Tag Archive for 'Scharffen Berger Chocolate'

Scharffen Berger Chai Tea-Spiced Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze (#YigitYummy)

If you are not drooling from this picture then you must not be a chocolate lover. I’ll confess, when I watched Yigit (pronounced Yeet) Pura, executive pastry chef at San Francisco’s Taste Catering Co. (and winner of the 2010 Top Chef: Just Desserts), whip this treat up I had every inclination that it would be good — but I had no idea that after taking my first bite that I would want to unhinge my jaw and push the entire dessert into my mouth. It was seriously – THAT GOOD!

In typical Scharffen Berger fashion, the day long event and bakery hop received rave reviews. The day culminated at the Ferry Building and left everyone licking their digits as globs of ganache glaze dripped off of spoons. What’s all the hub-bub about? Well it was the official 2011/2012 kick-off to the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Contest. The theme: Elevate a Classic Dessert. >and the wheels are turning<

The following is Chef Yigit Pura’s recipe – and I sincerely hope that you enjoy it as much as I did! >Sidebar: at the event Yigit made this cake recipe into cup cakes and added a little extra filling in the middle, which demonstrates how much fun you can having augmenting this recipe.<

(Note: Be sure to read over the entire recipe as there are two ingredients lists and two sets of directions.)

Scharffen Berger Chai Tea-Spiced Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Serves 8

Chai Tea-Spiced Chocolate Cake Ingredients

1 tsp baking powder

5 TBS Scharffen Berger Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/4 cups flour

3/5 oz creme fraiche

3/4 cup plus 4 tsp whole milk

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/3 cups sugar

7 TBS grapeseed oil

4 tsp Ceylon tea, chopped

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

1 tsp ground green cardamom

1/4 tsp ground star anise

Chai Tea-Spiced Chocolate Cake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the baking powder, cocoa powder and flour; set aside. In a bowl, mix the creme fraiche and milk and set aside.

Place the eggs, sugar, grapeseed oil, tea and spices in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until the mixture has a thick, fluffy consistency.

In two steps, alternately mix the creme fraiche mixure and the flour mixture into the eggs using a spatula. Be gentle not to overwork the batter or deflate it.

Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and lightly dust with flour. Pour the batter into the pan, about 1 inch from the top.

Bake until the cake has a rise and peak, rotate gently, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, and lightly bounces back to the touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes and then loosen with a spatula on each side, and gently unmold and cool on a cake rack.

Ganache Glaze Ingredients

7 oz Scharffen Berger 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

1 1/3 (10.5 oz) cups heavy cream

5 1/3 TBS corn syrup

cinnamon stick, for garnish

star anise, for garnish

candied orange strips for garnish

Ganache Glaze Directions

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Bring cream and the syrup to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Mix using a spatula, and in the end finish mixing using an emersion blender to emulsify the mixture, taking care not to add too many air bubbles. Use the glaze while it remains warm.

To assemble, place the chocolate cake on a cooling rack with a pan lined with plastic underneath to catch the glaze drippings.

Put the chocolate glaze in the container with a spout, and gently yet quickly pour evenly over the chocolate cake, covering the entire top. Garnish the cinnamon stick, whole star anise and candied orange strips.

cookie-o-logy

A friendship that can go the distance is worth waiting for. It had been four score and umpteen days since my former Florentine roomie had visited the San Francisco Bay Area. We had seen each other in between, and talked as often as life would permit, but having her here made each morsel taste more flavorful. As is often the case, my memories are provoked by food related stories. This story would start the same, but to the keen eye there are differences. We were two young American brown-eye’d girls living in Florence, and life was just FUN. Our apartment, the nicest I had ever had, was on Piazza D’Azeglio and it was a location that completed the vision of what life in urban Tuscany was like. Funds were often quite limited, so we cooked…and we cooked, and found that we just loved the ritual of shopping, preparing, cooking and eating an array of fresh flavors.

