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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Posted on September 14, 2009 11:11 AM by Admin

By Blythe

 

It's a classic late-summer quandary that I'm sure most of us have been presented with at some point.  What to do will all the zucchini that piles up from local gardens? 

 

Much like tomatoes and apples, zucchini has a way of being abundant to the point of becoming an embarrassment of riches.  Last week a large produce box appeared in the office kitchen here, filled with cucumbers, yellow squash, and yup, zucchini.  A coworker obviously brought in this harvest from his or her garden, and anonymously left it for the benefit of the rest of us! 

I had been reading different blog posts on Tastespotting.com that day and happened to come across Fare to Remember's "Being Sneaky with Zucchini" post. 

It was here that I learned there's even a day commemorating this yearly zucchini conundrum.  To celebrate 'Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day', Fare to Remember posted a delicious-sounding Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe. Inspired by this, I went to the kitchen and picked out the largest fruit I could find. 

 

Yes, I was feeling ambitious. 

 

Even so, it took me a few days to get all the ingredients together (don't ask!).  Despite my disappointment in not finding mint chocolate chips in any of the local stores, I finally had everything ready. 

 

I whipped up this cake on one of the less sultry days we had here in Vermont last week.  It came out beautifully.  The cake was moist and had a delicious chocolate brownie flavor with the slight hint of zucchini bread.  I used extra chocolate chips on top and even sprinkled on some white chocolate baking chips to make up for the lack of mint. 

 

It really is a sneaky recipe - the shredded zucchini is camouflaged almost completely by the dark chocolate cake. 

 

I won't lie - much like the lone cucumber still sitting on the counter in our kitchen - the entire cake was not all taken (it was Friday after all and I think there were fewer people working that day).  But this recipe is a tasty, worthwhile way to use this abundant fruit synonymous with summer.   


There are few things I love more than baking.  Eating good food is one of those things, but a recent interest in a vegan diet has altered my food intake a bit and now the things I bake usually end up on the doorsteps of my friends and family.  (For example, a couple weeks ago, I showed up at my brother’s house with a loaf of homemade bread, a raspberry buttermilk cake and some pumpkin granola).  I realized that pretty soon people would start slamming their doors in my face, blaming me for growing wastelines.

So I decided to look into some recipes for baked goods that I would actually keep for myself.  Not only have I come up with some fantastic recipes, but with Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate Chips and Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder readily available, I can throw in dark chocolate and maintain a vegan ingredients list.


First, I realized that my favorite banana bread recipe is highly adaptable.  Not only can it become vegan, but the bananas can be replaced with zucchini, carrot, pumpkin or apple, depending on what’s in season.  Throw in some chocolate chips and you have delicious dessert-like bread that you can get away with eating for breakfast.   

1 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
½ c whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½  tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

½ c coffee, cooled
1/3 c oil – I like to use local sunflower oil when baking
2/3 c maple syrup
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
4 ounces silken tofu

1 cup grated zucchini, carrots, or apple, mashed banana, or pureed pumpkin
1 cup Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% or 70% chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.  Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Whisk together liquid ingredients in a separate bowl.  Add liquid ingredients to dry, mixing with a large spoon.  Add fruit or vegetable and mix to a smooth consistency.  Do not over mix.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Transfer into a greased pan, and bake 40-45 minutes.

  

This vegan chocolate cupcake literally made my day when I tried it for the first time.  Ridiculously dense, almost fudge-like and completely amazing, I had a hard time believing it was vegan and healthy until I made the recipe myself.  The especially cool thing about this recipe is that you can lick the spoon and not worry about eating raw eggs.

1 1/2 c sifted flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp Lake Champlain Chocolates Organic, Fair Trade Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp vinegar
5 tbsp cooking oil
1 c cold water

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Make three holes with your finger or the handle of a spoon, and fill with vanilla, vinegar and oil, each in a separate hole.  Pour water over entire bowl and stir.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or about 16 minutes for 12 cupcakes.  I usually throw on some frosting made from 8 ounces of a dairy-free cream cheese, 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 ½ tsp vanilla and add confectioner’s sugar to desired sweetness and consistency.

