As any loyal reader knows, I have a thing for chocolate so when Savory Spice Shop approached the Virtual Potluck (VP) gang and we were all charged with choosing a section — I chose the baking section because Savory Spice Online has six different kinds of cocoa/cacao powder residing there. Ah! The rich splendor of cocoa!
For the rest of this month, The Groovy Foody will be exploring the world of cocoa with a total of six recipes (one for each type) including a bevy of savory entries, because if you haven’t experienced cocoa or chocolate in it’s non-dessert form, you’re only getting half the picture.
Here’s the best part of this promo for readers — since each member of VP is covering a different section that means there is not only a huge variety of recipes (using all different spices) for you to enjoy BUT there’s a different spice prize package up for grabs on each site. If you want a chance at winning all 12 — visit the host page at Cookistry to see what everybody’s cooking up! Scroll down for your chance to win the Loco Coco prize package right here on The GrooVy Foody.
The World of Cocoa
Since I have six cocoas to play with, I decided to create a six course meal, hoping to sort of let you experience the world of cocoa and what you can do with it by having each course feature a different cocoa or cacao powder. This course is the appetizer and features a deep dark, Dutch cocoa, bleu cheese (Gorgonzola to be exact) and 72% dark chocolate.
Dutch cocoa for the uninitiated, is processed with alkali which reduces some of its bitterness and acidity. If you’re someone who experiences occasional heartburn with chocolate or cocoa, you will find that using Dutch cocoa may reduce this effect.
The Dutching process overall creates a smoother, deeper colored cocoa that has a neutral pH. Because it is not acidic like regular cocoa, it should only be used in recipes with baking powder as its leavening agent, NOT baking soda, as many of these baking soda recipes rely upon natural cocoa’s acidity to activate the leavening.
There is some dispute about whether or not cocoa still retains its full antioxidant properties once it has been dutched. If you want to dig into the science of Cocoa and Health please be my guest and read the British Journal of Nutrition’s scientific piece on it and the decade of studies that have been done. (There are some interesting tidbits in there with regards to cocoa’s impact on things like heart disease but I warn you it is science-y so get your cup of coffee first!)
These simple to make, cocoa-dusted bleu cheese truffles are more savory than sweet and work well as an appetizer or as a more European end to a meal, working their magic on any cheese plate. Pair these with a juicy red wine like a well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon or Barbara D’ Alba.
Cocoa-Dusted Gorgonzola Truffles
- 4 oz of Gorgonzola cheese (I like Oregonzola!) – no rind, at room temp
- 2 Tbsp sifted powdered sugar (stirred in 1 Tbsp at a time)
- 2.5 oz 70-72% dark chocolate, chopped
- 1- 2oz Dutch cocoa
In a mixing bowl, combine rindless, room temperature softened cheese and powdered sugar. Mixing until well incorporated. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler, over simmering water.
Combine the melted chocolate and cheese mixture by hand, until well-mixed and smooth. If mix is too dry add a few drops of water to smooth it out. If your chocolate was too hot when mixed, the mixture may become too gooey to roll. If this happens, just refrigerate it for 10 to 15 minutes to make truffle workable.
Roll the filling mixture into small 1/4 to 1/2-inch balls and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. Once the filling has set, roll the truffles in the dutch cocoa powder and plate. Store in the fridge in an airtight container, as room temperature cheese will continue to ferment.
Congrats to Deb Frutiger ~ Our Savory Spice Shop Loco Cocoa Winner!
Savory Spice Loco Cocoa Giveaway
The Loco Cocoa spice gift set, available exclusively at Savory Spice Shop, will let one lucky winner do what I just did — explore the world of cocoa in your own kitchen. With five types of cocoa (four bottles and one small sampler) including the Mayan and Mexican blends and three other pure cocoas including Natural, Dutch and Black Onyx, you’ll have more than enough cocoa to explore your wildest cocoa-filled fantasies.
How to Enter:
Visit Savory Spice Shop’s Facebook page and click the Virtual Potluck link. Choose a product from the baking section and come back here to The GrooVy Foody and comment on what dish you’d make with that spice or product. Visit Savory Spice Shop on Twitter: @SavorySpiceShop
Disclaimer: Savory Spice Shop cocoas and other spices were provided free of charge in order to facilitate these recipes. No monetary compensation was received. US mailing addresses only. One (1) winner will be chosen randomly. Contest ends April 21st, 2012 at 11:59 Pacific time and prize will be shipped by Savory Spice Shop. The winner will be announced on Sunday, April 22nd via email and will have 48 hours to respond with shipping information before a new winner will be chosen
- Responsible Cocoa: Fair Trade, Slavery and Child Labor Issues (responsiblecocoa.com)
- Reaping the Health Benefits of Chocolate (berries.com)
- Where to find Fair Trade Cocoa and Chocolate (fairtradeusa.org)
Your posts always amaze me and are so full of great information! I never would have thought to combine the cocoa and gorgonzola! Terrific!
