Monthly Archives: June 2014

potato chip bar

chuao chocolatier

A few weeks ago I ordered quite a few chocolates from The Meadow in New York and this bar wasn’t on my “salt” radar – I chose it last minute as substitution for a bar that was out of stock. Now that I’ve looked at chuao chocolatier’s range of chocolate bars, there’s quite a few I would like to try, but short of visiting the US, I don’t think I’ll get a chance soon – they only ship within the 48 contiguous states.

chuao

chuao chocolatier is a Venezuelan chocolatier based in California run by Master Chef Michael Antonorsi and his brother Richard. They operate two chocolate cafes in San Diego and their chocolates can be bought at various retailers. They named the company after the cacao-producing region of Chuao in Venezuela. The create what they call “fusion chocolate” by creating unusual flavours. Their website unfortunately does not explicitly explain where their cocoa is sourced, but maybe one can assume it’s from Venezuela.

This bar did not travel well and arrived in pieces. It’s a milk chocolate with kettle cooked potato chips and a hint of sea salt. When I opened the wrapping there was discernible smell of potato chips and sweet, slightly woodsy chocolate. The melt is tough to assess, the small potato chip pieces are grainy and you quickly want to just eat the chocolate. The chocolate itself leans to a darker side of milk chocolate and would probably not be one of my favourites. But I really like the crunchy aspect of this bar, even though it could use a little bit more salt. I would eat it again – it’s a somewhat guilty pleasure chocolate. And I would still like to try chuao chocolatier’s other salty bars.

Ingredients: Premium milk chocolate (41% cacao, cacao butter, sugar, dehydrated milk, soy lecithin [as an emulsifier], natural vanilla), potatoes, vegetable oil (sunflower, corn and/or canola oil), sea salt.

Zutaten: Premium Milch Schokolade (41% Kakao, Kakaobutter, Zucker, Milchpulver, Soyalecithtin [als Emulgator], Vanille), Kartoffeln, Pflanzenöl (Sonnenblumenöl, Maiskeimöl und/oder Rapsöl), Meersalz.

chuao_1

As far as I know this bar is not available outside of the US. I bought it online from the meadow in New York. Price approx. $ 5,95.

Images by Axel Lambrette

cream scones

This is my second scone test for my upcoming holiday and it is adapted from Cynthia Barcomi‘s first book. A long time ago when I didn’t live in Berlin and would come here at least once a year for the Berlin Film Festival, I would always stop by Barcomi’s coffee shop to buy cookies, muffins and bagels to take back home (then Dortmund). It was the only place I knew of where this kind of baked goods were sold at that time. This was many, many, many years ago (I feel old) and Barcomi’s has since expanded, Cynthia Barcomi has published a number of cookbooks and cookies, muffins and bagels are sold in many other places now too. Her classic cream scone recipe calls for chocolate and currants. I don’t really care for currants, so I left those out. And because I wanted to see how the scones taste without the chocolate I divided the dough and added less chocolate (1,8 ounces / 50g) to half of the dough.

creamscones

I used my hands to mix the ingredients instead of my 25-year-old hand mixer because I might be making these scones in a holiday home without appliances, but I felt like my hands were trapped in quicksand. I managed to untangle my fingers from the dough after a while, but I think the next time I’ll try mixing the dough at least with a spoon or a fork first.

After I divided the dough I formed two circles (one with and one without chocolate) and cut each into 4 pieces instead of the 8 mentioned in the recipe. The scones should bake for 18 to 20 minutes until they are lightly golden, but both the plain and the chocolate scones didn’t turn golden after 22 minutes, so I took them out nonetheless – my oven is a little bit whacky – and they were definitely done. Both varieties tasted great and kept for another day without turning dry.

cream scones
 
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Author:
Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 ¾ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ to ½ cup (50g bis 80g) of sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) cold butter
  • 5 ½ ounces (160ml) heavy cream
  • 1 egg (M)
optional:
  • chocolate (3,5 ounces / 100g) and currants (½ cup / 75g)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F / 220° C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly whisk the cream and the egg in a bowl.
  3. Throw all the dry ingredients into another bowl. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably crumbed mixture.
  4. Add the egg&cream mixture and work the dough until everything is mixed, don’t overmix.
  5. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Knead the mixture just a little. Pat the dough gently with your hands and form a circle to a thickness of approx. 2,5 cm (slightly under 1 inch) and cut it into 8 pie triangles.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

