Dick Taylor Craft Handmade Chocolate and French Silk Pie Review and Recipe #DickTaylorChocolate

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Every once in a while, you run into a product that is a game changer. Someone who ups the bar so high that you don’t know who or if it can ever be topped. I really try to reserve some labels for a truly superlative product. Dick Taylor’s Craft Chocolate hits every metric for me to call it “The Very Best”. Nothing I’ve ever had before can even come close. It’s in a league all it’s own. I’ll go over why below, and even add a recipe that, should you have the willpower to not devour the chocolate immediately, will be dynamite.

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Chocolate in the United States has been done a great disservice. What was once an American icon, Hershey’s, can be held partly accountable for the woeful state of chocolate confections in this country. Because if you’ve only had Hershey’s, you’ve not had chocolate. Craftsmen like Dustin Taylor and Adam Dick are looking to right a terrible wrong with their small-batch craft Dick Taylor chocolates. With a hands-on approach that takes up to a month or more, it starts with selecting only the finest fair-trade raw cacao, all the way up to the pouring of this molten magic into it’s molds. You’ve not lived until you’ve treated yourself to a piece of Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate. The vintage machinery used belie the dedication and skill inherent to this labor of love, because one would think to make the best chocolate, you’d need the latest and greatest in automation and innovation. The craftspeople at Dick Taylor chocolates scoff at the notion, and impart a love and devotion to being the best that I could only strive for. Heart will take you far, it seems.

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The list of ingredients for the 72% Madagascar, Sambirano is so simple it’s almost as if they left out a step on purpose to keep anyone else from finding the secret to a truly superior chocolate. Ready?

Organic cacao and organic cane sugar.

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That’s it. No emulsifiers, no fillers, no chemicals, no artificial gunk, no waxes. The flavor envelopes your mouth immediately, with no harsh bitterness, no oily or overly creamy mouth feel, no grit. Impossibly smooth from first bite to final swallow, you almost never want the experience to end. There’s nothing else like it. It was almost transcendent. Our bars of Green & Blacks now sit in the pantry, lonely and wanting. The Guittard Dark baking chips that were my baking cabinet queens have been kicked to the curb. I’m fully and completely in love with Dick Taylor’s Craft lovelies. I mean, they even look exquisite. We were so fortunate that the weather was in our favor when the box arrived, as I’ve have been inconsolable to have had this chocolate adulterated by the heat. There’s 5 different types of “dark” chocolate with cacao percentages from 72% up to 76%, as well as 4 specialty flavors (Fleur de Sel?! You had me at “chocolate”, you devil!), drinking chocolate, and even a Father’s Day Gift Collection! Should I gift one to hubby despite not being a father? Hmm… At any rate, there’s truly something for everybody there!

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Located to our north in Eureka, CA, we have a standing invitation to tour their facility should we ever find ourselves in the neighborhood. I don’t know if I’d trust my self (or hubby) to not grab everything we could carry and run cackling like madmen out the doors at first opportunity, probably to the tune of “I’ve got a golden ticket”. There’s thankfully an authorized retailer just a short ways away, but I’m not sure if my diet thinks this is a good thing. We finished the first bar in 5 minutes after the first nibbles, and we just don’t do that in this house. Chances are, there’s someone to sell you a bar locally. And if not, they do sell direct from the website, shipped to your door.

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Not since the mythical Willy Wonka has there been something so magical available to eat. Nothing you’ve had comes close. Be forewarned, after you’ve had Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate, nothing will ever come close again. You’ll be spoiled for all time, chasing a chocolate dragon until your end of days. Do it anyways. It’s sooooo worth it.

