Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cocktails & Cookies

For the second year now, we have participated in an event called "Cocktails and Cookies".  It benefits the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.  Their event is the culmination of another successful cooking-selling season.  Since half of our staff was a Girl Scout at one point or's hard to say no to participating in this event.  Plus...who doesn't love Girl Scout cookies!!

The event promotes the Girl Scout cookies for that season.  Each chef is asked to create some sort of dessert using cookies.  The "hardest" part about this event is having to taste test each possible dessert.  Someone's gotta do it...right?!?

This time, we decided to do something a little different than last year.  (Last year we made a Trio of Mousses in Chocolate Cordial Cups) We decided to make a cookie with 9 layers.  We named our creation "The Kitchen Sink and the Baby Too!"  

The night of the event went well.  We heard great things about our dessert.  We even had people in the crowd trying to help us "woo" the judges. One lady, in particular, wanted to make sure the ABC Cookie Executive ate our dessert right in front of us.   The judges eventually did a Top Chef-type judging table and discussed each participants dessert to the crowd.  I believe the words "decadence on steroids" was mentioned when describing ours! 

Although we didn't win any prizes, we were nothing but positive compliments from the judges!  

We were happy to be a part of such a fun evening that benefited a great organization!  

Here is the case you wanted to give it a whirl!!

Kitchen Sink Cookie Bar
1 sleeve of shortbread cookie crumbs
1 sleeve of shout-out cookie crumbs
½ cup melted butter

Combine crumbs with melted butter and press into bottom of 9 x 13 inch pan.

1 cup chocolate chips (70% the best)
1 box Caramel Delites—cut in 1/8s
1 box Peanut Butter Patties—cut in 1/8s

Layer these in the pan, then top with:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Add:  1 1/3 cups coconut and 1 cup chopped pecans.

Pat the coconut and pecans down into the sweetened condensed milk.  Bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes.

Cut and drizzle with milk and bittersweet chocolate!  Makes approximately 90 one-inch servings.

Until next time...that's the Sweet Stuff!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Introducing the Two Newest Members of the Cocoa Dolce Family!

Happy 2011!  Where did January and February go?  In a heartfelt effort to post some interesting content on our blog this year, here is my attempt. 

I get regular inquiries about how we develop new products and flavors.  It’s really pretty simple…we brainstorm and then we experiment.  A great example would be our new artisan bar flavors launching next week.  When we started our bar line, the first few were easy—solid milk, white and bittersweet chocolate and the obvious additional almond variations.  Then it got a little more interesting…based on staff discussions, we brainstormed additional chocolate amendments—cherries, raisins, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc., etc., etc.
Then the really hard work began.  We had to taste test these combinations—tough work, but someone had to do it!  After exhausting testing we chose our winners and produced them for sale.  Now let’s flash to fall of 2010.  At least once a season, we look at our sales trends and assess objectively AND subjectively our winners and losers.  One of the pillars of Cocoa Dolce is a commitment to creating great tasting chocolate confections that make our customers happy.  Sometimes even when we think we have a winner you, our real voters, tell us differently.

That leads me to our new flavor launch.  After our last rigorous analysis of which of our kids failed 5th grade, we found a couple of drop-outs.  After looking at flavor trends and, quite frankly, what our staff palates dictate, we proudly announce our two new bar flavors:  grey salt caramel in 57% bittersweet Belgian chocolate and toffee in Belgian milk chocolate. 

So here’s the scoop:  grey salt caramel bar--we made a fresh soft caramel and added French grey sea salt while it was cooling.  Once cooled to room temperature, we piped it into a bittersweet bar shell and then filled the rest of the bar with bittersweet chocolate.  When we break this bar into sections, it cracks and this delicious salted soft caramel oozes out…be still my heart!   Bar #2--we LOVE toffee and think that we make some of the best English toffee around.  So we crushed our buttery toffee base and mixed it with our premium Belgian milk chocolate.  It seems to us that we have a real keeper with this flavor combination…crunchy and sweet.

grey salt caramel bar

crushed toffee bar

Who could resist?  We hope you can’t!  Here’s to you loving our new kids.  If you do, drop us a line and let us know.  In the meantime, have a great March and here’s to dreaming big!