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Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

Marquise au Chocolat | TWD |Baking Chez Moi

Last week I left the grocery store with a stack of thin chocolate bars, for the Marquise recipe, and they felt like what I image little gold bars to be. While prepping for the desert each time I peel open the shiny foil wrapper of the chocolate bar, I fell back into the excitement I felt as kid, reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
Ronald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor 

 This time the excitement for me was trying a new recipe and hoping for the chance that it turns out because I’ve gone and decided to make a new recipe for a special birthday dinner, and I don’t have a back up in the freezer! So, I do believe in luck when executed correctly ;0)  And thank goodness Dorie Greenspan writes beautiful recipes that will make me look like a rock star on the first try.

A frozen chocolate birthday mousse

“Cakes are special. Every birthday, every celebration ends with something sweet, a cake, and people remember. It’s all about the memories”. ~Buddy Valastro

Making this cake was a snap. It has six ingredients; butter, bittersweet chocolate, fresh room temp eggs, sugar, fleur de sel and cold heavy cream. For a chocolate lover one can’t go wrong with this combination and for those of us who enjoy baking or in this case freezing, because you don’t bake this cake, folding the whipped egg and cream mixture into the chocolate creates a decadent marbled effect that makes me smile.

Chicken had shot

Happy Chicken

There was some chatter of concern on the Tuesdays with Dorie site by fellow Dorista’s about the use of room temperature eggs and making a cake that has raw eggs in it. Dorie makes a highlighted note in her recipe to use” very fresh eggs, preferably organic and/or from a trusted local source.”  We were lucky here, since our local source lives in the hen house out back and is named Clucky. Along with her friends they provided the four eggs I needed for my Marquise au Chocolat, bright and early the morning of my cake making. That’s as fresh as you get. Coop to Cake!

Backyard chicken eggs fresh today

From clucky with love

However, if you are pregnant, a young child, have a compromised immune system or if you are concerned about eating anything with raw eggs, you can still make this recipe by using pasteurized eggs or bringing the eggs to 160º. Do this while mixing the eggs to keep from scrambling, in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Another idea I saw that Peggy from Pantry Revisited substituted greek yogurt for the eggs and was happy with the results.

Chicken tucked into bed

not all hens have a clean coop like clucky

Once you’ve made your decision on which way to proceed with the egg choice it’s as simple as mixing and pouring everything into a loaf pan to freeze. While the cake was freezing I searched for a fun topping option. Dorie made me laugh with her side column “Bonne Idée” where one line reads “Crack Chocolate Sauce” as a good idea to drizzle over the marquise. It’s the way the type was set and those three words stand out as one line but of course the real name of the sauce is Hard-Crack Chocolate Sauce. Think ice cream sundae chocolate sauce that goes from liquid to solid once poured atop a bowl of ice cream. This is exactly the sauce I had to make, mainly because the name, it must be that good!

 

coconut oil in a glass dish for Hard Crack Chocolate Sauce

coconut oil + chocolate = happiness

Again her recipe for the sauce was straight forward and easy. With two ingredients; bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil mixed and melted together in a heat proof bowl then poured over the marquise. The cake, just went from two stars of decadence to four. Add a bit of Whipped Cream to top it off  and I confirm it was that good!

No bake Chocolate Cake

It’s all about the cake…

 

This rich no bake chocolate cake can be made ahead of time, kept in the freezer and pulled out ready for serving. Or it can be made in individual ramekins and dressed up with fresh berries. There are so many creative ideas to tweak this chocolate cake that I’ll need to make it again and again to test them out. I’m sure my family won’t complain.

 

 

 

From our kitchen to yours!

Head Shot Rachelle Rachelle @ Caramelize Life
Making Life a Little Sweeter through Food, Travel and Community

And the Winner for the Food with the Highest antioxidant content is…(drum roll please) Part Two

If you are just joining us check out part one of our chocolate tour.

part two…

We hit the prime time to view the cacao tree, because in early to mid June, the tree is in bloom with flowers, new leaves are emerging from the top, and the cacao pods are ripening.  Michelle cut open a cacao pod so we could see the white fibrous center and the seeds nested within.

