Milk vs. Dark

The Great debate: Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate.

These questions and more will be answered in the upcoming series of blogs. The intent of this series will be to inform you of the subtle differences that make each flavor unique. We will pair these great chocolates with other foods and beverages to enhance the chocolate’s flavor and your overall experience. I will try to describe the flavors of chocolates and their pairings to the best of my ability giving you an idea of what you can expect from each one. Some confections/flavors taste better in milk chocolate, some better in dark chocolate, I will leave you to decide.

The first chocolates up are:  The  Milk Chocolate Truffle & The Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle .

 

The Milk Chocolate Truffle consist of a simple creamy texture delivering all the sweetness you would expect from milk chocolate. It’s slightly hard outer shell encases a soft centered milk chocolate ganache. The ganache is smooth, creamy and very sweet. There are no decorations on this truffle leaving you to surmise that the beauty lies within the flavor. This chocolate is best when served with a Red Ale such as: Devils Backbone Reily’s Red Ale. This is an Irish ale has malt, toasted caramel and grain notes with a strong dose of floral and light citrus hops. This smooth malt and toasted caramel flavors add to the simplicity of the Milk Chocolate Truffle. This is a beautiful combination of flavors to enjoy while slipping into the beauty of fall.

The Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle is again simple and creamy but there is a depth to the dark chocolate that leaves you wanting another bite. The hard outer shell holds the creaminess of the ganache which is a surprisingly complex flavor delivered by dark chocolate. This truffle is bitter and at the same time sweet (hence the name?) leaving you wanting to savor the experience. This chocolate pairs well with full-bodied red wines such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, which highlight the fruity and peppery notes in the chocolate, or a Zinfandel, which brings out the chocolate’s spicy subtleties.  This pairing is perfect anytime of the year leaving you satisfied that you have had a decadent experience.

The above chocolates, beer and wines are available from various sellers, we have chosen Virginia based  businesses.

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Christmas in July: Granny’s Chocolate Fudge

Save this recipe for the Holidays.  It is super good.

My Husband’s Granny made this every Christmas without fail.  It was a treat that our whole family looked forward to. After tasting this heavenly creation I had to get the recipe from her.  I’ve made it several times and without fail it always turns out perfect. Unfortunately Granny left us in 2009.  She left behind a great legacy; from her beautiful family, to homemade recipes, to her sweet sayings we all have a little piece of Granny that lives on in each of us every day.

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat!

Granny’s Fudge:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 Tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups miniature marshmallows

12 oz Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate

1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan melt the butter, add the evaporated milk, salt , and sugar, bring this mixture to full rolling boil.  Stir continuously for 5 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the marshmallows, bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla. Continue stirring until the marshmallows are melted and all ingredients are well blended.

Line a 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 2 hours (or until firm).  Lift from the pan and remove the foil.  Cut into squares.  Makes 49 pieces (minus the piece you will eat while cutting it).

Tuck this recipe away and enjoy when the nights get longer, the days get colder and you are longing for a little piece of home.

Summer Sweets: Julia’s Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

After weeks of careful observation my nine-year old daughter approached me. Her eyes were full of questions as I turned to see what was on her curious little mind. She asked me why had I been cooking so many things and why did they all have chocolate? I explained that this is part of my work. I was trying out new ideas and then sharing them with others in hopes that they might enjoy them too. 

“Oh…” she said looking a little puzzled.  “Mommy?… If I come up with a recipe will you make it and write about it?” 

“Sure,” I said a little skeptical, not knowing how this experiment might turn out. ” You need to remember the recipe has to have chocolate in it somewhere.”

“OK!” she squealed as she scurried off to her room. A few moments later she emerged with her face a little downcast this time. “I don’t know how to make a recipe.”

We talked about recipes and the proper way write one. She and I then proceeded to make our way to the bookshelf that houses our cookbooks. With her arms full of cookbooks her eyes danced magically about and a beautiful smile filled her face. That sweet smile could have lit up a dark night sky. She again scurried off to her room. It was an enchanting moment to watch as this sweet young girl embark on her journey of creating something new and exciting.  As I heard the door to her bedroom close I remembered the years of magic that I had so routinely felt as a young child, it left me longing for a little more magic in my oh so grown up life.

Later she came and handed me a beautifully handwritten recipe with detailed instructions on how to make her Strawberry Cream Cupcakes. With a few minor changes we were ready to bake. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes from the creative mind of a nine-year old girl.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes:

1/2 cup of butter (softened)

1 cup of low-fat milk

1  cup of sugar

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

4 oz. Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate (melted with a 1 Tbsp of butter)

1 qt. fresh strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the milk and mix again. Scrape the edges of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl again.

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, add to the cake batter and mix thoroughly.

Line two muffin tins with cupcake holders. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream frosting:

1 stick of butter

1 box of confectioners sugar

heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla and mix well. While mixing slowly pour in small amounts of heavy whipping cream until frosting is a light fluffy consistency. ( you can add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it or more cream if you need to thin your frosting.)

Chill in fridge while the cupcakes cool. Frost and enjoy!

 

Picture above was painted by Torrie Smiley. You can find this painting as well as other paintings at: http://torriesmiley.blogspot.com/2012/07/cupcake-002.html