28 February 2009

Thank you to new Feed subscribers!



From Denny:

Hi, everyone! Thanks for taking this Romancing The Chocolate feed, much appreciated!

Apparently, Feedburner is having count issues. A while back they were bought out by Google. It looks like just now they are making the change over of accounts and the like. The numbers have been looking downright screwy the past few days so am unable to know exactly how many have signed up or remained. Go figure. Feedburner has a notice of basically to wait it out for the next three days as the current stats are far lower than is true. Guess telling people to expect good things keeps the beasties away! :)

Either way it turns out, if one person or 50 folks have signed up, just know that you are most welcome here and well appreciated! Let me know if you have any info to pass along that pertains to this blog and I'll be glad to include it or write about it - even link to it.

Thanks for the listen and keep on coming back to visit! I think this calls for a group hug! (huge grin)

Photo of rolling happy dog by g-hat @ flickr

27 February 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Carrot Cake




CHOCOLATE CARROT CAKE

From:
mOOnchild

Ingredients
For cake layers:


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 medium carrots, shredded coarse (about 2 cups)

For cream cheese frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup confectioners' or powdered sugar

For chocolate glaze:

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 ounces fine-quality BITTERSWEET chocolate
(not unsweetened)

6 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup confectioners' or powdered sugar


CAKE LAYERS:

Preheat oven to 350ºF. and grease and flour two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans, knocking of excess flour. Into a bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together eggs and oil on low speed until combined well. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in carrots and devide batter between pans. Bake cake layers in middle of oven 35 to 50 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pans on a rack 10 minutes and invert onto rack to cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and confectioners' sugar and beat untl creamy. Spread frosting on top of 1 cake layer and top with other layer

CHOCOLATE GLAZE:

In a small saucepan combine glaze ingredients and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth. Remove from heat and cool glaze slightly. Spread glaze over top and sides of cake and chill 1 hour, or until set.

Serves 6 to 8.


Photo by scubadive67 @ flickr

25 February 2009

Todays Blogging: Born from Yesterdays Underground Newspapers



Todays Blogging: Born from Yesterdays Underground Newspapers: "Read the real life story of the amusing transition from subversive underground newspaper writer to today’s blogger."

What has this got to do with chocolate? Are you kidding? With a typewriter in one hand in those days, the other was on a Hershey's chocolate almond bar. Chocolate rules in the world of blogging!

By Denny Lyon
Photo by heliosphan @ flickr

24 February 2009

Recipe: Espresso Fudge Cake with Kahlua Glaze

Espresso Fudge Cake with Kahlua Glaze

From:
Bon Appétit May 2001

Yield: One 10” tube cake

Difficulty: Easy

Preparation: 30 minutes plus baking and cooling times

This simple Bundt cake is a stunner: The sour cream and eggs make it ultra-moist and rich, while the espresso ups the intensity of the chocolate and downplays its sweetness.


Cake:

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

One 18.25-ounce box Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil’s Food Cake Mix with Pudding

1 cup sour cream

½ cup vegetable/canola oil

3 large eggs

1/3 cup Kahlua liqueur

3 Tablespoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia D’Oro


Kahlua glaze:

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 Tablespoons Kahlua liqueur


Make cake: Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Coat inside of 10” Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Two methods to melt chocolate, your choice

Melt chocolate:
In a microwave place coarsely chopped chocolate in a proper container and microwave at medium (50%) for 1 ½ to 4 minutes, stopping and stirring often until chocolate is shiny and melted. If overheated chocolate can become grainy.

Melt chocolate: On top of the stove place coarsely chopped chocolate in top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water. As the chocolate melts, stir until melted and smooth.

Let melted chocolate cool to room temperature.

Place cake mix in bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, Kahlua, espresso powder and cooled chocolate. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and scrape down sides with rubber spatula, folding in any remaining unincorporated ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 45-5-0 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake on wire rack for 5 minutes, and then turn cake out of pan onto wire rack. Allow to cool completely.

Make glaze: Combine melted butter, confectioners’ sugar and Kahlua in small bowl; whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides and center of cake.

20 February 2009

Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Liqueur



Flourless cake is great for two reasons: one, it means more chocolate and two, less flour means less gluten which means your metabolism can stay on higher rev. Gluten has the bad habit of slowing down the metabolism and causes swelling and eventual weight gain. Bummer! Kudos to the genius who invented flourless chocolate cake for us!

Photo by starmist1 @ flickr


Flourless Chocolate Cake with Coffee Liqueur

From:
Chef Ray Johnson of Café Mundo, San Jose, Costa Rica

Yield: 12 servings

Serve this with coffee ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Beaten eggs make this cake lighter in texture than most other flourless chocolate cakes.


Ingredients:

1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

¼ cup coffee liqueur

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

7 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sugar

Powdered sugar


Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 9-inch diameter springform pan with 2 3/4 –inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Stir chocolate, butter, coffee liqueur and vanilla in heavy large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Cool to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until thick and pale, and slowly dissolving ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Fold 1/3 of egg mixture into lukewarm chocolate mixture. Fold remaining egg mixture into chocolate mixture.

