Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Halloween Recipe - Kooky Kakeball Spiders

Halloween, my favorite holiday, is going to be here in a couple of weeks. Every year I make up a few recipes to celebrate this fun night and bake with my kids. This year I came up with several Halloween treats using cakeball mixture. Cakeballs are easy to make and so are my "Kooky Kakeball Spiders".

Making Halloween "Kooky Kakeball Spiders" is also a fun way to help your children learn how to read and follow step-by-step directions. The ability to read sequential directions is required in nearly every aspect of our children's lives.

Here's What You'll Need:

1 -Chocolate Cake Mix 
1 -Tub of Pre-made Chocolate Frosting 
1 -36 ounces of. Chocolate Chips 
1 -Jar of Decorative Chocolate Sprinkles 
1 -Small Bag of Black Licorice 
1- Small Bag of Red-Hot Candy 
1 - Small Box of Toothpicks

Additional Supplies: 
A Double Boiler 
Wax Paper 
Cookie Sheets

Step-by-Step Directions

Making the Spider's Body

1. Prepare and bake cake according to baking directions in any size baking pan you choose. 
2. Cool chocolate cake then drop it into a large mixing bowl. 
3. Crumble cake apart into bite- size pieces, with a fork, 
4. Open tub of pre-made chocolate frosting. Whip it with a spatula to make it creamy. 
5. Fold creamy chocolate frosting into crumbled cake until mixed well. 
6. Place cakeball mixture into the refrigerator to cool for about thirty minutes. 
7. After cooling, take cooled cakeball mixture and mold into balls with your hands. This mixture will make approximately 18 medium size cakeballs. 
8. Place cakeballs on cookies sheets lined with waxed paper. 
9. Place cakeballs in freezer and freeze till firm, about two hours. 
10.While cakeballs are freezing slowly melt the 36oz. of chocolate chips over a double boiler. Stir occasionally.

Making the Spider's Legs

1. Open the bag of black licorice and separate the licorice sticks. Cut each licorice stick lengthwise with kitchen scissors. 
2. Next, cut each licorice piece in half. You will need 108 legs for eighteen spiders 
3. To secure the licorice legs to each spider pierce a toothpick into each one end of each licorice leg. 
4. Snip the toothpicks off about 2" with a pair of wire-cutters. This keeps the long toothpick from sticking out the other side of the cakeball spider, when inserted. 
5. Poor bag of red-hot candies into a bowl. Ready for decorating the cakeball spiders. One bag should be enough for eighteen spiders, if the kids don't eat them.

Putting the Spiders Together

1. Line three cookie sheets with wax paper. 
2. Remove cakeballs from freezer, Freezing the helps the melted chocolate grab onto cakeballs. 
3. Take a fork and pierce a cakeball of the cookie sheet, 
4. Immerse the cakeball into the melted chocolate. Let excess drip off. 
5. Take decorative chocolate sprinkles and sprinkle on top of cakeball. 
6. Insert six licorice spider legs on each side of the 
7. Pop on two red-hot candies for the spider's eyes, and you've made a "Kooky Kakeball Spider".

"Kooky Kakeball Spiders" are fairly big treats. You'll need to make room in your kitchen to assemble each spider, and allow them to dry. Also, each spider needs to be made one at a time so the chocolate sprinkles, eyes and legs can be attached, while the chocolate is still warm.

How to Turn Any Recipe Into the Best Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Can you remember the last time you sank your teeth into a great cocoa cupcake that left you feeling like you tasted a piece of heaven, and you wished to find the best chocolate cupcake recipe so you could relive that experience whenever you wanted?

Well the first step would be to look for the best chocolate cupcake recipe, and that make take some searching and testing before you find the best one. But did you know that a great cocoa cupcake can be made just by taking a basic recipe and tweaking it such that you get the best chocolate cupcake recipe?

Yes, it's possible indeed, and I can bear testament to that.

