Dreams of Chocolate

February 23, 2008

Nope, not one.  Not a single one.  Not even the tiniest smidgen of one. 

That’s right: for the first time ever in my adult life, I have not seen ONE of the movies nominated for Best Picture tomorrow night. (And YOU thought I was going to say “not one piece of chocolate!  Ha ha on you!! Well, I haven’t had a single smidge of that, either.)

And that is all I will be saying about the Oscars.

I’ve decided that I must have been a cacao overlord in a previous lifetime, and now as part of my atonement, I’m seeing chocolate, chocolate everywhere–just when I’m trying most to avoid the stuff (for those of you who just joined us in medias res, I’m attempting a detox to clear my body of the influence of the Devil Chocolate–and so, the Week of Chocolate Asceticism). 

As I mentioned before I began my week, I did whip up a few delectables before I started so that the blog wouldn’t be entirely bereft of the sweet stuff for the entire time.  Then, last night, I even dreamt of some new chocolate-based dessert I could make! 

And, of course, other bloggers are flinging chocolate this way and that, directly into my field of vision all this week: Eat Me, Delicious has just posted about a mouth-watering Chocolate Cookie Bark; The Good Eatah made a very rich, very creamy chocolate pudding;  Vegan Noodle of Walking the Vegan Line made some wicked-looking truffles; Hannah made her own–homemade!–white chocolate bar; that rascal, Michael Clayton, made nothing; Cate from Sweetnicks made Chocolate Pots de Creme (how did she find the time??) and Ivonne from Cream Puffs in Venice has even devoted an entire month to the stuff (please, somebody save me!)

And so, I decided I couldn’t escape it.  Although I am still determined not to let one mote, not one spec, not one shaving, not one MOLECULE of chocolate enter my mouth until I’ve given my system a decent break, I thought a little virtual indulgence wouldn’t do any harm.   

So here I’ll share some photos of chocolate-based recipes I’ve played with over the past few weeks, as well as some goodies I had to bake for customers.  

When I expressed some dismay that I wouldn’t be able to taste-test any of my catered goods, my friend’s very helpful teenaged daughter piped up:  “Well, you could just take a bite, chew it, and then spit it out.” Remember that episode of Sex and the City, where Miranda has dinner with an ex-boyfriend?  And they haven’t seen each other in years, and when they do, he’s lost a ton of weight?  And then they go out to eat at a swanky NYC restaurant, and he orders steak?  And then she catches him spitting a gnarly, saliva-soaked wad of chewed steak into his napkin?  Yep, that’s the one. And so you see why I couldn’t take the daughter’s advice. 

As it turns out, I’ve made most of these items several hundred times, so I didn’t have to break my WOCA and sample anything. 

The first item was a Double Chocolate Mint Explosion Cookie, part of the treats table at a birthday party.  These are fudgy on the inside, just slightly crispy on the outside–a definite winner with kids and adults alike. 

dblmintexplcookie.jpg

Then I revisited a recent experiment with vegan chocolate-covered caramels (to which I must devote an entire post, anon):

caramelclose.jpg

After that, the chocolate rush subsided a bit, leaving just the chips in a Chocolate-Chip Blondie, baked for a school event (yes, indeedy, that is a kitchen towel behind the plate):

blondietower.jpg

 Next up, a Chocolate Satin Tart.  These were a holiday item last year, which I baked for a vegan meal-delivery service here in Toronto to give to their customers (I hear they’re thinking of expanding to Calgary, where the Canadian Music Awards–called the Junos–are taking place this year).  A shortbread-like crust is filled with chocolate ganache, then dusted with cocoa:

silktart1.jpg

And I ended the virtual pig-out with a memory of a recent experiment, with sugar-free, gluten-free chocolate buttercream frosting:

cupcakegffrost.jpg

After this heady daydream, I felt prepared to snack on my lovely carob pudding, or raw fig and cherry bars (recipe to follow eventually).  And while it’s true that this No-Chocolate Land is a tough place to be (and it’s no country for old men, either, believe me),  I do feel more energetic, a bit more in balance, and happy about my healthy eating ths week.

WOCA Update:  Big, massive, seismic cravings today. And just when I thought they’d all passed!  Serves me right for being so smug about it last post.  But I shall persevere. . . I shall battle the demon with all my wits and all my inner resources. . . and I shall overcome. . . the scourge. . . that is Chocolate! Watch out; it’s possible there will be blood. (Oooh. Do you think I could maybe get away with just one little, tiny, eensy-weensy piece?  Naw, didn’t think so.)