Did you know that Hawaii is the only state in the USA where chocolate trees grow?

Next on our three hour tour we are happily seated under the big top, the Steelgrass’s newest addition. Here is where we trust Michelle and taste little bits of chocolate from numbered ramekins.

This blind test allows us to banish any preconceived ideas we bring and let our taste buds tell us  what we really like, rather than great marketing. This method draws out each of our inner wine enthusiast and we write down adjectives like smoky, pungent, fruity with a gritty mouth taste with an earthy flavor. These words are the ‘terre’ (french for place) that describe the chocolate and the flavors that swim in our mouths bumping into our sweet and salty taste buds.  The flavors pop in our mouths and our taste buds jobs are made easy purely responsible for sending messages to our vacation brain, so we may conjure up visuals of the tropical landscapes the samples of chocolate originate from.

Cacao bean and chocolate covered nibs

Of course, if you didn’t have the patience for all this nonsense and preferred to just eat your chocolate pieces and doodle on paper with crayons (like I said; no rock was left unturned) then Annabelle had a small following in another tent just for you nonconformists.

Meanwhile in the big top we traveled back in time and followed Michelle through chocolate’s historical journey from start to present day. Then we were given the secret DIY knowledge of transforming these cacao nibs into rich, creamy, melt in your mouth chocolate complete with kitchen appliance recommendations for the aficionados in our group.

The last bit of information we absorbed was what brought us here in the beginning; we now know which chocolate our taste buds have decided is the best from around the world.

For me it was the 70% Kallari “Red Leaf.” Forastero/Nacional, grown in Ecuador. I was happy to hear that it is also a very socially responsible production with a great story, another bonus to all the good news I am learning about chocolate!

Armed with facts and research to support their debate I believe our family favorite smoothie will be made more often this summer. Below is our combination of Ed’s Juice and Java’s; Funky Monkey and Molly of Glover St. Market’s; Energy Boost.

Cacao Nib Smoothie

2 Peeled Bananas

1/4 cup Cacao nibs

3 cups Almond milk

1/2 cup Almond Butter

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

liquid chocolate to taste (optional for sweetness)

Blend together adding more liquid depending on desired thickness

Enjoy!

Have it cold: if you make too much or have left overs simply pour into a Popsicle mold and pop it in the freezer for a healthy summer treat.

Fact: Cacao has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food. Antioxidant levels are measured by Oxygen Radial Absorbance Capacity. Per 100 grams, cacao nibs have 95,000 compared to; broccoli 890, spinach 1,540, acai berries 5,500 and dark chocolate 13,120.

*source Steelgrass.org handout.

Aloha kakou!

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

And the winner for the Food with the Highest antioxidant Content is…. (drum roll please)

~Join us for our two-part series on the food with the highest antioxidant tour

Part 1

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pure and simple, dark chocolate and cacao nibs top the charts in antioxidant levels ~ beating out acai berries, kale and broccoli on the Oxygen Radial Absorbance Capacity scale (more on this scale below). Shocked? I sure was when I recently learned this bit of information. Un-shockingly, my children were already rehearsing their “eat your broccoli” retorts.

Can it really be true? How did I stumble upon this fantastic news?

It all started when my daughter exclaimed, “chocolate grows on trees!”

Tour brochures lined up on our vacation condo’s counter top: chocolate, coffee, rice, taro etc. Eenie, Meeny, Miney, Moe…
Well, Miney and Moe are actually kids named Hannah and Eva and I guess that makes my husband Eenie and by default I’m the Meeny.

The meany who wants to add an educational aspect to our Hawaiian vacation. I’m sure you can see where this is going…

Steelgrass

Taro is island specific but no votes there; of the ag tours, rice (unfortunately), had no tours on our free days so the choice was between coffee and chocolate. I love both but would rather have the kids hyped up on vitamin B-12 goodness than buzzing on caffeine. Thankfully, they agreed.

