Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

A Safe & Happy July 4th Celebration To You: God Bless The USA.

July 4th, 2016 No comments

July 4th Strawberries

We wish all a SAFE and happy 4th of July celebration.  I made the above with Strawberries, White Chocolate and Blue Sugar Crystals.  They are easy to make and perfect for an American observance. They’re red, white and blue beautiful and tasty too.  God bless America today and always!

RECIPE:  Melt White Chocolate.  Dip half the Strawberry in the melted White Chocolate and then dip the Chocolate-covered Strawberry tip in the Blue Sugar Crystals.  As pictured above.  That’s it.

Happy Five Year Anniversary Nibbles Of Tidbits: Let’s Eat To Many More.

April 24th, 2013 No comments

Five Year Ann 1

Look at the Cake I didn’t make — It’s pretty and proper since today is Nibbles of Tidbits 5 Year Anniversary.  Time sure flies and life is short so savor each moment.  Happy Anniversary to us!

Five Year Ann

The top line may push it a bit, but I concur with the general finding.  All is good — Thank God.

National Food Holidays In February: It’s Celebration Of Chocolate Month.

February 1st, 2013 No comments

Chocolate Fountain

Quite an impressive spread ready to dip in the Chocolate Fountain, a Christmas gift for one of my nieces — It looks like they’re making the most of it and why not?!  Next time I’m there.

Chocolate Fountain 2

They prepared Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, Strawberries, Rice Crispy Treats, Nilla Wafers, Grapes and Pound Cake for dippin’ and say the Chocolate Fountain was fun and worked well.

Chocolate Fountain 3

In recognition of National Chocolate Lover’s Month aka Celebration of Chocolate Month, their photos are perfect.  Thanks!  In addition to Chocolate, February also celebrates National Grapefruit Month, National Canned Food Month, National Potato Lover’s Month and other special food related days.  Read more about them here, here and here.  Pass me a toothpick.

The Invention Of The Chocolate Milkshake: Well Helloooo There.

January 24th, 2013 No comments

Chocolate Milk Shake

Introduce Chocolate to Milk and voila, or make their nuptials better with Vanilla Ice Cream (necessary) and Malted Milk Powder (preferred) — Chocolate Milkshake meet Chocolate Malt.

Chocolate Milkshake

Haven’t we met?  Hello Chocolate Malt — Shake it for me.

Lindt Master Swiss Chocolatier Since 1845: Decades Journey To Big O.

December 12th, 2012 No comments

It’s great to see a Lindt Store is at The Outlets at Orange, formerly know as The Block at Orange (1998 – 2011), and perhaps to be known as O someday, jk, but reeallllly.  Why not?  On to the Chocolate… Lindt is my longest favorite and I LOVE the progressive new flavors.

Keep on Chocolatier-ing Swiss Master.  Mmmmmmmmm.

Unglamorous Chocolate Judging & The Weirdo Gauntlet To The Pier.

September 25th, 2012 No comments

It’s my 2nd year as a Judge at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon — Last year is here.

Though it sounds glamorous, it really isn’t — Too much Chocolate is possible.

Its location, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium is best as a venue for an 80’s concert.

For this purpose, booths/tables were set up to hand-out tiny to full size pieces of Chocolate (and other unique Candies) to those who paid to attend the event.  Personally I never love to stand in line after line, but some products and people make it worth it, like Deuvo (above).

All may take a Chocolate making class at The Gourmandise School of Sweet and Savories.

It’s in Santa Monica — At the end of the class, you’re sent home with lots of custom Chocolate.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts students sculpted Chocolate Flowers and more.

They made this mostly edible Cake (above) to display their talents — I just LOVE it.

More Chocolate and Brittle samples — I’ve already voted and will say this… I most appreciated Mignon Chocolate and might of preferred to buy those pictured at top and head to the beach.

Since the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was a short walk from the booming Santa Monica Pier, that’s where we went — We hadn’t been there in years and luckily arrived intact, once passed the crazy guy yelling every word that shouldn’t be written here, plus all the other clowns along the way.  It’s a bit of a weird world there, Venice like we come to realize.  Interesting.

Cheers to the Chocolate, from the Mexican Restaurant at the end of the Santa Monica Pier.

It was cool kickin’ it there with Sirloin, Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas — All was tender but bland.

Overall, nothing to complain about this day, but all is checked off the list.  Thank you.

French Macarons By Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates: On Our ‘To Make List’.

