Christmas, Kwanza, Hannukah in July?? Well, if it weren’t for the 105 degree days recently and my lack of recent Macy’s purchases, I’d have to say it could be after attending an event that showcased new products which will both spice and sweeten up your parties this Holiday season. Ghirardelli Chocolate, a leader in the chocolate industry, recently held a gathering where food bloggers/writers were able to see and taste their new line of premium baking, hot cocoa, candy making and dipping products which are all now available in new, easy-to-open, use and reseal, zip-up pouches.
The gathering was hosted by recognized television host and lifestyle expert, Sissy Biggers. Fittingly, her name seamlessly agreed with the idea that small bites can that deliver big delights. The trend of small-bites, from tapas to mini-everything, is an ongoing and well received movement. She elaborated on how each of Ghirardelli’s new products truly “inspire you to create”. She went on to remark that the varieties available within each of their collections offer you the ability to be both innovative and versatile in the kitchen. Her tips were quite applicable to home-chefs and foodies-alike. For example, encouraging us all to use our cake pedestals for more than cake, she showed using them as a neat way to organize a multi-leveled chocolate buffet. Better yet, she mentioned crafting a hot cocoa bar where your friends or family can create a signature beverage of their own. One of the key concepts I gathered from this guru was the idea of keeping things simple yet elegant. Small bites offer just that: no-fuss items that can be made ahead, yet wow your guests from the minute they enter your party.
The products we tasted included their new Chocolate Caramel Premium Hot Cocoa. This item joins the Double Chocolate and Chocolate Mocha in the lineup. Another exciting new item they now offer is their Premium Candy Making & Dipping Wafers. These items, available in dark and white chocolate, are able to be microwaved or placed over a double-boiler to let you dip countless goodies in no time. The last item we tried was the unsweetened and sweet ground cocoa. Although not an entirely new product, it is the new packaging that has the company showcasing it.
All of these new and newly re-packaged items are now available for purchase through September 2013 when the previous brand packaging will be phased out.
Upon leaving this event, Ghirardelli was nice enough to hand us all a “goodie bag” filled to the brim with their new offerings in the new packaging. Although everything we ate, from the frosted peppermint bites to the double chocolate sugar cookie sandwiches, was delicious, I must confess the treat I loved the most was the Orange and Pistachio Biscotti dipped in the Dark Candy Wafers. The recipe below is right from Ghirardelli, a must-make ASAP in my house. But for you busy-bees, I’d say just buy some store-bought biscotti, a few different types, then dip in the dark chocolate melted wafers. The end result will be divine. You’ll felt like an experienced chocolatier, truly. Now that is something to get your Holiday Bells ringing…even if it’s July!
Orange and Pistachio Biscotti
Time: 1 hr 25 mins
2-3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
1-1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1-1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
3 Large Eggs
6 TBSP Unsalted butter, melted
3/4 Cup Ghirardelli ® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Chopped Pistachios, removed from shells
2 tsp Finely Shredded Orange Zest
1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds (optional or substitute almonds)
1 ¼ Cups Ghirardelli® Dark Candy Making & Dipping Wafers
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Lightly grease 2 extra-large baking sheets; set aside
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Place eggs in the well and stir into the flour mixture
5. Add butter and stir well to combine
6. Stir in the ¾ Cup Ghirardelli® 60 % Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, the pistachios and orange zest (dough will be crumbly)
7. Use your hands to knead dough until it comes together
8. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and use cold, wet hands to divide dough into 4 equal portions
9. Shape each portion into a 14-inch-long log
10. Place logs about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, flatten logs slightly until about 1-1/4 inches wide
11. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm and light brown, remove from oven and place baking sheets on wire racks, cool for 15 minutes
12. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or foil; set aside
13. Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut each roll diagonally into ½ inch slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheets
14. Bake for 15 minutes more or until crisp and golden brown
15. Transfer to wire racks; let cool
16. Place 1-1/4 Cups Ghirardelli® Dark Candy Making & Dipping Wafers in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium power (50%) for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. If wafers are not melted, return to microwave and repeat heating step, stirring every 15 seconds to avoid scorching.
17. Stir until smooth, then dip each edge of biscotti into melted wafers. Let excess drip back into bowl
18. Place biscotties on waxed paper and let cool
Gina Glazier is a born and raised Jersey Girl. She recently earned her Master’s degree in Reading & Literacy and is currently a teacher. Gina lives with her husband, Matt, who is her number one fan and shares in her passion for the culinary arts, minus the cooking part! Her “culinary life” became a reality a few years back when she was chosen to be a guest of The Star Ledger’s Munchmobile. This ignited Gina’s desire to be around food and all its counterparts all the time, meaning restaurants, cookbooks, TV shows, cooking, etc. Gina says her “biggest and most monumental experience” was being a part of The Star Ledger’s Pizza Patrol two years ago where she traveled the entire state, eating at 3, 4, sometimes 5 pizzerias a night for just about 6 months! You can check out her Hungry Teacher adventures, on her blog www.ahungryteacher.blogspot.com. – See more at: http://www.jerseybites.com/the-team/#sthash.aTJ0ULxj.dpuf