Chocolate Sunday – a bit of decadence

This is my first Chocolate Sunday post in a while. After my blogging hiatus in the summer, I found it hard to get back in gear. I also realized over the ensuing months that I preferred a looser blogging schedule, at least for a while, so that I could post four days a week if I liked, or less often if it suited me.

But I’ve been hoarding ideas, and I’ve got three chocolate-related items on my desk that have been begging to be blogged about – reminders of why I like to blog about chocolate in the first place.

These are real treats. A bit of decadence, even to read about.

hedonist chocolates1. My son brought me some coconut curry bark from Hedonist Artisan Chocolates in Rochester, NY, last year. What a great mix of flavours! And not too much heat. Delicious.

 

 

flagrants desirs2. A few months ago, at a Montreal dépanneur, I discovered French chocolate bars called Flagrants Désirs. The name just hints at the description on the package, which promises “a sensuous gourmet moment in every bite.” Dark Caramel & Sea Salt was especially tempting. But I think it sounds more decadent in French – Caramel et Fleur de Sel.

 

chocoMe3. I was at Toronto’s annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo in November, and swooned over ChocoMe chocolate, a high-end brand with unusual and quality ingredients. I took home a square of dark chocolate topped with crystallized rose petals and freeze-dried sour cherry pieces, and another with crystallized violet petals, pistachio, and freeze-dried sour cherry pieces.

I’m enjoying them all vicariously just writing about them.

 

 

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Chocolate Sunday – Sunshine!

juliette & chocolatLook what I found in Montreal last weekend! A little chocolate shop on St-Denis called Juliette & Chocolat, with a sign outside reading, “Parce qu’une journée sans chocolat est une journé sans soleil!”

A day without chocolate is like a day without sunshine! That means a double dose of sunshine for me today – it’s a sunny day in Toronto, and I just took a flourless chocolate cake out of the oven for dinner. (Easy dessert for company.)

Unfortunately, I only had time to take a picture last weekend at Juliette, not to sample anything. However, we did have chocolatines with breakfast that day – kind of like chocolate croissants (see pictures). Very decadent.

Bon appétit!

Chocolate Sunday – Mother’s Day treats!

I wasn’t going to post anything new specifically for Mother’s Day, even though I searched through my recipes to find a special chocolate dessert. Instead, I ended up using my tried and true (and easy!) recipe for flourless chocolate cake.

ecuadorean chocolateThe other night, I tried some Ecuadorean chocolate that we received as a gift. Milk chocolate with passion fruit was a special treat, because I’d never tried it before.

Another treat – a little Mother’s Day present – some organic dark chocolate. I’ll try it later.

It’s definitely a Chocolate Sunday.

Chocolate Sunday – Toothpaste?

Um, yes. Chocolate toothpaste. My son brought me a tube of Crest’s new Mint Chocolate Trek toothpaste when he returned recently from a trip to the U.S. It’s not available in Canada, as far as I know.

chocolate mint toothpasteI was skeptical. Toothpaste isn’t a product I would go to, or maybe even want to go to, for a hit of chocolate.

But I liked it better than I expected. It tasted chocolatey, and the mint flavour is fresh.

Mint Chocolate Trek is part of a new Crest line of toothpastes called “Be.” More info here on crest.com. The other flavours are Lime Spearmint Zest (Be Dynamic) and Vanilla Mint Spark (Be Inspired), while the chocolate version is called “Be Adventurous.”

Hmm. Will it make me feel more adventurous every time I brush my teeth? Am I adventurous because I tried it in the first place? Someone had fun coming up with this campaign. I had fun just reading the box.

But it’s a serious (i.e. flouride-containing) toothpaste. It’s also part of an effort by parent company Procter & Gamble to “spur growth in developed markets” in a year that has seen net revenue fall, according to this article in Canadian Business.

If you’re a chocolate lover, it’s a novel way to… explore outside your boundaries, to use the phrasing on the package.

If you try it, enjoy! And, chocolate or not, remember to brush 🙂

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Sunday – Passover Chocolate Macaroons!