Connect with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolates at:

 

 

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate French Silk Pie:

With Summer here and the weather finally warming up for us, I wanted to bring back a classic but a goodie.  A good pudding always allows you taste the honest chocolate notes.  With Dick Taylor’s Madagascar, Sambirano 72%, I found it to be like the perfect espresso without the bitterness.  A good chocolate will not add oils or large amount of sugars, so neither shall I.  My Husband has always loved this pie but disliked what time has done to it.  It went from a way to showcase a fine chocolate bar and having a cold pie on a hot day, which hits you perfectly like a car ride (of course top down) with a chocolate shake in hand.  We now get ready-made puddings out of a box and the custard pudding below is good and rich enough to eat by the spoonful!  Say goodbye to eating desserts out of the box and treat you and yours with real pudding made like other, with Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  If I could only find a way to transfer the design of their bars onto this pie…….life would be perfect.  I swear they should sell stamps of their bar’s imprint and of course paired with chocolate scented ink 🙂 Enjoy!

Lets Begin……

Filling (Custard Pudding)-

  • 1/3 cup of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of Whole Milk (at room temperature)
  • 1/8 cup of Corn Starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
  • 2 Egg Yolks (at room temperature)
  • 5 1/4 ounces of Dick Taylor’s Dark Chocolate of your choice
  • 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 of teaspoon of Cocoa Powder (reserved as you sprinkle it on the crust before adding the filling)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of Butter (salted and used KerryGold)
  • 1 Pre-baked Pie Crust (search my recipes if you need one or you can use whatever recipe you desire)

You Start by pre-baking a pie crust.  The crust has to be fully cooked and cooled before you begin making the pudding for the pie.  Below is my crust, and I use a butter and shortening recipe.  I won’t judge if you even get a ready made pie crust, just as long as you make the pudding and you can just skip the crust and serve the pudding in cups with a graham cracker to dunk with!

Now, comes puddin’ time!  You first start by combining the dry ingredients.  This is the corn starch, sugar and salt.  I combine them in a bowl, whisk and then they go into the pot you wish to make your pudding in.  I use a non-stick for that added no stick insurance they have.  Next, combine the milk and the 2 egg yolks.  I use the same measuring cup I use for the milk and just whisk and set aside.  You then measure out your chocolate (break up bars **sniffle**), and you need 5 1/4 ounces.  If you go over, it produces a thicker product but trust me this is pudding that is as thick as it is and rich.  Add the 1/8 cup of Cocoa Powder to the same bowl you have your chocolate in.  If you opted to make this a pie, add the 1/2 teaspoon and dust the bottom of your pie crust with it.

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Now comes the cooking process.  Combine the milk and egg mixture to the sugar, salt and corn starch mix.  Combine with a whisk and turn the stove’s burner on low.  Keep mixing, whisking (get those edges too!) and continue whisking.  You can set the burner to a low-medium setting if you are a heavy whisker at this point and the mixture will begin to show small air bubbles around the 3 minute mark.  You will feel some heat on you knuckles from the steam but keep at it.  After all, we’re burning calories here!  As you whisk, you will feel at the 5 minute mark (if not sooner), the mixture getting thicker and thicker and when it truly bubbles, just before it boils, off the heat it comes.  Turn off the burner and add the chocolate to your custard, along with the Vanilla.  You got pudding!

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Then add the tablespoon of butter.  Now, you have a glistening and rich pudding.  Heaven!

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Now, pour the pudding into the pie shell or if making pudding cups, you can pour into a container to cool (uncovered).  Once cooled, you can then add a cover to not have a choco-smelling fridge, but then that’s not a bad thing either.

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You allow the pie (or pudding bowl) to cool on the counter for an hour and then into the fridge it goes (uncovered).  I let it cool about 3 hours to avoid that condensation you can get if you covered it.  After the 3 hour mark, I then cover the pie (or pudding bowl).  I allow the pie to cool over night and yes, it tortures my loved ones.  I figure they can salivate while it’s cooling and you really get the pie to settle and this is why that 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa is added.  Any wetness gets absorbed and there is no sliding around from the filling when cut.  Now, topping time!

I have made several topping from whipped cream with mascarpone cheese to salted caramel.  This time I made edible fun-fetti.  It’s a sugar cookie batter but why use white sugar when you can add color!

