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Yes, you read that correctly.  The words Cake and Truffle in the same sentence.  There’s frosting in there too, and lots of dark chocolate.  This delightful bite-size treat makes a great dessert – or if you’re like us here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, enjoy them with your morning coffee.  It’s never too early for chocolate!

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
3 scant cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
2 c sugar
1 c Lake Champlain Chocolates Unsweetened Cocoa
1 ¼ c butter melted (2 ½ sticks)
2 1/3 c warm water
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla

Frosting
2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 c confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
(you can use 1 cup of store-bought frosting here if you’d like)

Chocolate Coating
24 ounces Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% dark chocolate, tempered if desired (coating will harden better if it is tempered)
White chocolate to garnish, if desired

To make cake:  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir in the wet ingredients.  Beat until smooth.  Butter a pan and dust with flour.  Bake in oven at 350º for one hour or until toothpick is removed dry. 
(You’ll find this recipe on the back of our baking cocoa tin!)

Allow the cake to cool for about thirty minutes before “stirring” it and dumping the crumbled cake into a large bowl.  Using a big spoon or your hands, combine the cake and frosting until well-incorporated.  Roll the cake into small balls, about half the size of a golf ball.  Place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and refrigerate for about an hour.

Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, tempering if you choose to do so. Using a fork (or a chocolate fork if you have one), dip each cake ball in the chocolate, coating it completely.  Return to wax paper and allow to cool.

If you’d like to decorate the Cake Truffles, melt white chocolate to just liquid – make sure it doesn’t get too hot, you’ll have a hard time handling it.  Pipe the white chocolate onto the cooled "truffles".

Makes about 75 Cake Truffles


When I was trying to decide on a recipe for this week, I thought it was time for a classic chocolate cake. However, while scanning the pantry to see if I needed to stock up on any ingredients, my tin of Aztec Hot Chocolate stared back at me, as if to say “I Dare You”.  Never one to turn down a challenge, instead of reaching for the Unsweetened Cocoa, I pulled out the Spicy Aztec.  A little nervous about recipe improvisation when cayenne pepper was involved, I was pleasantly surprised when the cake turned out with a strong likeness to our famous hot chocolate.

I realized the chocolate cake would need the perfect frosting.  Since we’re making a cake from hot chocolate, I decided to go with the theme, and make a Cinnamon Marshmallow Frosting I came across in Vermont’s own Eating Well Magazine. And with a last-minute nod toward our Organic Spicy Aztec Bar, I pulled out my stash of pepitas – the Mexican pumpkin seeds that are sprinkled throughout our Aztec Bar – and scattered those on top.

Cake
2 c flour
1 ¼ c Lake Champlain Chocolates Aztec Hot Chocolate
1 c sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (use less if you like less heat)
2 heaping tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 c warm water

Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease two 9” cake pans and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, spices, baking powder and baking soda.  Make sure they are well-incorporated.  Separately, combine the vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla and warm water.  Add the wet ingredients to dry, mixing until just combined.  Do not over mix.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely in cake pan on cooling rack.

Frosting
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

Eating Well’s Ingredient Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized so this product is a wise choice in dishes that call for an uncooked meringue.

Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler.  Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in the top of the double boiler. Heat over the simmering water, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute more to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cake and sprinkle cinnamon on top, if desired.

Frosting recipe doubled for two-layer cake.  


Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscotti

Biscotti translates to “twice baked”.  A common mate for your morning latte, this dry “toast” is more like a cross between a scone and a cookie.   While you can guild the lilies as much as you’d like with chocolate drips and drizzles, I prefer the simple flavors of almonds and dried fruit which are typical add-ins for traditional biscotti.  Don’t worry, there is plenty of chocolate in this recipe, but it’s just barely enough so you can still eat it for breakfast.

1/2 c coarsely chopped Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate
1 c firmly-packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/3  c Lake Champlain Chocolates Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c coarsely chopped toasted almonds
1/2 c dried cherries

To toast almonds: preheat oven to 350º.  Spread almonds on an ungreased baking sheet and toast about fifteen minutes until fragrant.  Allow to cool completely.  Reduce oven temperature to 300º.

Coarsely chop about ½ c of Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate.  I didn’t have chocolate chips on hand when I made these, so I unwrapped a handful of our Dark Chocolate Coins and chopped those up.  In a food processor, pulse the chocolate and brown sugar a few times to form a fine crumb.  Set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Make sure these ingredients are well combined – the cocoa powder allows you be sure of this from a uniform color once completely incorporated.

In a medium bowl, over low speed, beat the eggs and vanilla for about thirty seconds.  Add the flour mixture and beat over medium speed until well-combined.  Add the brown sugar mixture, mix well.  Switching to a wooden spoon, fold in cooled almonds and cherries, and mix to combine.

Divide the dough in half on a well-floured surface.  It will be pretty wet, so you’ll need flour your hands as well.  Work each half into a log, about 12-15 inches long and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about six inches between each log.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven, place entire sheet on a cooling rack, and allow to cool for about ten minutes.

Using a serrated knife on a cutting board, cut the slightly-cooled loaves into ¾” slices.  Place cut-side up on cooking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, carefully turn each one over and bake again on the second side for 15 minutes.  If you prefer drier Biscotti, cook for a little longer on each side.

