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Chocolate Recipe of the Week : Devil Dogs

Posted on November 12, 2009 2:35 PM by Admin

By Blythe

 

Early November always reminds me of Devil Dogs. 

My father's birthday is at the beginning of the month, and when I was growing up we would celebrate with a full-size Devil Dog Cake.  The individual versions were also a favorite treat with friends and family.  These devil dogs were so popular in fact that my mom would send them as birthday care packages to our close family friend's sons when they went away to college.  I remember seeing the thank-you notes and reading how they had to be hidden from roommates and other kids in the dorm. 

Just prying open the plastic lid on the Marshmallow Fluff now brings back fond memories of the weather turning colder and the anticipation of biting into one of these chocolatey marshmallow-frosted confections.  Having tried other versions of devil dogs and whoopie pies since then, what always brings me back to this recipe is the filling.  The blend of shortening and marshmallow pairs perfectly with the texture of the chocolate cake.  I consider Fluff to be the secret ingredient.  And now that I work at Lake Champlain Chocolates, I'm proud to incorporate our baking cocoa into the recipe.  They came out so chocolatey this time, one of my coworkers asked if I used the 70% New World Drinking Chocolate to make them!
    
Who can argue with a little cake that fits in your palm?  In my mind, they are the stuff of legend!               

Cakes
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 c Lake Champlain Chocolates Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 c shortening
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c milk
1 tsp vanilla

Filling
3/4 c shortening
3/4 c confectioners sugar
6 tbsp Marshmallow Fluff
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa in a large bowl.  Separately, beat together shortening, sugar and egg.  In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla.  Add half of the shortening mixture to the dry ingredients, followed by the milk mixture and then the remaining shortening, mixing well after each addition.

On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper drop tablespoons of batter about two inches apart, making sure there are an even number of cakes to pair later.  Even out slightly with the back of a spoon.

Bake 400º for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the filling, beat together the shortening and Confectioner’s sugar.  Add Fluff and vanilla, mix until well-combined.

Makes about 12 individual cakes.


Chocolates of Vermont: A Facelift

Posted on October 12, 2009 11:46 AM by Allison

Our legendary Chocolates of Vermont are perhaps our most signature line, created early on in Lake Champlain Chocolates’ history.  The moulds were designed especially for us, each of the four pieces depicting a Vermont landscape – to represent the four seasons.  With extraordinary Vermont ingredients laced into these fine creations, they’ve become a top-seller over the past two decades.

You’ll notice something a little different about them these days though.  Sure, our packaging changes from time to time, but this year the whole line got a facelift. 

Wrappers that used to be gold now vary, offering an assortment of rich earthy hues that look lovely in the new clear bags of Chocolates of Vermont.  We now have an Assorted Twelve-piece Bag, an eight-piece Honey Caramel Bag and an eight-piece Maple Crunch Bag

Our year-round box of Chocolates of Vermont now depicts an artistically rendered black dog in a red truck.  The box is smaller and uses less packaging than our previous boxes, in an effort to continue our commitment to eco-friendly business practices. 

Not only packaging, but the chocolate is improved as well.  We’ve upgraded the Green Mountain, adding more delicious roasted almonds and dried currants to the sweet milk chocolate.

In case you’re not too familiar with this exceptional line, I’ve borrowed text from our new eight-piece assorted box

Honey Caramel After shedding their snowy winter coat, Vermont’s hillsides and meadows celebrate the coming of spring with an outburst of wildflowers.  Bees are drawn to the banquet, and we pair the harvested honey with creamy caramel and dark chocolate.

Evergreen Mint On crisp winter mornings you can feel the air crackle around you, heightening each sensation.  We captured that feeling in a sweet peppermint crunch wrapped in dark chocolate, and imprinted with the beauty of the moon rising serenely over the Green Mountains.

Green Mountain When you look out on some of the world’s most picturesque mountains every day, you can’t help but be inspired.  Some artists express themselves on a canvas; we use rich milk chocolate, roasted almonds, and dried fruit.  Creativity never tasted quite this good.

