Know Your Chocolate

When baking or preparing a chocolate dessert, there are reasons that certain recipes specify the kind of chocolate you should use. It’s important to know that not all types of chocolate will produce the exact effect you seek. With varying flavors, melting points and end results, it certainly pays to know your chocolate.

Without cocoa beans, there would be no chocolate. The beans are dried, roasted and ground up to produce a dark, thick paste – also called chocolate ‘liquor’, cocoa solids or cocoa mass. It is this thick paste that is the basis of all chocolate and cocoa products. When you’re purchasing chocolate for your next dessert adventure, read the list of ingredients and check the percentage of cocoa solids and sugar. For example, if a recipe calls for bitter or dark chocolate, choose an option with a high percentage of cocoa solids (such as 70%).

Ready to bake or create?

Consider the following types of chocolate that may appear in your next recipe:

Plain Chocolate – Lots of recipes will call for “plain chocolate” because it is stronger. This kind of chocolate is also referred to as dark (made by adding fat and sugar to cocoa), semi-sweet (dark chocolate with half as much sugar as cocoa), or bittersweet (less sugar and more liquor than semisweet). A minimum of 35% cocoa solids for plain chocolate is needed to enjoy the best results. To create desserts (such as soufflés, mousse or truffles) with a richer chocolate flavor, choose plain chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids.

Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate has added milk solids, which produces a sweeter taste that is smoother and creamier when compared to other kinds of chocolate. While milk chocolate is best for making candy bars, it sometimes finds its way into various desserts, pastries and other confections. Milk chocolate is sensitive to heat, so it doesn’t make a good choice for baking.

Unsweetened Chocolate – The purest form of chocolate is unsweetened, which is the cooled and hardened form of chocolate liquor. Since no sugar is added, it tastes extremely bitter.

Cocoa Powder – When a nice amount of cocoa butter is removed from chocolate liquor, cocoa powder is the result. With a fine texture, the taste is rich yet bitter. This means that you don’t have to use a lot of it when creating a dessert. Sometimes, the powder is used as a garnish for ice cream or a sprinkled topping for cakes.

Drinking Chocolate – When looking for a tasty coating for truffles, consider drinking chocolate, which is cocoa powder with added sugars and milk extracts. The flavor is quite sweet and makes a delicious beverage.

White Chocolate – The white chocolate chips often found in Macadamia nut cookies is technically not a chocolate at all. There are no cocoa solids in this type of sweetness, but instead, is comprised of cocoa butter. A high amount of cocoa butter is blended with milk solids, vanilla, and sugar to obtain its taste.

“Toffee to Go” Giveaway – NOW CLOSED

The Toffee To Go Story

When Lisa first tasted the traditional Schalk toffee she thought it was so incredible she told her husband, Jim, they had to learn how to make it immediately. Jim and Lisa spent hours learning the family recipe and after many attempts they had it mastered. They made a few alterations to the original recipe and what started out as a yummy treat for their friends and family has become Toffee To Go-home of “incredible handmade toffee.”

During the holidays, Jim and Lisa cooked their handmade almond toffee for family, friends and neighbors. It wasn’t long before their toffee became a popular topic of conversation and many of their friends hoped to be included on their Christmas toffee giving list. In 1997, their friend, Debbie Jackson, suggested the couple sell their incredible handmade toffee.

photo courtesy of Toffee to Go
photo courtesy of Toffee to Go

Jim and Lisa first started selling their toffee in 1998 to friends who had their own holiday gift giving needs. That year, Lisa also started selling the toffee at local Christmas shows. To their surprise, the first year they sold over 125 pounds of their gourmet treat. The next holiday season they were asked back to every Christmas show, and many new clubs and organizations were asking them to display and sell their toffee.