 

 

creamscone

This is my favourite scone recipe so far. Let’s see how the next scone recipe holds up…

chocolate crème fraîche cake

I bought a new cake pan last Saturday, which I wanted to use as soon as possible. And I wanted to try a recipe from a cookbook I’ve never used before. Quite a while ago one of my friends brought back The Complete Magnolia Cookbook from her New York trip as a gift for me and sadly enough (the cake tasted great!) I hadn’t tried any of the recipes so far. Unfortunately there are not a lot pictures in the cookbook, which makes it harder to decide what to bake if you’ve never been to the actual Magnolia Bakery.

This cake is adapted from The Complete Magnolia Cookbook’s chocolate sour cream cake with chocolate chips, mainly because sour cream is practically impossible to find in Germany. If you come across something labelled sour cream in a German store it is usually some kind of yoghurt based milk product with spices and herbs. I really miss “real” sour cream!!!

chokocake

By the way, this is what happens when you don’t grease and flour the pan properly and then don’t let it cool off long enough and then thump the pan impatiently on the countertop….

Don’t let the battered look deceive you, the cake tasted great and stayed moist for quite a few days.

chocolate crème fraîche cake
 
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Author:
Yields: 12
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (85g) coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 and ½ cups (355ml) boiling water
  • ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2⅔ cup (535g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (L) at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (175ml) crème fraîche
  • ½ cup (100g) (or more) coarsely chopped chocolate (milk or dark)
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a 10 inch / 26cm cake pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F / 165° C
  3. Boil the water and melt the 3 ounces of chocolate with it. Stir until fully melted and then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl whip together the flour, baking soda and salt - you can sift if you want, but I didn't.
  5. In a another, larger bowl cream the sugar with the butter, add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and the dry ingredients and beat just until smooth.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and the melted chocolate water.
  7. Finally stir in the chopped chocolate pieces and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 70-80 minutes.

 

chokocake2 

 

ultimate scones

Last year I spent a two week holiday in Gozo&Malta with a friend and when we went grocery shopping the first day and found clotted cream we went nuts. We ate clotted cream every day, mostly on croissants and cookies. It’s not impossible to buy clotted cream in Berlin, but it’s absurdly expensive, so I’ve never bought it before. Because we enjoyed our holiday so much we are going right back this year and I think it would be a great idea if I could bake scones to go with that clotted cream. So now I’m on a quest to find an easy recipe that can be made within the confines of a holiday home that is not equipped with any baking utensils.

 

The first recipe I tried is adapted from BBC Good Food aptly named ultimate scones. Since I didn’t have slightly salted butter (just strongly salted) I used regular butter and added a little bit of salt and instead of the self-raising flour I used all-purpose flour the original recipe calls for and added baking powder and baking soda.

ultimate scones
 
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Author:
Yields: 8
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup (225g) flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (50g) butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) caster sugar
  • ½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons full-fat milk
  • extra flour for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 430° F / 220° C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Tip the flour into a bowl with the salt. Add the butter and rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably crumbed mixture. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Add the milk to the buttermilk and pour it into the mixture. Gently work the dough until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Don’t overwork at this point or you will toughen the dough.
  4. Lift the ball of soft dough out of the bowl and put it on to a floured surface. Knead the mixture just a little. Pat the dough gently with your hands to a thickness of approx. 2,5 cm (slightly under 1 inch) and cut it into triangles.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

Fresh out of the oven the scones were great by themselves, but the next day they were already too dry and were in dire need of that clotted cream. In any case, this is already a great recipe for that holiday clotted cream situation.

u_scone2

 

banana granola muffins

Last Sunday I made these banana granola muffins, mainly because I needed to get rid of some of my ridiculous granola stash and the ripe bananas wasting away in my kitchen. So I searched the net and came across the Banana Crunch Muffin recipe from Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and changed it a little bit.

granolamuffin2

 

banana granola muffins
 
Prep time
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Author:
Yields: 24
Ingredients
  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (190g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound (240g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs (L)
  • ¾ cup (180ml) whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 medium sized ripe bananas (half-heartedly mashed with a fork)
  • 3 cups (240g) granola (I used a granola with nuts and raisins) - you can easily substite one cup of granola with chopped nuts or raisins or cranberries...
Instructions
  1. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  3. Sift the flour, then add the sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the melted butter and blend.
  5. In a second bowl combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas.
  6. Add them to the flour&butter mixture, add the granola and mix well, but don't overmix.
  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops are brown.
  8. Cool slightly and serve.

