Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

March 1, 2013

It Makes a Difference | Askinosie Chocolate Tasting

Tasting SheetIt’s sometimes the unplanned moments that work out to be the best ones in your day.

Take the morning e-mail from a thoughtful Slow Food Columbus member who types a quick joke, makes you laugh and extends an invitation to attend a chocolate tasting with Shawn Askinosie in the Jeni’s Ice Cream Kitchens.

That afternoon.

Well, you have to say yes, don’t you?

I should say yes more often.

Especially when you’re saying yes to hear what Shawn Askinosie has to talk about.  Not only is he making remarkable chocolate that’s traceable from bean to bar, but he and his family are working hard to improve the lot of the farmers who grow the beans, the neighborhood and community in which the factory is located and heck, the lives of every single person who unwraps a bar of what I am starting to think is some of the best chocolate that has ever melted on my tongue.

Shawn takes something that inherently makes people happy – chocolate – and then ups the ante by making it good for everyone along the supply chain.  Good, clean and fair indeed.

His noble work takes him all around the world to the cocoa farmers and co-ops that he trades with directly who reside in that narrow band 20 degrees to the north and to the south of the equator.  There, in far flung locales from Ecuador to Tanzania to the Phillipines, Shawn partners, pays fairly and profit-shares with growers – many of them women – to produce not the rarest beans, but the ones handled with the greatest care.  Askinosie beans are carefully raised, picked, fermented and then sun-dried in the equatorial heat.

Don’t take my word that it’s these careful steps that makes Askinosie among the best chocolate made anywhere.  Listen to David Lebovitz.

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December 12, 2011

Cookie Exchange | Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkles

It’s not the holidays without at least one cookie exchange.

This year I wanted to make a traditional cookie (the ubiquitous crinkle) with just a slight kick.  Enter Sichuan pepper: not related at all to black peppercorns or chili peppers, it’s used most commonly in Chinese and Japanese cooking.  It is a most unusual spice, one that has a piney, citrusy flavor and makes your mouth a bit numb.  Up until 2005 they were technically illegal to import (but not for any consumption reasons).  It all adds up to give these chocolatey cookies a feeling of just a hint of lemon and danger.  Who else’s cookies can promise that?

Chocolate-Sichuan Pepper Crinkle Cookies, makes 90 (whoa), inspired by a classic Betty Crocker recipe

3/4 cup vegetable oil

6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled

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October 22, 2011

Because You’re Only 4 1/2 Once | Chocolate Pudding

Birthdays call for cakes.  Half birthdays, pudding.  Cherub celebrated her four and half years in this world just this past Friday.  We had pudding as a special I-turned-four-and-a-half dessert.  Homemade chocolate pudding is no harder than a box mix, honestly.  Just just need a few ingredients.  Like anything else.  But these few ingredients can make a little person feel awfully special.  Or a big person for that matter.

PK’s Celebratory Chocolate Pudding, Serves 4

3 T corn starch

3/4 c granulated sugar

1/2 t ground cinnamon

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September 4, 2011

My New Favorite Dessert | Krema Buckeye Blondies

My sister-in-law can bake.

These blondies are her latest creation and chock-full of wonderful, local-to-Columbus ingredients from Krema Nut.  They’re perfect for back to school snack and equally great for the beginning of football season.  These will be devoured almost instantaneously at any tailgate you bring them to, I daresay even a Michigan one.

These are fabulous.  Just like my SIL.

Krema Nut Buckeye Blondies, makes one 8 x 8 pan

Preheat oven to 350/360F, lightly butter 8×8 pan

Mix:

1 c flour

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May 4, 2011

Afternoon Snack

Don't eat it all at one sitting. Don't eat it all at one sitting. Don't eat it all at one sitting.

I picked this up in Brussels.  You can get yours here from the good folks at le Chocoholique.

January 6, 2011

Birthday Cake with a Twist | Chocolate and Cardamom

I have fond memories of Demeter baking (and filling with chocolate whipped cream) my favorite cake every year for my birthday.  Come to think of it, it is universally the favorite cake of everyone in my family, including Zeus and my sis.  I’ve made it for years: sponge cake filled to capacity with luscious chocolate whipped cream and then rolled.

This year for Rhea‘s birthday (Happy Birthday!), I decided to bake her that same cake, but with a little tweak, as I’ve been reading one of my Christmas gifts, the terrific The Flavor Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit.

One of pairings that got me all worked up (alright, I know, I’m a nerd, but you knew this) was chocolate and cardamom.  I’ve always loved cardamom, particularly in my Grandmother’s Yule Kage.  And I’ve been wondering how to tweak my favorite cake just for fun.  So today, I decided to include cardamom.  I added ground cardamom to the cake and steeped crushed whole cardamom in the scalded cream before I cooled and whipped it with cocoa and sugar.  As a garnish, I made a blood orange coulis.  In the end, it was Jaffa Cake-esque, with a cardamom kick.

Cardamom Scented Roulade with Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Coulis, originally inspired by a recipe in the 1969 Betty Crocker

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Combine:

4 egg whites

1/2 c sugar

Beat egg whites to soft mounds, add sugar gradually until stiff peaks are formed.  Set aside.

Combine:

4 egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 T water

1 t vanilla

Beat until thick and lemon-colored. (This takes about four or five minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.)

Whisk together:

2/3 c flour

1 t baking powder

1 t ground cardamom

1/2 t salt

Fold egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture.  Sprinkle dry ingredients over mixture 1/2 at a time.  Fold gently until each addition dissapears.  Spread into 15×10 jelly roll pan, that is greased, covered with parchment or wax paper, then greased and floured again.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Turn onto tea towel that has been sprinkled with confectioners sugar.  Remove paper and roll (along the 10 inch side).  Cool.

For the Filling:

In a small pan add 1 1/2 c plus 2 T heavy cream and five whole green cardamom pods that have been crushed.  Heat over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like your spiced cream.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.  Strain cardamom from the cream into a large mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Whip together:

Cardamom cream

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c cocoa

1/8 t salt

1/2 t vanilla

Whip until cream holds its shape a bit for a filling.

To assemble, spread over cooled cake and re-roll.

For a garnish, use supremed blood orange slices and/or reduce the juice from two blood oranges over medium low heat adding sugar to taste.

Playlist included Happy Birthday, playfully covered by the Ting Tings.

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