What: Gift-worthy chocolate bars topped with a custom mix of toppings
Price range: Roughly $10 to $15 based on my bars, depending the toppings
Recommended chocolates: All of them
Recommended toppings: Honey chocolate drops, strawberry chocolate drops, real gold flakes, dried raspberry, dried strawberry, anise seed, hazelnut brittle, toasted hazelnuts, marzipan rose
When I received a very friendly email from Carmen at Chocri offering to send me three of their custom chocolate bars in the hopes of hearing my opinion of them, I jumped at the chance to do a review.
Okay, okay, I got very excited about the prospect of free fancy chocolate and then didn’t respond to the email for months. Oops. Pregnancy does odd things to the brain. But once I started to get the hang of my new full-time mommy job, the siren song of my food blog started calling to me, and I remembered the offer. Then I jumped at the chance, and Chocri was kind enough to give me a belated shot at it.
Now, I have to admit my first thought when I checked out their site (http://createmychocolate.com/) was I could make that. Anyone with a creative bent has had that thought before, whether looking at something in a boutique or magazine or online. Usually it accompanies an urge to purchase said item. But no matter how much you want it, no matter how much you acknowledge the ingenuity of the person or company who came up with it and or at least put a novel spin on it, I could make that is usually enough to keep your wallet in your purse or pocket, even when you know you never will get around to it.
I was getting the chocolate bars for free, but even so I was haunted by the I could make that vibe as I set off to explore the site. I had this idea that the bars would be way better or more fun or something similarly vague yet persuasive if I made them myself. And I certainly wouldn’t pay for something I could make in my own kitchen. Continue reading
What’s the number one omnivore’s treat that vegetarians miss eating? Okay, fine, technically it’s bacon (don’t ask me why that is, as I don’t miss it at all), but I’m going to bet that marshmallows come more or less right after it, definitely in the top five.
This hole in the vegetarian’s candy jar is hard enough in the summer, surrounded by blissfully happy s’more-toasters at any campfire you twirl a veggie dog over. But months later, Easter hops onto the scene, and suddenly us vegetarians are surrounded by not only chocolate-covered marshmallow eggs, but Peeps, glorious Peeps.
A few years ago, I started satisfying s’mores cravings with a complicated procedure involving a low-heat oven, Marshmallow Fluff and a blow torch, but then homemade marshmallows became all the rage. It killed me even more than I not only couldn’t eat regular marshmallows, but I also couldn’t make their gourmet grown-up cousins. I saw a recipe for marshmallows made with agar at one point, but I was never really keen to try it knowing the kind of brittle, flaky gel agar tends to produce. At one point, there was a brand of vegetarian marshmallows on the market, but they were outed as not actually being vegetarian before I got my hands on a bag.
Fortunately, the situation is on its way to being resolved. Last year, Chris started getting curious about molecular gastronomy stuff, and one of the interesting recipes he came across was a recipe for marshmallows set with xanthan gum rather than gelatin. It’s from Texture: A hydrocolloid recipe collection, a free PDF download at khymos.org that contains all sorts of interesting recipes, from the weird to the ingenious. He made them, and even though he over-cooked the sugar and made “caramel marshmallows”, I was really amazed at how good the texture and flavor were.
Cadbury Creme Eggs: a guilty pleasure if there ever was one. If they were available all year long, I’m sure I’d be able to resist them, but because they’re so intimately linked to springtime and Easter, it seems almost irreverent not to buy a few each year.
I’m one of those people who everyone should be jealous of because I have the good fortune to have in-laws that I really, truly love having in my life. My mother-in-law in particular is an enthusiastic supporter of the blog and sent a request for a blog-worthy contribution for Easter through the contact form on the website. I was very excited about that because it was the first message I got that way! Her request got me thinking about Easter and what I could make. I wanted to do something different, and because I can’t resist a food pun once I’ve thought of it, the Cadbury Creme Brul’egg was born.
I bought both normal and mini Cadbury Creme Eggs at the store on Saturday. I also spotted these chicken-footed egg cups at Whole Foods and picked them up because they were oven safe and went with the eggy theme so well. Each of the egg cups got one mini egg, and I experimented with one large egg in two of the four ounce ramekins and three mini ones in the other two.