While I can't reveal my secret recipe to you, I sure can give the pointers on how to get the best chocolate cupcake recipe.

Of course, my tips won't work for everyone since different people will have different definitions of the best chocolate cupcake recipe.

In any case, use these tips to achieve that. Use what you want, and drop those you don't want.

Tip 1 - Swap Fine or Caster Sugar For Dark Brown Sugar

Dark brown sugar contains molasses, and that make the sugar moist and nice. And you'll notice its moist property when you feel it with your bare hands. It melts and has a wet touch to it.

So if you swap sugar or caster sugar for dark brown sugar, you'll get chocolate cupcakes that are moist, nice and more fragrant than usual.

Tip 2 - Swap Milk for Buttermilk

For those who don't know what buttermilk is, it's like watery yogurt, and it has great properties for baking cakes and cupcakes alike. You should be able to find it at major supermarkets in the chilled section.

Or if you could only find the powdered version, follow the instructions on the label on how to use buttermilk powder to turn into a buttermilk substitute.

Milk in cupcake recipes only adds flavour to the cupcakes, but buttermilk will make the cupcakes really moist and soft. And that's the property of a great cocoa cupcake.

Tip 3 - Bake In A Steam Oven

With steaming included, the cupcakes don't dry out, and your cupcakes will become moist in the process.

And in case you don't have a steam oven, you can always bake your cupcakes in a water bath. That's as good as having a steam oven.

Tip 4 - Add Chocolate Chips on the Top

Chocolate chips will melt under the heat of the oven, and that will help to enhance the melt in the mouth feeling you get from the best chocolate cupcake recipe.

And know this. Not all chocolate chips are made equal, and you'll want to find the best one that will give you this effect.

Tip 5 - Pipe Chocolate Ganache into the Cupcake Centers

Do this only after your cupcakes have cooled down.

By using a piping bag with a piping tip, poke it right to the centre of your cooled cupcakes and pipe in chocolate ganache.

And that's how the great cocoa cupcakes give you the nice melted feeling in your mouth.

Also, note that you don't have to pipe too much. Piping a little will already achieve that effect.

As you can see, all these tips for the best chocolate cupcake recipe are recipe independent, and will work to enhance any recipes out there. Give them a try to believe it.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Like Dark Chocolate?

Dark chocolate is a great substitute for other sweet treats that are full of sugar and contain little in terms of nutritional benefit. This type of chocolate is actually good for you and can compete with super food vegetables such as broccoli. Hard to believe isn't it? But it is true and science backs it up.

Studies have shown that it is high in antioxidants and we know that these are the fighters that prevent free radicals from wreaking havoc on our bodies. It has also shown an effect on the brain and memory. There are studies that have clearly found a correlation between eating this sweet treat and improved retention of information. Just think of it as a great snack before you write that exam you have been cramming for!

The benefits are many, but also keep in mind that it still is a high calorie food, so moderation is key here. You should eat at a maximum one small bar per day to reap all the benefits of this flavourful chocolate. Many large companies such as Nestle are now producing dark chocolate versions of their most popular milk chocolate bars.

The dark chocolate of days gone by was rather brittle and sour and was mainly used in cooking and baking recipes. Now it can stands alone as a healthy snack and is becoming readily available as a popular choice in chocolate bars. So next time you get that craving for something sweet reach for the dark version of your favourite chocolate and enjoy it guilt free!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Callebaut Chocolate - What You Should Know

Callebaut Chocolate is a Belgian company that got their start in 1850. The plant was originally opened as a brewery in Wieze. By 1911, the family had decided to try its hand at making chocolate, which actually turned out rather well. These bars were a hit around the world, and for good reason. Of course, the company didn't gain fame and notoriety for their chocolate making abilities until 1925 when they got involved in gourmet chocolate. Today, they are among the best of the best in bulk chocolate supply for companies around the world.