Place prepared pan on baking sheet. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 55 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently press down edges of cake. Cool completely in pan.

(Cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.)

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Remove sides of pan; transfer cake to platter. Remove parchment paper. Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar and serve.

17 February 2009

Recipe: Strawberry White Chocolate Napoleons

Napoleons are a popular sweet in Louisiana and especially New Orleans. Even the restaurant chain of La Madaleine features them daily as do other pastry shops.

This recipe is easy to make because of the purchased frozen puff pastry. All you do after baking is fill them with an easy white chocolate mousse mixture and top with fresh strawberries. Of course, the final garnish is a lovely drizzle of melted semi-sweet chocolate.

Strawberry White Chocolate Napoleons

Yield: 12 servings

From: Kraft Foods



Ingredients:


1 sheet frozen ready-to-bake puff pastry

1 package (6 squares) premium white baking chocolate

1 ½ cups heavy or whipping cream, divided

1 1/3 cups sliced strawberries

2 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted


Directions: Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut into 3 strips along fold marks. Bake on cookie sheet 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire racks.

Microwave white chocolate and ¼ cup of the cream in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 2 minutes or until white chocolate is almost melted, stirring halfway through heating time. Stir until white chocolate is completely melted. Cool 20 minutes or until room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Beat remaining 1 ¼ cups cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. DO NOT OVERBEAT. (It will separate and become useless.) Fold ½ of the whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream just until blended.

Split each pastry strip into 2 layers. Set aside 2 of the top layers. Spread remaining 4 layers each with ½ cup of the white chocolate mousse and 1/3 cup of the sliced strawberries. For each dessert assemble 2 layers and top with 1 of the reserved layers. Drizzle with melted chocolate.

Refrigerate up to 4 hours. Makes 12 servings.

15 February 2009

Newest Health Care Plan: Food as Medicine



Newest Health Care Plan: Food as Medicine - "OK, so what does the minor political rant have to do with food as medicine you ask? Plenty. When jobs are scarce or people are underemployed – like most of America right now with 100,000 each week entering those unhappy ranks – people make really bad food choices.

Because of job and ensuing financial stress they go to sugar, lots of carbohydrates and low quality meats. With stress on the rise during this tough economic time worldwide, wallets and bank accounts depleted, it’s time to think of food as medicine."

By Denny Lyon
Photo by Zest-pk @ flickr

13 February 2009

Valentine's Day, isn't love complicated enough?




Valentine's Day, isn't love complicated enough?: "It seems that in the old days there where two saints who were called Valentine and which both have been assassinated on 14 February. And that is the best reason to have a party for loved ones of course!"

How do you like the photo of a man AND chocolate - does it get any better than this, ladies? I collected this photo months ago and was trying to figure out where and when I could use it - wow!

By Lazur
Photo of heart by Lazur @ hubpages
Photo of man and chocolate love picked up from StumbleUpon and have no clue as to copyright

Recipe: Espresso-Ganache Tartlets

Espresso-Ganache Tartlets

Yield: 6 servings

From: Bittersweet Pastry Shop, Chicago, Illinois.



Crust:

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup sugar

1 large egg

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt


Ganache filling:

¼ cup hot water

1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder

¾ cup whipping cream

2 Tablespoons sugar

10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) OR semisweet chocolate, chopped


Directions for crust: using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until light. Beat in egg. Add flour, baking powder and salt; beat just until blended. Divide dough among six 3-inch-diameter tartlet pans with 1-inch-high sides and removable bottoms. With floured fingertips, press dough into pans. Refrigerate 1 hour, then freeze 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake tartlets until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Directions for filling: Mix ¼ cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl until espresso dissolves. Bring cream and sugar to simmer in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; stir until melted and smooth. Mix in espresso mixture. Pour hot filling into tartlets. Chill until chocolate sets, at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.) Remove tart pan sides from tartlets. Transfer to plates and serve.

10 February 2009

Recipe: Rich Chocolate Cake with Fluffy White Frosting

Rich Chocolate Cake with Fluffy White Frosting

Yield: 16 servings from 13x9-inch cake or 8-inch 3-layer cake.

From: Good Housekeeping Great Baking: 600 recipes for cakes, cookies, breads, pies and pastries, published 2003

This is a great cake for birthdays; it’s easy and has a Mexican Chocolate Spice version.


Ingredients for cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

4 large eggs

Fluffy White Frosting


Directions: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan or three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottom/s with waxed paper; grease and flour paper.

In medium bowl, stir together four, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla.

In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture may appear grainy).

Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until batter is smooth, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula.

Pour batter into prepared pan/s. Bake 40 to 45 minutes for 13x9-inch cake, 30 minutes for 8-inch cake layers or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. With small knife, loosen sides of 13x9-inch cake or 8-inch layers from sides of pan; then invert cake onto wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare Fluffy White Frosting. Frost side and top of 13x9-inch cake; or use to fill and frost layer cake.

Makes one 13x9-inch cake, 16 servings or one 8-inch 3-layer cake, 16 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving of 13x9-inch cake: about 355 calories, 5 grams protein, 54 grams carbohydrate, 15 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 2 grams fiber, 87 milligrams cholesterol and 365 milligrams sodium.



