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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.


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.   


Today in the Chocolate Factory

Posted on March 10, 2009 4:43 PM by Admin

Today in the factory, the signs of Easter are everywhere. So, in roaming around the factory floor, here are some of the goings on for the day.

An army of rabbits is being assembled in a variety of chocolates. While LCC doesn’t do a great deal in white chocolate, Easter seems to be a time of the year where there is a demand for it. 

 

Not to be outdone is the ever-popular milk chocolate bunny.

He even comes in another version, slightly less traditional but with a funny little face. This guy gets boxed while the others go in clear bags with colorful bows.

Along with the bunnies are the filled chocolate eggs. Here they are unmolded onto trays.

Stacks of eggs await their fate – the wrapping machine.

Just as pretty wrapped in their shiny foil as they are unwrapped.

Not all the work going on has to do with Easter. Here, locally produced Cabot butter is waiting to be whipped into chocolate to create the ganache filling for our truffles. Where ever possible, Lake Champlain Chocolates tries to use locally grown and produced products.

Whipped ganache ready to be formed into truffles.


Hopefully you enjoyed today’s little peek into the factory. Don’t worry, we’ll do it again!

 

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It's Time To Love Peanuts Again!

Posted on February 4, 2009 3:27 PM by Admin

Peanut lovers Rejoice! Those of us that love peanuts have been feeling a bit blue about the recent peanut issues in the news but here’s some news you can feel good about. Lake Champlain Chocolates Peanut Butter cups, previously only available in 16-pc size, is now available in a perfectly delightful and prettily packed 5-pc box. Yup. 5 pieces.

Just the right size for snacking without danger of going overboard. Just the right size for sharing should you decide to. Just the right size for giving as a sweet treat to lovers of Arachis hypogaea (apparently the scientific name for peanut). Got any of those on your Valentine’s Day Gift list?

For those of you who don’t care about peanuts, this may seem like a shameless commercial and to some degree, it is. But if you love peanuts like us, this is news. Big news. Really big news. Ok, maybe just big news. And since our chocolates are all-natural and preservative free, you can be sure they’re safe to eat. Mangia! Mangia!

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If you were lucky enough to get a snow day yesterday, you might have caught Lake Champlain Chocolates featured as the Snack of the Day on the Rachael Ray Show. She gave out 6-paks of Five Star Bars to the audience and at the end of her segment with Kat Von D, she mentioned the day’s Snack of the Day. Along with it, she placed a link to the LCC site showing visitors to her site where they can get them.

While it was a long process, it was a great opportunity to expose thousands of viewers to the Five Star Bar. Sure, most of us already know and love it but just think – there are people walking around out there who have never tasted the Caramel Five Star Bar with it’s chunks of chocolate and nuts or even the Peanut Five Star Bar with it’s sweet and nutty middle and it’s light, crispy crunch. Really! Some people are missing out on this so if nothing else, a big thanks goes out to Rachael Ray for helping inform those who not in the know.


Win Free Valentine's Day Candy on Twitter

Posted on January 27, 2009 11:31 AM by Admin

What’s all this talk about Twitter? You keep hearing about it. It’s not going away anytime real soon so you might as well embrace it. It’s even kind of fun once you get into. I mentioned it a few posts ago as you can follow Lake Champlain Chocolates on Twitter finding when chocolates go on sale, play along with random trivia, help contribute to upcoming posts, etc.

You can even win free Lake Champlain Chocolates on Twitter. One of my fellow Twitter members - joemescher - is giving away a box of Lake Champlain Chocolates Valentine’s Day Chocolates to a lucky follower. You can read his instructions on how to be entered here at his blog. It’s very simple and you could find yourself the lucky recipient of a Valentine’s Day Gift of chocolate. Not too shabby, eh?

If, by chance, you already are on Twitter, you’re definitely invited to read the semi-regular choco-tweets posted by LCChocolates. That’s us. It’s fun, it’s easy and if you have kids, it’ll annoy them that you’re so hip!


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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With 2008 in the past and 2009 in the present, it’s time to start looking forward to what lies ahead. And yes, one of those things is Valentines Day. Don’t let it sneak up on you. It’s not like Easter or Thanksgiving which changes dates. It’s ALWAYS February 14 and people ALWAYS call last minute and either the product they want is sold out or it needs to ship Next Day Air which costs more.

Let’s start 2009 off on a better foot and do this right. Let’s plan. So to get you started, here is the skinny on a few of the Valentines Day items now online. You can order them ahead of time but pick when you want them delivered so you don’t have to worry about it come mid-February.

For the Romantic at Heart – Either one of our Chocolate Heart Boxes is for you. Traditional in it’s styling, these – big heart shaped boxes are filled with a beautiful assortment of chocolates. But it’s contemporary graphics make it more modern while still being romantic.

For the New Relationship – OK, depending on when you meet, you might be thrown off by just what to give that won’t send the wrong message but still let them know you’re thinking of them. The Sweetheart Assortment is ideal. It’s not over-the-top in its design but it is full-to-the-top (two layers) with assorted chocolates.

For a Light, Playful and Fun Gift – The Kiss Me Frog is perfect. Great for the other Valentines on your list like your co-workers, kids, siblings and friends. Send a little love with a fun, froggy flair.

Last but not least, don’t forget our stunning Be Mine Chocolate Valentine Gift Basket  – overflowing with gourmet selections that are sure to melt every heart.

Ok, that’s what I’ve got for you right now. Get a start on your Valentines plans now and you’ll reap the rewards come February 14!

 

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Chocolate Tips - How to Store Chocolate

Posted on October 6, 2008 10:02 AM by Admin

Its’ that time of year when people are visiting from out of state and buying lots of chocolate. So, inevitably, the question about how to store chocolate arises. Many people still think they should store it in the refrigerator while others aren’t aware that it is possible to freeze it. While we recommend you eat your chocolate at its peak freshness, aka, as soon as possible, I thought I’d share with you info on storing chocolate. This comes directly from our homepage http://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com/. For those of you wondering about the best way to store your chocolate, I hope this helps.

Tips for Storing Your Chocolates

"Store them?" you ask, "I'm just going to eat them!" Yes, but if you need to store your chocolates, there are a few things you should know:

DON'T REFRIGERATE! Chocolates absorb odors very easily. Also, excessive moisture in the fridge can cause sugar bloom, meaning the sugar rises to the surface, causing discoloration.

Chocolates need a cool, dry place away from sunlight and strong odors. When chocolates are kept at a consistent temperature less than 70°F with humidity less than 55%, the cocoa solids and cocoa butter emulsion will stay stable for months. Solid milk chocolates will last nine months and dark chocolates will last for a year. Filled chocolates, such as truffles, will last about four months.

If you need to keep chocolates for a longer period of time, we recommend freezing them in an airtight container. When you're ready to eat them, allow them to thaw inside the container before enjoying. Opening the container before they thaw will expose them to the air and cause them to bloom and/or perspire.

And for maximum enjoyment, always eat chocolate at room temperature, especially truffles.

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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!