Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PRESIDENTIAL HOT CHOCOLATE

Ingredients                                                                    
  • 6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp. sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups light cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch cinnamon powder (optional)
  • whipped cream
  • orange zest
  • Cooking Directions

    Mix cocoa, sugar, and salt.
    Add milk. Heat to dissolve.
    Add light cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat to just under boiling.
    Mix very well and pour into warm mugs.
    Top with whipped cream, cocoa powder, and fine orange zest.
    I don’t have a preference for cocoa powder over melted chocolate. Chloe, the chocolatier in my Love by Chocolate series is known for her secret hot cocoa blend. Readers meet her in Chocolate Secrets.  Chocolate Magic is her story.
    For me the secret is in the foam.  I like my hot chocolate or hot cocoa made with milk and topped with either marshmallows or whipped cream. How do you drink your hot chocolate?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    How Do You Eat Your Chocolate?









    Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's day are definitely the leading chocolate holidays. Halloween is not far behind. I've seen foil wrapped chocolates from pumpkins to eyeballs.

    Did you know that what you do with your foil says a lot about you? I'm a scruncher. 
    According to chocolate therapist I'm missing many signals and my mind is filled with scattered thoughts. Kinda true.

    How you eat your chocolate also says something about who you are . Check out this fun video.  biter or Melter; Which Are You?
    www.youtube.com
    Are you a biter or a melter? How do you eat Lindt's Lindor truffle?

    Are you a chomper , someone who rushes through life with gusto? Or are you a licker? Do you let the chocolate melt down your throat and stimulate all your senses? Want to know more? Check out www.chocolatetherapy.com

    You gotta love a holiday when everyone dresses in costumes and knocks on strangers doors for a treat.
    The only way for me to avoid eating the candy I plan to give away is by buying something I don't like. I like to think of myself as a  chocolate purist. Except for chocolate covered cherries, I avoid gooey fillings.  People who like cherry filling are said to be full of energy. Most likely true on the days I eat a chocolate covered cherry and don't worry about the calories.
     What about people who don't indulge? Do they need a chocolate therapist?


    Read an excerpt from my latest book, Chocolate Muse.




    A half eaten pint of Ben and Jerry’s melted on the floor next to Maddie Higgin’s sofa. The reality TV show she had recorded the night before blared on the TV screen. If not for the loud banging on her door, Maddie would still be asleep.
    “You in there Miss Higgins?” Her doorman pounded on the door. “I’ve got your mail. The mailman said you have to start taking out your mail.”
    “Leave the mail, Matt.” Maddie sat up, stretched, and shouted at the bolted door. “I won’t do it again.”
    Before shutting off the TV, she took a moment to commiserate with the contestants. If that one unfortunate turn of events in the script of her life had been part of a TV reality show, Zest’s former pastry chef, Maddie Higgins, would surely have been the star.
    There were no hidden cameras that night and the unexpected incident had sent her tumbling from stardom. Would the culinary world ever forget her careless oversight? She couldn’t. The look on that man’s face after taking the first bite of her award winning torta di chocolate would have made good reality TV. Instead it left her spiraling in self-pity compounded by sleepless nights and an over indulgence in sweets.
    If she had only known he had been there to review her most popular dessert, she might have been more diligent. Looking through the little round window, she had watched and had waited for the first sign of pleasure on the handsome customer’s face.
    That’s when everything turned ugly. The expected smile of decadent satisfaction had melted into a cough and sputter. No one choked on her delicious desserts. Too late someone discovered the cause - soap powder mistaken for sugar. 




                                                     

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Avalon Interview / Links to Fun Chocolate Info

    Interview With Zelda Benjamin


    There's something delectable about Zelda Benjamin. Could it be...the chocolate? Maybe at first glance. But there's more to this lovely Avalon author than yummy goodness. Come along with me and learn just what makes Zelda melt. 

    Q.: Tell us about your latest book for Avalon, Chocolate Muse.

    A.: Chocolate Muse is the third book in my Love by Chocolate SeriesTheheroine, Maddie, a classically trained pastry chef was introduced in the previous book, Chocolate Magic.   When someone mistakenly covers her signature torta di chocolate in soap powder instead of sugar, she’s fired before the review hits the morning paper.
    Forced to take a job in a friend's bakery and teach a children's evening class to make ends meet, she vows vengeance on the man responsible for her damaged reputation. But when she realizes that the father of two of her students is her nemesis, the charming food writer Brad Angelo, her anger deflates faster than an overcooked souffle.

    Brad, a single father struggling to balance parenting and his syndicated food column, is completely clueless about the trouble he's caused Maddie. He finds her evasive attitude and chocolate talent to be intriguing parts of her allure, but isn't sure he’s ready to create a life that might be messier than melted chocolate when their secrets are slowly revealed.