My earliest recipe development takes root in Piazza D’Azeglio. Dishes I still covet today all began in this lovely, tiny, modern kitchen; risotto with mushrooms (Porcini Risotto), pasta with tuna (Pasta al’Tonno), rabbit stew (Coniglio a la Campagnola -I know, how politically incorrect!). But I have digressed, my love for Burley (her given name: Kimberly), grew in Italy, and has never wavered.

Now back to food, upon her arrival I quickly found myself in the kitchen, with her by my side. We played and fussed with this recipe until it was anything but Italian, but it was all too reminiscent of so many things that comprise our friendship: chocolate chunk cookies (not easy to find in Italy), pinenuts (traditionally found in pesto sauce, we wanted to pair it with a sweet combination), oatmeal (get healthy- it is 21st century), and ginger (well, sailing on the Almafi coast can make you a bit ill and digesting ginger does help). Mix it all together and what have you got? The perfect cookie to take with you when you go sailing and want to feel indulgent- Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies, AKA Race Committee Cookies, concocted by two girls who used to live in Italy. (Did you manage to follow that complex web of cookie-o-logy?)


Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies (AKA Race Committee Cookies)

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup candied ginger, chopped into pieces
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen Berger’s Ben Tre Dark Chocolate for this recipe)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, grated
1 cup pinenuts, toasted (or substitute chopped macadamia nuts)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, on medium-low heat toast pine nuts. They will brown quickly so be sure to watch them closely. When light brown in color, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large-size bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Then add in eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a small-size bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, shredded chocolate and salt; mix well. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in oats, coconut, nuts chocolate chunks; mix well

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Yields 4 ½ dozen (unless you eat too much of the batter, which I am prone to do!)

Note: A great tip is to bake half and freeze half in a log shape in plastic wrap and then foil. Then for quick, hot, fresh baked cookies, cut a few sections off and pop them onto a cookie sheet and place them into a pre-heated oven. They may require a few extra minutes of cook time once frozen, but they will be a delicious TREAT. And for those of you that read my Halloween post earlier this week, consider this post the Treat to my Trick post.


Going Dark & Getting Competitive

Once upon a choc’late time
A long long choc’late time ago,
The Golden Age of Choc’late began.
I know, ‘cos I was there….

…………… choc’late ripples or choc’late tipples,
Choc’late ruffles or choc’late truffles,
Choc’late kisses for sweet young misses,
Soft and creamy, completely dreamy………
(excerpted from the ‘The Golden Age of Chocolate’ – Willy Wonka)


And so it began, a SWEET invitation from the folks at Scharffen Berger® to participate in their Chocolate Adventure Contest. As part of the contest this year, daring cooks – professional and amateur- were invited to develop original and creative recipes with Scharffen Berger products and to incorporate one or more of 16 enticing ‘adventure ingredients’. Adventure ingredients were: fresh mint, fresh or crystallized ginger, pandan leaf, banana leaf, sumac, raw honey, cacao nibs, fresh or whole dried chili pepper, malbe, peanut butter, back-eyed peas, rice flour, papaya, cumin, paprika, smoked sea salt. The key personality behind the competition – Chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson.

Never having done this type of competition before, I spent a great deal of time developing a list of eligible recipe ideas. I submitted two recipes for consideration in the ‘sweet’ category, and one of those two submissions made it into the top 16 out of over 1,000 entries.

While my ranking was not a prize holding spot, it was truly an honor to be among the likes of this group of contestants. It was a blast to cook under the guise of a new purpose- not just for dinner or a party, but to compete and create a recipe with a competitive directive. The end result — two recipes I am thrilled with ….and the near winner will be shared with you today. It is a seemingly wacky combo of ingredients but one well worth trying if you are willing to move away from those traditional desserts and put forward an eye-popping treat.

