Thursday, March 2, 2006

Enjoying chocolate

The recipe: The Joy of Cooking's Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies. The chocolate: Guittard Semi-Sweet chocolate chips. I just made/baked 133 2" semi-sweet chocolate cookies for my mother-in-law's picnic on Saturday. I'm not a big chocolate fan, but I've been cultivating a taste for good chocolate, trying to get outside of my comfort zone. I aim for creamy or fruit desserts at the end of a meal and if chocolate is involved, I prefer milk or white (I know, technically not chocolate).

Guittard is yummy. If you ever get a chance to get their stuff, pretty tasty. About 6 years ago, my friend Mary gave us a 10 pound bar of the stuff. It was HUGE. She has a friend that works for them and it was hilarious trying to eat that 10 pound candy bar, let alone store it. It was a slab we chipped away at little by little. We never finished it, it was just way too much. I try to get their chips wherever I see them, but Eric always eats them before I have a chance to bake them into something. These chips we got at Safeway in Daly City. Albertson's (at least the one near home) doesn't carry them anymore. I buy white chocolate ones so I could make a cranberry/white chocolate chip ones for myself.

I tried Guittard's fancy nibs for homemade chocolate ice cream during summer and wow, nice flavor! Earthy, chocolatey, not sweet but not bitter. But it was a little on the gritty side. I thought I was doing something wrong when I was melting the chocolate but the grittiness is just there (last time we were at the Buckeye, their homemade chocolate ice cream was gritty too!!) probably because they don't want to overprocess the cocoa, is my guess.

On the high end, I really like: Pink Champagne Truffles from Charbonnel et Walker or Champagne truffles from Teuscher, Lavender Vanilla & Rose Caramel from Recchiuti (must try the Spring Jasmine next!).

On the more affordable end and always del-ish: See's Candies. I grew up on their Victoria Toffee, Scotch kisses, Summertime & California Crunch, things with nuts or soft fluffy caramel-y fillings. I'm a nuts & chews girl at heart and I really dig their Rum Nougat and Divinity. I also really like their Key Lime Truffle. They have so many yummy things to choose from, I know I haven't tried them all. As for Ghirardelli, I like their milk chocolate squares with the caramel filling.

Halloween or everyday convenience store chocolates? Mr. Goodbar, Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Toblerone are all yum (see, I like nuts!). I'm learning to like chocolate as a stand alone confection, no nuts or fillings involved, especially dark chocolate. It is like wine, so many different varieties and flavor pairings. I just have to try them all to figure out what I like.

Whoa, huge flash of lightning followed immediately by a long roll of thunder. I'm getting off the 'puter now!!

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