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  • pixeltheatre 3:15 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cupcake, See's, Toffee-ettes   

    Toffee-ettes® mini chocolate Valentine’s candy cupcakes 

    As a fan of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America, I find it fascinating how chefs can incorporate one single ingredient into so many different dishes (trout ice cream, anyone?….)  So, when an email arrived from a representant of See’s Candies®, offering me a chance to develop other sweets using their own products, I jumped at the chance of playing mini Iron Chef!

    My challenge was to come up with a Valentine’s day treat using one of See’s many candy products. Unfortunately, See’s Candies ® shops are not in Canada, but they were happy to send me a couple of products of my choice. I looked through the site and it was a tough choice. In the end, I settled on See’s Toffee-ettes® and Dark Mint Krispys®.

    My next challenge was to find a recipe that used simple ingredients and was quick to prepare. I settled on the tried and true recipe for my cream cheese and chocolate mini-cupcakes. The chocolate batter is a cinch to put together and has a wonderful deep flavor. Add crushed Toffee-ettes® for texture and you’ve got a nice two-bite chocolaty-sweet and crunchy cupcake. Here’s the final recipe:

    Toffee-ettes® mini chocolate Valentine’s candy cupcake

    Preheat oven to 350F.

    Dry Ingredients:

    In a medium bowl, mix well together using a whisk:

    1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt

    In a large measuring cup, or small bowl, mix together:

    1 cup cold water
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 Tbsp white vinegar
    1 tsp vanilla

    Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, whisk well until smooth. Crush approximately 10 Toffee-ettes® nuggets using a small processor. This should yield about one cup of crumble. Fold the crumble into the batter. Fill each cupcake liner to 3/4 full. Bake 16-18 minutes. Freezes well, and thaws in just a couple of minutes. Yields about 48 mini cupcakes.

    Toffee-ettes® make a versatile add-on to many baked goods. The only challenge would be to keep them around long enough. They’re addictive just on their own! Stay tuned for my take on the Dark Mint Krispys®.

    • markjohnhiemstra 3:37 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, that looks good. I wonder how it would work out, as I’m in Canada, to replace the candy with some Crispy Crunch, or Smarties. I’ma try and see what happens.

    • pixeltheatre 4:00 pm on February 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply


      Almond Rocca would also work, and Ferro Rocher would also come close to the texture. A mixture of Skor bar and almonds would be another option. See’s Candy do ship to Canada. Thanks for posting!

    • Reverend Tex B. Acon 8:53 pm on March 30, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for providing more Bacon information to the World! Praise B!(acon)

    • Samuel L. 2:57 am on April 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      If you want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for 4/5. Detailed info, but I just have to go to that damn msn to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!

    • Goji More 3:24 am on October 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hurrah! In the end I got a website from where I can truly take valuable facts regarding my study and knowledge.

  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on February 12, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , e-card, Google earth, Valentine   

    Free Valentine e-cards from Chocomap 

    Valentine e-cardFrom the folks who brought the Chocomap, free valentine e-cards, designed to let that person you really care, without the calories.

    Check it out at: Send an e-card bonbon

  • pixeltheatre 6:00 am on January 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Hotel Chocolat, truffles   

    And the winner is… 

    Sometime in early December, as I was perusing the Daring Bakers website, I noticed an ad on the site for a Pink Champagne Truffleschocolate competition hosted by Hotel Chocolat, a UK-based purveyor of fine chocolates. The deal was simple: Submit your favorite chocolate-based recipe and their panel would pick a winner.

    My all-time favorite and most acclaimed recipe is for Santa Fe Brownies, an unctuous concoction of 12 ounces of chocolate (bittersweet and semi-sweet) and cream cheese. I can’t quite recall how I got hold of this recipe. I believe my mom gave it to me, but she can’t remember where she got it from. It took me all of 2 minutes to copy my recipe onto the site’s registration and to submit it. Needless to say, I was dumbfounded when I received an email, from the marketing company behind the contest, telling me I had won! :0

    Shortly after Christmas, I received my prizes: a box of Pink Champagne Truffles and a copy of the 101 Best Loved  Chocolate Recipes Book. The truffles are to die for, and the book is chock-full of scrumptious recipes (chocolate pasta anyone?…). Thank you Hotel Chocolat! It was a very nice after-Christmas present.

    I baked Santa Fe Brownies while at my mother’s over the holidays. Our guests at Christmas all got to take a slab home. That recipe is definitely a winner in everyone’s book. Here’s the recipe. It’s a little-time consuming, but well worth the effort.

    Santa Fe BrowniesSanta Fe Brownies
    1 cup plus 1 teaspoon butter
    6 squares (6 ounces) unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
    6 squares (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    1 _ cups all-purpose flour
    1 _ teaspoons baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    5 large eggs
    1 _ cups firmly packed brown sugar
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 _ cups walnuts, broken into large pieces

    Cream Cheese Mixture
    12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    6 tablespoons butter, softened (no substitutions)
    1 _ teaspoons vanilla extract
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 large eggs

    Instructions :
    1.Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13x 9 inch baking pan with foil.   Melt 1 teaspoon of the
    butter and brush the bottom and sides of the pan with it.  Melt the unsweetened
    chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and the remaining 1 cup of butter in top of a double
    boiler over simmering water.  Set mixture aside and cool slightly.

