Thursday, March 24, 2016

Make Your Own Cafe Mocha

Chocolate infused coffee is great, but you don’t need to go to Starbucks to get some. Instead of tacking on those extra 10 minutes in the morning to stop by a coffee shop, we suggest you make it yourself.

By making it at home, you can use much higher quality chocolate than what typically gets used in the average coffee shop. Alkalized cocoa powders are a little easier to dissolve in liquid and so are lower fat powders. The ideal would be an alkalized 10/12 cocoa powder, like our Grand Guayacan or our organic alkalized 10/12.

You can do a simple home version of a cafe mocha without any of the fancy equipment like steaming wands. Basically, just brew a cup of strong, dark coffee (you can also substitute a double shot of espresso, which is my preference). Then add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder (like the Grand Guayacan or the organic), 2 tablespoons of warm milk, and a tablespoon of sugar. As for the sugar, I prefer either Sugar In The Raw or Stevia. The mixture should dissolve pretty easily. You can also pour this over ice for an iced mocha. Top with whipped cream!

This whole process should take 5 minutes or less. You save money, time, and have something made with really good cocoa. Almost everything is better when you make it yourself and when you use quality ingredients. Now you have your chocolate and caffeine without having to wait in line!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Make Your Own White Chocolate Easter Bunny

It’s almost Easter and the advertisements for candy are everywhere. And as with most things, Easter candy is better when you make it yourself. And what says “happy Easter” better than a homemade white chocolate bunny?

Homemade white chocolate is really easy to make and it won’t taste like that vegetable-fat, overly sweet nonsense that some large companies try to pass off as white chocolate.

Here’s a simple recipe for white chocolate:
•           ¼ cup cocoa butter
•           1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•           ½ teaspoon milk powder
•           ⅓ cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
•           salt; a pinch
•           Recommended: 1 tsp lecithin

You’re also going to need a bunny mold. These should be really easy to find, especially this time of year. Most craft stores and specialty baking/cooking stores should have a full line for you to choose from.

As for the ingredients, I definitely recommend using powdered milk instead of regular milk. The consistency won’t be right with liquid milk. The same goes with the confectioner’s sugar. Granulated sugar won’t give the chocolate the right consistency. You definitely want to use natural cocoa butter, rather than deodorized.

Melt the cocoa butter in a double boiler. Cocoa butter melts at a very low temperature, just above normal body temperature. So, keep the heat very low – just high enough to simmer the water. Stir the butter constantly while it’s melting and try to keep any water drops or vapor from touching it. You want to go as slow as possible in the melting process. The slower you go, the better the finished product will be.

Once the butter is melted, remove it from heat and stir in all the other ingredients. The mixture should be a smooth, yellowish color. Do not cover it to avoid water drops.

Next, just pour the chocolate into molds. Tap the molds gently to remove air bubbles and chill.

And that’s it – you know have homemade white chocolate Easter bunnies. If you’re so inclined, you should go with organic cocoa butter. After all, making things at home is a more environmentally friendly option and using organic ingredients only ups the earth friendly factor.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Homemade candy, Anyone?

While chocolate is certainly a lot more than what is covered by the traditional candy designation, candy is not necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad thing however is how many artificial ingredients are in mass marketed candy, not to mention the low quality of corporate chocolate.

So, what’s the discerning chocolate fan to do? Giving up chocolate sounds awfully drastic and, as it turns out, unnecessary. There are plenty of companies that make high quality candies using real coca and sweeteners, but you can also easily make your own.

With a handful of ingredients, you can create your own candy at home using chocolate that actually tastes like real chocolate.

Here’s a simple recipe for delicious homemade peanut butter cups.

Peanut butter cups are great, but they’re usually made with high amounts of high fructose corn syrup (in both the chocolate and the peanut butter) and artificial flavors and colors.

Peanut Butter Filling Ingredients:
·         ½ cup of peanut butter (I prefer natural peanut butter)
·         2 tablespoons of room temperature, unsalted butter
·         1/8 teaspoon of salt
·         ½ cup of powdered sugar
Chocolate Coating Ingredients:
·         16 ounces of coarsely chopped chocolate couverture * (you can use dark semi-sweet or milk chocolate, though I prefer the dark, which has a high amount of cocoa solids)
·         1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening

For the molding you’ll need some miniature muffin cups and a muffin pan.

Using a double boiler (you can just place a metal mixing bowl over a sauce pan of simmering water), heat the butter, peanut butter, and salt together. You want the mixture to be soft, but not melted. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the powdered sugar.

In another double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening together.

Now, just place about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each of the muffin cups. Then place about a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture on top of the melted chocolate and then cover each one with another teaspoon of chocolate. Now you just need to refrigerate them until they’re set.

Pretty easy, right? These won’t taste exactly like store bought peanut butter cups, but that’s the whole point. The chocolate will be darker and the filling will taste more like actual peanuts.

*Enjoy our 75% off All Cafiesa Chocolate Couverture Clearance Sale, while stock lasts. Coupon Code: CHOCOCLEARANCE. (Use at checkout.)