Category Archives: Chocolate

A First: DoubleTree’s Signature Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The one and only honest-to-goodness DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookie recipe.
The one and only honest-to-goodness DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookie recipe.

They’re craved by legions of sweet-tooth travelers. Home-cooks have tried in vain to come up with copycat recipes for it for years. And such is its stature, that it was the first food to actually be baked in orbit — aboard the International Space Station this January.

For so long, the only way to sink your teeth into a bona fide warm DoubleTree Hotel chocolate chip cookie was to check into one of its hotels, where you’re gifted with one for free with your room key.

Until now, that is.

Yesterday, in a thoughtful goodwill gesture in these horrific times, DoubleTree released a home-version recipe of its famed cookie to the public.

And faster than my printer could spit out the recipe, I was already putting sticks of butter out on my counter to soften.

At a time like this, don't we all need a cookie? Especially a DoubleTree one?
At a time like this, don’t we all need a cookie? Especially a DoubleTree one?

Knock on wood, I actually had all the ingredients on hand, too — no easy feat in this pandemic that has stripped store shelves and online sources of many baking products, as we all hunker down to shelter in place, and apparently stress-bake to no end.

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The Chocolate Cake For When Times Are Uncertain and All-Purpose Flour Is MIA

This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.
This chocolate cake may look plain, but it is a showstopper in taste and satisfaction.

No doubt you’ve heard that Americans are drinking far more during this pandemic.

Me? I’m gorging on a whole lot more chocolate.

And that’s saying something since I consider the consumption of chocolate to be practically a daily requirement.

After all when the going gets tough, the tough get dark chocolate.

Thankfully, “Chocolate Cake” by renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten satisfies on every level. It’s from his cookbook, “Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes” (Clarkson Potter, 2011), in which the Michelin-starred chef shares favorite casual recipes he makes for his family

First, this cake uses hardly any all-purpose flour, for those who are running low on it like me. In fact, it calls for just over 1 tablespoon of the stuff. It’s such a small amount, though, that you could probably get away with substituting any other kind of flour for it.

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Coconut Collaborative: A Dairy-Free Deep Indulgence

Small yet mighty in satisfaction.
Small yet mighty in satisfaction.

It’s tiny. But it’s oh-so-big on decadence.

The Coconut Collaborative’s Chocolate Dessert Pot is thick and fudgy, and tastes like velvety dark chocolate ganache. Close your eyes, and you can easily imagine enjoying it out of a crystal goblet at a fine restaurant, not out of a plastic cup in your own kitchen.

What’s more, it’s dairy-free.

That’s because it’s made with coconut cream.

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Craft Chocolate Experience, La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, and More

Inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience

Attention all chocoholics, don’t miss the first ever Craft Chocolate Experience at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts, March 6 to 8.

This sweet extravaganza will bring bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean farmers from around the world for panel discussions, cooking demos, and a chocolate marketplace with more than 85 artisans sampling and selling their creations.

There’s also an opening night party on March 6, featuring a dazzling array of chocolates, pastries and cocktails.

The renowned participants include: Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; Francisco Migoya, head chef at Modernist Cuisine; John Scharffenberger, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate; Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief culinary consultant for Serious Eats and author of “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science” (W.W. Norton); and founder Todd Masonis of San Francisco’s Dandelion Chocolate.

Tickets for the opening night party are $95 each; a weekend pass to the event is $145 per person.

Celebrate A Milestone For La Cocina

La Cocina, San Francisco’s pioneering kitchen incubator for women, people of color, and immigrants wanting to start food ventures, expects to open its much-anticipated food hall this spring.

Momos at Bini's Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)
Momos at Bini’s Kitchen. (Photo by Eric Wolfinger)

To celebrate the impending debut of La Cocina Marketplace, a landmark all-women operated food hall, the organization is hosting a Week of Women in Food, March 2 to 8. It’s a series of prix fixe dinners spotlighting the seven La Cocina chefs who will make the new food hall their home. For these special dinners, each La Cocina chef will cook alongside a well-known, established Bay Area chef.

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Shakewell’s Short Ribs with Citrus-Olive Herb Salad

A favorite recipe from my cookbook, "East Bay Cooks.''
A favorite recipe from my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks.”

When I was working on my cookbook, “East Bay Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Best Restaurants, Bars, and Bakeries” (Figure 1), I was fortunate enough to have the help of a small army of friends and family who helped test all the recipes with me.

When one of my testers told me that he’d made the recipe for “Short Ribs with Citrus-Olive Herb Salad” not once, not twice, but five times, I was immediately alarmed.

But then he told me why: It wasn’t because anything was wrong with it. On the contrary, he and his wife ended up loving this dish so much that they couldn’t resist making it multiple times to share with friends.

While I’m fond of all the recipes in this cookbook that spotlights 41 restaurants in the dynamic East Bay, that testimonial convinced me right then and there that this recipe by Chef Jen Biesty of Oakland’s Shakewell was truly a winner.

Because of book-publishing timetables, my friend had to test this recipe at the height of summer. But I patiently waited until winter to give it a test-drive, since long-braised short ribs are so made for this time of year.

This is definitely a comfort dish taken up a level. The short ribs cook up fork-tender in an almost mole-like brothy sauce made with ancho chiles, fennel, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, a little ground coffee, some chopped bittersweet chocolate and a whole bottle of Zinfandel. How can that not be good?

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