Jim and Lisa realized in 2002 that the demand for their toffee was getting too large for them to continue to sell out of their home. They decided to incorporate and expand into a commercial kitchen. Again, it wasn’t long before Jim and Lisa realized they needed more than just the commercial kitchen: they also needed a packaging and shipping area. They moved into their first commercial location in July of 2004 and opened a small retail shop on November 23, 2004.

With the incorporation in 2002 , and business thriving, the couple knew their delicious toffee was more than just a treat for the holidays. After adding two new packaging options, they quickly moved into the corporate gift segment, selling their toffee year round. Local corporations were ordering the Tampa Treasure for client and employee gifts and receiving rave reviews. Back then, Jim, did all the cooking and Lisa did the packing and shipping. Now, companies all over the country are ordering Toffee To Go and Jim still cooks and oversees the production staff and Lisa handles sales and marketing.

Whether customers need holiday gifts, business gifts, corporate gifts, party favors or just a treat for themselves, Jim and Lisa have a delectable selection of toffee available. They take pride in the fact that no preservatives are added to their toffee and that it is still made by hand in small batches. Lisa and Jim love the candy business and they are ready to serve you at Toffee To Go!

toffeetogo.comAbout their flavors:

Toffee to Go has a thin layer of chocolate so the incredible rich buttery flavor comes through on every bite. Toffee to Go has three fabulous melt in your mouth flavors. All three are made by first blending sweet creamery butter with pure cane sugar to create a rich, bubbling aromatic mixture. Their mouth-watering milk chocolate almond toffee has an abundance of roasted almonds and a thin layer of pure milk chocolate. Their decadent dark chocolate pecan toffee is paved with pecans and covered with a thin layer of pure semi-sweet chocolate. Their wonderful white chocolate macadamia nut toffee has mouthfuls of macadamia nuts and is covered with a thin layer of white chocolate. The final sprinkling of chopped walnuts on each flavor completes the transformation into a decadent gourmet treat!

Packaging:
Toffee to Go has several packaging options. From their signature gold boxes and tins, to bright colorful options that can all be imprinted with corporate logos or event names for branding purposes, Toffee to Go has sizes and styles to fit every budget and occasion. Of course, the best part is knowing that the recipient will remember your gift of Toffee to Go long after the last bite is gone.

Discount CODE for 100CafeStreet.com readers: CAFE20. This code will give you a generous 20% discount on the 8oz gold Toffee to Go boxes.  It expires on Sept. 30, 2009.

The Giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Prizes:
Toffee to Go will give away three (3) of their 8 oz. Assorted Flavor boxes of Toffee to Go. That way the winners can sample each of Toffee to Go’s incredible flavors!

How to enter (required): Visit www.toffeetogo.com and then come back and leave a comment telling us the name of your favorite product!

For additional entries (leave a new comment for each additional entry):
– one additional entry if you become our fan on FACEBOOK;
– one additional entry if you grab our button from the sidebar and post it on your blog, please post the link;
– one additional entry if you follow us on Twitter;
– one additional entry if you send a tweet about this giveaway (once a day only); make sure to include @1happyblogger. You may use the following to tweet: @1happyblogger For a chance to win some toffee, go to http://www.100cafestreet.com/toffee-to-go-giveaway
– one additional entry if you fave us in Technorati;
– one additional entry if you blog about this Giveaway with a link back to 100CafeStreet.com and Toffeetogo.com
– one additional entry if you follow 100CafeStreet.com via email.

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The giveaway ends on Sept. 9, 2009 at the end of day, Pacific Standard Time. Toffee to Go will ship the prizes.

*Please make sure you leave a comment for each additional entry so you get credited.
*Also, please make sure you typed in the correct email address.
*The winners will be announced via e-mail and have 2 days to get back to us or other names will be chosen.
*Incomplete entries will be disqualified & deleted.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Bake Me A Wish!