And to those of you who watch them, enjoy the Oscars tomorrow (and sorry about that Juno reference.  It was either that or mention the mythological daughter of Saturn.)

[All of these recipes will appear in my upcoming cookbook, Sweet Freedom, along with more than 100 others, most of which are not featured on this blog.  For more information, check the “Cookbook” button at right, or visit the cookbook blog.]

10 Responses to “Dreams of Chocolate”

  1. Johanna Says:

    I feel a bit like you about the oscars – I don’t think I will watch as I just haven’t seen any of the movies to care! (actually I don’t know enough of the nominations but I don’t think many coincide with movies I’ve seen)

    I’ve been feeling like I should avoid chocolate – although much better doing it vicariously with you🙂 Reading your WOCA posts has made me realise that I do eat more chocolate than I think – but you can be comforted to know that i had a brownie last week and it was rubbish and I wish I hadn’t had it – the jam donut was much better! Although I tasted some brownie yesterday that was fab (sorry)

    You have great self control to bake those gorgeous chocolate treats and not eat them – I especially liked the look of the satin chocolate biscuits. Some days I avoid even reading the baking posts which are too tempting for me.

  2. BitterSweet Says:

    Wow, talk about a chocolate-overload! All of it looks incredible, but really, how could you go wrong- It’s chocolate after all!

  3. Lucy Says:

    Well done, you.

    Mind you, I don’t know how you manage the self control required to keep your fingers away from the mixing bowl.

    Not seen a single one of those movies. I think I’m officially old.

  4. Courtney Says:

    Ha ha ha…this is the first year that I have not seen any of the nominated movies as well–oops!

    All of your deserts look amazing! How do you do it?! Vegan chocolate covered caramels…

    Courtney

  5. Cakespy Says:

    Just looking at the photos here has put me in a very happy place indeed. I want to read more about these vegan caramels though…?

  6. Astra Libris Says:

    Ah, the epic of chocolate… How right,then, that I should find your blog in medias res, since your collection of chocolate delicacies is indeed worthy of epic status… All of your recipes look and sound stunningly scrumptious!

    Your willpower is even more admirable amidst all of the chocolate delights surrounding you… Kudos to you! Your strength is an inspiration!

    I am eagerly awaiting the raw fig and cherry bars recipe… They sound divine!

  7. Ashley Says:

    Wow I don’t know if I could give up chocolate. The chocolate chip blondies look so incredibly good and so do the chocolate tarts, and well everything looks good!

  8. Ricki Says:

    Johanna,
    These days, it seems I’d rather write in my blog than watch the nominees! Don’t feel bad about the brownie, though–a delicious brownie is always a positive thing. But I should clarify that I didn’t bake all these things during WOCA; some were done beforehand and I’ve just posted the pics now (thankfully!).

    BitterSweet,
    Absolutely–there is never a bad chocolate dessert, I say!

    Lucy,
    I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression about my (typcially, sad lack of) willpower. When baking for customers, I can’t actually eat any of the stuff, or they’d be shortchanged! And some of these were actually made before WOCA started. As to the movies, we’re not old, just discerning😉 .

    Courtney,
    The caramels are an ongoing experiment, but I think I’m pretty close. I’ll have to wait a week or two to continue, though, when I can use chocolate (cautiously) again.

    Cakespy,
    I’ve alreay posted a bit about the caramel, which was the base for the banoffee pie at my V-Day dinner. Once I get the recipe perfected, I’ll post it here (I’m thinking I may need to relent and use a candy thermometer–yuck).

    Astra Libris,
    I guess one could think of chocolate as an epic quest (though I must admit, the effort to avoid it has felt rather Herculean this week!). Once again, though, I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression about my willpower; it’s easy to avoid baked goods that were made a week or two ago! Fig bar recipe coming up in the next little while (I’ve got a bit of a backlog, it seems!)🙂

    Ashley,
    Well, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t give up chocolate, either (at least not permanently); a week here and there can only help, I figure. Glad you like the look of the goodies, too!


  9. I will save you.

    Send all your chocolate goodies to me– problem solved!

  10. Tracy Says:

    Wow, those look great. I need recipes! Especially the Double Chocolate Mint Explosion cookies.


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