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Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunflower Easter Cake

Sunflower Easter Cake


Courtesy of
chocolate-candy-mall.com 

This adorable Easter cake decorated with yellow Peeps and chocolate chips is such an ingenious way to make a lovely cake that looks like a Sunflower.


This cake was designed by Bethany Eledge from Cleveland, Tennessee. It's another one of those treasures I found at Taste of Home. Great job, Bethany!


When I see these simple but effective decorating ideas, I can't help but mentally slap my forehead and say, "Now why didn't I think of that?" I'm not overly creative myself, so I'm glad there are folks like Bethany around who can come up with great recipes like this one.


 

What you'll need:

  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) chocolate frosting
  • 19 yellow chick Peeps candies
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


How To Throw It All Together:


  1. Grease and line 2 9-inch round cake pans.

  2. Make the cake following the directions provided on the box. If you want to make the cakes from scratch, go for it. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes when removing them from the oven. After 10 minutes, place the cakes on cooling racks to finish the cooling process and then remove the waxed paper.
  3. If necessary make the tops of the cakes level by slicing off any mountains and valleys.
  4. Frost the cake completely, between the layers as well as the top and sides.
  5. Don't tear the Peeps apart! Curve each section of Peeps around the edges of the cake to create Sunflower "petals." Arrange chocolate chips all over the top of the cake to make sunflower seeds.


Isn't that a very easy but impressive idea for a really pretty Easter cake recipe? I think so! If you make one yourself, show it off on our Easter Dessert page.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beef Pork Chili with Chocolate & Pot Roast With Chocolate Sauce

Choco-Related Recipes Using Chocolates from Everywhere

In a nutshell, French chocolates are known for their subtle taste and intricate chocolate designs, while the Swiss are known for their share of chocolates that have the distinctly known milky, smooth texture. The Swiss even have massive manufacturing companies that distribute these favorite treats all over the world. The Belgian chocolates, on the other hand, are known for their flavorful taste and inventive designs ideal for concocting choco-related recipes. Remember, the Belgians were the ones who revolutionized the praline and nougats that we love?

These three have very distinct taste, and for chocolate lovers out there who know them by heart, I am certain they will have neither qualm nor difficulty telling each apart. Really, it should not matter where these delectably enjoyable goodies of sweetness come from; the only sensible thing to know is that we can enjoy these fabulous creations wherever they come from. After all, they are still the same chocolates that we love, and they will always give all chocolate lovers the same tingly and delectable sensation bite after bite! Try these two chocolate-related recipes and see the goodness of chocolates in every kind of recipe!


BRANCHUMS' CHILI with Chocolate

Ingredients:
1 lb. beef stew meat, cubed
½ lb. pork, cubed
4 tbsp. oil
1 ½ c. onions, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp. of minced garlic
1 tbsp. of chili powder
1 ½ tbsp. salt
½ tsp. of thyme
½ tsp. of cumin
1 ½ c. of water
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
½ oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 (30 oz.) can kidney beans
3 c. chopped rind


Method

1. Brown the bite size pieces of beef and pork cubes in 3 tablespoons of oil.
2. Add rest of oil, onion, green pepper and garlic.
3. Cook until soft but not browned.
4. Stir in chili powder, salt, thyme and cumin. Cook 1 minute.
5. Add water, heat to boil.
6. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 45 minutes.
7. Stir in tomato sauce and chocolate.
8. Simmer uncovered 25 to 30 minutes or until thickened.
9. Serve chili on bed of beans and rice.

Recipe#2
POT ROAST WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Ingredients:
3 lb. rump of veal or bottom round roast
3 tbsp. of olive oil
2 cloves of crushed garlic
1 tbsp.of flour
1 bay leaf
1 c. of water
1 lg. of sliced onion
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 c. dry of white wine
1/2 tbsp.of vinegar
1 tbsp. of grated bitter chocolate



Method:
1. Brown the meat in olive oil in a fireproof casserole or Dutch oven.
2. Add the garlic and onion and cook until they are soft.
3. Blend in some flour and salt and stir until smooth.
4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate.
5. Cover and simmer gently for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
6. Remove meat, add chocolate to sauce and cook until thickened and smooth.
7. If much liquid has cooked away, you may add water to make about 2 cups.
8. Add salt to taste.