Fun-Fetti/Confetti Cookie Crumb Topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 3/4 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals
  • A Dash of salt
  • A Sprinkling of Multi-Colored Sugar Crystals

Set Oven at 375 degrees and begin incorporating (cutting with fork or I use my hands) the butter and flour.  It’s cold and you want to create crumb with about pea sized crumbles.  Add a dash of salt (if wanted) and the 1 tablespoon of the sugar crystals.  Mix until incorporated and in it goes into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  When the 7 minute mark comes, add a sprinkle of the sugar if you want extra shimmer.  Then back it goes for the last 3 minutes of cooking.  You want the crumble set but not browned because it takes away from the appearance.

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Take out cooled Pie.

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Add whipped topping and Fun-fetti/Confetti topping and done………..well, you can do more and this is why I never decorate the entire pie!  You can also add red, white and blue sugar crystals for a 4th of July theme to the confetti crumble.

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You can opt for a Fleur de Sel Caramel topping with crushed Pistachios…….

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Or, you want it all!

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And, if you’re feeling nifty and want Fleur de Sel Topping with Maldon Salt Crystals (of course, Hubby fought me on not leaving the Fun-fetti out)……the possibilities are endless!

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Enjoy!

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

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The Spice Lab: Fourth of July Blueberry & Pomegranate Sugar Lab Cookies #Baking #Recipe

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I wanted a cookie that could be used in several applications. This cookie has a muffin texture when you add the baking soda, which is great for drop style cookies to even making Cake Pops or fritters with. Omit the Baking Soda and you will get a crisper cookie texture, that can be eaten as-is or enjoyed with ice cream. I have even enjoyed the muffin style version with ice cream because it plays well as a blueberry and pomegranate shortcake. 🙂

Let’s Begin….

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter (4 tablespoons)
  • 4 ounces of Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of dried unsweetened Blueberries
  • 1/4 of warm water to soak blueberries in. Juice (i.e. Blueberry, Pomegranate or even a Tart Cherry) may also be used if not too sweet.
  • 1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
  • 50 grams of Powdered Sugar
  • 50 grams of Rice Flour
  • 50 grams of All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 drops of Lemon Extract
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda (use for a muffin/shortbread texture)
  • Pomegranate Sugar from the Spice Lab/Sugar Lab

 

Soak the blueberries in the 1/4 cup of warm water and add 1 tablespoon of Maple Syrup to the soak.

You then start by creaming the butter, cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar and the soaked berries with water and all. You want a nice smooth texture.

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You want to break the berries apart a bit so they release their flavor and color through out the dough.

Then add the flours and the lemon extract. Add the Baking soda if you desire a more cake like product.

1 to 2 hours for a stiff dough you can work with.

1 to 2 hours for a stiff dough you can work with.

 

Take dough out and allow for it to cool and stiffen up in the fridge. I always locate mine at the back of the fridge and it takes between 1 to 2 hours. You can also make it the evening before and allow it to cool overnight.

Once the dough has cooled and absorbed all the dry ingredients well, we have options!  

Start by heating your oven to 350 degrees.  My cookies depending on size took 12 to 15 minutes to bake.  They will feel soft and moist, but don’t be fooled because they will stiffen up nicely (careful over baking) after just 1 minute of resting on the pan.  Then remove and allow to cool.

  • You can cut the cookie outs by using shapes

I used stars of different shapes and sizes to go with a 4th of July look.

 

  • Drop Cookies

You can make drop cookies by making balls, rolling in sugar and just placing them on parchment paper and a baking sheet.  I stud each cookie with a defrosted blueberry for that little extra touch!

  • Cake Pops using a fried method for a crispy outside……sort of like a fritter!

You can make cake pops by frying the dough in Peanut oil.  I used a toothpick and then made a ball.  I put the dough in the freezer to set for 15 minutes and then took the pops out.  Gave them a final shaping and in they went into the oil.  Takes less than a minute at the size I created to cook and fry up.  Roll in the Pom sugar and you are set!

