Well, I certainly feel more myself after a week back home and a weekend of making some deliciously chocolately treats. I'm happy to post about my enlightenment after making Jackie's recipes and also talk about her Kickstarter campaign for her wonderful new show Chocabaret, which is something she's been wanting to delve into for a while now.
First off, Jackie "The Singing Chef" Gordon is awesome. And you may think I throw that word around but for her she encompasses it. I met her because of Pie Party Live a couple years ago and she's an amazingly selfless person who has connected the tri-state foodie community, organizes amazing events, helps a bunch of charities, and is always giving of her time and knowledge to help others. So it was a real blessing to be embraced into this community and I owe that to Jackie.
And I'm more than glad to talk about Chocabaret and also add to the praise that Jackie knows what she is talking about when it comes to chocolate!
Chocabaret is about chocolate, obviously, but also about how to make it, how to recognize decadent chocolates for taste and for baking. It's a show not just for food lovers but for enthusiasts and heck if you like chocolate in and of itself you should be interested.
I'm not quite there yet in regards to making chocolates from scratch, but I did decide to do a few recipes of Jackie's from the reci-tees that have a picture of her original recipe on the front and the recipe on the back. Of the five reci-tees available I did three. And I guarantee you, they were good.
Supposedly it was summer (i.e., humid) upon my return or still in spring technically. That was not so this past weekend and the tail end of last week. So making hot chocolate on what may have been a hot and muggy day turned into making it on a chilly day and then having it on a chilly and rainy day that just got chillier and windier. It was perfect.
I hadn't thought to make hot chocolate myself. I'm a Swiss Miss person or go for steamed cider in the colder months. But it was easy and tasty!
Take unsweetened cocoa powder add in milk and heavy cream, sugar, a cinnamon stick and boil all the ingredients and you have yourself some kick butt hot chocolate. The unsweetened cocoa ups the ante for sure because there's no added processing in it. (I always have unsweetened cocoa powder on hand.) And you can keep it and nuke it and it's still good (and pretty filling as well). I added some caramel--you may want to add 1/4 or more for the liquid ratio of this recipe to taste it. It did kick up the sweetness but still chocolate was first and foremost and it was really great. I don't know if I can go back to Swiss Miss or Land-O-Lakes brand after this. And considering how simple it was there'd be no reason to.
Again, I do like my store brand stuff. I was raised with Jell-O and it has a deep place in my heart. I grew up with Jell-O brand pudding and gelatin and I hadn't really thought about making pudding from scratch. But again, simple. Just as it was for me to make panna cotta from scratch, it was so with pudding. Don't know why it took me so long to delve in and try doing so.
The taste is not chalky like you'd get from store brand and I'm sure that's part of the process for it to keep for long periods of time. But Jackie's is rich and super chocolatey, just like the hot chocolate. Big flavors come in these recipes and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Sweet? Yes. Too sweet? Not at all. Pair with some homemade whipped cream (heck, I had a bunch of heavy cream available) and it is a really tasty treat and can feed numerous people in the one batch you make.
I think I did over stir or cook mine because it wasn't as soft and malleable. While solid it tended to crack a bit after refrigeration. But the taste was still delicious and I'm eating the whole Tupperware full myself. No help needed, thank-you-very-much.
Ah, brownies. So simple to make and yet they make everyone happy. Brownies and blondies are go-to desserts but while they may seem easy (thanks to boxes from Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker) doing them from scratch to get the right consistency takes some skill. And yet again, Jackie nails it with this recipe!
You have unsweetened/dark chocolate in the mixture and semi-sweet and milk chocolate morsels added in once the batter is mixed. Bake but don't over bake so that it still remains a bit fudgy and this is chocolate overload. Have your milk ready, people!
I have no shame in saying each of these items served as my dinner or lunch on various occasions throughout the week. And I am eager (read: terrified) to hear what my dentist has to say when I see him next week after this chocolate indulgence.
These are easy recipes, with great and huge chocolate flavors putting it at the forefront but not too overwhelming in the sweet department compared to what you may have gotten from the packet, cup, or box. If you like these (and I'm sure you will) it will change your mind about the store brand stuff. These three are just a few recipes that illustrate Jackie's knowledge of not only food but of chocolate.
The Kickstarter campaign started last Tuesday. It's continuing on for another 21 days as of this posting. If you read Jackie's mission and inspiration you will fully understand what she wants to provide to attendees and why it'd be a great addition to New York as well as the food scene.
The gist: You get to taste an array of chocolate, Jackie sings, and you chat about chocolate exploring new flavors and learning more about origins and the differences. This is an interactive chocolate tasting and an intimate gathering as well.
I know, you may have been sold on chocolate alone but hey getting educated about it too?! Bonus. Tasting some of the best chocolate available in NYC? BIG selling point. And being serenaded to. Heck yeah!
I'm sure many of you must know by now (especially for you Veronica Mars fans) if you don't reach the goal for Kickstarter...no money! So it's imperative that we help Jackie hit the $11,500 mark in these next few weeks. She's an instrumental part of the foodie scene and wants to bring more to it. How can you not love that idea. And again, CHOCOLATE!
So I urge you to check out the Kickstarter page, read up more on Chocabaret and Jackie's overall plan and inspiration, donate, and seriously try her reci-tee recipes or any of her recipes. I'm going to be making a vat of hot chocolate and chocolate pudding in my small NYC apartment just in case. For what? I dunno, I just want that chocolatey goodness handy.
Lastly, if you'd like a taste of Chocabaret check out Jackie's video preview Launch Party embedded below via YouTube: