Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taste Test Tuesday: Cadbury Drinking Chocolate

This is a delicious and inexpensive drinking chocolate created by the  Cadbury company, which was created in 1824 by John Cadbury and was sold in 2010 to Kraft Foods.

Drinking chocolate

This drinking chocolate can be purchased in the international section of most grocery stores, on Amazon, and on the Internet from various British food specialists. It can be made using hot or cold milk and is delicious either way.

It is powdered with the sugar already added and makes a smooth, creamy, rich, chocolaty drink that is a better alternative to instant. Try it today and see for yourself.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hershey's Chocolate Frosting

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Delicious chocolate cupcake!
This is my "go to" frosting, and I frost everything with it from cupcakes, homemade or from a box, cakes, brownies, cookies, or sometimes just a big dollop on a spoon for me to eat. I promise you, you cannot go wrong with this frosting. I made Paula Dean's chocolate cake mix(more on that another time), into cupcakes and then used this frosting to dress them up.


1 stick butter melted
2/3 cup of HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/3 cup of milk
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla

Melt butter in large bowl, whisk or use electric hand held mixer to blend in HERSHEY'S Cocoa. Add one cup of powdered sugar, and a little milk, alternating between the two until both are used up and the frosting is creamy. Add vanilla and blend. Then use to frost any treat you feel like.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taste Test Tuesday Fran's Dark Hot Chocolate

Fran's 65% hot chocolate

Taste Test Tuesday, one day late. I have family in for Easter week and forgot to post this. This week I am trying out Fran's Chocolates 65% Venezuelan Cacao. Fran's Chocolates are award winning and include chocolate sea salt Carmel's, chocolate sauces for dipping and ice cream and hot chocolate.

This hot chocolate is creamy, delicious and has a wonderful aroma. It comes in a 9 oz. tin and is basically little chocolate shavings that you add to warmed milk. You whisk and serve. It really does make a decadent treat. Fran's suggest that you place the chocolate into a mug, microwave for a few seconds to melt and then add the milk. Which ever way you chose to make it, it is fabulous.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chocolate Scented Bunny

Chocolate scented bunny

I can remember hunting on Easter morning for my basket and it was always filled with delectable hand-made chocolates, a wonderful stuffed rabbit and all sorts of tasty treats. I snapped this photo at the Walgreen's the other day and I think it would be a wonderful addition to any basket. 

The cute little face is a chocolate scented bunny and is available at Walgreen's for $2.99.

NOTE: I do not sell these bunnies nor do I know the source. I cannot give you the manufacture or tell you where to find another, although I can tell you that I have seen chocolate scented rabbits at Walgreen's every year since I wrote this post in April of 2011, however they were not as cute. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Taste Test Tuesday: Chocolat Vitale Drinking Chocolate

I love hot chocolate! That is a fact and, as I have mentioned, I drink it everyday. Certainly not as much as Montezuma but each day I have a ritual at 10:00 am where I get out the ingredients I want to use that day and I blend up my cup of "ambrosia" as they say.

I first encountered  Chocolat Vitale three years ago and have been hooked ever since.

Chocolat Vitale

This drinking chocolate is fabulous! I cannot get enough of it. I prefer the Venezuelan Black, but they offer other flavors as well, European, Raspberry, Espresso and Orange Spice.

Makings the perfect cup is easy. You simply warm a 1/2 cup of milk in a pan and then whisk in 1/4 cup of the little chocolate granules. Then you turn down the heat and let it simmer for a bit, this will cause it to thicken up. Once finished add whip cream or simply drink plain, either way it is delicious!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Browned Butter Brownie Recipe from Bon Appetit

I am sure that everyone has a brownie recipe that they think or know is the best, I have a few myself. But I am always open to a new and quick recipe to have on hand for guests. In the past my go to recipe was from Ina, and although I make it often and everyone always asks for the recipe, the recipe is really for a party. Ina refers to them as her Outrageous Brownies, and that is certainly true for the taste and the amount!

This recipe was recently given to my by my sister-in-law and what I love about it is that it only make a small 8 by 8 pan. The perfect size if you just want to have a few on the weekend.

The recipe is from Bon Appetit and is called Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts. I made them without the nuts. This recipe is very surprising in that it only contains one third of a cup of flour and you do everything in one medium saucepan.