Makes about 30 Biscotti


Soft and almost cake-like, I've added Lake Champlain Chocolates Chocolate Chips to a yummy Pumpkin cookie recipe for a chocolately fall treat.  A couple dashes of pumpkin pie spices makes these cookies reminiscent of pumpkin pie - plus chocolate.  I used Dark Chocolate Chips, but Milk Chocolate would work just as well, if not better.

2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 c butter, at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 c pumpkin puree, either canned or fresh
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 c Lake Champlain Chocolates Chocolate Chips, either dark or milk

Preheat oven to 350º with rack in center.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about a minute.  Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla, combining well after each addition.  Slowly add flour mixture, mixing by hand until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on parchment-covered sheet.  You can dot a little batter on each corner to adhere parchment to sheet.

Bake about fifteen minutes until cookies are slightly golden.

Makes about 70 cookies.


It’s 10:36 am.  The only evidence of the Double Chocolate Muffins I set on the kitchen counter here at Lake Champlain Chocolates when I got to work this morning are crumbs.  I think they were a hit.

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c olive oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 c flour (shout out to King Arthur’s Unbleached All-Purpose Flour!)
1/2 c Lake Champlain Chocolates Unsweetened Organic Fair Trade Cocoa Powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate Chips

1/2 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c Lake Champlain Chocolates 54% Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375º with rack in center.  Line or generously grease muffin tins.

In a medium bowl, blend sugars, eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla on medium speed until well-combined.

Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Mix by hand until well-moistened and smooth. 

Gently fold in 3/4 c chocolate chips. 

Meanwhile, make the crumb topping: Mix 1/2 c sugar, 2 tbsp flour, 2 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl with a fork until mixture resembles a course meal.  Gently fold in remaining chocolate chips.

Fill lined or greased muffin tins with batter and sprinkle with crumb topping.  Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time.  Makes 12 muffins.


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!


A Bicycle Rally

Posted on September 25, 2009 9:27 AM by Allison

There is no question that Burlington is a very bicycle-friendly city.  How friendly are the bikers, though?

Very.  Bikers in Burlington have donated 2,000 bikes in the past nine years to people who need them to sustain their livelihoods in countries like Ghana, Uganda, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua in collaboration with the organization Pedals For Progress.

Since 1991, Pedals For Progress has coordinated donation sites and drop off times – like the Lake Champlain Chocolates warehouse at 444 Pine Street on Saturday from 9am to 1pm - for folks to drop off their old bikes. 

Whether they’re bikes that they’re not using, bikes their kids have grown out of or bikes replaced by newer models, they all can be donated.  Since their establishment, Pedals For Progress has transported over 121,000 bikes from the Northeast to developing countries and people who could really use them.

It’s a wonderful way to recycle, but the benefits from this program are far greater than saving us a trip to the dump. 

Each bike will go to someone who could really benefit from it – a man who can now commute to a job to put food on his family’s table.  A rural doctor can see more patients and get to them a lot quicker in emergencies.

I’ll be one of the donors this year, happily dropping off my trusty old bike that has been with me since before I could drive.  Since a new-to-me road bike is on its way for fall bike trips around Vermont, and I think it’s a good time to pass on my Ol’ Reliable to someone who would get more use out of it.

So if you have a bicycle that may be ready for a new home, stop by our warehouse on Saturday morning.  The sight of hundreds of bikes generously donated is remarkable, but the feeling that you take away after giving your old bike to someone who really needs it, is just unbelievable.


Goodbye Summer Shipping!

Posted on September 23, 2009 10:53 AM by Allison

Vermont sings in autumn with apple festivals, hayrides to pumpkin patches and porches adorned with colorful mums.  Lake Champlain Chocolates sings in the cooler temperatures by lowering our shipping rates.

With the cooler weather, it’s much easier to send our chocolate out into the world – the fears of our carefully handcrafted chocolates melting in big trucks or on front porches begin to fall away, just like orange leaves from maple trees.

What does this mean?  It means that we are happy to ship chocolate out the old-fashioned way – in big, brown UPS trucks.  We do, however, require orders to go at least two-day air to Florida, Hawaii and Alaska.  (A truck would have a hard time getting to Hawaii and it’s pretty much always hot in Florida, and do you know how big Alaska is?!)

Shipping rates now start at $7.50 as opposed to the summer’s $25.00 minimum.  Chocolate is a tricky thing to transport – since we use all natural ingredients, like pure cocoa butter which melts at about seventy degrees, its difficult to keep it safe once it leaves our climate-controlled chocolate safe-haven.

So go ahead and place that holiday order, or surprise someone with their favorite chocolate on their birthday.  Remember Halloween is coming up!  Why not give your favorite Trick-or-Treater a Pumpkin Face or White Chocolate Ghost this year?

And since it is getting a little colder, how about adding a can or two of our seven different types of Hot Chocolate to your order?  There’s nothing better than cozying up with a mug of hot chocolate in the fall temps - and a few marshmallows on top will bring out the little Trick-or-Treater in you.  Whether or not you go jump in a pile of leaves is entirely your decision.


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!