So, take comfort in knowing Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate can make any vegan recipe a little better.  Mmm…

 


Irish Hot Chocolate

Posted on March 16, 2009 4:18 PM by Jason

We look for just about any excuse to celebrate with chocolate and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception. After a long day of watching your local Paddy’s Day parade why not take the chill off with this Irish Hot Chocolate recipe:

Place 8 ounces of milk and 1 heaping tablespoon of our traditional hot chocolate mix into a saucepan.

Heat while stirring until piping hot (not boiling).

Add 1oz Bailey’s® Irish Cream and continue to stir.

Serve plain or top with homemade marshmallows or whipped cream.

Have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 



Just in time for Autumn, I made a batch of soft molasses cookies last night. Spicy and soft, they came out pretty yummy and the recipe was extremely simple. As always, I want to credit my source as this is not a recipe I made up. I did change it a little for my preferences but it originally came from a cute blog I found called “Home of the Lazy Dog”.  

While the cookies looked delicious on her site, I made a few adjustments wanting to make it more my own. (To see the original recipe, check it out on her site.) First I traded out the shortening for butter. I also used Blackstrap molasses as opposed to regular molasses. As for the third thing, I’ll give you three guesses. Yup, I added chocolate. I actually added milk and dark chocolate chips. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to give you a little chocolate surprise here and there. That’s one of my favorite things about baking – taking a recipe or idea and making it your own with variations that suit your taste. And my tastes include chocolate!

Soft Molasses Cookies  with chocolate chips
3/4 c butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 c Blackstrap molasses
1 c chocolate chips
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t nutmeg

Soften butter and cream with brown sugar. Mix in egg and molasses. Add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill until firm (1-2 hours). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into small balls and dunk top in large crystal sugar. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment. Bake for 12 minutes. Leave on sheet 1 minute until set.

That’s it. Simple! You can add nuts, use white chocolate, maybe try some unsweetened cocoa in the mix, whatever you like. They’re perfect as the weather cools and we start carving pumpkins and getting ready for winter. Thanks again, Lazy Dog!

Happy baking.

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I feel I need to say up front that just going on first impressions, the two subjects of todays blog do not appear to be directly related but they are. I promise.

Earlier this week, I received a copy of Hobby Farm Home magazine in the mail. It’s a nice looking magazine, glossy cover with pretty imagery and inviting story headlines. Felt a bit like a Good Housekeeping or Family Circle with features about food and crafting. It’s descriptor says “True Country Living”. But I wasn’t expecting it so it took a moment to figure out why I had received this nice magazine. 

As I flipped through the pages, I came across a great write up and photo of our chocolate placesetting and centerpiece turkeys. They also mentioned our other autumn chocolates. What a treat! I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again, I love when I see our chocolates in print. This was no exception! If you see Hobby Farm Home magazine in your bookstore, give it a read. It’s very nice.

Now, as I was doing just that, I came across a recipe. Well, I came across a number of them as there is quite a selection of delicious sounding recipes but this one caught my attention – Fall Harvest Cake. It read like a well developed Spice Cake and I decided I was going to attempt it. So, after baking it last night, I brought it into work and my co-workers said it tasted great. If only I’d had chocolate chips on hand, I would have definitely thrown them in. I think a little unsweetened cocoa added to the mix might give it yet another layer of fun.

At any rate, I want to share the recipe here, which I certainly hope they don’t mind. They have credited www.recipezaar.com with the recipe so in an attempt to give credit where credit is due, thank you Hobby Farm Home and Recipezaar.com!