    2.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat the eggs in a
    large mixing bowl at medium speed until just blended.  Add the brown sugar, granulated
    sugar, and vanilla: beat just until smooth.  Beat in the chocolate mixture, then flour
    mixture, at low speed just until combined.  Reserve 2 1/4 cups batter.  Stir the walnuts
    into remaining batter in the mixing bowl.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

    3.  For Cream Cheese Mixture, beat the cream cheese and butter in a clean mixing bowl
    at medium speed until smooth.  Gradually beat in the vanilla and sugar until light and
    fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and beat just until
    smooth.  Spoon the mixture over the chocolate batter in prepared pan, spreading to
    edges to the pan.

    4.Stir reserved chocolate batter to soften.  Spoon the batter over the cream cheese
    layer.  With a knife, cut through batters in a zigzag pattern to marbleize slightly.  Bake 1
    hour 15 minutes , until toothpick inserted in center comes out barely clean.  (If the top
    browns too quickly during baking, cover the pan loosely with foil.)  Cool completely in the
    pan on a wire rack.  Invert onto a cookie sheet; gently lift off pan and remove foil.  Invert
    again, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    5.  With a long, sharp knife, cut brownies into squares, then cut each quarter into 8
    squares.  (Can also be cut into slabs and frozen.) Makes 32.


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    • Annemarie 2:59 am on February 29, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, well done! I think it was me who posted the contest. I never learned who the winner was for this contest so I’m pleased to hear it went to a worth candidate!

    • naomi 2:54 am on March 12, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic, well done! Those brownies look incredible!

  • pixeltheatre 9:56 pm on December 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , cooking challenge, cranberry, fudge, peppermint, profiterole   

    Blog Party#29: Another Bite of Dessert: Cheesy Fudge Cranberry Tarts & Peppermint Profiteroles 

    With wet snow falling outside my window this morning (again), it was a perfect day to tackle this month’s Blog Party Challenge: Another Bite of Dessert, hosted by the Happy Sorceress. The theme was straightforward: dessert canapés.

    So many choices…Last week, for the first time, I finally got access to the Food Network as part of my new digital TV system. And for the first time, I got to see the Iron Chef of America show. Well-timed, the show was titled: All-Star Holiday Dessert Battle: Cora/Deen vs. Irvine/Florence. From the Food Network website:

    In another All-Star culinary showdown, the Chairman has invited Paula Deen to partner up with Iron Chef Cat Cora and compete against Food Network’s own Tyler Florence and Robert Irvine.

    The hour was filled with a myriad of desserts and sweets. My fillings were hurting at the final offering to the judges. Tina Fey was comatose by the end of it all. But, I had found my inspiration for this challenge.

    Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge was intriguing. I had baked cream cheese with chocolate, but Velveeta cheese?…I decided to tone down the richness of that fudge by using it as a base and adding cranberries as a topping.

    Chocolate Cheese Fudge Cranberry tartsCheesy Fudge Cranberry Tarts

    Paula Deen’s Chocolate Cheese Fudge

    Press one tablespoon into greased mini cupcake molds. Refrigerate.

    1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
    1 tbsp sugar
    1/4 cup water
    Splash of Southern Comfort (could also use Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
    Fresh mint leaves, chiffonade

    In a small saucepan, heat up the Southern Comfort with the chopped cranberries over medium heat. Add the sugar and water, reduce. Remove from heat and cool.

    Unmold the fudge cups, spoon some of the cranberry mixture in the cup and garnish with mint chiffonade.

    The ladies also concocted a peppermint martini for the judges. This triggered my second canapé:

    Peppermint Profiteroles
    Profiteroles: Choux paste recipe

    Peppermint Pastry Cream:
    2/3 cup whole milk
    2 inch vanilla bean
    2 egg yolks
    3 tbsp sugar
    1 tbsp cornstarch
    1/4 tsp peppermint extract

    In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the milk and vanilla bean and bring to a simmer.Peppermint Profiterole

    Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until well blended. When the milk reaches a simmer, remove it from the heat and gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture.

    Return the mixture to the saucepan and place it over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Stir in the peppermint extract. Discard the vanilla bean and cool.

    Chocolate ganache
    Candy cane, crushed

    Pipe the pastry cream into each choux. Dip each choux into warm ganache. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane.

    For the cocktail, I decided to keep it simple: Brandy Toddy, from DrinkMixer website.

    Brandy ToddyBrandy Toddy
    2 oz brandy
    1/2 tsp powdered sugar
    1 tsp water
    1 twist lemon peel

    Dissolve powdered sugar in 1 tsp. water in an old-fashioned glass. Add brandy and one ice cube and stir. Add twist of lemon peel on top and serve.