One of the leading products that this company is known for is its carob chips. These chips have been made popular because they taste similar to chocolate but they have many more health benefits and fewer sugars than traditional confections. Carob chip products are becoming a leading seller for Callebaut Chocolate as more people are looking for health-conscious solutions to curb their sweet tooth. Carob is also popular for pets, specifically dogs, because dogs cannot have chocolate but they can have carob treats, which allows them to enjoy the sweet sinfulness of chocolate without the health risks or dangers. For a healthier solution, carob is the way to go. This naturally occurring ingredient gives so many people the chance to enjoy the flavor of chocolate without the refined sugars and other added ingredients.

When most people think of chocolate, they think of countries like Switzerland and France, but Belgium is actually home to some of the best chocolate that you can buy, thanks to Callebaut Chocolate. This bulk supplier has received rave reviews, and although they are just one of many suppliers in the world today, they have a wide selection of products and a large customer base that shows just how popular they are. Whether you are looking for carob chips or traditional chocolate, this company has something to offer for just about everyone.

You should make sure that you read reviews about Callebaut Chocolate and see what they have to offer. Get to know their products and find out if they can help you get the supplies that you need for your business or baking needs. From traditional chocolates to carob chips, this company makes all kinds of bulk chocolate and confections for people around the world. They have been in business for over a century, and although their chocolate wasn't the intention in the beginning, it is what they are known for today.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lotions Made From a Chocolate

Are you addicted to chocolates? Ever dream of having to put chocolate on your body? What do you think are the benefits of chocolate lotion in your skin? Is it possible to do it even at home? These are just some of the things that might keep you wondering. However, it might be surprising to know about the presence of chocolate lotions. Some lotions made from chocolate are already available in the market. You might be wondering about the uses or significance of it.

A chocolate lotion is a body lotion used for moisturizing. It nourishes the skin by providing certain vitamins such as Vitamin A which removes dead skin cells. It also has an anti-aging property and protects the skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Another component is Vitamin E, an antioxidant, which fights off free radicals such as pollutants; Vitamin B which can help even your skin tone and prevents acne. Chocolate lotion also acts as a tanning lotion because of its skin-darkening properties. Having an antioxidant properties, chocolates thus prevents cellular damage that can lead to cancer, aging, and other diseases.

There are two kinds of chocolate lotions already present in the market. Among such are Cocoa Butter Lotions and Chocolate Massage Lotions.

Cocoa Butter Lotion 
A cocoa bean utilized in chocolates is used as a lotion due to its antioxidant properties. It is also favorable because of its pleasant aroma. So what do you think are the benefits of using this type of chocolate lotion?

Cocoa Butter Lotions are beneficial in providing moisturizing effects as well as in providing relief in different skin conditions such as rashes, skin irritations, inflammations, and psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease characterized by red, dry flakes and scaly skin. It is also beneficial for the prevention and improvement of stretch marks. It reduces their appearance and gives moisture in order to develop collagen, a substance to increase skin elasticity, and prevents dryness of the skin.

Chocolate Massage Lotion 
Chocolate massage lotions are used as an aromatherapy which gives a pleasant chocolate smell and acts primarily to lubricate the skin while enjoying a great massage. Cocoa butter is also added as an ingredient accompanied by almond oil to enhance the lubrication. You can do this even at your home by using the double boiler method. Heat the cocoa butter, add the almond oil, and then lastly, add your chosen flavored essential oils. The main importance of this kind is giving moisture to the skin and relaxation of the body.

Whether for aesthetic purpose or relaxation, chocolate lotions are very essential for the skin. It gives nourishment and tone which is a big factor in choosing your own lotion. It is very amazing that chocolates, especially the main ingredient cocoa, are not only for eating but also have many uses and even gives nutrition for the body.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why Chocolate at Easter? Why Not! The History of Popular Easter Eggs

Eggs have been a symbol of life, fertility and rebirth since people first began to eat them. Some believed that the golden yolk of an egg symbolized the sun which was necessary for life and later, as they turned to agriculture, for crops to grow. In creation myths from China and the Indian subcontinent there is the common theme, the idea that the world was born from a "Cosmic" egg. There are also Norse myths of creation which feature them.

