Chocolate Festival

This past weekend I conducted a demonstration at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden Chocolate Festival in Miami. That’s right, a festival dedicated to chocolate! Natalie White, Director of  Marketing (formerly of Whole Foods in Coral Gables, FL) asked me If I could help out with kid and family friendly chocolate recipes.

I’ve baked with chocolate before but never have I used it in savory foods. As I always say “there’s a first time for everything”. The first day I made a comfort dessert classic, Chocolate Bread Pudding and what could be better then bread and chocolate? I explained the origins of chocolate and how the Aztecs used it as a form of currency at one point. I also walked the audience (which was awesome) from the cocoa tree all the way to a Hershey’s bar. The next day I made a Chocolate Chili, which was completely vegetarian and made with 99% cacao (very bitter on it’s own). However the chocolate added a rich flavor and consistency to the chili. The samples went like crazy and the kids (little chefs) were so much fun to talk and cook with!

Check out these photos and recipes from my most recent demonstration at the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens Chocolate Festival!


Keep on Cooking!


Chocolate Bread Pudding
Serves 8-10

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 baguette (about 2 pounds)
12 ounces roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate
8 large egg yolks
¾ cups sugar
caramel sauce and whip cream (optional)


Heat the oven to 325

In a medium saucepan place the cream, milk, vanilla seeds and pod, and cinnamon and  bring to a boil. Remove from the pan from the heat and cover with plastic wrap to infuse flavors, 30 minutes.

Using your hands, tear the baguette into ¼ inch thick pieces directly into a deep gratin dish.

Return the milk mixture to the stove and bring to a boil again. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla pod. Immediately add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl, and whisk to combine until thick and pale yellow. Slowly, whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until fully incorporated.

Pour the chocolate custard over the bread filling all the cracks and covering the bread. Place a sheet o f plastic warp over the dish and press down to completely submerge the bread to make sure the bread is soaked. Remove the plastic wrap and allow the to sit fot 30 minutes. Place the gratin dish in a large pan; fill the outer pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the gratin dish. Bake in the oven until set, about 35 minutes, cool on a rack for 15 minutes

Spoon a generous amount of pudding into a serving bowl, dollop with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
Caramel Sauce
Yield: 2 ½ cups

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup water
1½ cups heavy cream, warmed

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and stir in the water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Then adjust the heat as necessary to continue simmering. Cook without stirring, for 30 to 35 minutes, until the caramel is a rich amber color (you want a dark caramel so the finished sauce will be a rich color). Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream, being careful because the mixture will bubble up. If the sauce seizes, stir it over the heat to slowly remelt any hardened caramel. Whisk in the butter. Serve warm. Or cool and refrigerate in a covered container for up to one month.


Chili Mole
Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato (about one pound), chopped (3 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons ancho chili or regular chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 can whole plum tomatoes with juice (32- to 35-ounces each), crushing tomatoes
1 ounce finely chopped unsweetened chocolate, about 1/4 cup
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 cup water
2 cans black beans (15 ounces each), drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Accompaniment: sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, scallions, lime wedges


Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot, over moderate heat and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, sweet potatoes, chili powder, oregano, cayenne, and paprika. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add zucchini, tomatoes with juice, chocolate, cinnamon, honey, orange juice and water. Simmer mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer, uncovered, until hot, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and top with accompaniments.


1 comment:

  1. Yummy! That chocolate bread pudding sounds delicious! :)
    I just found your blog! :)
    I love your work! It is really inspiring!
    Greetings from mexico!