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3 Ways to Get Your Grown-Up Halloween Fix

Part of the fun of Halloween is getting super-goofy: indulging in massive amounts of sugar-bomb candy, punning it up (spook-tacular!), and generally behaving with childish abandon. So how does that translate into adult treats? I'm so glad you asked! Here are three ways to grown-upify your Halloween without feeling like an old fuddy duddy. More

Serious Chocolate: 3 New 3 Musketeers Bars

When I was a kid, the simpler a candy bar was, the better. My favorite? 3 Musketeers. Soft, chocolaty, and not at all complicated—what wasn't to love? 3 Musketeers and I grew apart; and eventually, I gave up on drugstore candy bars for good. Until, of course, it became my job to know as much as I possibly could about chocolate. Between that and my penchant for new, shiny things (ooh, NEW!), I naturally couldn't resist when I saw three(!) different versions of 3 Musketeers staring me in the face at my local drugstore. More

How to Make Better Chocolate Milk

I have to admit—I still love the already-cartoned, carrageenan-thickened, "chocolate flavor" style of chocolate milk quite a bit. But making it at home with cocoa powder will take you about 2.5 minutes and is damn tasty. A fun chocolate-geek bonus of this recipe: adding the cocoa to the hot milk "blooms" it, actually enhancing the chocolate flavor. More

Chocolate Technique: Fork Dipping

One of the most magical things I learned in pastry school was how to properly dip chocolates.There's something about it that I find very soothing; maybe it's the precision required to get them to turn out just so, or the repetitive motion, or just the fact that when you're done you have a tray with rows of perfectly formed little chocolate-covered beauties. (Not to mention the couple of inevitably funky-looking ones that end up getting eaten. For the sake of quality assurance, naturally.) More

5 Chocolate Treats That Are Not For Eating

High summer is not exactly high season for chocolate; heat tends to, you know, ruin it; and steamy days and nights don't necessarily put anyone in the mood for something rich and creamy. There are also (I know, I was surprised too) some people in the world who don't love eating chocolate anyway. So here are some of my favorite non-edible chocolate treats. More

Serious Chocolate: Fancy S'mores

Before I start waxing poetic, let me make a few logistical points. There will always be a place in my heart for the standard grocery-store s'mores components; Jet-Puffed, Hershey's, and HoneyMaid should be part of every kid's s'mores experience. But let's think about making them grown-up for a moment. How about homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, and a really high-quality chocolate? More

Serious Chocolate: Crispy Cocoa-Nib Tea Cookies

Spending as much time around chocolate and candy as I do has changed my threshold level for it. Not to say I don't still love both with a fiery passion and crave them all the time (I totally do) but the ferocious sort of "I-must-put-this-in-my-face-right-now-as-fast-as-I-possibly-can" feeling has lessened somewhat over the years. Not so with cookies. More

How to Make Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Bars

I know what you're thinking. "Why would I want to bother to do this? I can run down to the corner store/supermarket and just buy a pack of ready-made ice cream pops, and not have to do any work at all." Well, the first answer is that you can mix and match any flavors and coatings you want. The second answer is that you can put really nice ice cream with really good chocolate; forget about that waxy "chocolate flavored coating" stuff. More

Vegan Chocolate Mocha Mousse

Making fun of tofu for being hippie-food is so 20 years ago. The coffee definitely punches up the chocolate flavor here, and makes it taste a little more sophisticated. But you could just as easily add some cayenne and a glug or two of dark rum. More

Mother's Day: How to Make Chocolate Flowers

Why not make some flowers for Mom this year? Out of chocolate? Chances are she'll be pretty happy with a bouquet of these. Here's a step-by-step guide to making several different kinds of flowers, which you can then use to decorate cupcakes, garnish plated desserts or just give by themselves. It's not as hard as you think! More

Serious Chocolate: Meltaways, and the Science Behind Eutectics

Allow me to introduce you to one of my favorite words: eutectic. A eutectic, in confectionery terms, is a combination of fats that melts at a lower temperature than any one of the fats by itself. The eutectic you probably most often encounter on a day-to-day basis is milk chocolate. The magical power of the eutectic is particularly well (and tastily) illustrated in the center known as a meltaway. More

6 Ways to Celebrate American Chocolate Week

I have a confession to make, dear readers. Until just a few days ago, I had no idea that this week was American Chocolate Week. It seems to me a perfect opportunity to go learn something about chocolate that you didn't know before; or try a new kind of chocolate; or test out that chocolate recipe you've been staring at for the last few months. Now, you can celebrate however you want, but in the slideshow are just a few of my suggestions. More

Chocolate + Water = Mousse?