Spicy Chacon (Chocolate Bacon) Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
2 -3/4 cup lightly salted, dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Peanut Brittle Directions

Prepare 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or butter. Set aside

In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in water and vanilla. Set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat together sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring until sugar dissolves.

When syrup boils, blend in butter. Stir frequently.

When temperature reaches 280 degrees add peanuts. Stir constantly to hard crack stage (305 degrees). Remove from heat; quickly stir in soda, mixing well.

Pour onto baking sheets.

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

½ lb bacon, cooked
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (4 oz Scharffen Berger 62% dark chocolate and 2 oz milk chocolate)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp Hungarian paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sumac

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Directions

Prepare bacon, cooking on medium-low heat until dry and crispy but not blackened. Set aside on towel to drain and cool. Once cool crumble into medium size pieces.

Melt chocolate and mix in all other ingredients until well blended.

Spread on brittle and then sprinkle with bacon.

Loosen from pan when candy hardens. Break into pieces.
Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Thank you to the group at TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger for the opportunity to compete. I look forward to the next competition!

The video of the final competition judging can be seen at The Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest.

The Denied Inner Cook (the monster post unwrapped)

It was a week ago that I spent my entire day at BlogHer Food09 at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Since that time numerous articles have been written about the the event and I realized from the moment I had “planned” to write my post that I would be at risk of not having anything new or news worthy to say – then I realized that my take on things would inevitably be different than everyone elses because I like to let my thoughts simmer (pun intended) – that’s just my style.

THE CONFERENCE: self revelations
I was truly excited about this conference because as someone relatively new to the Foodie blogger label I have grown up a foodie and yet it is a part of me that I have frequently denied- my restaurant heritage. When you grow up with something, and opt out of this career choice you never really imagine that some how you will back in the tangent realm of food. Now to you, the devoted reader, that may be obvious, I wrote a cook book and I talk about food, ergo I am very in touch with my inner cook. Well, I can be a bit stubborn in allowing myself to acknowledge this is my passion. But I believe the day has arrived. With that acknowledgment comes responsibility- or isn’t that what I am supposed to say? I generally avoid doing or saying what I am supposed to say so let’s move away from that lame concept.

THE NETWORKING: better than a tweet-up
The conference, the first of its kind, was a great networking event and a good first step in what I hope will be an event that grows in scope (not size because the approximate 300 attendees/sponsors) was a truly perfect sized group for someone like me who avoids the traditional conference. Having participated in many trade shows I generally avoid them like the plague but this was different. I had the chance to get together with some of my favorite gals – Stacy Libby, Stefania Butler, Charlene Prince Birk, Jane Maynard, Lori Luna – meet in person my long time Twitter buddies Jennifer Perillo, Alice Currah, Vanessa Druck a few new friends Genie Gratto, Heather Hal, Arnold Gatilao, Lori Lange and Jeremy Pepper.

Bertolli Dinner at St. Supery Winery

Bertolli Dinner at St. Supery Winery

Bertolli Cocktails at St. Supery

SPONSOR IMPRESSIONS: those that tried and those that won
Not to boar you with the fine little details but my take on the sponsors is that there was a good mix of sponsors to address the mommy blogger crowd and the more au natural food blogger gang. That said, the event may benefit in the future from holding two days next year to provide insight to these two distinct groups. That’s not to say that there isn’t cross-over, there certainly is but then I think I may be amongst the few to ADMIT to toggling the line. For example, I love to cook with fresh local ingredients but I also like to include items like Campbell’s Soup in some of my quick meals because I don’t always want to make my onion soup, nor do I have time to do this, when blending this flavor into my dishes. (This goes back to the fact that I am a person with limited time and resources and yet I often prefer to cook then to go out to eat but I don’t usually have 5 hours to splurge during the week to whip up my grandmother’s typical five course meals.)