Fall Harvest Cake
1 ½  cups sugar
½  cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon nutmeg
¼  teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
16 ozs. pumpkin
1 apple, cored, peeled, and chopped
½  cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to350°.  In a large bowl, mix the first 10 ingredients together; add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Blend in pumpkin; fold in apple and pecans. Transfer batter to a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in the pan; remove and complete cooling on wire rack.

They also included a recipe for frosting but it was so good plain, I left it out here. Incidentally, I didn’t have a bundt pan so I use a rectangular pan and even had enough extra batter to make a small loaf as well. Enjoy!


I don’t know if you call this re-blogging (a la regifting) or recycled blogging but regardless, I simply had to pass this recipe along. I love Oreos. And even more importantly,  I love Hydrox. Remember them? The “other” Oreo? It came out in the very early part of the 1908 and may have been the inspiration for the Oreo. I liked them better as they were slightly less sweet. They were off the market for a while but apparently they’re coming out for their 100th birthday. Yippee!!!!

However, I digress. My point is not to wax poetic about the Hydrox but to share a recipe I found on a blog (crediting another blog which credits a cookbook which credits…) so we can all make our own homemade Hydrox/Oreo cookies whenever we want! My source for this recipe originated at one of my favorite websites, www.readymademag.com where they referenced Culinary Obsessed who credits Retro Desserts Cookbook. Be sure to check them all out!

At any rate, here’s the recipe. They look awesome and actually, not that hard to make. And you could probably make them all organic if you wanted. (So again, credit to Retro Desserts cookbook, Culinary Obsessed blog and ReadyMadeMag blog for sharing. Pay it forward, that’s what I say!)

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies With Vanilla-Cream Filling

Cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

1. Set 2 racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a food processor, thoroughly mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. While mixing on low speed or pulsing, add the butter, then the egg. Beat or process until the dough is thoroughly blended and massed together.

3. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets at 2-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, round out the cookies and flatten them a little. Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pans once for even baking, until the cookies are set. Sit the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

Vanilla-Cream Filling:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Put the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and, at low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, until blended. Turn the mixer speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes more, until fluffy.

2. To assemble, place teaspoon size blobs of filling onto the tops of half of the cookies. Keeping the smooth bottoms of the cookies facing up, flip the remaining cookies on top of the filling and lightly press to form sandwiches. (You can also pipe filling onto cookies using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip.)

Makes 36 cookie sandwiches
(Photo from Culinary Obsessed blog. Thank you for such delicious looking visuals!)

Chocolate Facial Mask Recipe

Posted on August 8, 2008 8:57 AM by Leann
As you know, I’m always searching for interesting chocolate recipes to share and for the most part, they’re edible. But today, I have something a little different. I keep hearing about this but until now, hadn’t known how to make it at home and I’m so excited I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it. I found a recipe for a chocolate facial mask you can make in your very own kitchen with things you already have. And from the looks of it, you can almost bake what you don’t use and eat it later. Ok, I’m just kidding about that part but it sounds like something I’ve made for dessert in the past.

To give credit where credit is due, I found it at SpaIndex.com. They have some other great looking beauty recipes so check them out.

Chocolate Facial Mask
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. cottage cheese
¼ cup honey
3 tsp. oatmeal

Mix all ingredients together and smooth onto face. Relax for ten 10 minutes, then wash off with warm water.

It says that this mask is a great moisturizer and is recommended for normal skin. I can’t wait to go home, run a bath and enjoy a chocolate facial. I think I'll really get into it and try using all organic ingredients. I wonder if there are any calories?

Mayan Waffles - Cool Recipe

Posted on July 18, 2008 8:10 AM by Leann
So, coincidentally, just after I wrote yesterday about finding cool mentions of our products here and there, I get a Google alert about our Aztec Hot Chocolate. Well, I click on the link to TeamSugar and there’s not only what looks like a yummy recipe for these awesome sounding waffles but a very cool bit about our hot chocolate.