You're never, ever, under any circumstances to mix water with chocolate, right? The water will cause the fat molecules in the chocolate to seize and clump up, and your chocolate is no good to anyone anymore. Right? Well, kinda. Here's how to make a mousse with just chocolate and water. More

Meet a Chocolatier: Gail Ambrosius in Madison, Wisconsin

Gail Ambrosius seems to have it all figured out. She turned a tough situation (getting laid off after ten years at the same job) into a glorious opportunity by doing what so many of us chocolate geeks long to do: head to Paris and study under the masters. With technique and experience under her belt, she launched Gail Ambrosius Chocolates in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2004 and has since been garnering praise for her wide range of offerings and unusual bonbon flavors—shiitake mushroom truffle, anyone? More

5 Non-Lame Treats to Make for Your Valentine

Oh, Valentine's Day. As a chocolatier, I can certainly wear the cynical hat. I have nothing against the holiday, per se. It's just all the gifts people get each other tend to be saccharine, tacky, and/or cliché—and tend to cost an unnecessary amount of money. Accordingly, here's a list of five non-lame things you can whip up at home. They're quick, easy, and only as cutesy as you want to make them. More

Serious Chocolate: How to Store Chocolate

@GreatEat - don't worry, you had the right idea! You can absolutely store chocolate in the fridge. Just keep it sealed in an airtight container (a large zip-top freezer bag works very well, just press as much air out of it as you can); and when you do remove it, allow it to come to room temperature slowly.

Crispy Cocoa-Nib Tea Cookies

@ocasey - cocoa nibs are fermented, roasted, dried cocoa beans that have been crushed into small pieces. If you were to grind them and add sugar, you'd have chocolate! They're not sweet, but good nibs have a lovely, mild chocolatey flavor and delicate crunch that are really unique. I love Scharffen Berger's nibs, but many larger grocery stores or specialty stores will have more than one brand available. They're also great in brittle, granola, on ice cream...all over the place :)

Chocolate Technique: Fork Dipping

@glutenfreewithemily - I don't believe I did! Here's the short version:

-for round stuff, the technique is similar; just use something like this little swirly guy on the right instead of a regular fork. You sort of just dump the finished piece off onto the parchment instead of sliding it (the coil leaves a nice little pattern on top). It'll take some practice 'till you get it right, but it's a lot of fun!

-for weird-shaped stuff (including bacon and chunks of honeycomb candy) - I learned this technique at Roni-Sue too. Grab a wide-mesh or spiral wire skimmer and a big pair of tweezers (metal and wood are both fine, though wood is a little more gentle). Toss a handful of whatever you're dipping into the chocolate, submerge with the skimmer, swirl it around a bit, fish it out, and tap to get rid of the excess chocolate. Use the tweezers to transfer the coated pieces to the parchment.

Hope that helps!

How to Temper Chocolate

@MRubenzahl - I've never used SV for tempering, but in theory method 1 would work just fine (providing, as you point out, that you dry the package VERY thoroughly)! Tempering does require agitation, though; so 2 wouldn't result in tempered chocolate. Would love to hear results of anyone who's tried using SV for this!

How to Make Chocolate Ganache

Anna - check out the one-page version here and scroll down -- basically, just heat a little more cream or some milk and add it slowly while whisking. Good luck!

Crispy Cocoa-Nib Tea Cookies

@Likeswords - That's correct! Thanks for pointing out the clarification.

Senegalese Pepper Sauce, Made in Manhattan

LOVE this stuff. I use it with noodles, in pickle brine, on sandwiches...nothing's ever spicy enough for me, and these are super spicy plus super delicious. Great to see Nafi featured on SE!

Krescendo: Is Elizabeth Falkner's Pizzeria Worth a Trip on the A Train?

@Kenji - the kale was 3 ways: fresh, sauteed (or braised, can't recall - cooked/tender) and crispy-fried - all those different textures and tastes were lovely just by themselves. Pancetta and ricotta were delightful; and I found the ratios of those and the dressing to be spot-on.

Krescendo: Is Elizabeth Falkner's Pizzeria Worth a Trip on the A Train?

Two words: kale salad. It was divine, and totally different from any other kale salad I've had.

How to Temper Chocolate

@chickenlivers best of luck - let me know how it turns out!

Chocolate + Water = Mousse?

@carignane @jjiol - sorry for the belated response! It should stay fairly stable at cool room temperature (~65˚F); but don't quote me on it! I've never stored it for more than a couple hours.
@Lillamiu - As far as frosting a cake with it, I think that would be difficult - it sets up extremely quickly, and the line between "almost there" and "there" is paper-thin. If you still want to give it a go, I'd recommend at least one trial run so you get a feel for it. Good luck!

