Milk Chocolate And Cranberry

Have you ever thought to use the cranberry beyond the holiday season? The cranberry thrives best during the fall and winter months , but many grocers carry the frozen berry all year round. The cranberry is grown in the bogs of  Southeastern Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. With a tart flavor, ruby-red color and named a “superfruit” due to their nutrient content and antioxidant qualities, why not give them a try.

When using the cranberry in a recipe, think of it as the shy sister of the raspberry and blueberry. Now you can imagine why it is so versatile beyond the usual sauce! You may have seen “Craisins” in the grocery store. These are dried cranberries and can be used in many of your dessert recipes. However, this humble whole fruit deserves the spotlight at your next gathering, no matter if it is dried or not.

Milk Chocolate Cranberry Bark

12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (look for high quality such as Lindt or Ghiradellighiradellimilkchocolate

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) dried cranberries

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) pistachios, lightly toasted

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) candied orange zest, finely diced

Melt chocolates, separately, in a double boiler until smooth. Fold the cranberries and pistachios into the milk chocolate. Fold the candied zest into the dark chocolate. Pour the milk chocolate mixture into a large baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper, spreading into an even layer with a spatula. Allow to set for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, continue to stir the dark chocolate to prevent it from setting. Pour the dark chocolate over the milk chocolate, making sure to pour all over to minimize the need for additional spreading, making sure to cover the first layer completely. Let set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before attempting to cut. DO NOT cover or refrigerate because any condensation could make the bark grainy. To servecranberrybark break into pieces, storing any leftovers in an airtight container.

Other ideas are a Cranberry Chocolate Pie, Cranberry Stuffed Baked Apples, Cranberry Mousse, Dark Chocolate Cranberry Souffle and a Spiked Cranberry Granita.

Happy Baking!

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How About A Martini?

The next time you throw a dinner party, why not skip the time-consuming appetizers and fancy entrees and just go for the desserts. Many fine drinks complement those sugary sweets. have you ever tried an Oatmeal Cookie Martini? or a Mulled Wine Lorraine? Here’s your chance to WOW your guests.

 

Oatmeal Cookie Martini: 1 serving

1 ounce Hot Cinnamon Liqueur

1/2 ounce Irish Creamoatmealcookiemartini

1/2 ounce coffee liqueur

1 ounce heavy cream

rolled oats for garnish

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle or rolled oats.

Just a note when serving to your guests: in Italy it is customary for the cookies to be dipped into the drink!

 

Mulled Wine Lorraine: serves 8-10

1 1.5 liter bottle burgundy or pinot noir

1 cup packed brown sugar

zest of 1 lemon

zest of 1 orangemulledwine

2 cinnamon sticks

2 whole star anise

2 cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

pinch of grated nutmeg

citrus slice or cinnamon stick for garnish

Combine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and discard solids. Serve in heatproof glass mugs, garnish as desired.

Just a note when serving to your guests: in Germany this beverage is paired with a sponge cake roll that has a sweet filling, typically a ganache, jam or butter cream, and icing.

Dessert-only parties need not send your guests into sugar shock. Be creative and you will be the talk of the town.

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Gifts Galore

The holiday season is upon us so now is the perfect time to get those sweets and treats together. Chocolate will keep nicely in a cool dark place. Making your own stocking stuffers and table favors is really easy and quick.

Chocolate-dipped spoons are an easy homemade holiday gift. Make them sichocolate_spoons_2mple and sweet or dazzle the taste buds with custom flavors and colored chocolate melts! The basic recipe for chocolate spoons is to take your chocolate and melt as directed on the package. Dip the spoons into the chocolate and lay out on a silpat to cool. You can flavor your chocolate with various extracts such as almond and orange for a nice variety. Whether they’re white chocolate drizzled with holiday colors, or dressed up with crushed candy canes, chocolate spoons are sure to please.

Candy canes are always plentiful this time of year. Find the sticks fopepermintr this project. Melt you chocolate as directed on the package. Dip half of the candy cane in the chocolate and cool on a silpat. You can also decorate them by rolling in toasted coconut, mini chips or sprinkles. Put in a box or just in groups of three or four with a ribbon. Voila!

Here is something for everyone! Make up a batch of Rice Krispie treats. When batter is still warm as you are mixing add in black food coloring. Yes, I said black! Instead of spreading in a pan just take chunks and let them cool. This becomes your “lumps of coal” for the stocking. We all know someone who deserves a few lumps of coal.

So, as you make you list for those naughty or nice, don’t forget the stockingchristmascoal stuffers. Very easy, very fun, and very yummy!

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Sweet & Savory Chocolate

Have you ever thought to mix your decadent sweet chocolate with a savory dish? Now that summer has arrived what better way to celebrate than dinner on the grill? Why not experience a new side of chocolate with friends? Host a Sweet and Savory Chocolate Party to discover new recipes using Lindt chocolate.

We will create a delicious Chocolate Grilling Sauce to complement grilled entrees, and Chocolate Vinaigrette to dress up a salad. I would also be happy to present your Guests with a beer and chocolate pairing – they will enjoy learning about many full-bodied flavor combinations.And the best part is that, in addition to the existing Host Rewards program, when you host a Party this month with sales of at least $450, you will receive a FREE gift bag filled with approximately 100 of the newly launched EXCELLENCE diamond pieces. Four flavors in each bag!

I am currently booking parties for June; please contact me soon as my calendar is booking fast. I can book parties in all 50 states!