Surprising as it can be, these delectable dishes using a wide array of chocolates from places al over the world were born from many years of experimenting in the kitchen. The nutty, creamy flavor of bittersweet chocolate is perfect for any kind of dish you might want to concoct as of the moment. Try these chocolate-related recipes at home and make it a family recipe everyone in your family will truly surely love!

Marshmallow Treat Easter Bunny Crafts




Marshmallow Treat Easter Bunny Crafts

Courtesy of
chocolate-candy-mall.com 



This adorable Easter recipe is from one of my favorite magazines, Taste of Home. They always have recipes that have been tried and tested and taste just great!


Here's what you'll need:


  • 30 large marshmallows (makes 12 Easter bunny crafts)
  • 60 miniature marshmallows
  • Vanilla frosting (or white chocolate, of course!) - about 2/3 cup will do
  • Pink decorating gel or pink paste food coloring
  • Pink and red decorating sprinkles; heart-shaped


Here's how to put it together:


  1. Using the vanilla frosting, "glue" together 2 large marshmallows, one on top of the other. Repeat until you have 12 bunny bodies.
  2. Cut the remaining 6 large marshmallows into quarters to form the bunny ears and set aside for later.
  3. Using the tube of pink decorating gel, "draw" a ribbon and bow around the bunny body where the two marshmallows meet to act as a bow tie.
  4. Attach eyes and a nose using the decorative candy hearts and a little white frosting. Upright hearts for the eyes and an upside-down heart for the nose.
  5. Using the pink frosting/gel again, pipe some whiskers and a smiling mouth on your homemade marshmallow Easter bunny.
  6. Grab those marshmallow bunny ears that you cut up earlier and fill in the centers of each with the pink frosting. You can then attach the ears with some of the white frosting.
  7. Finally, using 5 mini marshmallows for each Easter bunny, attach 4 legs on the front and a tail on the back.


You're done! Just let your Easter bunny crafts stand for a while until they are completely set. Now isn't that cute?


Note: If you don't have the decorating gel, you can tint 1/4 cup of your vanilla frosting pink with food coloring. Make a tube by placing the pink frosting in a pastry bag or plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner.

Can you really get addicted to chocolates? Are Chocolate Lover Or Chocoholic?

Chocoholics Anonymous hasn't been born yet but much clamor about chocolate addiction has been talked about in recent years. There seems to be a heightened need for people to draw the line between chocolate lovers and chocolate addicts or chocoholics as they call themselves. Scientists have even isolated the results of the likened effect of chocolates to the marijuana, a prohibited drug that causes euphoria or a sense of well being but carries the dangerous chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

It has been said that food cravings, such as for chocolates, are often caused by emotions. Sudden shift from being happy to a less relaxed state can prompt the mind to look for food that could alleviate the anxiety. Such is evident in people who have seasonal affective disorder or women who have premenstrual syndrome.

Women & Chocolate Addiction

Did you know women are more associated with chocolate addiction than men? If you will take a look at it, women often turn to these sweet temptations during heightened emotional stress. That is why it is a well known fact that chocolates carry uppers such as caffeine that elevate the blood pressure and quicken the breath thereby giving the person a feeling of high.

Many women experience food cravings on a monthly basis in close reference to their menstruation. Changes in hormonal levels affect the mood and consequently dictate the person to crave for certain type of foods which in the case of most women, the chocolates.

Most women claim that they get immense satisfaction upon eating chocolates which merely started as a habit. It just totally makes sense since metabolized sugar produces serotonin in the body, a chemical responsible to the feeling of elation. And who wouldn't want to feel happy, in the first place!

Addictive Responses to Chocolates Defined

Recent studies made in Europe found that allowing respondents to eat liberal amounts of chocolates, and cutting them back from eating the same resulted to the people salivating at the sight of chocolates. They felt anxious, deprived and depressed.