Maple Crunch In March, when the Vermont nights are cold and the days are warm, maple trees yield thousands of gallons of sweet sap, which is patiently distilled into the world’s finest maple syrup.  We flavor buttercrunch with this liquid gold, and contrast its sweetness with dark chocolate.

Let us know what you think of the new design!


Switchback Dooley’s Belated Porter (5.8%) with Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate Square  

 For locals, Switchback’s Unfiltered Ale is what you order.  Walk into a Burlington bar or restaurant, you’ll see 90% of the beer drinkers with a murky, amber colored potion in front of them.

I’ll admit, sometimes I go for a Belgian White Ale (I love how it’s served with an orange slice) or will order a house beer if I’m at a microbrewery, but almost always, I go for the Switchback. 

The Switchback Brewery reminds me slightly of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – mysterious, very few people work there, yet they create incredible beer, readily available on tap at restaurants and bars around Vermont.  

Our fourth and final beer paring at Brewfest combined Switchback’s Dooley’s Belated Porter, a 5.8% alcohol by volume porter, with our Signature Dark Chocolate.  The flavor profile for our dark chocolate includes brown fruit (think cherries, dates, raisins), vanilla, baked brownie and brown spice. 

Porters, like stouts, have chocolate undertones, which in this pairing, brought out those subtle flavors in the chocolate, like brown fruit and baked brownie.  Mmm… 


Beer Pairing No. 3

Posted on August 19, 2009 9:24 AM by Allison

American Flatbread's Zero Gravity Extra Stout with Lake Champlain Chocolates' Organic Mango Truffle

American Flatbread epitomizes Vermont’s general food ethics – use local ingredients, keep it simple - yet inventive – and always delicious.  And of course, brew good beer to go with it. 

A trip to the Burlington restaurant will offer you literally hundreds of beer options to go with your hearth-fired flatbread.  Their own microbrews are brewed in-house and include intriguing varieties such as Boognosh Brown Ale and Grisette.

For Brewfest, we paired our Organic Mango Truffle with American Flatbreads Zero Gravity Extra Stout.  Like really, really dark beer?  This one is for you.  The word “opaque” doesn’t even begin to describe this darkly roasted malt beer. 

It pairs well with the light tropical fruity flavor of our dark chocolate Organic Mango Truffle.  The flavor of the mango emerges even more and flirts with the chocolate flavor that is oftentimes found in stouts.


Beer Pairing No. 2

Posted on August 13, 2009 1:01 PM by Allison


Wolaver’s Organic Brown Ale (5.7% ABV) with Lake Champlain Chocolates Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec

Wolaver’s is one of my favorite local microbrews.  Ok, I think I would call all Vermont microbrews “one of my favorites”, but I’m really impressed with Wolaver’s commitment to sustainable and organic brewing methods. 

All of their boilers are powered by biodiesel, they too, boast using primarily Vermont ingredients in their beer, and all of their spent grain is repurposed to feed local livestock. 

If that’s not enough to impress you, give one of their brews a try.

The Organic Brown Ale is 5.7 % alcohol by volume.  The beer is mild, a deep amber in color and very smooth, with a slight malty flavor.  Cherries and black currants also lend some flavor to this well-balanced ale.

At the Lake Champlain Chocolates Brewfest Tent, we paired our 55% cocoa content Organic Aztec Squares with Wolaver’s Organic Brown Ale. 

Our Aztec squares add cinnamon and cayenne pepper to an organic dark chocolate.  Keeping with a South-American flavor profile, we’ve added in pepitas, or Mexican pumpkin seeds.  The Aztec squares will give your mouth a little kick, complimenting the dark chocolate and creating a wonderfully unique tasting experience.

Tasters found that the Brown Ale really brought out the spices in the chocolate and the sweet fruit flavors in the beer complimented the spice nicely. 

Check out last Friday’s Burlington Free Press to hear more about the event!