After a little research, and a recommendation from some friends, we decided to check out the STEELGRASS family chocolate tour, which had an added bonus that included a voice over studio on site with the likes of Ben Stiller and Jack Black…read: now husband is on board too.

I spoke with Tony Lydgate, Steelgrass family owner, to confirm our Chocolate from Branch to Bar reservation and he said tours start at 9 am. I’m thinking; who doesn’t like chocolate for breakfast? The kids sure thought this was an excellent idea and that maybe the sun had gotten to my senses, but no one mentioned anything about that.

The evening prior to our tour, the children slept soundly with visions of Hawaiian chocolate dancing in their heads. Up bright and early like I’ve only seen on christmas morning they were ready to go devour their breakfast! It’s healthy right? Local, sustainable, organic, without additives; all the checks were there for our foodie family list, so why can’t we eat chocolate all the time? All you parents out there get ready because those answers we tell our kids that it is a treat are now debunked and I hear doctors are recommending a daily dose of dark chocolate.

Studies have found that eating dark chocolate daily can reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.  What? I guess the trick is on me for wanting an educational tour, now our tour guides Michelle and Annabelle have my kids full attention and I’m taking notes on this brilliant way to educate all ages.

So the tour begins, by sharing that chocolate is made from cacao and yes, cacao grows on trees. But before we learn more about cacao our guides direct us through their grove of meticulously labeled tropical fruit trees, educating our tour group through our senses about each fruit.

No crazy Wonka tour here, all children and adults munched freely on sustainably grown, Tahitian Lime and sugar cane (known as KO) a sweet and tangy lime aid in yo’ mouth combination. Longan or Dragon Eye fruits that would be perfect in a bowl on Halloween, crimson red Mountain Apple and Lilikoi (passion fruit) and more, all without incident.

Soursop (Custard Apple)

Dragon Eye

Dragon Eye

Lilikoi (Passionfruit)

Blissfully meandering through the tropical trees, learning about Egyptian paper making from papyrus trees and smelling the bark of a cinnamon tree ~ the mission of our tours guides emerges.

This fantastic way of bringing in unassuming students, thinking only of chocolate bars to impart knowledge about sustainable agriculture, is like tossing zucchini into chocolate cake without the kids knowing.

A Truffula tree right? Nope it’s Papyrus

Cacao is a tree, and in order for us chocolate lovers to fully enjoy the purest foodie dark chocolate scrumptious delights, we need to understand that our delectable bar only needs four ingredients: cacao, sugar, vanilla and an emulsifier like soy lecithin or cacao butter. But from Branch to Bar so much more goes on behind the scenes.

Cacao Trees

Cacao trees with colorful pods

It’s a meeting of the minds at the Lydgate Farm with PhD’s, Oxford alumnae, musicians, artists and others that form a team who have come together to develop a sustainable agriculture program to teach others the same.

By sharing the behind the scenes chocolate creation process, Steelgrass shows the many stages of the production, and in so doing, they also show the excellence that comes from being a steward for sustainable agriculture on the Hawaiian Islands.  We learned that it takes healthy pollinators not limited to bees for the fruit trees but it’s tiny gnats that are able to pollinate the petite cacao flowers.  They use companion planting as a natural pest control and rely on collaboration and cooperation between neighboring cacao farmers.  This is their  hypothetical insurance policy, if disaster hits in the form of bugs, weather or other, then the diversification of plants, their various locations and different cacao farms, help ensure sustainability.  This all falls under the umbrella of the Kauai Cacao Cooperative for creating a homegrown chocolate industry on the island.

It is incredible to think that all these aspects and hard work go into making that dark flavorful chocolate available and so good for us to enjoy.  Once you understand you can’t forget and now that price of the chocolate bar makes sense. But it is perfect because, unlike milk chocolate where I could keep on eating more and more, I find that a small amount of dark chocolate hits the spot and I am satisfied…better for the environment, better for me..it’s a win~win.


Honey on bamboo

Honey on bamboo sticks

Join us next week for part 2 of our chocolate tour adventure!

Aloha kakou,

Rachelle @ Caramelize Life

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