This month, Guests at your party will be able to purchase a collection of 8 EXCELLENCE chocolate bars for $10 with each $40 they spend. That’s a savings of $13!

In addition to earning free chocolate as a Host, you will enjoy:
•    A light-hearted evening filled with laughter and good company
•    An opportunity to sample the newest recipes from Lindt Chocolate
•    Learning how to enjoy premium chocolate in a whole new way

And here is just an example of the Host Rewards you could receive as a Host in June:

*The selections shown above are suggestions only. Hosts are free to choose any items.

 

Get in touch today! I’d love to help you plan and host your party!

 

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Desserts In A Jar

I was just doing a search for unique desserts to make for an upcoming event. You know the kind. Something your guests will talk about weeks afterwards! What I found was ” desserts in a jar”. Who doesn’t have a case of Mom’s old mason jars in a closet? Here is what you can do with them:

Coffee and chocolate are a classic combination that come together easily in a deliciously rich layered dessert featuring a buttery chocolate mousse and rich chocolate pound cake soaked with coffee liqueur. It’s a perfect treat. Since the components can be made ahead, you’ll be left with plenty of free time to attend to other important details.cookieparfaitjars

 

 

A cool slice of tart key lime pie tastes just like summer. Lime curd provides the perfect amount of pure lime flavor and the airiness of freshly whipped cream adds lightness to the otherwise heavy filling. Layering the dessert in half-pint mason jars provides a modern twist to this classic summer dessert.KeyLimeinajar

 

 

 

Not only are Smores a summertime treat, but you can also makes these in the smaller jars for the lunch pail year round! A few layers of graham cracker cookie, pudding and marshmallow fluff, and your guests will think they are in the mountains enjoying a dessert straight from the campfire. Smores-in-Jar

 

 

 

There is so much you can do with a mason jar to make you desserts “pop” at a picnic. Get creative and hold nothing back. http://goboldwithbutter.com

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Beer And Chocolate

Have you ever tried pairing your beer with premium chocolate? Actually, using beer in a cake is quite exceptional. Here is a recipe to try the next time you want to impress your friends:

Cake
1
box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® devil’s food cake mix
1 1/4
  cups stout beer (try Guinness)
1/3
  cup vegetable oil
3
eggs
Chocolate Frostingstoutcake
12
oz semisweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2
cups whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
Caramel Filling
6
tablespoons caramel topping
*Prep time: approximately 40 minutes, Total time: 3 1/2 hours
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease bottoms only of three 9- or 8-inch round cake pans. Make cake batter as directed on box, using cake mix, beer, the oil and eggs. Pour about 1 1/2 cups batter into each pan.
  2. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, for frosting, place chocolate in medium mixing bowl. In 2-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream and butter to just boiling over medium heat. Pour cream mixture over chocolate; stir with whisk until melted and smooth. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour; stir. Refrigerate about 1 to 1 1/2 hours more or until spreading consistency.
  4. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate. Frost top of layer with 1 cup of the frosting. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons caramel topping. Top with another cake layer, 1 cup of the frosting and remaining 3 tablespoons caramel topping. Top with remaining cake layer and frosting. Garnish with chunks of chocolate covered caramels with sea salt, if desired.

If Betty Crocker can do it you can too!

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Makes 16 servings

Chocolate With Cheese

With everything being paired with chocolate why not try some cheese? Chocolate used to be a simple ingredient. The most exotic thing you’d find in it was a bit of fruit or a nut. Changing with the times many chocolatiers are mixing exotic and unusual flavors with their chocolate so why not cheese?

On a certain level it makes sense to mix these two ingredients together. Milk (the basis for cheese) and chocolate are a natural combination. However, the tricky part is what cheese? What chocolate? Can you imagine a bleu cheese with a milk chocolate? It actually works. Here are 5 examples of pairing cheese with chocolate:

1. Dark chocolate with a blue cheese such as Roquefort of St. Albray. Saint Albray is a cheese which comes from the Aquitaine region of France. Invented in 1976, the cheese is similar to Camembert. This  pairing really shows off an unusual and delicious combination with the salty cheese and smooth, rich chocolate.

2. St. André is a triple cream cheese that’s decadently full-flavored. It has a soft buttery texture, tangy edible rind, and tastes like an intense version of Brie. It’s fantastic when enjoyed with any type of melted chocolate. Try fresh strawberries added to the cheese and then matched with a simple bar of chocolate. What a great dessert!

3. Etorki cheese is made from pasteurized sheep’s milk  and pulp pressed, not cooked, then matured for seven weeks. For those allergic to cow’s milk, Etorki can be substituted for Gouda or Cheddar. Any type of berry is delicious with Etorki cheese, which also can be melted into a dessert dip. Chocolate sauce can be dripped onto the cheese itself as well, which makes for a fabulous sweet-salty contrast to try with graham crackers.

4. Brie is a smooth, buttery cheese made from cow’s milk that presents a perfect palette companion for a rich and creamy chocolate sauce. Brie en Croute is a traditional, heated brie dish that features the cheese housed in a delicate pastry shell. The addition of chocolate sauce easily transforms it into a chocolate delight.

5. White chocolate (technically not chocolate, but the extracted cocoa butter) may not be as common as milk chocolate, but it’s flavorful and looks incredibly elegant. It’s perfect to make a truly sinful cheesecake. Most recipes use cream cheese, but try using a Brie or a Camembert.

It may not be the most common pairing, but that just makes it more fun! These are only a few suggestions to get you started on a sweet new gastronomic journey!

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