What a fun recipe–can’t wait to see the rest!
great recipe and think the mappe sugar from your list is calling me for some scones
follow @SavorySpiceShop @cjsorel
I’d use their almond extract to make an almond lemon cake.
I visited Savory Spice Shop on twitter and am following them: ljskop
I would love to try the key lime extract. I would use it in some cookies.
I”m followin SSS on Twitter.
Your truffles are intriguing!
But I’d like to try the black onyx powder cocoa, and maybe use it to make the Barefoot Contessa’s brownie recipe.
I follow the Savory Spice Shop on Twitter.
Oh, for the love of cocoa! I bought 8 oz of the black onyx dutch processed cocoa from Savory Spice Shop’s St. Petersburg, Fla. store. That black onyx cocoa powder is so good that using it causes chocolate lovers heads’ to blow off when they eat it in their favorite recipes calling for Dutch processed cocoa. I have made two different kinds of cookies with it, but most recently made the “Sweet and Salty Cake” from the recipe book “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, with photographs by Tina Rupp. They describe the recipe this way, “This is our signature creation, our most loved cake, and our most requested recipe. Is all this attention warrented? Absolutely. Our Sweet and Salty Cake is an indulgent but sophisticated adult sweet: The perfectly salted caramel contrasts beautifully with the rich chocolate layers, giving the cake balance and character.” It was the first time I ever made a three layer cake.
Wow! Melissa that’s a resounding review for that Sweet and Salty cake I’ll have to check it out. (Psst. . .if you like chocolate, salt and caramel you might want to check out my Densely Dark Chocolate Brownies with Salted Caramel. (So easy, too!)
I forgot what I said I would make…. I would make the “Sweet and Salty Cake” again, this time with 1/4 the salt as the recipe calls for. I’d also make chocolate chocolate chip cookies rolled in confectioners sugar!
I would get the vanilla extract so I can make macaroons
Oh the next couple of weeks promise to be yummy with all this chocolate.
I would like to try the spiced vanilla bean sugar
Wow, Ness, you’ve outdone yourself. What a great-sounding combination! Can’t wait to see what else you come up with.
Wow, these are outstanding! So creative as always!
lavendar vanilla bean sugar makes me think of making roasted asparagus with a brown butter sauce. mmm.
Erin B — Have you ever used lavender vanilla sugar on asparagus before? Sounds interesting. I may have to try it.
i follow savory spice shop on twitter!
I’d pick out Organic Ground Chinese Ginger. I would make soft ginger cookies. Mmhmm.
I would try their almond extract! I love SSS.
I’m sorry I didn’t leave in the above comment that I would make these almond cookies that we all love – also I don’t know if it is just one entry or two – ?? but I did follow them on twitter and facebook.
I’ve seen recipes for cinnamon chips before, but never purchased them. I would love to pick up some Vietnamese Saigon Cassia Cinnamon Chips and make some cookies!
I follow @SavorySpiceShop
The honey powder sounds interesting. I would add it to some cookies or sprinkle on my morning oats.
I follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter.
You got me with the Cocoa Powder! I make Truffles, usually dusted with whatever cocoa powder I have on hand. I would love to use the Mayan Cocoa powder to take it up a level. And, I would have a nice cup of hot Chocolate made in the fashion of “Like Water For Chocolate.” (which is one of my all-time-favorite books and I highly recommend)
I would choose baking spice. It has a combination of flavors that I like to use. I woould use it as my “special” ingredient in my next batch of cinnamon rolls!
I’d use the pumpkin pie spice to make pumpkin mousee.
follow Savory Spice Shop on Twitter: @SavorySpiceShop
I would like to bake an apple pie with any of the cinnamon spices.
I’d use the honey powder to make a rice pudding.
follow Savory Spice on twitter
I picked vanilla extract and would make ice cream. Yummy. Great giveaway!
I’d use Black Onyx Cocoa to make super brownies!
I would use Black Onyx Cocoa to make awesome brownies
I visited and followed Savory Spice Shop on Twitter (as picatasi)