Another sponsor was Bertolli Frozen, they took a few hits at the show for not knowing their audience and while I adored the Bertolli team that was kind enough to include me in their Friday night festivities at St. Supery (which I viewed as a big success), I have to confess that there might have been a better way to showcase their products at the luncheon and I say this from the view point of someone who has done numerous events and is open to the idea of incorporating their high-end alternative to cooking products into a meal — offering a pasta bar of their featured foods or having a tasters plate blended with other fresh local veggies and/or breads might have featured their product in a slightly different light. This is where Campbell’s won the prize in my mind, they hosted the cocktail party and they used all recipes made from their product line and it was done on the veranda on a gorgeous city night and the compliments were flying – it was tasteful and anything but a hard sell and it worked.

Scharffen Berger Hosted the afternoon break demonstration with acclaimed chef, Elizabeth Falkner and these wonderful chocolate boxes filled with chocolate glob and salty and sweet and spicy treats — and well you had to wear a glove to get a bit but it was creepy and fun all at the same time. Personally, I loved the creativity behind it and the experience. They were showcasing their upcoming Chocolate Adventure Contest and had a great follow-up invitation to this afternoon on two fronts – they participated in the post-party deserts showcase and a cooking webinar a few days later. This sponsor showed they knew their audience and took extra steps to solidify and leverage this event to meet their end results. From a marketing/sponsorship/communications viewpoint this was well executed – another win!

Gina and Jennie Tasting Divine Chocolate Glop in Scharffen Berger Box

Gina and Jennie Tasting Divine Chocolate Glop in Scharffen Berger Box


TAKE AWAYS (not take-outs): we all have something to learn
What I loved was a lot of the take-away thoughts that I’ll share with you. Guest speakers included an all star line -up of Matt Armendariz and Heidi Swanson (Developing Your Visual Voice), Amy Sherman, Jaden Hair and Helen Dujardin (Your Blog Is Great…now what? Letting your blog lead the way the way to new opportunity), and Jory Des Jardin, Ree Drummond, Garret McCord, Dianne Jacob and Susan Russo (The Meaning of Identity and the Value of Voice in a Crowded Foodblogging World) and then the closing keynote with Lisa Stone, Elise Bauer, Ree Drummond and David Lebovitz (Foodblogging, now and forever).

Two fun video clips taken with the Bertolli Flip during the closing key note with Ree Drummond, David Debovtiz and Elise Bauer (L–> R):


Developing Your Visual Voice- 5 things to think about
(there were 7, I choose 5) 😉

1) Be inspired by others
2) Think about photos in context
3) Understand what you are shooting
4) Think about the type of shots you are after
5) The workflow is important

Bottom line- there are no rules. Take as many or as few shots as you like, have fun with it and be bold.

Your Blog is Great… now what?

Use this as your yardstick when opting to provide your work for free:
Cash/Credibilty/Visiblity

People will always want your work for free and if you give it away then you hurt others in the business. For example, one person in the audience shared that she used to get $1,200 to write a piece and now the market will only pay her $300 for a piece. Where can you go to learn the value of your work? Your local food society. Ask them what the going rate is for what you’ve been asked to do for free.

Remember your recipe is the MEAT of a piece and the photos are the DRESSING.

Advice from the professionals:
– Helen: where each opportunity will lead you – who knows? But why not try it. If someone tells you NO it is not NO FOREVER it is NO for right now.

– Amy: Food is a competitive business and it is not always pretty. But usually it is friendly and passionate. Blogs open up the door to new opportunities but the deal is sealed in person.

– Jaden: Treat your blog as a business and get advisers to provide perspective, ask a more well recognized blogger if you can be an intern, write a yearly business plan and stretch beyond your blog to be a leader in food.

The Meaning of Identity and the Value of Voice in a Crowded Foodblogging World

Garrett: Blogging is VERY “I” focused.

Garrett: A good rule is not to say anything on your blog that you wouldn’t say at a cocktail party. (Ree asks,” After how many drinks!”)