Let me begin by mentioning that if you go to the Bon Appetit link when you use the recipe a few ingredients are not listed in the ingredients list, such as the salt and water. Once again a great reminder as to why one should always read the entire recipe before they start.

via Bon Appetit

Browned Butter BrowniesIngredients (all)
Nonstick spray
10 tablespoons of butter or 11/4 sticks cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of water
1/4 tsp of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus one tablespoon of flour
1 cup of walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 325, place rack in middle of oven. Line 8x2 baking pan with foil, and leave a two inch overhang. Spray foil with cooking spray. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and brown bits form on the bottom of pan, stir often during the process, which takes about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons of water, vanilla and 1/4 tsp of salt. Stir to blend and then let cool for about 5 minutes Add eggs, one at a time to hot chocolate mixture and beat until thick and smooth. Then add flour and stir until blended. Then beat for at least 60 strokes. If adding nuts or chips or any other additions add now. Place the batter into the pan and smooth out.


Brownie batter

Bake brownies for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean. Do not over bake.

Let brownies cool. Then remove from pan by foil overhang and cut into pieces.

Cooling brownies

These brownies have a crusty top, and very moist center, almost like fudge, and are very nutty tasting even without the nuts, from toasting the butter. In addition to being easy to make they are very decadent and delicious. Unless you are a glutton you probably will only be able to eat just one!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easter Chocolate

Easter is fast approaching and for those of us who love chocolate and a beautiful Easter basket filled with delicious candy and of course chocolate, we still have time to order more that just the standard Peeps, Whopper Egg, jelly beans, or Reese peanut butter eggs.

I can remember the Easter bunny giving myself and my brother and sisters beautiful cellophane wrapped baskets that always contained something special. For us the special item in our basket was a beautiful chocolate egg, that when you opened it up contained all sorts of yummy chocolate caramels. These eggs were made in a chocolate "house", which was a house where a family made chocolates in their basement only during the holidays. The eggs and the baskets and the filled candies were exquisite, and delicious! I have no idea the name of this little candy making enterprise but I have wonderful memories of being allowed to go on the journey to pick up these special creations when I grew up.

After receiving the current Williams-Sonoma catalog and perusing their offerings for Easter I thought I would check out a few of my favorite "chocolate houses" to see what was available to order for Easter. According to many of the sites there is still time to order and get the items in time for Easter. Why not treat your little "peeps" and "chicks" to something really special in addition to their old favorites?

From Williams-Sonoma you can get bunnies, and eggs, a basket and even bunny s'mores! From La Maison du Chocolate you could splurge and get a beautiful box of little foil eggs, from Vosges you could have bacon and eggs! Or even a creamy peanut butter egg.  From Jacques Torres you could have a chocolate covered peep, a little upgrade from the regular sugary yellow ones! Or from Lake Champlain chocolates you could have chocolate bunnies, eggs, a foil  carrot and numerous other candies. From Marie Belle there are beautiful eggs and embossed chocolates and from Payard there are chocolate eggs, and of course beautiful barks. There is also an assortment of great items from Dean& Deluca as well and many others. Get your order in and enjoy the holiday.

Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres New Twist on Peeps!



Jacques Torres

La Maison du Chocolate via Dean&Deluca

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain







Vosges Peanut Butter Egg

Vosges Bacon and Egg!

Williams-Sonoma S'mores

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taste Test Tuesday: Williams-Sanoma Hot Chocolate

Williams-Sonoma Rich and Creamy Hot Chocolate

Williams-Sonoma hot chocolate prepared by me.

Although, I love the frosting on a piece of chocolate cake or cupcake or a really great piece of chocolate my favorite way to enjoy chocolate is a hot chocolate (not to be confused with hot cocoa) or what I like to call drinking chocolate. I am continually on the hunt for a delicious and tasty treat that is easy to prepare at home.

Today I thought I would tell you about the Williams-Sonoma hot chocolate that was sold around the holidays. This is a hot chocolate that  is blended by Guittard and is actually little shavings of different chocolates, and is inspired by the famed Angelina cafe in Paris. It was sold for $19.99 for about 8 servings.

Chocolate Guittard shavings.
The directions say to heat one cup of milk until little bubbles appear around the edges of the pot and then add 5 tablespoons of the chocolate flakes. Stir or whisk until the chocolate is incorporated. Then pour into a mug and enjoy.

Tiny bubbles forming around pan.

Add chocolate shaving and whisk.

The finished product! Creamy and rich!

I liked the taste and thought the preparation was very easy but for my taste, I think it is too sweet, which is really ironic considering that I love sugar and anything sweet. After my first cup I modified the recipe to suit my taste, and I only added three tablespoons of the chocolate flakes and then added one square of 70% dark chocolate to give it more of a bittersweet taste.

Again, this is my opinion. My taste is not the same as yours. The product is delicious and a really wonderful drink to serve your guests or as a treat for yourself. It is only sold around the holiday's so we will have to wait until the Fall for it to be available in the stores again. It also comes in peppermint.