 

  • Last but not least, you can make Vintage Flags 

The options are endless and the flavor from the Pomegranate Sugar by the Sugar Lab is wonderful.  Not super sugar and you taste the fruit versus just sugar crystals.  They gave my baked goods a beautiful look but also taste wonderful.  Get creative this 4th of July! Enjoy!

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Get your Sugar and Spices Fix at:

  • The Spice Lab on-line– http://shop.thespicelab.com/index.php/peppers-spices/sugars/gourmet-sugar.html
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiceLabInc
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/TheSpiceLab

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I received the above product free of charge from The Spice Lab.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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No Kneading Required- Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Bread, great for fillings #Recipe

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This is a simple and super easy baked bread that uses part All-Purpose flour and part White Whole Wheat flour. It’s a blend that goes perfectly with fruit and even soft cheese with fruit based spreads. No kneading required and the bread lasts about 5 days in the fridge. I literally just pull the ounces I need and bake fresh bread when needed. It makes it look like I worked really hard in the kitchen!  This is the base recipe and you can make it go savory or sweet by what decide to fill it with.  You can also just have it as is and it goes great with ham!

Let’s Begin…..

  • 2 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup of White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon of Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Yeast (Active-Dry)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm Water (105 to 110 degrees)

Simply add the flours in a bowl, the salt and yeast. Whisk until blended and then add the water.

With a wooden spoon or one that has the “umph” to withstand a few strokes, mix until blended. I usually do it for 1 to 2 minutes and if the dough seems too dry, add a teaspoon of water until you get a sticky consistency.

 

Then simply cover lightly and allow the dough to proof for 2 hours.

I recommend a overnight rest in the fridge for better taste and it allows the bread flavor to mature nicely and hydrate properly. The next day just take out what you need. I pull out about 5 1/2 ounces to make a small sized loaf that is good for 2 people, plus leftovers. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes and then make your creations! Allow the shaped loaf to rest and proof for about 20 to 30 minutes and then comes the baking. Brush the loaf with warm water and sometimes I even add a touch of Maple Syrup to mine to even olive oil if I am making a savory loaf. Brush the loaf and then slash (2 or 3 should do). Then bake at 450 degrees until done. Mine takes about 20 minutes.  Allow the loaf to cool before cutting.  I allow 30 minutes unless a “squirrel” attacks my bread because he could not wait.  The squirrel is usually also called a husband 🙂

 

 

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Blueberry Maple Rustic Bread-

  • 9 ounces of Almost Whole Wheat Rustic Dough recipe above
  • 1/8 cup of dried Blueberries (I use no sugar ones- Bob’s Red Mill)
  • Drizzle of Maple Syrup
  • Warm Water with a touch of Maple Syrup for “wetting” the loaf before baking
  • Dusting of Turbinado Sugar

 

Simply hydrate your berries and some people use warm water,

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others like to add flavor by warming some juice and allowing the blueberries to hydrate in that. I went for water because I could not decide what juice to use and since it was late at night, my brain was starting to turn off. I bloom the berries for about 15 to 20 minutes. I then grabbed about 9 ounces of dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Slowly begin to shape, sort of flattening and pulling softly until I get the desired shape and length.

Then simply drain the blueberries and drizzle the maple syrup. I then rolled, leaving the flap side down.  You then just make sure the end (tips) are the shape you desire.  I went with a pointy look.

I got crafty and pulled some dough out to give it a scroll design on top but you don’t have to :).  Let the loaf relax (proof) for 20 minutes. Time lapses and I brush the loaf with the water and touch of maple syrup. Gave it a few slashes, sprinkled with Turbinado sugar and in it goes to be baked.  I baked the loaf for 20 minutes at 450 degrees and then allowed it to cool on the rack. I had a late night baking session but come morning, we were enjoying fresh baked blueberry maple slices and it was divine!  You control the sugar and sweeteners and get creative!  Make a patriotic themed loaf by adding cranberries and even chocolate or nuts.  Enjoy!

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