The Chocolate Life

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How Are You Making These Holidays Special with Chocolate?

It was a frigid 19 degrees F when I woke up this morning, with wind chill down to 5 degrees. Winter is here (though officially still 10 days away), which means we're smack dab in the middle of the ChrismaChanuKwanzakah holiday rush. All of us are busy, I know, so asking you to take a few minutes out to share what you're doing with everyone may sound like a huge imposition.

But giving and sharing are just a part of what the holidays are about and this is one way we can share with hundreds of people all around the world - a holiday shout out in words (and pictures if you have them).

Now, because I started this discussion it's up to me to get it going.

Several years ago I purchased a small wet mill to make chocolate with. I've made many batches but I am always looking for new ways to use the mill because these days I pretty much only use it when I give chocolate-making classes, which is not often enough.

So I've been experimenting with using it to make nut butters and pralines and it was just a small step from there to adding cocoa powder to the nut pastes and start making something that Nutella would dream it might be - if Nutella could dream.

I found a good source for small (4 oz) glass jars in small-ish quantities, so I am bottling my own chocolate/nut butter spread. Without going into exactly how I'm using the four ingredients I am using (a guy has to have some secrets) the ingredients are:

roasted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, or a mix)
cocoa powder
sugar (I experiment with different kinds)
salt (I experiment with different kinds; kosher is the stand-by)

So - how are YOU sharing chocolate for the holidays this year?

:: Clay

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This is our first year for gift boxes and those are doing well. We also came out with a chocolate fudge and caramel sauce which we introduced with a moist chocolate bundt cake. Devilish. During our testing I gained 10# which I'm now working out extra hard to peel back off haha!

We also brought out a few new infusions for our truffles: peppermint, winter spice, ginger, mexican cinnamon, and rosemary.

All in all it's turning out to be a great season and we're having a lot of fun with it. Already writing down lessons from this year to be applied to next. Now I need to remember to put into the work orders my own gifts for friends and family before I forget!
My attempt at mocha mousse parfait with Kahlua cream was a huge success last holiday season. Now, of course the challenge is to “out-do” myself, which shouldn’t be difficult with this recipe I found at Godiva: chocolate gingerbread soufflés with cranberry sabayon. I was actually browsing the website since I’m currently aiding the Godiva holiday promotion—there are so many things you can do with Godiva chocolate. Some of my guests are counting on my pumpkin brulée, but I am sure I will not disappoint with chocolate.
my guests and friends got these-nothing super special but okay.
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for xmas celebrating friends:
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A few new flavors..fig, walnut and port wine, cranberry,walnut and orange, caramel stuffed and dark chocolate dipped turkish figs, lime in the coconut- a mounds type coconut layer except with organic unsweetened coconut and agave syrup so its not so sickening sweet with a lime infused ganache layer, and tropical fruits we dehydrate ourselves-no preservatives-pineapple, papaya, apple bananas, mango and starfruit, dipped in dark chocolate.
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For those on the (U.S.) East Coast, I'm sure Spring (this Saturday, March 20) can't come soon enough this year. I've been spending the last week of Winter (out here in California, where it's been merely wet, and not so cold) celebrating St. Patrick's Day/Green Week on my chocolate blog. There are so many ways to celebrate when it comes to chocolate.
http://chocolatebanquet.blogspot.com
Please do send ideas for theme weeks; I will try to cover if I haven't already.
Regards, Corinne D.
Here are my Easter bunnies.

The bunnies are adorable, Ruth.
Are they solid or filled?
I use that same mold and fill it with a chocolate ganache.
White is filled with passionfruit marshmallow. Milk is filled with gianduja. Dark is Manjari/Madagascar.
Ruth,
The bunnies look excellent, is that the same Manjari ganache that I have tried?

Also have you had the chance to play with that Toscano Black yet?
-Nick
Yes on the Manjari, no on the Toscano:-)
we are making our now infamous "Mommy Dearest Caramels"....they are made into the shape of wire coat hangers

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