The giving of eggs in spring began in pagan times, as they were connected in popular beliefs as embodying the sun (the yolk), so when the sun began to shine again after a long, cold winter, people would celebrate the sun's return.

Christians adopted the pagan practice of giving eggs at Easter as for them the egg symbolized the resurrection of Christ, just as before Christ eggs had signified the return of the sun which would ensure the fertility of crops in northern climates.

The eggs might have been dyed red or other colours- charcoal was used as well as bright dyes from plants. Orthodox Christians still dye eggs red in Greece and Russia, and Easter is the most important day in their calendar- having more importance than Christmas.

In some Slavic countries eggs were hand painted rather than dyed and as time passed, they became more lavishly decorated. Faberge took decorated eggs to a more elevated level with those he created for the Russian royal family during the 1899s up until 1917 and the overthrow of the tsar. These were jewel encrusted and made with precious metals, sold today for vast sums, and highly prized in the museums where they are housed.

The chocolate Easter egg is a relative newcomer in the history of egg-giving in spring, as they were first made in Europe in the early 19th century by French and German confectioners. Some of these early ones were solid as the process for molding chocolate had not been developed. The first molded ones were difficult to make as the chocolate paste had to be spread into individual molds by hand.

It was the Dutch who first invented a press to separate cocoa butter from cocoa beans in 1828, and this enabled manufacturers to make more chocolate as well as Easter eggs. The first were made of dark chocolate, as milk chocolate only appeared on the market at the beginning of the 20th century.

Now of course, chocolate Easter eggs are big business for chocolate manufacturers in the West, as every child is given one at Easter. The symbolism may have been forgotten, but the tradition of giving eggs in spring is one which has been carried on down the centuries. The type of egg has changed, but not the gift.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Benefits Of Healthy Meal Planning

Are you bothered of what you eat? Do you eat at McDonalds and KFC frequently or do you prefer eating fresh green salads and fresh fruits? Eating right doesn't only means eating the right amount. More than that, eating the appropriate kind of foods is also equally important.

If your goal is just to look slim and you don't have that much information on healthy eating, then chances are you may eat foods that are unhealthy. Instead of reducing weight, you may end up gaining a few pounds and you'll be wondering why.

When talking about Good Healthy Food, many have wrong notions about it. But in reality, you don't have to be a diet expert or a certified Nutritionist-Dietitian to master this aspect. You can learn bounty of lessons around the net, magazines and books.

And the first thing you must know is how to classify foods. In order to do this, you must know the basic food groups and the fatty foods to avoid. After that, Healthy Meal Planning comes next. With it, it will be easier for you to know if you are on the right track.

Magazines, recipes, online sites, nutrition articles and cook books provide ample information to help you gain information and learn how to apply them into your life. With the guidance of the experts, you can develop the right eating habits that could also improve your lifestyle.

Here are some reasons why planning Healthy meal would be beneficial for you:

• If you plan meals in advance, you will have good savings as you will cut down on eating out. 
• You will avoid pre-packaged meals which are often rich in calories and fats. 
• Every grocery will be stocked right on your kitchen. With listings, you can predict early what to buy. 
• Avoid wastage. If you plan your meals, you would not waste any vegetable or meat inside your fridge. 
• You will enjoy eating variety of meals every day. 
• You will eat healthier foods. 
• You will avoid spending time for thinking what to eat. 
• You can have good meals and avoid foods can harm you. In case you have some kind of allergies on foods.

Eating healthy also means you have a complete diet. It must be composed of entrée, vegetables, whole grains, fruit and a healthy beverage. It is best to have a balance of protein and carbohydrates and small amount of fat sources each day. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day and you will have a successful meal planning that works for you and your loved ones.