Monday, October 31, 2005

Gift report

On Saturday, I mentioned that I was molding some chocolate as part of a gift Jeff was doing for his team at work. I offered to do this in white chocolate so we could color it, but we opted to go with an easier approach. After tempering the Scharffen Berger chocolate we got from Whole Foods, I started in on the individual molds - here is the outcome... Chocolate Suckers!

The next item to bring in was a recipe I saw in a recent Taste of Home Holiday magazine. Black Cat Cookies have a deep chocolate cookie base from dutch cocoa and are shaped into kitty faces. The dough was pretty easy to work with and placing the wooden sticks in before baking made things much easier. Candy corn, red hots, and a fork impression (whiskers!) make up these cookies.

This is how we ended up finishing everything off to give out.

Okay... so on to tonight's dinner!

Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan served along side Turkey-Sausage Paella is what I made while we waited for the trick or treaters to start knockin'. Another use for the saffron we bought awhile ago. I increased the chorizo from the original recipe as 2 oz seemed to skimpy for 4 servings. This has quite a few flavors going on and it turned out very well. I used edamame instead of the peas, as that is not something we normally keep on hand. Using smoked paprika is key here as it brings a rich smokey flavor that accents the spice from the sausage.

The roasted cauliflower was a great side dish. From a quick prep and then a high heat roasting the taste seems to change as the outside gets a caramalized finish. The fresh herbs and lemon juice helps bring out a fresh vibrant flavor.


  1. Joe...the suckers and cookies are wonderful! I truly mean that.

    Matt and I were just talking about how we watch guys like Jacque Torres temper huge batches of chocolate, and it's all shiny and perfect. Then we do it at home, and it's...well, not.

    How did you get yours to come out so well? I have a bunch of stuff planned for the holidays which requires melted chocolate.

  2. I really, really love those chocolate cat cookies!! What a cool idea. The chocolate suckers are also very cool...nice job on both! I'm sure they were received very well!

  3. I love the cat cookies! What a cute idea.

  4. Everything looks fabulous. You're now the new Martha Stewart in the Desert!!!

    Thanks for sharing the photos with us. Too bad we can't get a taste.

  5. Happy Halloween Joe!
    Everything looks great! I loved the chocolate lolipops and the cat cookies, very nice!
    Oh, and the carved pumpkim from the previous post looks super great too!
    Now I have to get back to posting on my blog...!

  6. Wow, those really look wonderful!

  7. Wow! Those treats are really great. You are a real kitchen whiz!

  8. I love the Halloween treats, but I think the turkey-sausage dish looks excellent. I have to see if I can find all of those ingredients, but it is definitely worth a try.

  9. Nice suckers and cookies. Really lovely! Happy Halloween for Jeff's staff, indeed!

  10. Wow! I always enjoy your pictures, but this might top them all. What beautiful work. They look great!

    Michelle (aka Pony :-)

  11. Wow, what lucky coworkers Jeff has! Those suckers are so cute--you are very talented Joe!

  12. Stephanie - Thanks! I have had some problems with tempering in the past but it is very dependant on the temperature of the chocolate!

    Alice - Thanks!

    Crystal - When we say it in the magazine we didnt know if the cookies would keep their shape but they did!

    Ruth - Thanks for the chuckle! Wish I could of sent you some!

    Ana - I hope to see you blogging again soon!

    s'kat - Thanks!

    Sara - You are too kind!

    Hi Cin, they were free formed as there was no cutter or template from the magazine. Thanks for visiting!

    Heather - Try it if you can find them, it was really good!

    Lisasd - Thanks!

    Michelle(pony) - Thanks for visiting!

    JJ - I think they went over well from the feedback! Thanks!