May 31st, 2012 No comments

Until I attempt the process of making French Macarons, I enjoy testing the local best.

I haven’t found a French Macaron (around here) that I must have again, thus ordered a dozen from Nicole Lee Fine Chocolates, a company I learned about at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon I helped judge last year — So far they are the best I’ve had.  Each unique taste combination is pleasantly identifiable within its respective, delicate, creamy, flavorful Cookie.  The preliminary favorites are Blackberry, Lychee Rose, Passion Fruit and Raspberry.

Next time we’ll try the Vanilla Olive Oil, Rum Raisin and Genmai Green Tea flavors, but can’t be ordering them too often, as they’re not cheap, especially combined with shipping.  To save money and experiment, French Macarons are on the ‘To Make List’ and when it happens I’ll start here, where there’s a collection of helpful tips and information about them.

Sounds Like Baby Ruth’s Mama Got Around: The Birth Of A Candy Bar.

April 2nd, 2012 2 comments

I remember this story as a kid — Not sure that’s appropriate as I stumble upon and read it now, but I guess it was harmless.  No Baby Ruth’s.  My three favorites would be Butterfinger, PayDay and Bit-O-Honey.  What story do they tell?  And which three would you choose?

Pure Merry Employment: EPL, Homemade Apple Juice & Chocolate.

December 24th, 2011 No comments

A surprise at the office on Friday made my day — Walked in to a pile of presents on my desk and a box of Donuts nearby.  A couple days a week at EPL’s corporate headquarters (as a Paralegal, Consultant) enhances living.  Before and after will always be tasty grilled Chicken.

You’re lucky to like your job, or in some cases just have one — I thankfully enjoy a few.

And now keen on 2 Pounds of See’s Candy, Homemade Apple Juice and candles — Sounds like a party.  I never had 2 Pounds of Chocolate.  Is it really Apple Juice or Moonshine?  I won’t tell.

I feel bizarre — What’s in there?  JK, lovin’ the freshly juiced Gala and Fuji Apples with the Nuts & Chews, at a pace to avoid chaos.  Thank you!  I’m very grateful for all.  The little things and big picture matter most.  Merry Christmas, love and feast on earth.  Pass the Moonshine.

The TasteTV Chocolate Salon Results Are In: Gold, Silver & Bronze.

October 1st, 2011 2 comments

All wasn’t exactly pretty, but it sure was sweet.

Attended the Los Angeles Luxury CHOCOLATE SALON at the Pasadena Center Ballroom.

Chocolate combined with almost anything — One darling was the Chocolate Wine.  Yes it did.

I was on the Salon Awards Tasting Panel and one favorite, Ciel tied for Best in Salon.

And David Bacco Chocolatier (above) with a Balsamic Reduction is Top Artisan Chocolatier.

We had fun trying the heat variations crafted by the Monterey Chocolate Company.

French Macarons, who isn’t loving them these days?!  Cutting ’em up just didn’t seem right.

We needed more and larger samples in most cases — A true test you know.

As told I mainly anticipated the unique flavor combinations to be had and most were spot on.

And the above Ciel Gift Box would be a fantasy to receive.  It also tied for Gold.

The Official Results are linked here — Gold, Silver and Bronze for all categories.

The Chocolates were sweet, but the space was too small and the lines were too long.

Jer’s Chocolates — I’m not a big Peanut Butter and Chocolate fan, but Jer’s is special.  The people behind it are nice and Jerry happens to be my Dad’s and Bro-in-law’s name.  Go Jer’sss!

Remember the Tequila?  Well, the Chocolate Salon was interesting.  Thank you TasteTV, etc.

Judging The Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon: Preliminary Report.

September 26th, 2011 No comments

Interestingly the Tequila Alquimia may be our favorite part of the LA Luxury Chocolate Salon, just kidding, sorta.  The Chocolates were good too when the lines went down, and the Tequila was needed to tolerate the lines.  The Tequila was smoooooth and we enjoyed the nice family who made and generously poured it.  As for the Chocolates, I just voted for the best.

As part of the Salon Awards Tasting Panel, I got to taste all and vote for my favorites.  The official results will soon be posted, along with additional observations about the event.

Ready For The Awards Tasting Panel At The LA Luxury Chocolate Salon.

September 23rd, 2011 No comments

Though they taste good, the pictured Chocolates won’t be featured at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon this Sunday, as they’re way too basic — It’s for that reason I’m most excited to be on the Salon Awards Tasting Panel.  I want to try the unique, daring and unusual.

