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!,


Chocolate Is Healthy?

I was digging for one source and came up with an article from 2007 that says chocolate can be just as good at fighting cavities as traditional fluoride! Seriously? The article went on to say that research suggests that an extract of cocoa powder that occurs naturally in chocolate and tea might be as effective as the fluoride found in toothpaste.

The extract is a white crystalline powder that has similar makeup to caffeine and helps to harden the teeth, making the user less susceptible to tooth decay. And we always thought cavities were caused by the chocolate!

Can you imagine brushing your teeth with a mix of peppermint and chocolate? It would be like the holidays every day!,

Passion for Chocolate

Most people love chocolate. There are those who have their favorites and will not venture but there are those who will try anything. I have tried a 100% cocoa bar and it was aweful! You might as well buy a baking bar off the grocery shelf and eat that.  My favorite is a dark chocolate between 72% and 75%.

Chocolate has been in a revolution the past couple of years as more information becomes available about the positive attributes of consuming chocolate. I say it is a food group! High quality dark chocolate has more antioxidents in it than a glass of red wine. Why not have both? There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding chocolate. Cocoa butter: the natural fat of the cocoa bean is a good fat, similar to that of olive oil.

As I write about chocolate, keep in mind that everything good for you must be consumed in moderation. Happy sampling!