Friday, December 30, 2011

Chuao Honeycomb Bar

It’s still that dead zone between Christmas and New Year’s Day when nobody has to go to work except the lackeys. But today, I won’t need the loud popping of the Chuao Firecracker bar to break the dead silence of an office with no other occupants. Because today is the week that I get Friday off, since my generous employer allows us to put in extra hours other days in exchange for taking every other Friday off.

So instead, for my day off, I have another Chuao bar: the Honeycomb bar, a 60% cacao dark chocolate bar with caramelized honey.

The bar has a floral aroma with perhaps a bit of honey.

The bits of honey are nicely ground and crispy, adding a bit of sugar and some caramel-like flavor to the bar.

The chocolate itself is dominantly vanilla and not very complex, and the melt is also a bit dry. The crisp texture of the honeycomb and the mild honey flavor are, however, a nice enhancement. Perhaps a bit dominant over the chocolate, but a nice concept nonetheless.

Have you had honeycomb with chocolate?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chuao Firecracker Bar

One of the great things about being one of the lowly project managers here in my office is that I get to work right up until Christmas (yes, I was in the office on Friday) and get to come right back after Christmas.

Here I am today. More or less by myself. Which means I need extra noise to prevent myself from going crazy from the silence.

If only chocolate could provide extra noise.

Oh, but it can. When you add popping candy, like Chuao did in their Firecracker Bar.

This bar, with a 60% cacao dark chocolate base, features chipotle spice, salt, and popping candy. That, yes that, will keep me alert and focused on all my regulatory review work today.

The bar features a strong fruity aroma, as well as hints of coffee and spice; the popping candy is small and distributed nicely throughout the bar.

The chocolate is mild and creamy at first, with a smooth melt, and then the popping candy takes over the texture as it dissolves. While the popping candy takes over the experience, the chipotle becomes even more apparent, and the popping candy becomes louder and louder with each moment of the melt. A few extra nutty flavors emerge behind the chipotle, and the salt dissolves as the last of the chocolate is dissipating.

And once it’s gone, the candy keeps popping.

Popping to keep me on my toes all day today.

Are you at work today? Or hanging out in your pajamas until mid-afternoon?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas as a Chocolate Blogger

The cool thing about having a chocolate blog is that people can read it for ideas of what to get you for Christmas.

Alternatively, they can get you a stuffed squirrel with a lightsaber.

(Yes, a colleague really did send this to me for Christmas.)

But most people will just get you chocolate related stuff. Or…actual chocolate, including Domori (!), like some of my swimmers did.

Or a kickass chocolate cookbook, so that you can make chocolate treats yourself.

Also courtesy of my swimmers.

And maybe, just maybe, some guy who will work the knots out of your calves after a marathon will find your blog and decide that you need something ELSE to make you happy.

Yes, a card with a smiley face will work. Especially if attached to a gigantic box of chocolate.

Did you get any chocolate for Christmas? Or just a stuffed squirrel with a lightsaber?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies: Just Add White Chocolate

When I more or less cut wheat out of my diet this fall, I thought this would put a crimp in my holiday baking onslaught this year, but not really. So far, I’ve made wheat-free versions of secret kiss cookies and thumbprint cookies, as well as wheat-free-by-design cranberry sea salt brunsli and cranberry bark.

The above collection of recipes was woefully lacking in the spicy cookie variety.

But then Abby Dodge posted a recipe for ginger molasses cookies, and I knew it was a sign from the kitchen gods. It was time to make gluten free molasses cookies.Link

With white chocolate chunks to complement the spicy kick.

Gluten-Free Molasses Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks (inspired by Abby Dodge)

2 cups chickpea flour (can be made by running dried chickpeas through a food processor)

½ cup almond flour (can be made by running blanched almonds through a food processor)

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup molasses

12 ounces chopped white chocolate

In a medium bowl, whisk the chickpea flour, almond flour, corn starch, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well blended, set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until well combined; add the egg and molasses. Add the dry ingredients, then add the white chocolate chunks. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Once chilled, shape the dough into ½” balls, chill until immediately before baking.

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, then move to a cooling rack.

Allow to cool. Then dump them on your coworkers, since the sweet white chocolate and spicy cookie base are irresistible.

Do you like molasses cookies? What spices do you like to add to them?