Susan: How you deal with criticism is up to you but you have to let a lot go, as long as it doesn’t get personal.

Ree: I will often spend between 1-5 hrs on a post but not all at one time, because sometimes I am herding cattle.

Dianne: I had trouble finding my ‘Me” voice. It is important to define your voice for your readers, as a journalist we were not accustomed to doing this.

Photo Taken by Stephanie Im/KQED for Bay Area Bites

Photo Taken by Stephanie Im/KQED for Bay Area Bites


WHAT TO HOPE FOR NEXT TIME: my suggestions
I think there is a big opportunity to look towards some tracks that appeal to the every-day blogger that struggles to post even once a week. Talking with the celbs of this micro-mondo are good but I did find that left me wanting even a bit more practical every-day advice. Some tracks I would vote for on the foodie front:

The Economic Hangover/Cooking Less- Getting More

The proposed session looks at how we can get the most out of our limited available time to maximize our efforts and food dollars to recover from our manic lives in this economic hangover. The discussion would be focused on how to spend less time in the kitchen but arrive at getting more – the more being healthier meals, meals in reserve and stretching and leveraging your budgetary dollars.

Social Media Food For Thought or Stirring the Pot of Social Media Flavors

As your resident tech-geek gal, I’d like to see a bit more social media in the mix in terms of branding and promoting. Some of this was touched on but not in a structured presentation with solid take-aways which a gal like me would appreciate. Food for thought, if you will!

Unspoiled- The Future of Food Blogging

With so many social media outlets emerging do Foodies really have time to stir the pot to create and/or maintain a successful blog – Twitter, Facebook, Alltop, Del,icio.us, Ning groups and the ingredients list drones on like the who’s of who knows what. Can Foodies get lost in the shuffle and burn themselves out of creating compelling blog posts? Where are food blogs today and which should be at the top of your list? If you spend more time on some outlets will your audience migrate?

(Relevance/My sidebar: seems to me that with all of the new social media outlets, some food bloggers are having a hard time keeping their blog audience, they may drift away from their blog to focus on twitter, or perhaps newbies want to learn how to create a food blog in these times of the social media craze. Should be a solid panel.)

TA-DA
I am forever bemused that true chefs and the more famous variety of cook book authors (Rocco DiSpirito, Ryan Scott, Elizabeth Falkner) are always a bit surprised that the rest of us DO know how to cook. It is a kind of high-brow/low-brow dichotomy and I say it not to paint a divide but to point out a new observation. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not versed in all of the fancy smancy terminology but where good flavors are in the mix I can be trusted. I had the chance to eat dinner with Rocco, and he is an adorable dream, but he too was surprised by the questions of the ladies at our table. And if that wasn’t fun enough, I was invited to come up on stage and help Ryan Scott, Top Chef contestant and chef, cook his frittata and he complimented me on how nicely I cut mushrooms (supplied by sponsor The Mushroom Channel) – I of course laughed and said thank you, he too was quite a charmer even with his girlfriend by his side.

And Elizabeth Falkner on the Scharffen Berger webcast, unless I was imagining it, responded to my questions with an approving nod. So you see…bloggers are cooks too and the rest of the world is about to find out. (well maybe).

Gina and Rocco "Say Formaggio"

Thank you to the folks at BlogHer for taking this inaugural step to host the first blogger foodie show- I hope you will take on the challenge again! I look forward to the Second Annual Event in 2010.

And thank you to the sponsors for believing in the blogger foodies as a viable audience.

Special thanks to the after-party hosts that put on a top notch event – Elise, Jaden and Ree! Great music and OF COURSE great eats!

Anna Lingeris & Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Anna Lingeris & Chef Elizabeth Falkner

Please note that I had an great video to share from the Bertolli dinner featuring Gaston and Rocco but the video exceeds the YouTube length by one minute and I am unable to post. If you have any suggestions on another site I can use, please do email send me a note at ginavon@bowllicker.com.