#ChocolateTakedown 2016

It’s been over a year since I did a Brooklyn Takedown. I wasn’t necessarily going to enter another one. I mean, ice cream isn’t my forte. I contemplated doing the mac n’ cheese. The others didn’t seem up my alley because I’m more adventurous in my baking than my cooking. Plus, I don’t worry about meat.

But Takedown founder/colossus Matt Timms announced a new one this year: the chocolate takedown. This one to take place on Valentine’s Day. I thought about it for all of three minutes before emailing Matt, “I’m in.” The sponsors for this round would be Brooklyn’s own Raaka Chocolate near the BQE. They kindly donated 5 pounds per Takedowner. So I schlepped over and got my 5 pounds of pastilles.

What I didn’t know about Raaka is that it’s vegan chocolate. So I wondered how that would affect my idea. I immediately knew I wanted to do Mexican Hot Chocolate. Savory didn’t seem an option if it wouldn’t be effective. I predicted a bunch of people may try to tackle bacon and chocolate. I did my research on the spice components of an authentic Mexican hot chocolate—cayenne, chili powder, cinnamon, sometimes nutmeg. The options were a Mexican hot chocolate mini donut with some kind of frosting, perhaps a dulce de leche or a chocolate covered pretzel that I’d balance out in some way. Guess which one I went with?

The thing about the Takedowns is you never know what will win. You can have a lot of components and assembly that does (or doesn’t) work well and win (or not). You can have a unique idea that people really enjoy that may be good but not good enough to take home a prize. So when one does a Takedown you do it because you enjoy it. And sure, winning would be nice.

I did some testing, found out what was necessary, premade some ingredients and had a snafu so had to redo it, and ultimately was left with much more than I had anticipated, in particular cinnamon candied peanuts.

Ta da! Ain't that pretty?
Ta da! Ain't that pretty?

While assembly, mainly chilling of each batch, took longer than I’d have liked once I got to the Royal Palms I was between Angela (aka Mind Over Batter) and another candidate who had complicated entries that required much assembly. And I kind of just stood around greeting people while they both continued to do their respective things.

In the end I didn’t win. (sad face) But I got several requests of people wanting to know if I sold the product on its own. I contemplated after the fact having said yes and maybe making additional dough off of this snack. But mainly the take away was that I remembered how fun the Takedowns are. How well run they are (go Matt!). And it’s great seeing friends (Angela who won two prizes and Emily whose dish also rocked) I haven’t seen in a while and eat some good food whilst getting compliments. The best were from those who said they didn’t think chocolate covered pretzels were anything special until they tasted mine. (I’m not boasting here folks.) “I never got chocolate covered pretzels before. But after trying yours I get it.” True story.

Once again a successful Takedown, on a really frigid day, where I have leftover chocolate, pretzels, and candied peanuts. So if you’re reading this and would like some lemme know! Happy to comply while supplies last!