 …and how we’ve established such a fervent following

 Ten:  We’re a part of the Vermont Fresh Network, which means we strive to build innovative partnerships among farmers, chefs and consumers to strengthen Vermont agriculture.

Nine: Because it’s made in super small batches by one person in one five-gallon ice cream maker.

 

 Eight: Our Maple Butter Pecan is hands down the best maple ice cream around.

Seven:  Our Ice Cream Cafes can turn any ice cream flavor into a milkshake.  What’s better, the milkshakes are made from only two ingredients: fresh Vermont milk and local Vermont ice cream.  But you can always have us add some malt powder if you like.

Six:  Our ice cream is the perfect compliment to our 75% cocoa content Tanzania chocolate sauce.  And fresh whipped cream.

Five:  We have two flavors of sorbet.  Not only vegan and low-calorie, but out-of-this-world-amazing.

Four:  Our famous handcrafted Almond Butter Crunch has made its debut as an ice cream flavor.

 Three:  You can buy pints of our ice cream along with your weekly groceries at Shelburne Supermarket, City Market or Healthy Living. 

Two:  We have three scoop shop locations in Vermont.  Visit any of our stores for a timeless treat all year long.

One:  There couldn’t be a better scoop of chocolate ice cream than the one made with gourmet Lake Champlain Chocolates.


It’s hard writing a blog, having to come up with a new subject almost every day, having to write with the same enthusiasm to a faceless, nameless audience. It’s a tough job and today we are giving Leann the day off. So without further ado… I give you a guest blog posting by me, Jason.


Today, I am here to teach you how to spot Fake Chocolate or to use my term “Faucolate” (faux+ chocolate). As we all know, the country is in tough economic times and the ever increasing price of cocoa has put some strain on many large chocolatiers. As a result, some companies have turned to some “shady” techniques in order to reduce their costs.

Some companies (which will remain nameless) have begun switching their recipes from using cocoa butter to using vegetable oils. Faucolate! Now for a product to be considered chocolate, according to the FDA it must contain both cocoa mass and cocoa butter. How do these companies get away with this switch then? It’s all in the name.

Would a chocolate by any other name taste as sweet? Probably, but it wouldn’t technically be considered chocolate. Companies have started to use such terminology as “Made with chocolate” “chocolate candy”, or “chocolatey” on their labels to replace “milk chocolate.” All of these words mean that you are getting a chocolate like substance but this ain’t no chocolate and a true chocolate connoisseur is going to taste the difference.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that at Lake Champlain Chocolates you will never have to worry about this faucolate pandemic. We use 100% pure chocolate - you won’t find preservatives, you won’t find artificial flavors, you won't find any “stuff” in our recipes, just real, unadulterated chocolate. So bite into a Five Star Bar, or enjoy the subtle flavor of our truffles because at Lake Champlain Chocolates, it's all chocolate.

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How to Get in the Holiday Spirit (For Free)!!!

Posted on December 2, 2008 3:06 PM by Leann

Have you spent all your money on your holiday shopping and now you’re too broke to do anything else? Well, there are lots of FREE (or nearly free) ways to get in the holiday spirit, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

1) Visit the Free Tours in your own backyard - I don’t know exactly what businesses are in your area but I bet if you look around, there are some cool things to check out. Just speaking from my area, I can go tour a chocolate factory (sure, it's where I work but you don’t have to work here to get a tour), a Teddy Bear factory, an Ice Cream Factory and even some breweries – all offering free factory tours and even samples. Just take a moment to view your neighborhood through the eyes of a tourist. Pick up some tourist brochures at your local Chamber of Commerce and begin your adventure. And since most businesses are dressed for the holidays, you’ll get right in the spirit in no time while becoming your areas best tour guide!

2) Volunteer during the holidays – Local community programs are always looking for holiday volunteers to help wrap gifts, drop off meals, spend time with animals at shelters over long weekends, tons of stuff. And the folks you meet along the way will remind you of all the often forgotten joys of the holiday season. For me, those joys are helping my community and spending time in the presence of people at their best.