To simplify, I get to eat and drink all the Chocolate and Wine I want, then vote for the ones I like best.  Cool or what!?!  I’m ready to pick up the Judges Panel Ticket and get tasting. 🙂

Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon At The Pasadena Center Ballroom.

September 8th, 2011 No comments

I’m excited to be a part of The Official Chocolate Salon Awards Tasting Panel at the Los Angeles Luxury Chocolate Salon taking place September 25, 2011 at the Pasadena Center Ballroom.  I get to EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE I WANT and vote for my favorites — Now that’s a good time!  And YOU CAN TOO if you buy a ticket.  They’re reasonably priced.  The event is a must for Local Chocolate Lovers.  Discover, savor and taste products from some of the Finest Chocolatiers and Wineries in Southern California.  Show highlights include Premium Chocolate Tasting, Artisan Chocolate Demonstrations, Chef and Author Discussions, and Wine and Beverage Tasting.  All is being presented by Taste TV.  Hope to see you there.

It’s Delivery And Judgment Day At The Orange County Fairgrounds.

July 13th, 2011 2 comments

The Orange County Fair starts this Friday, July 15th and the Culinary Arts Competition entries were due today.  It’s now baked, done and delivered and out of our hands.  The Judges are deliberating and ribbons are being awarded.  Will there be one waiting for me?  We will see.

I like driving on the fairgrounds when it’s not open — It’s like a ride. 😉

For the first show I made Blondies and a Confection, Fancy White Chocolate Flags — Ribbon winning recipes shall be linked and posted.  The results are publicized on opening day.

Homemade Box Of Chocolates: Not As Pretty But Grandma Loves Them.

May 9th, 2011 No comments

It’s easy to make your own Box of Chocolates — It doesn’t take much time either, especially with a microwave and a good selection of Chocolate, Nuts, Fruit and decorative boxes/bags.

They turn out great if you don’t overcook the Chocolate — Always heat it in short (30 – 50 second) intervals at 50% power, stirring in between.  Melted it becomes a velvety canvas.

Almonds and Peanuts from a leftover party platter were used to make Nut Clusters.

Molds were filled with Milk and/or White Chocolate and stuffed with an Almond, Dried Apricot or Cherry, then topped off with more melted Chocolate and settled until firm, then foil wrapped.

Dried Apricots and Cherries were used to make this batch — Choose what you like best.

Toasted Coconut was used to make Milk and White Chocolate Haystacks.

Pecans and Toffee were used to make Turtles and Marshmallows and Almonds were used to make Rocky Road.  Milk, Dark and White Chocolate was utilized for markings and assortment.

Each Chocolate piece was marked, molded and/or prepared uniquely to be identifiable.

Giant Box of Chocolates (above).

Overall, they’re not as pretty as those you buy, but clean up well when placed in a cute box or cellophane bag — And could mean even more to a loved one.  They taste great too.

I also experimented with broken Graham Cracker pieces — I topped them with Marshmallows, broiled the tops in the oven and dipped ’em in melted Chocolate (pictured above), before covering them with Chocolate.  The S’more Bites ended up being a favorite.

Quick Dip Mickey Moused Chocolate Dipped Oreo Cookies.

April 14th, 2011 No comments

Quick Dip — Is that an oxymoron?  Chocolate was melted in the microwave and Oreo Cookies were being dipped 5 minutes from commencement.  And Mickey Moused, because Chocolate wasn’t tempered, nor mixed with wax, cream or butter.  Instead, Milk and White Chocolate Chips were separately melted at 50% power, in approx. 50 second intervals and stirred in between.  It was fast and turned out good, but not as great as those you buy, or the ones my friend Loretta makes.  I don’t think she’d approve of these, but we’re always experimenting.

I was most proud of the design I created on the White Chocolate Dipped Oreo above.

Dippin’ leftover Oreos in Chocolate, from the Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes we made.

Haphazard about thickness and decoration, but wanted to make ’em quick.

All was made in about 10 minutes, which is obvious looking at some.  Next time I’ll pipe the Chocolate through a baggie tip rather than use a spoon — Better design control, less sloppy.

Funny thing, growing up I wasn’t an Oreo Cookie fan and when I did have them, I’d eat the outsides and throw away the middle.  I hadn’t purchased them in years and this time didn’t need to ditch the middle.  Is there less than there used to be, like too many things?