    Happy holidays all!

  • pixeltheatre 12:09 am on December 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , health, Smarties   

    Smarties smarten up… 

    Smarties BoxI was enjoying one of my favorite combination of flavors this week, chocolate and orange, when I noticed something different about my box of Smarties. There, in both French and English, a gentle reminder about the benefits of a balanced diet and physical activity. With obesity reaching epidemic levels, this effort by candy manufacturers to raise awareness is commendable. Just wondering how widespread this practice will become?…

  • pixeltheatre 10:44 pm on November 30, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chocoholic, , CSI: NY, foodie, Games, ,   

    Games for the connected chocoholics 

    I’ve never been much of a computer-based gamer. I’ll play the odd game of solitaire or backgammon. I doChocolatier wander the virtual landscape of Second Life, these days looking to solve the CSI:NY SL murder mystery. But I’ve never been into this whole Doom/DOD and other multiplayer computer-based games. The idea of destroying stuff to win never appealed to me. So when I came across the game of Chocolatier in an article on macnn, my curiosity was piqued.

    The game is the brainchild of PlayFirst games. According to Macnn, Chocolatier

    “…maintained a Top 20 position on several casual game sites for approximately five months.”

    PlayFrst was now releasing the sequel to that game, Chocolatier 2. I took a look at the first version of the game and liked what I saw:

    Chocolatier“Oh the gloriously rich and delectable life of a chocolatier! Constantly surrounded by mounds of chocolate bars and boxes of mouth-watering truffles! Become a master chocolatier one ingredient at a time as you travel the world to find the best prices and maximize production…but don’t forget about those conniving competitors who wish you poorly! Do you have what it takes to conquer the world through chocolate?”

    There was a 60-minute free trial you could download to test it. I did just that and became hooked. I’m not sure where those 60 minutes disappeared, but before I knew it I was frantically looking for my credit card and signing up for the registration key. Reasonably priced at $19.95, it has been my time sinkhole for the past couple of days. Despite its simple graphics, I have found myself totally submerged in the story and its environment. Dashing from city to city, buying ingredients, factories, retrofitting them for special recipes, discovering new recipes through a deep stable of characters around the globe, making new recipes, selling chocolates, the whirlwind never stops. You are sent on special assignments, delivering letters, special orders of chocolate bars or squares – I haven’t made it to the truffle level yet, all the while accumulating and spending money. You get special awards and titles as you move up the chocolatier ladder. You can then upload your high scores and awards to the FirstPlay website to see how you stack up against other players. I was ranked 167 last I looked. Still a ways to go for me…. 🙂Chocolatier 2

    Chocolatier 2 looks a little slicker than its predecessor, the UI a little cleaner. The PC format of both versions of the game also comes with the Together feature. Unfortunately, not so for the Mac version. There are also forums for players to interact on the FirstPlay website, with tips and tricks. I still have lots to do with Chocolatier before I will need to upgrade to Chocolatier 2. But, as I contemplate a 10-hour flight over the holidays, I may just give myself another small Christmas present before I board that plane… 😉

    • Sue 7:05 am on December 1, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Looks fun. I’m looking for a game for my PC. And i’m not into the guns and killing stuff either. I will download the free demo. Thanks for the tip !

    • pixeltheatre 3:22 pm on December 1, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      You’re welcome Sue! As chocolate, this game can be pretty addictive… 🙂

    • Julius 1:27 am on December 2, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      Hi LizG,

      Yikes! Another form of chocolate addiction.

      Head’s up: Edible BC at the Granville Island Supermarket has this fabulous gift box of Thomas Haas chocolates. It would make a great gift… for one’s self. 🙂

      Also wanted to let you know, I named you as a meme successor in my blog. Totally optional of course.

      Hope your December is starting off on a good note.

      Julius from Occasional Baker

    • April 12:25 pm on December 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      I love this game!! It truly is addicting!

    • pixeltheatre 11:29 pm on December 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply

      @Julius: Thanks for the headsup, Julius! I’ll definitely check out Edible BC.

      @April: Yes, it definitely is. Time just slips away when you start playing…Thanks for posting! 🙂

    • home inspection Nassau County Long Island 11:31 pm on January 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any tips?

  • pixeltheatre 9:57 pm on September 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply  

    The humble marshmallow goes uptown… 

    Pete's Gourmet ConfectionMarshmallows are sporting new colours in an attempt to recapture aging palates. Now available in new flavors such as strawberry and caramel, this sugary concoction is recapturing hearts and palates of boomers looking for tastes of days past. Whole Foods offers an organic version of the treat, while lavender and chili-flavored ones can be found at Pete’s Gourmet Confections, among other fine candy shops. Sure makes you want ‘smores!
    Full story at USA Today.

    Pumpkin Creme Mallows

    from Pete’s Gourmet Confections

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