In earlier posts, I've mentioned that I don't like airplane food. When I fly I either fast or pack along macadamia nuts, applewood smoked bacon jerky, and dark chocolate. My favorite chocolate is Lindt's Excellence Supreme Dark Chocolate 90% Cocoa ($29 for ten 3.5-ounce bars on Amazon).
It's surprisingly smooth for a high-cocoa chocolate, and a 40g serving has just 3g of sugar (by comparison, a 40g serving of a Special Dark Hershey bar has 20g of sugar).
My wife and kids prefer Lindt's 70% cocoa bar, and I'm glad because that means they don't nibble on my stash of 90s unless they are desperate for chocolate.
I've yet to try Lindt's 99% Cocoa Excellence Bar (1g of sugar per 40g serving!), mainly because gram-for-gram, it costs four times as much as the 90% bars. Read the rest
An ingenious way to make a gourmet dessert at home. Read the rest
Annabel de Vetten was trained as sculpture and painter, but after making her own wedding cake, she found a new passion in life: confection. Annabel's creations aren't ordinary at all, as seen previously, and she works creating molds from the things she loves. Skulls. Animals. Horror films. Whatever takes her fancy.
But making awesome chocolate creations isn't easy. To make truly amazing and consistent chocolate, a professional tempering machine is necessary. Help make the world of chocolate a better and more beautiful place by supporting Annabel's Death in Chocolate Kickstarter.
Chocolate Vincent Price life mask. Read the rest
Chocolate is a true joy in life. Not OTC wax like Cadbury, Milka or Hershey: the prescription-strength real thing, such as Omnom's burned-sugar 55% milk chocolate from Reykjavik, Iceland.
The taste of caramel hits you right away, subsiding to a smooth, smoky finish of buttermilk. I was able to make the 60g bar last the whole day, though, as it was quite rich and a little went a long way.
P.S. The wrapper was awesome, so I kept it. Read the rest
Puzzle games aren't just something you play on consoles, computers and smartphones. They're also something you can play with a chocolate bar.
Next time you're hanging out with your friends, invite them to take the Infinite Chocolate Bar Challenge: try to remove one rectangle or square from a bar of chocolate, and end up with a bar that looks like nothing's missing.
I've seen it work on delicious, segmented chocolate of various sizes, but it definitely works on a regular old Hershey's bar. For the math-oriented among us, here's a more geometric explanation of the solution: Read the rest
The chocolate bathtub, bidet, toilet, and sink in this $133,000 fixture collection will last for six months at room temperature or until eaten. At least they hide the dirt. Read the rest
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, chief creative officer for Serious Eats, delved very, very deep into the science of making the perfect chocolate chip cookie. He's got a very specific definition of "perfect" ("...Barely crisp around the edges with a buttery, toffee-like crunch that transitions into a chewy, moist center that bends like caramel, rich with butter and big pockets of melted chocolate... with crackly, craggy tops and the complex aroma of butterscotch...that elusive perfect balance between sweet and salty").
But the food science in his piece is deep and fascinating, and provides a kind of road-map for any definition of cookie-perfection. If you've ever wondered about the chemistry of eggs, sugars, flours, rising agents and butter, and how they interact with mixing, cooking, "resting" and cooling, this is pretty much the ultimate, definitive guide thereto. I also defy you to read this without developing a craving for chocolate chip cookies. Read the rest
"There's no better way to start the work week than a chocolate/coffee cheesecake with chocolate covered coffee beans on top," Stefan says. "I followed the 'Wakeup Cake' recipe from Boing Boing to make six of them for my co-workers."
Woohoo! We aren't kidding about the Boing Boing part. Read the rest
In the matter of Ovation's Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Break-A-Part chocolate orange, however, I was gravely mistaken. It looked, smelled, and tasted just like the scented candles shelved unsettlingly nearby.
Four unicode turds out of five. Read the rest
Elaine Wherry took a break from working in San Francisco high-tech startups to work at Dandelion Chocolate, the chocolate maker/cafe that her husband co-founded. She calls her tenure at the chocolate factory her life as "an oompa loompa," and in a fascinating post, she writes about the differences and similarities between working in data-driven startups and in physical, retail-based hard-goods business. It's a wonderful study in contrasts.
For loops are a veritable miracle — At the chocolate factory, something breaks every single flippin’ day. Each morning I gave my evil eye to the roasters, melangers, temperers, wrapping machine, dishwasher, or anything with a screw, fuse, gear, glue, belt, or oil level and asked, “Okay, which one of you little buggers is going today?”
In comparison, code brings tears to my eyes. If that for loop worked yesterday, then barring catastrophic hardware failures or someone checking in code they shouldn’t, it’ll likely work today. That type of, “if you don’t touch it, it’ll keep working” certainty seems divine. I’ve always loved the Web but I have renewed appreciation for redundancy, unit testing, and monitoring now.
A mechanical engineer (awesomely) named Anjan Contractor has won a NASA grant to prototype a 3D printer for food -- specifically pizza. It will lay down layers of food and flavor powder and melt them together; the powders are room-temperature stable for long periods and can be made from relatively abundant, sustainable foodstocks like insects and soylent green. He prototyped the concept with the 3D chocolate printer in the video above, and he holds out hope that food-printing could solve world hunger by allowing billions to feast on low-wastage, low-energy-input, low-carbon-footprint foods that are printed to order.
Contractor's printer is RepRap based, and is open source hardware; he promises to keep the plans open and free.
I suspect that there's a lot of nutritional subtleties lost when you turn food into processed elements that are recombined (in the same way that beta-carotene in carrots is reliably shown to have health benefits, while beta-carotene supplements are far more questionable). But as a form of food processing, it certainly is exciting!
Read the rest
Pizza is an obvious candidate for 3D printing because it can be printed in distinct layers, so it only requires the print head to extrude one substance at a time. Contractor’s “pizza printer” is still at the conceptual stage, and he will begin building it within two weeks. It works by first “printing” a layer of dough, which is baked at the same time it’s printed, by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Then it lays down a tomato base, “which is also stored in a powdered form, and then mixed with water and oil,” says Contractor.
Fond as I am of white chocolate, mochas and Ghirardelli's Double Chocolate Premium Beverage Mix, their White Mocha Premium Beverage Mix sounded promising.
Drinking this stuff was a profoundly bad idea. Not bad in the way that drinking methanol is, but bad enough. The flavors, cloying and ersatz, offer only a vague impression of the concept. One wonders at the chemistry of what just happened in one's mouth. Somewhere in its undisclosed inventory of natural and artificial flavors is "white mocha"; one may as well throw Sunday evening's last forlorn Walmart Celebrations Center cake into a blender with some coffee.