Another study conducted at Princeton showed rats that were fed with sugar experienced anxiety once sugar was removed from their diets. Their symptoms were like that of nicotine addicts made to quit cold turkey – shaking and their teeth chattering.

However, despite test results, researchers still believe that although the symptoms are similar, chocoholics are not addicts. There is no true chocolate addiction, as there is no definite chemical found in chocolates that are addictive. What the subjects are experiencing are anxieties based on breaking the habit of eating chocolates or that habits formed by eating something sweet when changes in moods occur.








But when do we say enough of chocolate is enough?

If you are unsure whether you are eating too much chocolate and may hamper your health, read and answer the following questions:

1. Do you usually buy loads of chocolates and keep them in stock at home?

2. Do you have more chocolate products than fruits and vegetables in your refrigerator?

3. Do you consume more than 1 pound of chocolate every month?

4. Do you have withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, anxiety, restlessness, sweating and teeth chattering?

5. Can you not last a day without eating chocolate?

If you answered YES to most of these questions then you are undoubtedly in trouble. Being a chocolate lover is not bad, but you also have to watch out for your health! As we say, an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Organise Your Very Own Chocolate Lovers' Party

Salon Du Chocolat, Chocolate Lovers' Festival, Eurochocolate, Chocolate Rush, Garfield Park Chocolate Show, Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival, these are just some of the best chocolate festivals celebrated all over the world. And they are usually attended by hundreds of thousands of chocolate lovers like me. They flock to these events to view and taste fantastic creations from world-renowned chocolatiers and take pleasure in chocolate inspired activities.




The joy and fun you will experience is doubled when you attend this festival of merriment in the company of your chocolate loving friends. You will surely get crazy eating loads of chocolates of different kinds and sizes. Now, you do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money to go to these festivals why not think of having a chocolate party in your place? You can be an expert party planner to make this happen, all you need is a little help and some flickers of ingenuity!

Start with the Menu

Don't force a sit down, four course meal. Do it just like you would on a regular barbecue Sunday. Serve grilled chicken, pork chops, pasta, and mashed potatoes, anything you are familiar with! Now, the simple chicken pieces and pork chops can be made magical by adding chocolate inspired sauces like mole, a Mexican, chili-chocolate essential. Round it up with chocolate deserts such as chocolate cakes, pastries and don't forget to serve a pile of different kinds of chocolates. Make sure to have tons of them because you will be using them on games and other activities, anyway! You don't need to buy those expensive gourmet chocolates, just grab the regular ones, your favorite brands - unless the gourmet chocolates are really what you're going for.


If you want to serve fondue, then prepare fondue matches like marshmallows, pretzels and fruits. Research on wines that would go well with chocolates and keep the idea for the party! And last of all, max out on a variety of drinks that could help clean your guests' palates.

Stage the Grandeur

Take out your best linens. If you have chocolate designed-linens, that would be great! You can line two or three tables with them. One table will be for eating and the other for chocolate and wine tasting. It can also be a place where you can display desserts that fellow choco lovers may want to indulge in anytime they want to while in the party.

Decorate your party area by incorporating chocolate brown colors in your design. Set the sound system and make sure you have great happy music to match the ambiance. And finally, make sure that your programme is ready along with the materials that you would need in games or activities.

Make the Chocolate Party Fun

Here's a list of things that you can do at your chocolate party aside from chocolate and wine tasting. You may choose one or few of them, at least whatever is possible and could easily be done without having to spend so much.



1. Game - Who Can Eat The Most Chocolates?
2. Chocolate Painting – where you use chocolates and your hands to draw pictures
3. Stage an exhibit on the history of chocolates, print pictures and put them on display so everyone could have a look and learn while having fun
4. Chocó Poker РUse chocolate pieces as chips. Your guest may take home whatever chocolates they can win.
5. Bake-off Challenge – Who Can Make The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?
6. Special cooking demonstration – learn a new chocolate recipe and share it with friends


It's so simple, right? You don't have to wait for a special occasion to throw a chocolate party! Being a chocolate lover is reason enough. But if you want to make your birthday, Thanksgiving, reunion or any get together fancier let the chocolate lover in you come out and let your loved ones experience a feast that was originally made for gods and kings