easy as pie. Well, wait. Pie isn’t easy at all… but you get what I mean.
Here’s what you need to make six:
8 oz. really good quality chocolate, either bittersweet or semisweet
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 stick sweet (unsalted) butter
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 flour
Melt two ounces of the chocolate with the heavy cream in a saucepan. Make sure it’s well blended, then put into the fridge for a couple of hours til it is soft but solid. Form into six balls and put back into the fridge.
Preheat your oven to 400 and prepare six ramekins or custard cups (or you can even use cupcake or muffin papers in a pinch) by spraying them well with nonstick cooking spray. Melt four ounces of the chocolate with the butter, then add the eggs, the egg yolks, the sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until well blended. Beat on medium speed for five minutes til light and smooth, then fold in the flour. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the ramekins, then take one of the prepared chilled chocolate balls and stick it down into the center. Bake for fifteen minutes then remove from oven and let it sit for about five minutes. Run a knife around the sides to loosen or serve directly in the ramekin. Great with ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries. Easy, right? Don’t tell anyone!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/molten-chocolate-made-easy/

Molten Chocolate Made Easy

So here’s a little secret for all of you who love the taste and texture of cake combined with hot gooey fudge but who are kitchen averse or who think that all really rich and decadent chocolate desserts require a degree from a fancy culinary school. You know that dessert that all the fancy restaurants serve … the one that they tell you about when you’re first placing your drink order because it takes so long to prepare but it’s so worth it? Some places call it molten chocolate cake, or lava cake. It is absolutely luscious, a sheer chocolate delight – and sinfully easy to make. That’s right, all that hoopla about needing extra time is just so much hoke.

molten_cake

Restaurants have them pre-made and then they just pop them in the oven … and you can too. Whether you want to surprise your kids with something extra special as a result of good grades or stir up warm feelings in the one you adore, the molten chocolate cake is one of those desserts you can make a fuss about having made, pretend that you slaved over, when it fact it is easy as pie. Well, wait. Pie isn’t easy at all… but you get what I mean.

Here’s what you need to make six:

8 oz. really good quality chocolate, either bittersweet or semisweet
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 stick sweet (unsalted) butter
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 flour

Melt two ounces of the chocolate with the heavy cream in a saucepan. Make sure it’s well blended, then put into the fridge for a couple of hours til it is soft but solid. Form into six balls and put back into the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 400 and prepare six ramekins or custard cups (or you can even use cupcake or muffin papers in a pinch) by spraying them well with nonstick cooking spray. Melt four ounces of the chocolate with the butter, then add the eggs, the egg yolks, the sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer until well blended. Beat on medium speed for five minutes til light and smooth, then fold in the flour. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the ramekins, then take one of the prepared chilled chocolate balls and stick it down into the center. Bake for fifteen minutes then remove from oven and let it sit for about five minutes. Run a knife around the sides to loosen or serve directly in the ramekin. Great with ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries. Easy, right? Don’t tell anyone!

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/the-chocolate-way-to-losing-weight/The Chocolate Way to Losing WeightThere is something that feels sort of scandalous and National Enquirer about reporting that eating chocolate has been linked to weight loss, but there’s research there that – if it doesn’t exactly prove it – at least provides some food for thought and opens up some interesting discussions.

The study in question was conducted by the University of California in San Diego, and what the scientists there found is that people who admit to eating chocolate an average of five times a week have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who say they eat chocolate less frequently. BMI is the gold standard by which physicians determine whether a person is at a healthy weight, and the fact that the chocolate lovers consistently showed lower weight and lower BMI is what got diet experts buzzing.  Although some have posited that the chocolate is boosting people’s metabolism, thus offsetting the extra calories that eating the chocolate represents, others are not so sure.

Some nutritionists have dismissed the study out of hand, saying that it just doesn’t add up when it comes to calories and fat. These experts point to the lifestyle that eating chocolate accompanies, saying that if you are well-educated about nutrition and have a healthy and relaxed attitude about food that generally goes along with a lower BMI.  Though it is understandable for nutritionists to be so dismissive of a study that seems to encourage counter-productive eating, others point to possible scientific reasons why chocolate might be helping people to keep their weight down. One physician and diet expert out of Yale points out that dark chocolate’s bitterness may act as an appetite suppressant, and its high levels of fat may slow overall digestion, helping people to feel full longer and thus avoid snacking between meals.  Others point out that chocolate contains caffeine, a known appetite suppressant and metabolism booster.



One thing that all of the experts agree on is that if you are going to eat chocolate, dark chocolate is the healthiest because it contains less fat and sugar and more of the ingredients that have proven to be most healthful. They also agree that when it comes to chocolate a little goes a long way – if you can eat a small portion and satisfy your cravings you are much more likely to get all of the health benefits that chocolate has to offer while minimizing the unhealthy aspects that chocolate is criticized for.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/the-chocolate-way-to-losing-weight/

The Chocolate Way to Losing Weight

There is something that feels sort of scandalous and National Enquirer about reporting that eating chocolate has been linked to weight loss, but there’s research there that – if it doesn’t exactly prove it – at least provides some food for thought and opens up some interesting discussions.

The study in question was conducted by the University of California in San Diego, and what the scientists there found is that people who admit to eating chocolate an average of five times a week have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who say they eat chocolate less frequently. BMI is the gold standard by which physicians determine whether a person is at a healthy weight, and the fact that the chocolate lovers consistently showed lower weight and lower BMI is what got diet experts buzzing.  Although some have posited that the chocolate is boosting people’s metabolism, thus offsetting the extra calories that eating the chocolate represents, others are not so sure.