Alternate Version of Cake: Mexican Chocolate Spice Cake

Prepare batter as for Rich Chocolate Cake but use only 2/3 cup milk and add 2/3 cups strong black coffee; add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves with flour mixture. Bake and frost as directed.

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes

Prepare batter as for Rich Chocolate Cake. Line (36) 2 1/2 –inch muffin-pan cups with fluted paper liners. Pour batter into prepared pans. Do not bake all cupcakes at once. Bake only as many as will fit on center rack of oven. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Repeat with remaining batter. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans to cool completely. Frost tops of cupcakes with Fluffy White Frosting or desired frosting. Makes 36 cupcakes.

Each cupcake: 155 calories, 2 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 1 gram fiber, 39 milligrams cholesterol and 160 milligrams sodium.


Fluffy White Frosting

2 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

¼ cup water

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions: In top of double boiler, or in medium stainless-steel bowl, set over 3 to 4 quart saucepan, over 1-inch simmering water (double boiler top or bowl should be about 2 inches from water), with hand-held mixer at high speed, beat egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup and cream of tartar until soft peaks form and temperature reaches 160° F. on candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

Remove double boiler top or bowl from saucepan; beat mixture 5 to 10 minutes longer, until stiff peaks form.

Makes about 3 cups.
Nutritional analysis per Tablespoon: about 15 calories, 0 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams total fat, 5 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol and 5 milligrams sodium.

Harvest Moon Frosting variation:

Prepare as above but use 1 cup packed dark brown sugar in place of white sugar. As to nutritional analysis this frosting is 20 calories.

06 February 2009

Recipe: Triple Chocolate Fudgsicle Panna Cotta



Triple Chocolate Fudgsicle Panna Cotta

From: Pastry Chef John Miele, from restaurant Aureole, New York City

Yield: 6 servings

Easy as any other panna cotta Italian dessert! Takes only 35 minutes preparation time plus chilling time.


Ingredients:

¼ cup water

1 envelope powdered unflavored gelatin (about 2 ¼ teaspoons)

1 ½ cups whole milk

1 ½ cups heavy cream

2 Tablespoons sugar

4 ½ ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

1 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

½ ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract


Garnish:

Whipped cream

Fresh berries


Directions: Have ready six 10-ounce martini glasses. Pour water into small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water and set aside to soften for 5 to 10 minutes.

Combine milk, cream and sugar in medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low and add chocolates. Whisk until chocolates are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and immediately add softened gelatin mixture. Whisk until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla.

Strain mixture through fine-mesh sieve into pitcher or large glass measuring cup with pouring spout and fill martini glasses. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

Garnish each dessert, if desired, with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Aureole
34 East 61st Street
New York, New York 10021
212 – 319 - 1660

04 February 2009

Video: The Don't Quit Poem





Inspirational video! Great for creative people to help with discouragement and burnout. Good images and music. Worth the listen.



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03 February 2009

Molecular Gastronomy – Where Science Meets Cuisine




Molecular Gastronomy – Where Science Meets Cuisine: "The science of molecular gastronomy has given us knowledge about why foods do what they do, under what circumstances, and how. And it has fascinated us by busting myths..."

By Sallys Trove
Photo by Claire L. Evan @ flickr

Recipe: Tea Flavored Molten Chocolate Cakes

Tea-Flavored Molten Chocolate Cakes


What chocolate lover does not like these molten chocolate cakes oozing with warm chocolate spilling out over the dam of the cake to greet your fork for approval? Here’s a new and flavorful twist on the lava cake from Paris, France for your enjoyment!


Yield: 6 servings

From: Chef Alain Dutournier, Carré des Feuillants, Paris, France
Featured in Bon Appetit magazine

Note: The chef used bergamot essence to flavor the dessert. In America it’s easier to find and use Earl Grey tea leaves in place of the essence.


Ingredients:

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons Earl Grey tea leaves

8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) OR semisweet chocolate, chopped

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 large eggs, separated

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder


Directions: Preheat oven to 400° F. Butter six ¾ cup soufflé dishes or custard cups. Sprinkle each with sugar; shake out excess. Place dishes on baling sheet. Combine water and tea leaves in small bowl; steep 5 minutes. Strain tea; discard leaves.

Combine chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low hat until mixture is smooth; cool to lukewarm. Whisk in egg yolks, then ¼ cup liquid tea and cocoa (reserve remaining tea for another use). Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared dishes.

Bake cakes on baking sheet until puffed and set but still soft in center, about 16 minutes. Serve immediately.

Note: For other recipes visit my other fun blog: Comfort Food From Louisiana

01 February 2009

How To Make Chocolate From Scratch At Home



How To Make Chocolate From Scratch At Home - If you want to learn how to make your own chocolate from the very beginning, as in roasting your own beans and tempering it, you will enjoy this writer's tutorial.

It's in depth and an easy to follow step by step. You can try any level, go back later and learn the next level.

This tells you whether you would like to take it a step further and become a professional as it really gives you a great feel for the chocolate business.
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