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!

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Inspiration and Ideas

Goodbye Norma Jean

Posting from HQ:  May 11

…and farewell Chicago, after a busy couple of days at the Sweets and Snacks Expo.  Like us, Marilyn left town this week, having been installed last July.  So we dashed out to snap her picture after setting up our booth at the beginning of the week.  City was abuzz about seeing the super-sized starlet go.  And none too sad we noticed!

Trip highlights:  Finding Eno Chicago Wine Bar still open after our late arrival on Monday – a great wine, cheese and chocolate taste experience.  And somehow a fitting start to our week of conversation about crafting unforgettable chocolate combinations.  Jean and Niel attended the NCA’s Chocolate Council Meetings.  Jean led tours of culinary students through the show and Niel spoke about finding the delicate balance between different ingredients and types of chocolate.  (That deserves its own post – so stay tuned for more on that soon!)  Niel was also interviewed live by WGN radio about translating his engineering background into chocolate making.  A fact that is certainly one of the best kept secrets of our success!

Whew, what a great week.

Trends

Your Snacking Priorities

Posting from Chicago:  May 9

Hello from the Sweets and Snacks Expo!  Every year we head to Chicago to be part of this great event and we love the chance to step back and scan what’s going on in the industry.  There are hundreds of companies represented and products that range from outrageous to gorgeous.  And just think, all of it is coming to a store near you this fall.  So we thought we’d give you an idea of what to expect. . .

As reported by the National Confectioners Association, the major trends of 2012 include;  1.  Sweets made for sharing, 2.  Sweet and salty pairings remain strong favorites, 3.  Flavor influences coming from around the world, and 4.  An increase in healthy snacking.

Interesting.  But what we’d really like to know is what YOU think!  Given what we are seeing at the Expo, we’re curious to hear about your snacking priorities when it comes to Seattle Chocolates.

Thanks!

Style

The Forecast

Posting from HQ:  March 16

Did anyone notice what happened at Benaroya Hall this week?  Seattle Magazine hosted its first ever Forecast: A Fashion Show for Seattle.  According to Seattle Business Magazine,  “Seattle ranks fourth—behind New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco—as a major area of fashion design and apparel talent.”  And the turnout on Wednesday night suggests some energy behind this!  So we think it’s time for a little shout out.  Way to go Seattle for being bold and celebrating our own unique high style.  Something we’re not exactly known for.

Um… I thought I was reading a chocolate blog, you might say.  What does fashion have to do with anything?

Well… you all know that we love chocolate, but what you might not realize is that we are also passionate about fashion.  That is why we always dress our chocolate up to the nines.  We believe that looks DO matter.  Because looking good makes you feel good.  Plus, getting noticed is a nice thing.  And giving something beautiful is a  lovely, understated way to tell someone that you think they rock!  So it’s sort of a hobby for us to watch what is going on in the fashion world.  It inspires us to keep creating good lookin’ chocolate for you to indulge in and give to your friends.

Stay beautiful Seattle!

Holidays

Happy Valentines Day

Posting from HQ:  February 14

Roses are red, Violets are blue, Happy Valentines Day from HQ!!  Here is a snapshot of the last heart shaped box we packed up and sent out into the world yesterday.  Whew!  We hope your sweetie gets the sweets of their dreams today.  And it’s true what they say – the more love you give out, the more that comes back.  So we hope you get a little something too.  Whether it comes heart shaped, in a bag or a tidy little bar, we wish you a choco-lata love!!!

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?!?

Holidays

A Valentine for Him

Posting from HQ: February 2

The new and improved “Red Hot” truffle bar was created with him in mind.  We combined the finest dark chocolate with cinnamon oil and crushed cinnamon candy pieces.

It has a sweet and spicy texture and finish.  Imagine your favorite meltaway chocolate, with a kick – and like all Seattle Chocolates, this seasonal sweetheart is kosher certified and all natural!

Holidays

A Valentine for Her

Posting from HQ:  January 27

Valentine’s Day is such fun because it’s all about spreading the love – to your sweetheart of course, but also to friends, your peeps, and the world at large.  This year our ‘his and hers’ truffle bars are wrapped in whimsy and sealed with a kiss.  So cute, you can almost skip the card!  But we know you are in love with us for more than our looks, and so here’s a peek at what’s inside.

Her Valentine is a Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar that we call ‘Pink Bubbly’.  The truffle filling is crafted using freeze-dried raspberries folded into white chocolate and stirred with champagne and all natural popping candy.  Enrobed in our signature dark chocolate, the combination is delicate and pleasing and never overpowering.  Sweet, tart and lightly effervescent, it  tickles the palette and is sure to make her smile.

Trends

Trendspotting: Gluten Free Grows Up

Posting from the San Francisco Fancy Food Show:  January 17

Every year we introduce some of our latest creations at the Winter Fancy Food Show.   It is always a whirlwind tour of unbelievable products and flavors and a great chance to connect with old friends and new.  This year, there were a few trendspotters (from magazines you’d know, like Sunset, The New Yorker and Better Homes and Gardens) walking the halls of the Moscone Center, ferreting out the latest tastes to watch in 2012.

Some of their finds were not too surprising –  ancient grains are huge.  We agree.  Quinoa really is a pretty tasty ‘almost perfect’ protein.  While other trends surprised us – did you know that pickling is making a comeback?

But the trend we really loved to see is that gluten free is growing up.  According to these food journalists and cookbook authors, shoppers are increasingly opting for gluten free foods, whether they have allergies or not.  And at the show they noticed that producers are stepping up by offering full flavor, high quality choices.  So, we thought now would be a good time to remind everyone that our 10 everyday truffle bars are gluten free!

Guess what, they are also all natural and kosher.  They always have been and always will be.  But still, we love a good trend!

Style

Words We Live By

Posting from HQ:  January 9

In honor of all those New Year’s resolutions made over the past weeks, we have been thinking of some of the fabulous women whose timeless wisdom inspires us.  We couldn’t have said it better!

Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else.

Judy Garland

If you obey all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun.

Katherine Helpburn

Glamour is what makes a man ask for your telephone number.  But it is also what makes a woman ask for the name of your dressmaker.

Lilly Dache

The future belongs  to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt