Marking a Milestone: Chocolate Whipped Cream Cookie Sandwiches

March 31st, 2014 · 3 Comments · Chocolate, Cookies, Recipes

chocolate wafer cookies with lemon cream

Dear readers,

I’m back! Apologies for my extended absence, as the last few weeks were given over to finishing edits on my third cookbook. It’s with a sense of relief and anticipation that I let go of the manuscript, and let the publisher take over. I’m looking forward to sharing more about the book as it gets closer to release…stay tuned for more details!

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{Review}: Sweet Subscription Boxes (and a Giveaway)

March 7th, 2014 · 3 Comments · Chocolate, Reviews

cococlectic 24 blackbirds

I love getting things in the mail. Growing up, I was obsessed with the book/stamp/sticker/etc of the month clubs and heading out to the mailbox every day in anticipation of packages for me. Now the modern version of those clubs, subscription boxes, are calling my name. Hey, on the days I’m at home with the baby, a package on your doorstep is a big event, know what I mean?

Although there are subscription boxes for pretty much every interest and need imaginable, there weren’t any sweet-related ones that really caught my eye. However, recently I was introduced to two sweet subscription boxes that impressed me with their quality and creativity. Happy surprises at my door, indeed!

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A Tribute to the Queen of the Daring Bakers

November 15th, 2013 · 11 Comments · Personal, Recipes, Tarts

Chocolate Caramel Tart 2
The Chocolate Caramel Tart, from Daring Bakers August 2007

I’ve been busy for weeks with pre-trip madness, but on Tuesday I got a sudden, sad reminder of how fragile and precious life is. Lisa, the blogger behind La Mia Cucina and one of the founders of the Daring Bakers, unexpectedly passed away, leaving behind a community of baking bloggers that she helped create. (more…)

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How to Bake with Craft Chocolate (Plus Bar & Bean Giveaway!)

October 29th, 2013 · 57 Comments · Chocolate, Chocolate, Cookbooks, Giveaways, Recipes, Reviews, Sweet Spots

intensely bittersweet chocolate souffle

Happy (day after) National Chocolate Day! I’ve been getting plenty of intriguing new chocolate to keep me occupied – perhaps it’s a good thing I have a baby to prevent me from eating it all at once!

I was recently contacted by Bar & Bean, a new online shop for small-batch craft chocolate from around the world. Bar & Bean is dedicated to educating people about the qualities and nuances of craft chocolate, and they helpfully include tasting notes for the bars on their site, as well as detailed information about the chocolate makers.

I got the chance to meet Jasdeep, the creator of Bar & Bean, who is passionate about introducing people to the world of craft chocolate. He’s brought an impressive roster of chocolate makers onto Bar & Bean, many of whom I haven’t heard of or had the opportunity to try yet. Jas recognized that many people are either unaware of all the craft chocolate out there, or intimidated by the plethora of choices. By organizing his site with cocoa percentage and flavor profile searches, and adding tasting notes, he’s hoping to demystify the process. Jas has also developed some detailed personal notes on how to taste chocolate, which he shares in his tasting classes in San Francisco; check the Bar & Bean website for details.

As a introduction to Bar & Bean, I received a baker’s set consisting of five bars from Poco Dolce, Ritual, Escazu, and Dick Taylor. An early Halloween haul, indeed!

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{SF} {Chocolate Review} TCHO’s New TCHOPairings Bars

October 10th, 2013 · 5 Comments · Chocolate, Reviews, San Francisco, Sweet Spots

TCHOPairings Bars

Things have been a little on overdrive around here. A baby that can crawl and stand, lots of recipe testing, and the holidays peeping around the corner.

The nice thing about being a new mom, of course, is that people are infinitely sympathetic and kind. “Oh, you must be so busy! It’s ok if you’re late to the party!” “Oh, don’t worry if you forgot to bring the thing! You must have so much on your mind these days!” “You must be totally sleep-deprived – don’t worry about looking tired!” (Wait, what was that again? I look like crap?)

But I’m trying, gosh darn it. I don’t want to use a baby as an excuse to let everything fall by the wayside in a flaming, forgotten ball of fail. It’s just that when you have a baby, and things don’t go well, events tend to snowball much more dramatically.

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Back to Childhood: Malted Milk Chocolate Pretzel Tart

September 10th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Chocolate, Recipes, Tarts

pretzel malted milk chocolate tart on dessertfirstgirl.com

This has been on my drawing board for a while. The husband is a big fan of malted milk anything so I’d been meaning to make him a malted milk chocolate tart. As I finally got around to making some malted milk chocolate ganache, I thought, hang on, what else goes with malted milk? What about pretzels? What about a tart crust made of pretzels?

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