We featured Bake Me A Wish! in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

Bake Me  A Wish, cake, gourmet food, gift, overnight

Founded in 2004, Bake Me A Wish! is a premiere on-line bakery offering handmade cakes based on award-winning family recipes.  Perfected by master pastry chefs and using the freshest and most decadent ingredients available, the cakes are priced between $20 and $66,  including shipping.  The fresh and mouth-watering delights arrive beautifully packaged in a customized box with a personal note.

Bake Me A Wish!icon has unveiled its Holiday Gift Cakes 2009icon.  Now you can celebrate the season by sending delicious cakes to your family, friends, clients and colleagues!  All of the cakes are decorated with an imported Belgian chocolate plaque, a “season’s greetings” salutation and are specially packaged in an elegant gift box to guarantee freshness. For corporate clients, Bake Me A Wish includes a customized gift card with the company’s logo accompanied by a personal message of gratitude. Best of all, Bake Me A Wish!icon cakes are both kosher and certified by Chof-K, perfect for this holiday gift giving season.

Here a few of the Holiday Gift Cakes 2009 offered that are under $35:

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iconCaramel Apple Crumb Cake
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A moist golden cake layered with apples, cinnamon and topped with a layer of thick, delicious, tender streusel.

Then, a layer of creamy caramel is drizzled on top.

Serves 6-8 people (7” diameter)

Price: $29.99

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A moist and fudgy brownie cake topped with crunchy chocolate sandwich cookie pieces .

Topped with a festive drizzle of white chocolate.

Serves 6-8 people (7” diameter)

Price: $34.99

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A moist and fudgy brownie cake enrobed with mouth-watering chocolate chip and cinnamon oat streusel, with ribbons of dark chocolate glaze.

AS SEEN ON RACHEL RAY!

Individual Serving (4” diameter)

Price: $15.00

To order your gourmet cake gift or to inquire about Bake Me A Wish’s corporate loyalty programs, please call 888-987-9474.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Roxy Chocsmith

We featured Bittersweet in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

roxy chocsmith
photo courtesy of Roxy Chocsmith

About Roxy Chocsmith

Roxy Chocsmith offers small batch, preservative free, high quality hand-made chocolate truffles to sweet tooths everywhere. 

About the products:

Deriving inspiration from desserts like cheescake, key lime pie, cookies ‘n cream, creme brulee – Roxy Chocsmith is a truly unique multi-layered chocolate experience.  They use fine white, dark, and milk chocolate in creating otheir sweet inspirations- because much like yourself, chocolate is many different things, but fabulous above all!

Their chocolate collection comprises many delicious flavors from salty, creamy to sweet or tangy. Here are some of our favorites:

Cookies’n cream Chocolate: Cookies- good, sweet cream-good.  Chopped bits of oreo cookie fleck the white chocolate center, which is then covered in a mixture of milk and semi-sweet and then rolled in crushed oreo cookies.  Chocolate with crunch.  It’s all good.

Chocolate Cheesecake: The  melding of chocolate with the inimitable zing of cheesecake. A semi sweet, creamy center with the slightest cheesecake tang, covered in graham cracker crumbs. It’s a bite sized dessert. Like eating a whole slice- but less than half the calories!

Orange Ginger Chocolate: Dark chocolate center infused with the perfect amount of orange, drenched in silky-smooth dark chocolate, and topped with a spicy slice of crystallized ginger.

The chocolate from Roxy Chocsmith makes the perfect gift for the chocoholic in your life or would be a perfect choice as a party favor. For more info on how to order, check out their website at RoxyChocsmith.com.

Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics – Cafe Britt

We featured Cafe Britt in our Chocolate Manufacturers – Guide for Chocoholics.

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White Chocolate Covered Lime Jelly
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Inspired by Florida’s favorite Key Lime Pie and world-famous citrus groves, these small, white orbs are big on refreshing, tropical flavor.

We’ve covered tangy lime-jelly chews in creamy white chocolate for a sweet treat that refreshes like a cool, ocean breeze. Packed in a colorful Miami-inspired bag, they’re as great for giving as they are for snacking.