 

The muffins turned out flavourful, tender and moist.

granolamuffin

 

 

cardamom organic white chocolate artisan bar

rococo

I know I’m deviating from the salty chocolates with this one, but since I also have a soft spot for white chocolate I had to try it when I bought Rococo’s sea salt bar.

rococo_white

Rococo is a british chocolate company founded by Chantal Coady with shops in London and in Chester. She was awarded Chocolatier Of The Year 2012 and her bars, pralines, caramels and truffles, as well as her packaging, have won awards. Rococo owns a cocoa farm (part of the Grenada Chocolate Company) which provides the organic Trinitario cocoa beans for her chocolates.

This bar won Gold at the International Chocolate Awards 2013.

rococo_white_3

The smell of cardamom envelops you when you unwrap the bar. The chocolate melts smoothly in your mouth and you can feel the cardamom grains. It is sweet, but not too sweet, and although cardamom is the main flavour, there is a slight taste of lemon that provides a nice contrast. I was surprised that I liked this chocolate so much and I’m open to trying other spices in chocolate, but I’m yet to see if they can compete with my beloved salted chocolates.

rococo_white_2

Ingredients: organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter, organice whole milk powder, organic cardamom, emulsifier: soya lecithin. Contains 30% min. organic cocoa solids, 24% min. organic milk solids.

Zutaten: Bio Rohrzucker, Bio Kakaobutter, Bio Vollmilchpulver, Bio Kardamom, Emulgator: Sojalecithin. 30% mind. Bio Kakaomasse, 24% mind. Bio Milchpulver.

This bar is available at Rococo and various other online stores. I bought it online from xocoatl, a shop in Wiesbaden. Price approx. €5,90.

Images by Axel Lambrette

milk chocolate with caramel and fleur de sel

bovetti

I actually wanted to start off with the salted chocolate that got me hooked but since I’ve eaten it all I have to wait for new supplies. In addition to finding and trying all salted chocolates I am also open to trying “related” ones, i.e. salted caramel and chocolates with salted nuts.

This bar is produced by Bovetti, an Italian chocolatier (the company is in France), who states on his website that all chocolates are made from top-grade raw materials, pure cocoa butter and without vegetable fat. Concerning fair trade issues, Valter Bovetti, together with some chocolatier friends, created an ethical trade association which sponsors cocoa plantations in São Tomé.bovetti

 

The chocolate which was visible through the window looked fatty and the caramel looked gluey. Not very appetising. Unfortunately this chocolate actually was as disappointing as it looked and reminded me of little more than standard Milka chocolate. It was very sweet and somewhat soulless. I didn’t taste even a hint of salt, but that might be just me, because I prefer a strong salty taste. The caramel pieces were sticky and chewy rather than smooth and buttery. Though this is not a chocolate I would buy again, my two friends who tried the chocolate with me, happily seized the bar and gobbled it up within minutes.

bovetti_2

 

Ingredients:  minimum 38% cocoa (cocoa solids and cocoa butter, milk powder, sugar, vanilla), caramel aroma 7% (sugar, glucose syrup, milk powder, butter, salt, caramel colouring).

Zutaten: Kakao 38% mind. (Kakaomasse und Kakaobutter, Milchpulver, Zucker, natürliche Vanille) natürliches Karamellaroma 7%, (Zucker, Glukose, Milchpulver, Butter, Saltz, aroma, Farbstoff Karamell) (sic!)bovetti_3

This bar is available at various online shops. I bought it from Schoko Galerie, a small shop with a good selection of chocolates in Berlin. Price approx. €4,50.

Images by Axel Lambrette (thank you!!!)