Considering it’s the weekend and we all love making breakfast on Sunday morning not to mention I said I was going to include cool blog mentions, I am encouraging, nee urging, you to go check out this recipe.

The recipe is called Mayan Waffles and it contains not only a little spice -hence the Mayan part - but chocolate too, which I believe makes it doubley Mayan, no? There are some other interesting ingredients in there to pique your curiosity and on top of it all, they’re vegan and can be made as pancakes in case you’ve misplaced your waffle iron.

In the recipe, they mention substituting our spicy Aztec Hot Chocolate for the regular hot chocolate. But there’s also vegan shaved chocolate listed so if I were making this, I’d use our Aztec Dark Chocolate bars  as they have cayenne, cinnamon and pumpkins seeds which would play very nicely with the other ingredients.

Check it out. It’s TeamSugar.com. There are some fun links to other lifestyle pages there too that might be a fun thing to do while you wait for the caffeine to kick in.

Enjoy the waffles!

Chili Made With Chocolate? - Definitely!

Posted on July 15, 2008 8:02 AM by Leann

For whatever reason, go to any tropical destination and you’ll find hot and spicy food being served regardless of the temps. Seems a little counterintuitive but there comes a time when you need to stop fighting it. So, in the spirit of going with the flow and embracing the summer heat, here is an awesome spicy chili recipe from Epicurious.com. (Please visit them so they don’t get mad at me for sharing their recipe!)

And of course, it uses chocolate. Come on, this is  a Chocolate Blog. What do you expect?!

It has a lot of ingredients but with the exception of toasting some chiles, it’s basically just add, stir and cook. And as any cook knows, part of the fun is making a recipe your own so feel free to experiment.

Pinto-Bean Mole Chili
2 medium dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 dried chipotle chile, wiped clean
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and cooled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 pound kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 1/4 cups water
3 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a dry heavy medium skillet over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds. Tear into small pieces.

Pulse cumin seeds and chiles in grinder until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in oregano, cinnamon, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Cook onions in oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute, then add chile mixture and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in zucchini and kale and cook, covered, 5 minutes. Add zest, sugar, chocolate, tomatoes with their juice, and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt.

It’s very popular to use chocolate in savory dishes these days. I’ve seen it with chicken, fish and even barbecue ribs. If you have a favorite chocolate dish, sweet or savory, feel free to share it with us!

Mangia!

PS - Thank you, Epicurious.com for the use of your recipe. Nutritional info available at Epicurious.com. Photo credit - Romulo Yanes 

 


The last week or so has seen temps here in the northeast in the 80’s and 90’s. Some might think that’s too warm but I remember the sub-zero days of January and February only too well. And while I won’t say it’s too warm, I will admit it is, in fact, warm. Warm enough, actually, for a nice frozen drink. But what to make.

If it had been a work day, I would have popped into the café in our factory store and had a vanilla malt which the girls make perfectly for me, extra extra malt if you please! But it wasn’t. I was home with limited supplies in my freezer and even more limited energy for going out. And then I remembered the cold drink recipe one of our Chocolatiers had told me about. So simple and easily made with what I had in house. I had milk, ice and a variety of flavors of our Hot Chocolate Mix. Here it is:

Frozen Hot Chocolate
1 Cup Milk (don’t heat)
2 heaping Tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix (or double the recommended amount)
1 Cup Ice

Add all to blender and mix until smooth. And voila!

So, first I started out using our Aztec Hot Chocolate. It’s great hot. I could only imagine it cold. I mixed it up and it was delicious. And being the weekend and my being just a few years above the legal drinking age (no comments please!) I opted for a little adult garnish in the form of Kahlua. It was the perfect accessory to my day. The warm spiciness of the Aztec Hot Chocolate mixed with the ice had a great cooling effect.

No matter how you make it – Aztec, Mocha, Traditional or one of our Dark Chocolate Hot Chocolates – they all make an awesome Frozen Hot Chocolate, with or without the spike. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Cheers!