This seems to be the year that I have trouble locating my Passover recipes. I found my favourite macaroon recipe on my computer, but only the plain version, not the chocolate.

chocolate macaroonsThe macaroon recipe, from an old Martha Stewart magazine, is my favourite not only because it’s delicious, but because you don’t have to beat the egg whites. It’s one less step – and leaves one less item to wash – than most other Passover macaroon recipes. Just mix coconut, egg whites, sugar, vanilla for flavour, a bit of salt, and that’s it.

I know there was a chocolate version, but I couldn’t find it online. However, I found two other recipes that gave me confidence I could recreate what I’d made before, or even make a new, improved version.

The easiest recipe, on about.com, is a regular (beaten-egg) macaroon recipe that becomes a chocolate macaroon recipe with the addition of melted chocolate. I could do that with my regular macaroon recipe too.

But then I came across the Smitten Kitchen recipe for dark chocolate coconut macaroons. To read it is to swoon, so my first thought was to follow it to the letter. But it calls for sweetened coconut, and I only had unsweetened. It also calls for unsweetened chocolate, and I only had regular chocolate bars. Plus, it calls for more coconut than I had, so I had to fiddle with the proportions. I also didn’t want to bother getting my food processor out, so I guess I’ll have to try it another time.

One more change. Once I was making the recipe my own, I decided to substitute Sabra (chocolate orange liqueur) for the vanilla. I think next time I would add more. The flavour in mine is so subtle that unless you have a very discerning palate – or know it’s in the cookies – you might not appreciate it.

The friends who tasted my macaroons teased me that they looked like falafel balls. But the taste was rich and chocolatey. Not too sweet either. I cut down on the sugar, because, um, we’ve already eaten a lot of sweet desserts this holiday.

Here’s my brand-new recipe:

Passover Chocolate Macaroons:

1/3 of a 3 1/2-oz. chocolate bar (72% cocoa content)

6 oz. (170 grams) unsweetened shredded coconut (2 cups + 1 tbsp.)

2 large egg whites

pinch of salt

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp sugar

a generous tsp. (or more) of Sabra liqueur

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Melt chocolate in microwave-safe bowl on low heat.

2. Combine thoroughly in mixing bowl coconut, egg whites, Sabra, salt, sugar, cocoa and melted chocolate.

3. Form into 1″ balls or haystacks on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Yield: 32 small macaroons

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate Sunday – links for Passover

happy passoverA few dessert links that look tempting…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-fromm/best-chocolate-dessert-recipe_b_5122607.html

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/flourless-chocolate-cake-ii/

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/04/dark-chocolate-coconut-macaroons/

http://www.joyofkosher.com/2014/04/25-passover-dessert-recipes-2/

http://morequicheplease.com/2013/04/pesach-sheini-chocolate-caramel-matzah-squares-aka-matzah-crack/

Enjoy, and Happy Passover! I’m taking Tuesday off, and will blog again on Thursday.

 

Chocolate Sunday – Passover Birthday Cake!

I was planning to write a blog post about my easy Passover chocolate birthday cake, including the recipe, but I realized it’s already online. Phew! More time for me to get busy with Passover preparations.

passover chocolate birthday cakeHere’s a link to the article I wrote in 2009 for The Canadian Jewish News: “Chocolate Passover birthday cake is easy to make.” It includes the recipe.

I’m adding a more recent picture, because the cake looks better garnished with chocolate strawberries than it does plain. This year, I’m thinking of filling it with marmalade instead of red jam, and dipping orange sections in chocolate instead of strawberries. We’ll see.

Obviously, my photo editing skills can use some upgrading. There were a few spots where the glaze didn’t cover the cake smoothly, and I tried to cover those up in the picture. But, whenever I make the cake, everyone seems to like it!

One of the reasons I love this recipe is that the cake (actually a big brownie) is made with oil, not margarine. I can’t bring myself to buy Passover margarine; I think it’s too unhealthy. I’m not surprised that it’s #2 on nutritionist Aviva Allen’s Passover dirty dozen list.

It’s a challenge to buy healthier oils for Passover too. I prefer the harder-to-find oil that is kosher for Sephardim, even though my background is Ashkenazi, because I refuse to buy unhealthy cottonseed oil too. Sigh.

Olive oil is another option, but not always preferred for baking. But even without margarine and cottonseed oil, there are a lot of delicious desserts you can bake for Passover.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Passover birthday cake is easy to make