Serious Chocolate: How to Store Chocolate

No such thing as a wrong opinion - and I know plenty of folks who love freezer-chocolate :) There's no bad way to enjoy chocolate!

Mint Meltaways

@ Beagle - you can subsitute any extract; or just leave it out! It'll taste lightly coconutty, mostly chocolatey.

@ Tony and killa - solid-packed! You can also sub solid vegetable shortening.

@katz - sorry it didn't work out for you! You can always start with less extract and work up from there; if the chocolate was too bitter, maybe try a lower percentage?

Elizabeth Falkner's Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting

@mtgall - it would definitely be sweeter with bittersweet chocolate; though I've never tried it, I doubt it would taste terrible! You wouldn't be able to sub cream in the same amount, since the viscosities of cream and sweetened condensed milk are so different; if you decide to try that, I'd suggest also adding a tablespoon or so of light corn syrup, to get it closer to the consistency of the original recipe. Good luck!

Food Artisans: Fattycakes NY

Tried these a few years ago & keep seeing them pop up here and there. Delightful. LOVE the Betty Jo and love the owner. Congrats, Jennifer!

Serious Chocolate: 3 New 3 Musketeers Bars

@redfish they should bring back the original three-flavor package! I'd totally give that a whirl. @Amandarama ditto.

@cdp no snark taken! I suppose I should have specified that they were new to me; not necessarily to all candy fans.

There seems to be a general consensus that the Now Richer Chocolate taste is yucky. What a shame...

5 Non-Lame Treats to Make for Your Valentine

@Taylor - Robyn is in fact a staff member at SE. She does great work!

Apologies for all the confusion; the bun is from Fay Da bakery, as covered in Robyn's blog (thanks to @lululunacy for the link) - a chocolate chip walnut bun. Clearly I should try and track down that recipe...

Chocolate Milk from Scratch

@kestrel I never even thought of that! man, immersion blenders are good for everything.

Chocolate Technique: Fork Dipping

@scalfin planning on dipping a D&D die? (mmm, plus two deliciousness points.) I just meant anything that would rest comfortably on a fork without rolling off, more or less.

@sugarchef @lemonfair excellent points all. When I used to work at Roni-Sue, I believe Rhonda would let the ganache rest unrefrigerated (in a cool place) right after she made it; but we stored it in the fridge, wrapped airtight, and it never suffered any degradation of texture. just my two cents.

@jutes this technique would actually work for bacon (with steady hands and sturdy bacon); perhaps that's for a future post...

Vegan Chocolate Mocha Mousse

@seriousb - completely different. This mousse is less mousse-like in that it's not super-airy; if you want, after it's chilled you can whip it a bit with a whisk to fluff it up a little. But it's got a nice creamy texture, and is best served cold. The water mousse firms up a little more like a ganache, and is better served around cool room temperature (or at least not straight out of the fridge).

@pinklady this recipe actually does call for silken tofu - that was a typo on my part, thanks for the correction! It does need to be firm, however, or the mousse won't hold its shape.

Vegan Mocha Mousse

It should actually be specified as silken tofu - thanks for the catch!

Mother's Day: How to Make Chocolate Flowers

@Fluffydog - they wouldn't necessarily melt in heat/humidity; but they would get oozy and sticky. I'd keep them wrapped airtight in the fridge until the last possible second, and transport them as quickly as possible.

A Twist on David Lebovitz's Chocolate Bread

hey guys - it was really on a whim! what can I say? after I decided to sub out the butter for coconut oil, I realized I had some lonely soymilk in the fridge too, and figured I'd add it to the experiment. I guess the reason I pointed out that it was almost dairy-free is for folks who might be interested in a dairy-free recipe - easy enough to leave out the milk chips. Sorry I didn't make it clearer!

I still maintain that whatever you decide to sub in or out, it will almost certainly be delicious.

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Pudding Snack Packs

@hmgreen - I TOTALLY agree. can't believe this is the first time I've made pudding at home. definitely won't be the last.

@Teachertalk - thanks! I'm kind of a pack-rat with reusable containers; guess it comes in handy once in a while...

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Pudding Snack Packs

@seriousb - it's the flavor, the consistency, and the two-kinds-in-one-recipe-that-you-can-layer component that I consider to be the most snack-pack-ish. The containers I put it in are little glass jars I had left over from yogurt and jam; I suppose those are as portable as any (and reusable is better than disposable in my opinion).

As for dairy-free - I imagine the recipe would be completely different, thought I've never made dairy free pudding. would certainly be worth a shot with nut or rice milk, though the cornstarch amount might need to be adjusted; let me know if you try it!

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