Category Archives: Gifts

Review: Chocri Customized Chocolate Bars

 
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Chocri
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.


Review:  Chocri Custom Chocolate Bars

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

Battlestar Galactica Rainbow Cupcakes

 
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Yesterday, I posted a few pictures of the rainbow cupcakes I was making because one of them had a perfect red heart peeking out through the top layer of blue batter. Now I’ll show you why I was making Technicolor cupcakes in the first place.


Battlestar Galactica-Inspired Cupcakes Battlestar Galactica-Inspired Cupcakes

Battlestar Galactica-Inspired Cupcakes Battlestar Galactica-Inspired Cupcakes


Tonight, Battlestar Galactica‘s final episode airs. While the quality hasn’t always been consistent, the miniseries pilot and the first season of the show (running into the first few episodes of the second season) had an excellent plot arc and some of the finest writing, acting and production I’ve ever seen on the small screen. Even my least favorite episodes have had their own flashes of brilliance. I’m very sad to see it go, but I can understand wanting to end the show intentionally instead of risking being canceled or just having the creative juices fizzle out. Continue reading

Don’t Cry Over Fallen Cupcakes

 
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Have you ever had a bad baking day? If you have, you’ll know that they can be as devastating as a bad hair day from hell. Most people don’t bake only for themselves. At least, I don’t. I’ve always been very aware of the people I bake for, and I firmly believe that the touchy-feely idea that people can taste the emotions you had while making the food is true. So when I have a bad baking day, it’s almost always when the product is going to someone–or many someones–I care about. On top of that, these people usually know I went to pastry school and was a pastry cook, and so should be capable of making a decent cake. All in all, bad baking days are a dogeared and food-splattered recipe for extreme embarrassment in the cookbook of my life.

This past Saturday, I was making the birthday cake for a very dear friend of mine’s birthday party. I wanted it to be spectacular, because the birthday girl is pretty darn spectacular herself. I ended up deciding to do cupcakes, and I set out to do two different flavors as soon as I woke up Saturday morning, a chocolate cupcake recipe from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri and a white chocolate cake recipe from Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolates. I’d had success with the devil’s food cake recipe in Malgieri’s book twice last fall, and one of my chefs at pastry school used to work for Fran Bigelow and helped with the production of the photos and drawings in the book (if I remember correctly, the hands in the drawings at the beginning of the book are hers), so I trusted both books to have good recipes. Continue reading