Some nutritionists have dismissed the study out of hand, saying that it just doesn’t add up when it comes to calories and fat. These experts point to the lifestyle that eating chocolate accompanies, saying that if you are well-educated about nutrition and have a healthy and relaxed attitude about food that generally goes along with a lower BMI.  Though it is understandable for nutritionists to be so dismissive of a study that seems to encourage counter-productive eating, others point to possible scientific reasons why chocolate might be helping people to keep their weight down. One physician and diet expert out of Yale points out that dark chocolate’s bitterness may act as an appetite suppressant, and its high levels of fat may slow overall digestion, helping people to feel full longer and thus avoid snacking between meals.  Others point out that chocolate contains caffeine, a known appetite suppressant and metabolism booster.

One thing that all of the experts agree on is that if you are going to eat chocolate, dark chocolate is the healthiest because it contains less fat and sugar and more of the ingredients that have proven to be most healthful. They also agree that when it comes to chocolate a little goes a long way – if you can eat a small portion and satisfy your cravings you are much more likely to get all of the health benefits that chocolate has to offer while minimizing the unhealthy aspects that chocolate is criticized for.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/the-chocolate-tourist-chocolate-videos/The Chocolate Tourist: Chocolate Videos!
Need a chocolate fix without all the calories? The Chocolate Tourist is a new series of online chocolate videos that’s packed full of chocolate and calorie-free!
(Well, it is until you get a look at all that yummy chocolate and are forced to raid the trail mix in the cupboard so you can pick out all the chocolate chips. Not that anyone around here has ever done that. *cough*)
This series of chocolate videos explores chocolate factories, festivals, and confectionaries around the world with drama and humor. Your host, Valerie Cymes, will no doubt make you jealous as she nibbles her way through some of the world’s finest chocolate.
There are five episodes already available taking viewers to New York City, National Harbor, and Historic Mount Vernon.  The next crop of tours will delve even further into the delights of chocolate-making.  And tasting!  See the rest of the series at www.thechocolatetourist.tv.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/the-chocolate-tourist-chocolate-videos/

The Chocolate Tourist: Chocolate Videos!

the_chocolate_tourist

Need a chocolate fix without all the calories? The Chocolate Tourist is a new series of online chocolate videos that’s packed full of chocolate and calorie-free!

(Well, it is until you get a look at all that yummy chocolate and are forced to raid the trail mix in the cupboard so you can pick out all the chocolate chips. Not that anyone around here has ever done that. *cough*)

This series of chocolate videos explores chocolate factories, festivals, and confectionaries around the world with drama and humor. Your host, Valerie Cymes, will no doubt make you jealous as she nibbles her way through some of the world’s finest chocolate.

There are five episodes already available taking viewers to New York City, National Harbor, and Historic Mount Vernon.  The next crop of tours will delve even further into the delights of chocolate-making.  And tasting!  See the rest of the series at www.thechocolatetourist.tv.

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/chocolate-tessellation-recipe/Chocolate Tessellation RecipeChocolate Tessellation is an intense chocolate recipe submitted by reader Rod. The three ingredients in this recipe were selected specifically for their nutrients, with natural unsweetened cocoa as the nutrient focus. “Tessellation” refers to the surface texture of the chocolate and to the repeating geometric pattern created when the chocolate is sliced into bite-size servings.
This easy chocolate recipe could be prepared in a pan on the stove, but a tall glass mug with a rounded bottom (containing the coconut oil and warmed in the microwave) is ideal for the quantity of ingredients in this recipe. The coconut oil should be very warm, but not hot (use a low microwave setting to warm the coconut oil).
Ingredients: 
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, warmed
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp fruit juice concentrate*
*Concentrate should have the consistency of syrup. Use a single concentrate or combine several to create enticing flavors (try elderberry, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, or black cherry).
Instructions:
In a small container, warm coconut oil and stir in powdered cocoa. Add juice concentrate and stir well to blend flavors and create a smooth internal texture (surface tessellation occurs naturally).
Pour warm chocolate mixture onto a plate lined with wax paper. Turn a second plate upside down to use as a cover, and refrigerate for several hours.
When the chocolate is firm in the center (not completely hardened), slice into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Preparation time: 25 min.
Approximate servings: 14
Thank you to Rod for this delicious chocolate recipe!
//

New Post has been published on http://www.chocolateuberist.com/chocolate-tessellation-recipe/

Chocolate Tessellation Recipe

intense chocolate recipeChocolate Tessellation is an intense chocolate recipe submitted by reader Rod. The three ingredients in this recipe were selected specifically for their nutrients, with natural unsweetened cocoa as the nutrient focus. “Tessellation” refers to the surface texture of the chocolate and to the repeating geometric pattern created when the chocolate is sliced into bite-size servings.

This easy chocolate recipe could be prepared in a pan on the stove, but a tall glass mug with a rounded bottom (containing the coconut oil and warmed in the microwave) is ideal for the quantity of ingredients in this recipe. The coconut oil should be very warm, but not hot (use a low microwave setting to warm the coconut oil).

Ingredients:

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, warmed
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
3 tbsp fruit juice concentrate*

*Concentrate should have the consistency of syrup. Use a single concentrate or combine several to create enticing flavors (try elderberry, blueberry, cranberry, pomegranate, or black cherry).

Instructions:

In a small container, warm coconut oil and stir in powdered cocoa. Add juice concentrate and stir well to blend flavors and create a smooth internal texture (surface tessellation occurs naturally).

Pour warm chocolate mixture onto a plate lined with wax paper. Turn a second plate upside down to use as a cover, and refrigerate for several hours.

When the chocolate is firm in the center (not completely hardened), slice into pieces and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Preparation time: 25 min.
Approximate servings: 14

Thank you to Rod for this delicious chocolate recipe!

’); // ]]>