That’s what this blog means to me but now it’s time to move on. So, join me on my new journey here.

I just posted on my old Blogger blog that moving to wordpress.org will make serving you easier. I can add more perks to keep you coming. Plus, hopefully the photo editor won’t be as annoying.

I hope you’ll join me on my new journey or the continuation of this voyage should I say. Here’s the venue. All aboard!

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I just read that the price of Easter eggs in supermarkets are rising by 140%. Obviously, savvy shoppers will wait till the last minute to pick up the bargains. However, if you won’t have time to wait for the price slash then why not make yours instead of settling for mass produced ones? Click the photo below to see how to do it.

Everyone is having a guess as to what her dress will be like and experts are also suggesting what it should be like. Well, how’s about a dress made of 40kg of white chocolate?

It looks as real as can be and even while watching the video I still struggled to make out it was chocolate. If you don’t struggle please let me know as I might need to have my eyes checked or computer changed. Click here to enjoy.

If you’re looking for an extra-creative way to present chocolate on Valentine’s day and can find your way in the kitchen, here are some recipes I stumbled on via the Parents website. Do let me know how you get on. I will be trying the Bittersweet chocolate pudding as I have one wonky chocolate bar I need to get rid of 😉

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding

1. Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding:  Try Dutch-processed cocoa in this pudding; it will give a richer, more luxurious flavor.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Refrigerate: at least 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/4 cup  cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting)
  • Pinch  ground nutmeg
  • 3-1/2 cups  milk
  • 4 ounces  bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping, for serving (optional)
Directions1. In a medium-size heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and nutmeg. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly to keep mixture from getting lumpy.

2. Transfer saucepan to stovetop, and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil (about 10 minutes), then boil 2 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir until all pieces are melted. Stir in vanilla. Strain into a large bowl, then either cover surface with plastic wrap or divide into individual cups and cover. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping, dusted with cocoa, if desired.

Tropical Tart

2. Tropical Tart: Refrigerating the crust while assembling the filling will help hold cookie crumbs together.
Makes: 16 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Microwave: 45 seconds
Cook: 3 minutes
Refrigerate: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 bag (7.25 ounces; 24 cookies)  square chocolate cookies (such as Pepperidge Farms Chessmen – or Chocolate Digestives?)
  • 6 tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon  sugar
  • Filling:
  • 2/3 cup  dried pineapple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup  coconut-flavored rum (such as Malibu) or pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup  heavy cream
  • 1 cup (6 ounces)  semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup  macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup  plus 2 tablespoons sweetened flake coconut
  • 1 envelope (from a 2.6-ounce package)  powdered dairy topping mix
  • 1/2 cup  milk
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
Directions1. Crust: Set aside one cookie. In food processor, crush remaining cookies until crumbs are even in size. Add butter and sugar; pulse to blend. Press into a 9-inch tart pan. Refrigerate while making filling.

2. Filling: Combine pineapple and rum or juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH power for 45 seconds. Let stand 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until bubbly around the edges, abut 3 minutes. Place chocolate in a bowl and pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir or whisk until smooth.

4. Drain pineapple (discarding liquid) and stir into chocolate mixture, along with nuts and 1/2 cup of the coconut. Spread into crust. Refrigerate 1-1/2 hours.

5. Combine topping mix, milk and vanilla in a medium-size bowl. Beat on low speed until blended, then on high for 4 minutes. Spread over chocolate mixture. Toast remaining 2 tablespoons coconut; sprinkle over tart. Crush remaining cookie; sprinkle over coconut and serve.

Cocoa Meringues

3. Cocoa Meringues: No peeking! If you open the oven while the meringues are baking, they may collapse.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup  sugar
  • 3 tablespoons  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch  ground cinnamon
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • 2 squares (1 ounce each)  semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

1. Heat oven to 250°F. Line two large baking sheets with nonstick foil.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder and ground cinnamon. Place egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer, or a large bowl. Add the cream of tartar.
3. Begin beating egg whites on low speed, using the whip attachment, until foamy. Increase the speed to medium, and add sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time, until medium-stiff peaks form.
4. Transfer mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (go to confectioneryhouse.com to purchase). Pipe onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 250°F for 1 hour, 15 minutes-do not open oven door or meringues may collapse. Turn off oven; let meringues sit in oven at least 1/2 hour, then remove baking sheets from oven. Carefully remove cookies directly to cooling racks. Cool completely.
5. Place semisweet chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Transfer to a small plastic bag. Snip off a corner. Transfer meringues to a sheet of waxed paper. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Let dry completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

Walnut Brownies

4. Walnut Brownies: Loaded with Walnuts of course.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 minutes
Bake: at 180 degrees C. for 35 minutes

Ingredients

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Directions

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 4. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick foil.
2. Combine chocolate and butter in a medium-size saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3. Stir in sugar, walnuts and salt. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in 1/2 cup of the mini chips, the flour and the vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/4 cup mini chips.
4. Bake at 180 degrees or gas mark 4 for 35 minutes or until brownie is dry on top. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then use foil to lift brownie from pan. Cool, then dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.