    Q.: Clearly, you have a passion for chocolate. How did it start? Do you have a special background in pastry or desserts?

    A.: Unfortunately, I have no special chocolate talents. I love to cook, but baking and working with chocolate are too precise for me.  The idea for the first book,Chocolate Secrets came to me when I read about an attempted robbery at the home of a famous French chocolatier. It was believed the intruders were searching for his secret recipe. I guess you can say that article sparked the entire series.  I started doing chocolate research by visiting chocolate shops in cities that I visited. When shop owners discovered my interest in chocolate they were more than willing to share their knowledge. I have tasted some really great chocolate and learned a few tips that I share with my readers. I always have an excuse for dessert.

    Q.: White chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate?

    A.: I’m a chocolaholic who prefers dark chocolate to milk chocolate. I don’t need a reason to indulge, but the health benefits to eating dark chocolate are always an incentive. Friends and fans are always sending me articles about chocolate. I’d like to share some interesting links.



    I know the higher the cocoa content the better the benefits, but I can’t eat chocolate over 70% cocoa.


    Q.: Are there any other chocolate books in the works?

    A.: Chocolate Couture, book 4 is my current work in progress. This will be my last book in the series.


    Q.: Tell us about some of your other interests. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

    A.: When I’m not writing I work as a nurse in a pediatric ER.  I love to travel with my family- husband, kids, and grandchildren.

    Q.: Sounds like a busy, satisfying life. So, what's next for you?

    A.: Writing a series is fun.  I’d like to do another series.

    Q.: Where can readers find you?

    A.: Readers can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
    They can also visit my website to see some photos of my favorite vacation spots.
    http://www.zeldabenjamin.com

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Send a Crème Egg Without the Calories





    While gathering facts for this blog I came across a really cool site. You can Cad-apult an egg to any address in the world via google map. Check it out and send a creme egg without the calories.

     You can always tell when Spring and Easter are close. Today I saw my first Cadbury egg on the shelves. Cadbury produces these eggs only between January and April. Did you know that if all the crème eggs sold were piled on top of each other the pile would be 10 times higher than Mount Everest?

    I did convince myself that it was much too early to indulge in the decadent treat. However, if it had been a hollow chocolate bunny I’m sure temptation would have gotten the better of me.

    Not all crème or hollow eggs are the same. Candy manufacturers cater to a wide range of international markets. In the UK, where they consume the most chocolate eggs, Cadbury offers a combination package for the season: egg, candy bar and soft toy promoting Freddo and Curly Wurly bars. A Freddo bar is a milk chocolate bar shaped like a frog. In Australia the frog is replaced by Caramello Koala. A Curly Wurly bar is a caramel ladder covered in milk chocolate. They all sound delicious.


    I find that milk chocolate not produced in the US has a smoother, more milk chocolate taste. Is it a higher butter fat content? Not to long ago Hersheys replaced cocoa butter with vegetable oil in some of their popular candies. Not everyone tastes the difference. I can. In her blog http://.www.candyblog.net/blog Cybele May calls it Mockolate.

    Easter is only rivaled by Christmas for candy sales. So whatever your preference, sit back and indulge in your favorite seasonal treat. I'm waiting for hollow chocolate bunnies. 

    Have you seen creme eggs on the shelves in your neighborhood?

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    February is National Chocolate Month

    What a great month to start a chocolate blog and share with my viewers all the interesting chocolate info I've gathered while doing research for my Love by Chocolate series. I know what you're thinking - not so bad. Imagine having to taste all those scrumptious chocolates and drink cups of amazing hot chocolate so I can recreate the experience in my stories. Not all my chocolate info makes it into my stories. I can't let my characters be consumed with it. Or can I?
    In Chocolate Magic my heroine makes a killer cup of hot chocolate. Not literally a killer cup. This story is a sweet romance- no dead bodies or anything like that.   My favorite place for drinking hot chocolate is New Zealand. Frothy cups  are served with creative cuts of fresh marshmallow.


    Closer to home and more up to the moment is my experience today. In honor of this month of decadent treats, Dunkin Dounts has created some wonderful new donuts. Boston Kreme is my favorite. When I heard that they had made a reverse Boston Kreme I way dying for a taste. From the first bite I was not disappointed. The chocolate yeast cake filled with chocolate Bavarian Kreme is topped with vanilla frosting. Sounds good!! It is. 
    With Valentine's Day approaching the list of chocolate treats is endless. I want to buy everything I see. Here's a chocolate fact- all year long women buy 75% of chocolate sold, but for Valentine's Day it's men who buy the majority of chocolate. A billion dollars in chocolate is sold in February. 
    What a great month for chocolate lovers. 
    What's your favorite Valentine's chocolate?