Category Archives: Chocolate

Ooey Gooey Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel

These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.

These brownie-like cookies have a hidden center of caramel.

 

Taking time out to spend special moments with friends and family may be the best thing about the holidays.

But a close second surely is all the cookies to indulge in at this time of year.

“Holiday Cookies” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy, is all about this festive sweet time of year. The book is by food stylist and recipe developer Elizabet der Nederlanden of Berkeley, with photography by the talented Erin Scott of Berkeley.

You’ll find everything from “Gingerbread Cookies” to “Chocolate-Stenciled Shortbread Rounds” to “Saffron Pistachio Biscotti.” Beyond cookies, there are also confections such as “Apple Cider Caramels” and “Matcha Chocolate Bark with Berries and Coconut.”

"Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season" by Elisabet der Nederlanden

“Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season” by Elisabet
der Nederlanden

“Dark Chocolate Cookies with Caramel” is especially fun because these brownie-like cookies hide a center of caramel inside. It’s achieved easily enough by rolling the cookie dough around an unwrapped, purchased caramel candy.

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Of Gourmet Ice Cream, Nuts and Sandwiches

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A tower of ice cream sandwiches at Ici Ice Cream. (photo by Tory Putnam)

Ici Ice Cream Opens Second Berkeley Location

Bay Area fans of Ici Ice Cream — and there are legions — are rejoicing that this artisan shop has just opened a second location in Berkeley.

That means twice the opportunities to get your fix of Honey-Vanilla-Black-Tea, Chocolate-Chocolate Almond Toffee, Pink Peppermint, Honey Lavender-Pistachio, and other fabulous flavors of ice cream and sorbets.

Mary Canales, who spent nine years as the pastry chef of Chez Panisse, founded her original shop 11 years ago on College Avenue in the Elmwood neighborhood. The second shop opened last week in downtown Berkeley.

Since the beginning, Ici has churned organic and sustainable ingredients in its ice creams. They’re made in small batches to ensure freshness.

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici's Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

A special treat just for this time of year: Ici’s Bouche de Noel. (photo by Tory Putnam)

Everything will continue to be made at the College Avenue location, then transported to the downtown shop. Both places sell scoops, pints, cakes and confections, including seasonal cakes, ice cream bombes, ice cream sandwiches, bon-bons and candies.

It’s a perfect place to stop after a dinner of paella at Oakland’s Duende, owned by Mary’s husband, Paul Canales. Hey, just sayin’.

New Heirloom Reserve Nuts

Just in time for your holiday baking needs, Diamond of California has released a new line of Heirloom Reserve walnuts, pecans and Marcona almonds.

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

I used the new Diamond Heirloom Marcona Almonds in a salad of green beans, orange segments and fennel. (photo by Carolyn Jung)

The century-old producer of nuts is highlighting varietals that have been passed down for generations.

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Carb Heaven At Jane Bakery

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

Ginger cookie, Nutella brioche, and kouign-amann from Jane bakery.

 

On bustling Geary Street in San Francisco, a former KFC/Taco Bell hybrid has been transformed into something far sweeter.

Jane bakery opened its doors in December, producing glorious long, slow fermented loaves and fabulous flaky pastries in this former fast-food franchise spot.

This is the third outpost in the city for Jane, which is named for founder Amanda Michael’s now 18-year-old daughter.

A couple weeks ago, my friend Deborah and I were invited in as guests to sample some goodies on the menu.

You'll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

You’ll find it hard to narrow down your choices here.

Michael, who grew up in San Francisco, once wrote reviews of computer hardware for a tech industry magazine. She hated it, and found solace in cooking. So much so that she went on to take classes at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco. It wasn’t long before she turned her back on the tech writing to pursue pastry gigs working at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and PlumpJack in Squaw Valley and San Francisco.

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Snackoo — For the Adventurous Snacker

The October Snackoo box.

The October Snackoo box.

 

If you have a global palate and are a serious snacker, then Snackoo is for you.

The Hayward start-up curates cookies, chips, candies, and other noshes from around the world, and sends out an assortment in subscription boxes.

It was founded by Baylor Wei, who has a master’s of science degree from Stanford University. Wei hit on the idea for the company after discovering favorite new snacks abroad, only to be disappointed when they weren’t available in the States.

Snackoo sources from seven countries in Asia right now, but has plans to expand geographically in the future.

I had a chance to sample the October box. It’s a true treasure trove — a box packed with about 20 mini sweet and savory snacks from Asia. Almost all of them were new to me.

Would you believe this snack box even included this creamy flan-like dessert?

Would you believe this snack box even included this creamy flan-like dessert?

The packaging for the most part is not in English. So, it’s helpful that Snackoo includes a note outlining what the box contains. The company also takes pains to translate the ingredients of each product, in case any buyers have allergies or an ingredient intolerance. That info for each product can be found on Snackoo’s web site. Read more

Eating My Way Through New York: Sweets and Snacks

Behold the Triple Black Donut at the new SuperMoon Bakehouse.

Behold the Triple Black Donut at the new Supermoon Bakehouse.

Supermoon Bakehouse

Wacky. Weird. Wild.

At Supermoon Bakehouse, you’ll find some of the most mind-blowing baked goods you’ve ever laid eyes upon.

But then again, they are the the handiwork of baker extraordinaire Ry Stephen, the creator of the Cruffin and co-founder of Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco.

What luck to have it open its doors in the Lower East Side the week we were in New York, too.

At this place, there's a sense of fun in everything they do.

At this place, there’s a sense of fun in everything they do.

Pastries displayed on a long counter make photo-taking easy.

Pastries displayed on a long counter make photo-taking easy.

You’ll find Cruffins here, and a whole lot of other unique pastries that sport a strong foundation of crisp, buttery, airy layers — then go wild with imaginative fillings, colors and designs.

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