Entries from March 28th, 2011

Raspberry Cocoa Nib Coffee Cake

March 28th, 2011 · 17 Comments · Cakes, Personal, Recipes


Thanks to everyone who entered the Daily Gourmet/NewTree giveaway! The five winners are: Michelle, Jessica, Jessicah89, Debbie, and Kristin! Congrats to you all!

We had company last week: my brother-in-law had the honor of being our first houseguest to use our (finally)properly fitted out second bedroom. (Previous guests enjoyed the luxury of our living room couch while the second bedroom served as our glorified storage closet). The organization of our place has reached a kind of halfway inertia, like the interminable midpoint of a marathon. All our public spaces are perfectly presentable – on most days, at least, while we take advantage of the doors to all our private bedrooms to hide the multitude of home-decorating failures: bare walls, still-unpacked boxes, miscellany and ephemera as yet unsorted. Another roadblock to my dream of a fully-organized home: we need more bookshelves. Currently about 60% of my book collection is homeless, meaning my floor is a constantly-morphing library as I pile and un-pile books over each other. (This is only a pseudo-complaint, though, as I really love my books too much to ever begrudge my lost square footage).



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Daily Gourmet/NewTree Chocolate Deal

March 24th, 2011 · 16 Comments · Tools


I was recently contacted by Daily Gourmet, a new site that offers limited-time offers on artisanal products from around the country. They found me because they were currently running an offer on Amella Caramels, which I had reviewed favorably during my last visit to the San Francisco Chocolate Salon.

Their current offer is for NewTree Chocolates, a brand I am also familar with from my days working in a chocolate shop. Started by a Belgian biochemical engineer, NewTree's chocolates combine fine chocolate with a mixture of antioxidants and botanicals; for example, the Lavender "Tranquility" bar contains lavender and lime blossom extract, while the Cherry "Eternity" bar holds bits of cherry and contains grape seed extract, a polyphenol.

Daily Gourmet is offering a five bar sampler of the following new flavors:
- Apricot "Cocoon"
- Lavender "Tranquility"
- Cherry "Eternity"
- Dark Cocoa "Pleasure"
- Ginger "Sexy"

for $26, with free shipping, which is a 34% savings.

THey are also giving an extra $5 off to 5 Dessert First readers.

How to participate: Leave a comment saying that you have signed up for dailygourmet.com (You can't see the deals until you sign up). I'll pick five readers at random and send you a code that will give you an additional $5 off. Sound good?
This offer is good through Sunday, March 27 only. So I will close this giveaway at the end of Friday tomorrow and send out the codes. Thanks and good luck!

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({SF} TCHO and Chocolate Mint Filled Cupcakes

March 16th, 2011 · 14 Comments · Cakes, Chocolate, Recipes, San Francisco, Sweet Spots, Sweet Spots

Chocolate Mint Filled Cupcakes on dessertfirstgirl.com

Pardon the slightly disjointed nature of this post; it was meant to be report on my TCHO factory experience that evolved into a St. Patrick’s Day recipe that now includes a mention of Japan.


Apologies, but I couldn’t not mention that I fell in love with Japan long before I visited it for the first time, and I love it more with every subsequent visit. Their refined aesthetic that is visible is everything from their bridge design to their bento packaging; their concepts of wabi-sabi and mono no aware that appeals to my introvert’s, observer personality; the spare beauty of the countryside (captured in one of my favorite movies ever, Totoro), gives Japan a special place in my heart. It was hard to think about regular life, much less blogging, when seeing the awful images of devastation everywhere.



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{Cookbook Review} Sugar and Spice Brioche Buns: Everything Nice

March 8th, 2011 · 20 Comments · Breads, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

sugar and spice brioche


To see the winners of last week’s Blackboard Eats contest, see the bottom of this post!

We’re spoilt for choice of bread in San Francisco, where there’s enough artisan bread bakeries around that not having freshly baked bread with dinner almost seems enough reason to turn in your foodie membership card. I must confess that I’m not the hugest bread person, probably because there’s stiff competition for Most Ardent Bread Lover in this town, and my carbohydrate of choice tends to be rice, since it was a fixture of the dinner table while I was growing up.

I will make an exception for brioche, though. I like that it inhabits some undefined but utterly delicious middle ground between bread and cake. I like it even though it’s so rich because you are literally shoving as much butter as possible into the dough before it loses all structural integrity, people still tend to enjoy it by putting even more rich items on, like…more butter, or eggs, or pâté. I also like brioche because it’s so very easy to make. There may be many breads that intimidate me, but brioche? You make it once and you realize, that’s all there is to it? And that’s the dangerous part because you’ll want to make it again and again.


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