Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Valentine’s Day Calls For Some Special Chocolate

A great start to a Valentine's Day.

A great start to a Valentine’s Day.

 

Yes, roses are lovely.

But chocolate is where it’s at.

At least that’s my philosophy for Valentine’s Day.

And nobody makes chocolate like Burlingame’s Guittard Chocolate Company, a family-owned craft chocolate maker that celebrated its 150th year in business in 2018.

In honor of that monumental anniversary, Guittard created a limited-edition Eureka Works 62 Percent bar, named after the first factory that founder Etienne Guittard set up in San Francisco in 1868.

It’s a blend of cacao beans from its earliest sourcing locations: Indonesia, Hawaii, Ecuador and Brazil. What’s more a portion of proceeds from every bar sold will go to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund, a not-for-profit that works to preserve the rarest cacao trees that produce the highest quality chocolate and to help the farmers who grow them.

Guittard's special, limited-edition Eureka Works chocolate.

Guittard’s special, limited-edition Eureka Works chocolate.

The huge 500g bar ($29.95 on the Guittard Web site) is lovely to look at — molded with a nifty cacao bean imprint design. And the taste? I was fortunate enough to receive a sample recently. It’s a smooth, complex chocolate that tastes prominently of dark cherries and a touch of pineapple. It has some acidity and bitterness, but in measured amounts to let the fruitiness of the bar shine through.

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Happiness is Chocolate Popcorn

Hooray! This homemade version of chocolate popcorn is pretty darn close to the one I fell for in Seattle.

Hooray! This homemade version of chocolate popcorn is pretty darn close to the one I fell for in Seattle.

 

Ever since a trip to Seattle last year, I have been obsessed with chocolate popcorn.

My first taste of this crunchy, chocolatey treat came courtesy of the Cinerama movie theater in downtown Seattle, where the marquee not only flashes its availability in bright lights, but the intoxicating smell of it wafts out its doors.

The late Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, bought the iconic theater and proceeded to seriously up the game on the concession stand. Fortunately, you can even walk into the lobby and buy some of this popcorn without even buying a ticket to a movie.

That’s what my husband and I did after our interest — and nostrils — were piqued. On the second to last day of our trip, we bought a small ($6.50), which is fairly sizeable. One taste and we were completely hooked. In fact, I like chocolate popcorn way better than caramel corn because it’s not as cloying. We nibbled to our stomach’s content and even had enough leftover to bring home on the plane.

After the last of the chocolate popcorn was gone a couple days later (and mind you, it was still wonderfully crisp even at that point), I began to have serious withdrawal. So much so that I even looked online to see if the Cinerama might possibly do mail-orders of the popcorn. But alas, no.

So I was determined to try to make my own at home.

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Making Manresa Bread’s Terrific Tahini Cookies

Nutty, elegant tahini cookies.

Nutty, elegant tahini cookies.

 

Nothing beats the high of discovering a favorite new treat at a bakery or restaurant.

And nothing stings like the blow of finding out the establishment has decided to take it off the menu.

We’ve all been there, right?

When Food Gal reader Kristy W. discovered that her favorite tahini cookies had been yanked from the bakery case at the new Manresa Bread in Campbell, she was beside herself.

So what did she do? She asked yours truly if I could somehow get the recipe.

Well, Kristy, your wish is my command.

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Sponsored: Add Pizzazz To Your Holiday Baking with New Pazazz Apples

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

A gluten-free, crust-less dessert made with new Pazazz apples.

 

There’s a new apple in town. And it’s full of pizzazz.

Or should I say pazazz?

The Pazazz apple is a descendent of the Honeycrisp. So if you love the latter as I do, you will go nuts for the new variety, as well.

Like the Honeycrisp, the Pazazz is crisp as can be, making it an ideal apple to eat out of hand. It has just enough tartness to balance its flavor. I think it has a fuller, more winey taste, too.

The process of creating this apple started a decade ago through cross-pollination with a Honeycrisp. The Pazazz is now grown by family orchards across the country, and available at Safeway stores.

Just say "Pazazz''!

Just say “Pazazz”!

When I received samples recently, I knew they would be ideal to bake with.

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You Won’t Believe This Cookie Is Nonfat

No fat -- yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

No fat — yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

 

I am often put off by the word, ”nonfat.”

It usually means non-flavorful, non-satisfying and non-worth-it.

That’s why I approached with trepidation the recipe for “Nonfat Gingersnaps” in the new Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Food52 Works) (Ten Speed Press) by Kristen Miglore, Food52’s creative director, of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook comprises more than 100 recipes that are touted as game-changers. Indeed, they span from a “Brazilian Carrot Cake” recipe in which raw carrots are blitzed in a blender with eggs, oil and sugar for the batter” to “No-Stress Pie Dough” in which the cubes of butter are pinched into the flour before adding cold water to “Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting” that uses avocado in the batter, and almond milk and brown rice syrup in the frosting for a cloud-like Cool Whip-texture.

Food52GeniusDesserts

So many people embrace nonfat because of health concerns. But every chef will tell you that fat equals flavor. It also provides satiation. Just consider how much more full you feel — and for far longer — if you choose full-fat yogurt over nonfat, not to mention the added calcium you get.

As I read over the recipe, visions of awful Snackwells nonfat cookies popped into my head. But I knew that if the recipe was published in a Food52 book, it must be good. Moreover, if it was a recipe created by pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, well, then it had to be superb.

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