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hopelink

hopelink

Jean and team spent a day at hopelink preparing backpacks for back to school.

Since 1971, Hopelink has served homeless and low-income families, children, seniors and people with disabilities in King County Washington through their integrated array of programs that enable families in crisis to make progress toward and achieve self-sufficiency.

learn more about hopelink at http://www.hope-link.org/

Inspiration and Ideas, Uncategorized

xo, Jean

Posting from HQ:  December 3

One of the greatest parts about being a small business is that we can be ourselves and live out what we believe in every day.  No red tape or complicated corporate structure to weigh us down.

And around here we believe life is in the details.  So we spend a lot of time fussing over every little thing, like bringing you only the purest all natural ingredients, even if it means making a little less profit.  Like wrapping every chocolate in gift-worthy style.

And like Jean handwriting cards on behalf of our online customers so that their chocolate gifts arrive with a personal touch.  Necessary?  No.  A good use of time for the CEO?  Hard to say.

The way we roll?  Absolutely.

Since we are on the subject…this was a great little shout out for small businesses we found a few weeks ago on one of our favorite style blogs coco & kelley!

Holidays, Recipes, Uncategorized

Chocolate Caramel Tartlet

Posting from HQ:  November 16

It’s a big cooking week coming up.  So before everyone gets started, we wanted to share this little gem with you.

Our Chocolate Caramel Tartlets were adapted from a recipe by David Leibovitz, a man whose recipes we trust.  He is an American living in Paris and has been a professional cook and baker most of his life.  Among his many credentials, he has a certificate from Callebaut College in Belgium and Valrhona’s Ecole du Grand Chocolat in France.  He has written 6 books, including The Great Book of Chocolate and critically acclaimed Room for Dessert.

While his resume is impressive, we became true fans because of his blog, The Sweet Life in Paris.  In it, David chronicles his daily wanderings through one of our favorite cities and his musings on pure food, made with honest ingredients.  The recipes he posts are for real people, like us.  He is also funny.  And takes beautiful photographs.

This tartlet is the perfect example of having just a little bit of something very, very good.  The rich, dark ganache balances the sweet caramel and salt.  Finished in a slightly crisp tart – you will be completely satisfied after one.  Or two.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Dough:

4 ounces unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 T Dutch process or natural cocoa powder

Caramel Filling:

4 ounces soft butter caramels

3 T heavy cream

Ganache:

4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (our extreme dark is also great here)

6 T heavy cream

Instructions:

To make the tartlet dough, beat the butter and sugar until just smooth, using a mixer or by hand.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.  Then combine with the creamed butter mixture.  Butter the indentations of a mini muffin tin.  Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and work each ball into the indentations of the muffin tin using your thumb to press dough firmly against the bottom and sides.  Freeze the pans of dough for 20 minutes.  Quantity should make approx 24 tartlets.

While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough appears dry.  Remove from the oven.  While hot, use the handle of a wooden spoon to push down any puffiness and widen the inside of the tartlet.  This helps create a nice clean edge to the outside of your tartlet and any imperfection caused on the inside will be happily hidden beneath the caramel and ganache!  Then let cool completely.

For the caramel filling, heat the caramels and the cream over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Spoon the caramel into each tartlet shell.

For the chocolate ganache, start by heating the cream in a small saucepan or double boiler.  Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for a minute, then whisk the chocolate into the cream until the mixture is smooth.  Top each tartlet with the ganache and then swipe the excess* with the back of a spoon.  Finish each tartlet with a sprinkle of sea salt.

*We must admit that we continued to pretend we were with David in Paris by dipping a baguette into the leftover ganache.  Ahh, the sweet life!

Inspiration and Ideas, Uncategorized

Inspiration

Posting from HQ: September 29

The other night we attended Hopelink’s inspiration party for their Reaching Out Luncheon  on October 15th.  It was an amazing gathering of dedicated people.  And such fun to share stories while nibbling on fabulous food by Lisa Dupar and watching the looks of delight as guests helped themselves to their first taste of jcoco!

But the best part of the night was meeting Connie.  She started speaking to the group by saying she considers chocolate an important food group.  So, I guess we were bound to hit it off!  Connie went on to explain that she is one of Hopelink’s Pacesetter donors.  She owns her own business teaching children to swim and has successfully raised four kids all by herself.

But not so long ago she was a Hopelink client, going through a tough divorce and stuck in circumstances beyond her control that meant a slow decline into poverty.  She talked about what it felt like as things around her fell apart.

Connie is clearly a fighter and she credits Hopelink with providing her the lever she needed to begin lifting herself up into self-sufficiency.  Although she is humble and didn’t tell me this herself, I later learned that her incredible tenacity and drive  even led her to winning an Extreme Home Makeover a few years ago!  Today her business teaching children to swim in her own backyard pool has a waiting list of students and she is proud to be putting her two oldest through college.

We were inspired by Connie.  Click here if you are interested in joining us on Oct 15th.  Author Jeanette Walls will be there to tell her own incredible story, and of course you will get the chance to taste some exquisite chocolate!

Uncategorized

And the winner is…

Posting from HQ:  February 7

Seattle Chocolates!  With the award season in full swing down in Hollywood (and on a screen near you), we thought it timely to announce that Seattle Chocolates has been awarded the 2012 Grand Master title from the International Chocolate Salon.  The International Chocolate Salon hosts regional tasting events where professionals, aficionados and anyone interested can gather to sample the finest artisan, gourmet and premium chocolate.  The salons are a happy, bustling, chocolate-lover’s dream.  And we are pleased to have won the highest commendation based on the cumulative total awards given at multiple events throughout last year.  Champagne truffles anyone?!?

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Manifesto

Posting from HQ:  New Year’s Day 2012

Ø      We believe in surrounding yourself with things you love.

Ø      We believe in licking the spoon.

Ø      We believe in colorful moments and daydreams.

Ø      We believe that looks DO matter.

Ø      We believe a little bit of indulgence every day is the way to go.

Ø      We believe that truffles help people live in the moment.

Ø      We believe laughter is life’s best accessory – makes you sexy and goes with every single thing in your closet.

Ø      We believe giving something beautiful makes you feel all that!

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Katie’s Gingerbread

Posting from HQ: December 24

By nature, we are dessert people. Well, let’s be honest, by ‘dessert people’ we really mean chocolate people.  So of course, we love all of the sweet, festive treats this time of year.  Here’s a fabulous gingerbread recipe that Katie made the other day.  Yep, there’s some chocolate in there.  But we think you will find it every bit as spicy and lovely as the traditional version.  Whip cream on top is devine!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1/4 cup applesauce

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup hot water

2 Gingerbread Truffle Bars, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 works fine if you must nibble while cooking)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour a 9″ square pan or loaf pan.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg and stir in the molasses and applesauce.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Blend into the molasses mixture.  Stir in hot water and then fold in the Gingerbread Truffle Bar pieces.  Pour into the pan, filling pan approx. halfway.  Bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Unless of course, it hits a chocolate chunk!

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Our Favorite Things

Posting from HQ:  December 21

Here is a quick roundup of a few things we love! Starting with Jonathan Adler pink poodles and Barbie wreath in the same room.

The Kate Spade Cha Cha Chocolate Clutch – we think appropriate for every occassion.

Tarina Tarantino plastic heart bracelet.

Passion and green iced tea – no water, no sweetener.

Dean Martin – Making Spirits Bright Christmas Album (hands down favorite song:  Baby It’s Cold Outside.)

And for the finishing touch …Essie ‘Mink Muffs’ Nail Polish.