How About Some Chocolate Covered Insects For April Fools’ Day?

April 1st, 2011 No comments

Happy April Fools’ Day!  You better stay away from me today.  How about some Chocolate Covered Insects?  Perhaps you may want to add them to a bowl of Chocolates and step back and watch the unsuspecting.  Just kidding — Don’t do that.  I wouldn’t, anymore. 😉

I still feel bad about the Dog Beef Jerky joke I played on someone years ago.  Moving on to the suspecting… Our friend Ray volunteered to try the pictured Chocolate Covered Worms and Crickets, as I just couldn’t.  He described them as follows… 

They had no actual taste for the most part.  They were not slimy.  Kind of had the texture and taste of Chocolate Covered Pretzels!

Thanks for the report Ray!  You’re a trooper and certainly no fool.

The Cocoa Lounge Playing At The Island Hotel In Newport Beach.

February 15th, 2011 No comments

Did you know there’s a Cocoa Lounge in the Palm Terrace Restaurant at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach?  Everything is made of Chocolate and you get to eat as much as you can.  It felt like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory — I started to lick the wallpaper until they stopped me.  Good thing there wasn’t a river.  You can have it all too throughout February.

We learned of this fabulous find while having Executive Chef Bill Bracken’s famous Truffle Mac & Cheese in the Palm Terrace Lounge.  I enjoyed it a couple years back and had a good excuse to have it again, as a friend wanted to tour the hotel for a party she’s organizing for her dad’s 90th birthday.  It was funny, the Chef came over to talk to Bonnie about her party and recognized me from Facebook.  After I wrote about his tasty Mac & Cheese, he befriended me.  That was pretty cool, but it’s been a long time.  It was fun to meet him in person.

We thank Chef Bracken for access to the Cocoa Lounge — We had such a great time.

As mentioned, almost everything was made of Chocolate, centerpieces, card holders…

It’s a unique buffet that’s happening Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 6 to 10pm.

The Cocoa Lounge is complementary to guests who order a two or more course dinner.

It’s otherwise $18 per person — Executive Pastry Chef Michael Owens, the tall one above, created them all, with necessary help from other capable professionals.  Thank you two too!

It was awesome, just wish I could’ve taken home a to-go box, as I could only eat so much.

And I now think of all I should’ve had — Why didn’t I eat a rose or a finger?

We had a grand time exploring the Chocolate options and meeting other people.

Mini from scratch Candy Bars, like Almond Joy’s (below).

One of my favorites was the warm Bread Pudding made with Croissants and Chocolate.

Continuing the homage to Candy Bars was the Snicker’s Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

I don’t recall the exact name of the Berry Tarts below and wish I had one.

The Cocoa Lounge is in the Palm Terrace Restaurant’s private dining room with the Wine.

The now (and temporary) Cocoa Lounge is dimly lit and decorated in Chocolate brown.

Above is one of our plates.

View before heading back for more Chocolate (above).

View from a suite at The Island Hotel near Fashion Island pre-Chocolate.

Pool and Tennis Courts — The Island Hotel in NB used to be The Four Seasons.

View of Fashion Island and the ocean beyond (above).  And to top off the Chocolate, the view, and meeting the Chefs, look who we ran into in the Ladies Room… It’s Sheree Whitfield visiting Newport Beach from The Real Housewives of Atlanta.  Looks like I’m wearing She by Sheree.

Who’s gonna check me boo?  ATL inside. 🙂

Toaster Oven S’mores In Less Than A Minute — Guy It’s Easy To Win It.

January 15th, 2011 No comments

Toaster Oven S’mores can be ready in less than a minute.  Do you even need instructions?

Layer as shown, then broil/toast the exposed Marshmallows and top with other Graham Cracker half.  They couldn’t turn out better!  Keep an eye out not to burn the Marshmallows and learn more about making S’mores here.  And if you want to head the opposite direction and make everything from scratch, The Cilantropist does it beautifully — Until then, these will do.  Make a bunch in the oven for a crowd.  No fire circle or wire hangers necessary.

The Almond Breeze Blew In Just When I Was Craving Hot Chocolate.

November 28th, 2010 No comments

Nibbles of Tidbits is asked to try a lot of products — Some immediately interest us and others we’re not so sure about.  Since we can’t, nor want to try ’em all, we choose to try food products we’re curious about, that are unique, that we think we’ll like, or because it’s offered/provided at the right time.  If we report about a product, it’s guaranteed to be honest, good or bad, rain or shine, although good, shiny days are preferred. 😉

In this instance, I wasn’t quite sure about trying Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze, a Non-Dairy Beverage made from real Almonds — I’m a hard core Milk drinker and the thought of Almond Breeze as a drink scared me.  I thought it would taste too sweet, but it’s not.