Price $8.95 6oz bag

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Dark Chocolate Covered Passion Fruit
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Double passion for chocolate!

The rich-flavors and pleasant tropical aroma of Passion Fruit are contained within every bite of our smooth gourmet dark chocolate. An exotic delicatessen directly from Costa Rica’s unique rainforests, created by Cafe Britt, just for you the passionate chocolate lover.

Price $8.95 6oz bag


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Dark Chocolate Covered Pineapple
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Indulge with this tropical temptation!

The golden sun and wild scenery of Costa Rica has inspired Cafe Britt to create this exquisite combination of fresh golden pineapple jelly and smooth dark gourmet chocolate. The result is an exuberant flavor that celebrates nature’s best!

Price $8.95 6oz bag


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Dark Chocolate Covered Guava
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Experience an exotic treat that celebrates local tradition!

Sweet guava jelly, from fragrant guava fruits grown in the warmth climate and rich soils of nurturing Costa Rica are bathed in rich dark gourmet chocolate. Cafe Britt ‘Guayabitas’ rekindle an age-old traditional flavor in Costa Rican sweets to share with friends and family at home.

Price $8.95 6oz bag


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Dark Chocolate Covered Orange Jelly
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We couldn’t resist creating a delicious confection inspired by Florida’s most famous fruit.

This luxurious medley of dark chocolate and chewy orange jelly is pure poetry. Sweet and tangy, surprising and subtle, this is sure to be a fruit-and-chocolate-lover’s favorite. Packed in a colorful Miami-inspired bag, they’re as great for giving as they are for snacking.

Price $8.95 6oz bag

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Dark Chocolate Covered Gourmet Macadamia Nuts
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Enjoy this explosive flavor combination!

Cafe Britt’s premier macadamias, grown amid the tropical mists in Costa Rica’s volcanic soil, are delicately covered with the purest gourmet dark chocolate in small batches to attain perfection. Delight your guest with this unique sweet or indulge yourself, either way, you’ll assure contented smiles.

Price $8.95 5oz bag

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Dark Chocolate covered Gourmet Cashew Nuts
Nuts & Chocolate, Oh my!icon

Nurtured in the warmth of Costa Rica’s tropical climate, our prime whole cashews are delicately bathed in creamy gourmet dark chocolate to attain perfection. These festive crescents will add a warm touch to your party and be perennial favorite with friends & family.

Price $8.95 5oz bag

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White Chocolate Covered Gourmet Coffee Beans
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Latte Coffee with a twist!

Cafe Britt 100 gourmet Costa Rican espresso coffee beans are carefully roasted and delicately dipped in cocoa butter white chocolate. Our coffee’s enticing aroma and the crunchy texture of our coffee beans complement the soft white-chocolate flavor for a soothing sensation that lingers in your palate.

Price $8.95 6oz bag

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Dark Chocolate Covered Gourmet Coffee Beans
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Share our passion for coffee!

Cafe Britt 100 gourmet Costa Rican espresso coffee beans are carefully roasted and delicately dipped in creamy dark chocolate. Our coffee’s enticing aroma and the crunchy texture of our coffee beans complement the velvety chocolate flavor for a cheering sensation that lights up your palate.

Price $8.95 6oz bag

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Gourmet Gift Box Sampler
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Enjoy 8 of Cafe Britt’s very best candy creations, all packed in this beautiful gift box. It includes an assorted combination of Cafe Britt’s most popular flavors. You can find chocolate-covered pineapple, guava or passion fruit; chocolate-covered macadamia or cashews, as well as crunchy whole gourmet nuts. Of course, you can’t miss our famous fresh roasted coffee beans, all covered in creamy white or dark gourmet chocolate. Simply irresistible!

Price $8.95, 7.6oz, approx. 1 oz. per pack

For more information about these gourmet chocolates, check out Cafe Britt.