3) Take a drive and look at the lights – You don’t need to celebrate Christmas to appreciate how beautiful the holiday lights are. They’re just pretty. Grab some cups of hot chocolate, pack some cookies and take a cruise (in the car or on foot) around the various neighborhoods in your area. And if it’s snowing, why not strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and take a tour. You’ll get a fun workout in while enjoying the show!

4) Visit a ski area – You don’t have to ski to enjoy being at a ski area. If you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, sitting snuggle in the lodge with some warm cider while watching skiers and boards zoom down the hill in front of you. Most ski areas have a lounge or restaurant and many even have little “downtowns” created to feel like some European winter village. Spending time on the slopes is only part of the experience, not all of it. And maybe someday, you’ll even be tempted to try getting out on the slopes.

5) Enjoy in-store demos – This time of year, many businesses (especially crafts and kitchen shops) offer free in-store demos, classes and samples. Learn to bead, watch a cake decorating demo, samples freshly crafted chocolates, whatever you find. Just check your locals stores’ events calendar.

OK, if that’s not enough stuff to get you started, I don’t know what is. This year, don’t let the current economy (yours or the country’s) keep you from making the most of the holidays. There’s lots to do for the whole family out there. You just have to know where to look. If we can make this December the best ever, just imagine what it’ll be like for all of us when the economy makes it’s way back!

PS - Don't forget to comment for your chance to win free chocolate!

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Chocolate and Beer Pairings - Combination #5

Posted on August 7, 2008 10:58 AM by Admin
We’ve come to the final chocolate and beer pairing in our series. Keeping in mind that this will be the most intense pairing in terms of flavor and body of the beer, don’t be afraid. You’ve come through the four previous pairings and you’ve reached the pinnacle. You just need to trust one more time. Here it is:

Pairing #5
Wolaver’s Organic Oatmeal Stout (5.9% ABV) and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (54% cocoa content)

The Oatmeal Stout is extremely full bodied and very dark. It is a little imposing at first glance but once you taste it, you’ll be met with these wonderful roasted notes reminiscent of chocolate and coffee – very filling and extremely satisfying. It’s in perfect balance with the strong fruity profile of the Dark Raspberry Truffle with it’s rich dark ganache and fresh berry flavors. Combine the comfort of oatmeal and the brightness of raspberry and you have a win-win combination.

So, there you have our final installment. All were very well received at the Vermont Brewers Festival and will definitely make more appearances at other events. Hey, armed with this info, they can certainly make an appearance at your events. While unsure at first, your guests will love you for it and you’ll look like a hero! And if you know of any cool chocolate and beer pairings, please send them along. Slainte!
We find ourselves at the fourth of our five chocolate and beer pairings and in keeping with proper tasting fashion, the beers have increased in intensity while the chocolates have kept in lockstep. This isn’t to say the beers are not palatable to those of us who aren’t beer aficionados. In fact, I was becoming a little skeptical at this point (as I tend to gravitate towards the beers that are lighter in color and body) but I was pleasantly surprised with this pairing and very glad I didn’t pass it up. So, here we are.

Pairing #4
Rock Art Ridge Runner Ale (7.2% ABV)  and Organic Dark Chocolate Spicy Aztec (55% cocoa content)

The Rock Art Ridge Runner Ale is a Barleywine ale with a strong flavor and a beautiful dark color. While it’s extremely smooth, there’s nothing shy about this beer. Thus, its perfectly paired with an equally unshy chocolate such as the Organic Dark Aztec chocolate with is cayenne, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. The warm spice of the cayenne holds up to the hops (including Cascade) while the sweet and bitter blend of the chocolate complements the chocolate malty flavors hiding in the beer.

This pairing is full flavor and while it’s not for the feint of heart, those feeling slightly trepidacious (Is that a word? The debate continues…) shouldn’t be. It’s such a fun pairing, it’d be a shame to miss out. Muy caliente!