This product arrived timely in that I’d been wanting homemade Hot Chocolate and Almond Breeze came with an Almond Hot Chocolate recipe.  The stars aligned.  In addition, I love nuts (all kinds) and have purchased many Blue Diamond products over the years.  Their quality has been consistent.

I prepared the Almond Hot Chocolate by pouring hot (microwaved) Almond Breeze over Milk Chocolate Chips and powdered Cocoa (approx. 2 cups Almond Breeze, 6oz. Chocolate and 1 tsp. Cocoa) — Their official recipe is linked here.

Pour the hot Almond Breeze (or Milk) over the Chocolate Chips and Cocoa.

Prepare in individual cups with desired amount of Chocolate or in bulk to fill many cups.

Stir until Chocolate Chips are melted and Cocoa is blended.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first Almond Hot Chocolate in a cup from my Great Grandma Moore.

The combination of ingredients makes a rich, luxurious Hot Chocolate and the hint of Almond puts it over the top — It adds a nice, toasted flavor.  Cheers to all my loving Grandmas!

Almond Breeze makes an excellent Hot Chocolate.  The taste of it alone was surprisingly good, as it’s not sweet — I actually liked it.

It’s noted that Almond Breeze can be substituted, cup for cup in many recipes, which sounds exciting, but it appears it’s not true when it comes to the basic Minute Tapioca recipe.  Its preparation with Almond Breeze didn’t work, as it never firmed up properly and remained too runny.  The Almond garnish sank — Bummer!  It tasted good warm and perhaps cold it could be served as a boba drink, not.

Overall, we’re nutty about this product discovery.

Orange County Fair Entry Gone Wild: Submissions Due Today.

July 14th, 2010 No comments

The above dish truly represents ‘The Bad‘ and ‘The Funnyabout this blog.  The Tangerine Dream Bars (wannabe) was going to be an entry in the Culinary Arts Competition at the Orange County Fair, but it didn’t happen.  I was gonna cover the top with Powdered Sugar, but unfortunately there’s no masking the soupy, unset middle. 🙁 I’m not exactly sure what went wrong here, since it turned out good last time.  Wouldn’t you know it — Two hours before submission time I discovered it looked like this.  Oh well, good thing my other entry was delicious and successfully submitted.  The Orange County Fair starts this Friday, July 16th.  The results will be posted opening day.

Our only entry in the Culinary Arts Competition (1st Show) is the Chocolate Layered Surprise.  It’s formed with alternating layers of Milk Chocolate, Waffle Cone, Dried Cherries and Pecans, then cut in squares and drizzled with White Chocolate.  We’ll be submitting (2) additional entries in August for the 2nd Show.

Triple Discovery: Good Music, Unique Chocolate and Ease Of Adding Video.

July 9th, 2010 No comments

If you don’t know, we love music as much as we love good food.  We like Chocolate, but aren’t freaks about it — And we’re always interested in unique things, but right now we’re most excited about the ease of adding video to Nibbles of Tidbits.  We haven’t yet tried Grace Under Fire (the Chocolate), so far really like Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (music played in above video), and we look forward to adding relevant videos in the future.  We just discovered all at the same time.  It’s good timing for a band to make a Rock & Roll Chocolate Bar with unique ingredients.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake And More To Come.

July 3rd, 2010 No comments

We now get back to reporting about the superb Cheesecake featured on Father’s Day.  We prepared it by following the Cheesecake (One easy method, endless flavor variations) recipe and instructions found on pages 63 – 69 in Fine Cooking Magazine’s (April/May 2010) issue.  Abigail Johnson Dodge puts forth the best Cheesecake preparation instructions we’ve seen.  Our second Cheesecake is pictured above — It’s a Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake and we’re happy to report that it also turned out fantastic.  White Chocolate was substituted in place of one of the four (8 oz.) packs of Cream Cheese used in the basic recipe.  For immediate access to the recipe and instructions online, click has a “Create Your Own” section that’s educational, easy to follow and impressive.  We’re excited to test out more Cheesecake flavor variations. 

* The hearts were made by running a toothpick through the center of Raspberry Purée drops.