Cocoa-Oatmeal Jumbos

5. Cocoa-Oatmeal Jumbos: Full of raisins and oats, not my cup of tea.

Makes: 16 to 20 jumbo cookies
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: at 180 degrees C. for 17 minutes

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Have two large nonstick baking sheets at the ready.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and both kinds of sugar until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture, then stir in oats, raisins and chocolate chips.
3. Dollop 1/4-cupfuls of batter onto prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies at 350°F for 17 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Cake

6. Double Chocolate Cake: A double hit of chocolate — in the layers and in the frosting — makes this cake a truly decadent dessert.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Microwave: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
Bake: at 180 degrees C. for 35 minutes

Ingredients

Cake:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1-1/3 cups milk

Frosting:
1 bag (12 ounces) white chocolate chips
1 container (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
Chocolate curls, to garnish (optional)

Directions
1. Cake: Coat two 9 x 2-inch round baking pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottoms with waxed paper; spray paper.
2. Break up chocolate into a small microwave-safe bowl; add oil. Microwave on HIGH power for 1 minute; stir until smooth. If needed, heat an additional 15 seconds. Cool slightly.
3. In medium-size bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
4. Place vinegar in a 2-cup capacity measuring cup. Add milk and stir until blended. On low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour; beat 1 minute. Spread into pans.
5. Bake at 180°C or gas mark 4 for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers tests clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool layers completely (about 2 hours).
6. Prepare Frosting: In large glass bowl, microwave white chocolate on 50% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave another 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
7. With mixer, beat in sour cream and butter until smooth. Refrigerate 10 minutes. On low speed, beat in sugar until blended; continue to beat until fluffy. If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes. Spread 1 cup frosting on top of one layer. Stack with second cake layer. Spread thin coating of frosting around side of cake. Refrigerate or freeze 15 minutes, until firm. Frost side and top with remaining frosting; garnish with curls, if desired. Refrigerate until set, 20 minutes.

All credits go to Parents website for these recipes and photography credits can be found on their website.

Have you always dreamt of ordering some personalised chocolate but think you could never come up with anything unique?

Well, the good news is that the easiest way to personalise chocolate and have a completely unique yet stunning design is to use a photo.

Look at the photos on these chocolates they are so cute. It’s very unlikely anyone places an order with exactly the same photo. Yet, nothing beats this photo chocolate order I received recently.

That photo is most definitely unique to the customer. I can guarantee no one else will have that exact photo on their personalised chocolate bars.

So, if you’re looking for a really unique design for your personalised chocolate bars, I hope you’ve found an answer now. Happy designing!

Several bars of Amedei chocolate.

Image via Wikipedia

The type of Cocoa grown in Cote d’Ivoire is known as the Forastero variety. The Forastero Cocoa tree is known to be the most high-yielding of the four major varieties of Cocoa treesCriollo, Trinitario and Nacional. Since the Forastero thrives best as opposed to the Nacional – thought to be extinct but recently rediscovered in Peru, it’s the source of most of the chocolate we eat. Unfortunately, it also produces the least aromatic beans.

Chocolate prices are set to soar now because of the decision of the Ivorian government to ban Cocoa export. This has of course been brought about by the difficult political situation in the country.

How is this good news for me?

1. Better quality chocolate from the more aromatic Criollo,  Trinitario and even recently revived Nacional trees.

2. Develop a taste for good quality chocolate akin to that of a connoisseur’s.

3. Ability to review chocolate addiction if you have any. If you can’t go through a day without a Twix could the price doubling or taste changing change your mind?

4. An introduction to fine chocolate like Amedei, Valrhona and Domori which will help you realise what you’ve been missing.

5. Reap the health rewards promised in chocolate. A lot of the fine chocolate you will find around have a high percentage of cocoa or come in exciting dark chocolate mixes which are tasty and health-giving. Just be sure not to over-indulge.

6. Help you appreciate smaller brands in the gourmet industry, whether or not it’s chocolate, for their commitment to quality, perfection and the welfare of all.

7. This February, Chocolat A Toi will introduce an exciting range of chocolate made with Valrhona products. Valrhona is a French company founded in 1924 who source their cocoa beans from the Criollo. So, let your taste buds know they will be getting an introduction to fine chocolate.

Goal

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sure you’ve heard enough about goal planning for the next 12 months. So, I won’t remind you that they need to be SMART but if you have a goal which you’d really like to share why not leave it in the comments section? You may have a goal that’s really important to you that you would like some publicity for maybe to raise funds for charity. It might even be a goal you want to share so you can get an accountability partner for.

I would really like to hear about your goals. Remember though, the most important thing is that they’re written down and guess what? You can start by writing them down here. Yup. And feel free to always come back here to make reference to them – get it?

If you would like to learn how to set goals that are SMART, this article on goal setting on Erica Douglass’ blog is good knuckle down stuff.