January 18, 2006

Chocolate Booze and D is For Death By Chocolate

BAILEYS.jpgThis may all be old news to some but there are some interesting and relatively new products from a couple of big names that I have just now become aware of and figured they deserved reporting on.

First off we have Godiva Cappuccino Liqueur. This new variety joins the original Godiva Liqueur and the Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and offers some interesting new options for drink mixing. I've never partaken of their liqueurs before but this one sounds pretty tasty. They even have a few recipes making use of it up on their site.

Next up we have two new limited edition offerings from one of the companies I love: Baileys. For a while now they have been offering Caramel and Mint Chocolate Irish Cream in the Arizona market and starting in March they will be sharing the love nationwide as part of a Saint Patrick's Day promotion. I'm not entirely sure about the mint chocolate variety, but the caramel one really sounds good. I already have a couple of ideas for what to do with it.

So, continuing with Slashfood D-Day I figure I will share one of those little ideas with you in the form of an old recipe (starting with the letter D of course) with a new twist in the form of a little Caramel Baileys. Other options would be to use the Mint Chocolate Baileys or to use Godiva Cappuccino instead of the creme de cacao. Anyway...

D is for Death by Chocolate (Revised)
1/2 oz Brown Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz vodka
1 oz Baileys Caramel Irish Cream
1 Scoop Chocolate Ice Cream

Combine in a blender with a cup of crushed ice. Blend well and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or a little cocoa powder. If using the Mint Chocolate Baileys then a sprig of mint would make a cute garnish as well.

D Is For Dark Chocolate Dipped Cookies with Peppermint Creme

Today, in honor of Slashfood's D-Day, we have the York Dark Chocolate Dipped Cookies with Peppermint Creme up for review. Whew! That is one l-o-n-g name. I bought these out of curiosity and an eternal love of York Peppermint Patties while on safari this weekend and I just had to bust into them last night. My initial thought is that this is the York/Hershey answer to the Girl Scout's Thin Mints. Take a chocolate cookie, layer on some York gunk and coat the entire mess in dark chocolate and this cookie is the result. So just how good are they?

The cookies smell great. The aroma reminds me of Thin Mints, which isn't surprising in the least. The cookie inside is crisp and the chocolate is passably decent and the York stuff is York stuff and therefore good. All together i's pretty darn good. Just not quite Thin Mint good. Close though. The next cookie went into the freezer. I love frozen Thin Mints with a passion so I figure if I'm going to use them as the gold standard I should really test the York cookie the same way I enjoy my Thin Mints. I have to say that they are really good frozen, nearly as good as a Thin Mint and not as tooth-breakingly hard as a frozen York Peppermint Patty. But again, it still comes in behind the mighty Thin Mint.

So in the end, what do we have? We have something that is almost as good as a Thin Mint and theoretically available all year round. In terms of taste the Thin Mint wins, but I can't go out and buy a box of Thin Mints any time I feel like it (though they do lurk in my freezer about six months out of the year). I can go out and buy a box of York cookies at the grocery store and that counts for a lot. But the one thing I think that makes me really prefer the Thin Mints is serving size, and it's really a mental thing for me. The serving size is almost identical in terms of weight, but the York cookies are twice the size of a Thin Mint so you only get two in a serving as opposed to four Thin Mints. The York also has twenty extra calories, all in the form of fat (horror!). While I'm not one to shy away from a little fat, it is one more minor mark against the York cookies.

One final annoyance I find with them is on their website. They say that they are available in "2 oz. single serve packages of four cookies" but when you go to look at the nutritional information you find that the serving size is two cookies and there are two servings in their so-called "single serve package". That sort of thing just bugs me. So wonderfully consistent. I'm not going to hold it against them in their score, though. I just find it annoying.

Overall the cookies are good. I can't argue with taste and I like these cookies. The "smaller" portion size and higher fat content when compared to Thin Mints are disappointing. I'd rather eat 4 smaller cookies than 2 larger ones. I have to go with a score of 7.5 for these. They are good cookies, but I want more and I still prefer Thin Mints (which, for comparison's sake I would probably rate an 8.5).

January 3, 2006

Chocolate Motherlode Cake

I hate to simply steal somebody else's great find, but now and then something comes along that I feel I just have to share. Once again Slashfood (much love) have one of those astounding items that I just can't read and not pass on. I'll not repeat everything they have to say, but try to add a little something of my own to the mix so be sure to read the original.

It is a cake. A cake like no other. It comes in three or, for those special occasions, six layers. The six layer version is nearly a foot tall and a single slice weighs in at three pounds and is divided into 10 servings. And it's beautiful. Some spectacular food porn. The cake comes from a California based restaurant chain called Claim Jumper (why don't these items ever show up at Ohio based restaurants I ask you) and is available for all occasions. Claim Jumper appear to be pushing ever eastward and I might stop in their Lombard, IL (really close to Chicago) location next time I'm up to visit my sister.

Being the ever-inquisitive web nerd I stuck chocolate motherlode into my favorite image searches and found some very interesting little items. First is a recipe for the beast (*EDIT* the recipe I first posted has disappeared - such is the net - here is another recipe for it that hopefully is still accurate *EDIT*). The recipe is attributed to Claim Jumper so it may even be real. Next up is one more porntastic shot of a slice of the cake that is floating in limbo on the AZ Central site with no story to be found to go along with it. Rather than spit in the face of Copyright I'm posting a link to the poor orphaned picture. Check it out!

It occurs to me that you only ever really see these utterly out of control desserts involving chocolate. There is no vanilla motherlode or strawberry avalanche. There are occasionally out of control ice cream dishes but you pour chocolate all over them so they don't count. What is it about chocolate that makes it such a perfect food for over the top presentation? I'll personally go with the concept that if the implied decadence of chocolate on it's own is off the chart then multiplying it a hundred-fold can only make it more amazing. Just a thought.

Slashfood Article
Claim Jumper Restaurants
Pure Food Porn

November 17, 2005

Quaker Oats Holiday Recipe Collection

quakeroats.jpgI read over at Slashfood that Quaker Oats has their Holiday Recipe Collection online for everybody to enjoy. Of course I had to check it out and it turns out there is some great looking stuff in there. Things like Raspberry-Topped Chocolate Oat Torte and Mocha Chip Cheesecake Bars. And it's all made with the goodness of Quaker Oats so it isn't quite as terribly unhealthy as it might otherwise be. Be sure to check it out, there is bound to be something to your liking in there.

November 14, 2005

Movie: How Chocolate Is Made

The lovely people at Slashfood (one of my favorite sites) posted a link to a great video on how chocolate is made up at the Manufacturer's Blog. The video, clocking in at 15 minutes, was made by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association and follows chocolate through history and the production process. Good stuff!