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So, the joke’s on me, because our 80-degrees-and-sunny weather has already been replaced by cold and rainy.  Can you believe it?  RAIN!  It’s like a torrential downpour outside right now.  I’m not even kidding.  So, even though it’s 8:00 am, it’s not too early for a  nice, warm pick-me-up.

Last weekend, I posted hot chocolate on a stick to help warm you up, but what if you’re looking for a more instant solution?  That’s easy – turn your favorite hot cocoa mix into PEANUT BUTTER hot chocolate!

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My two favorite things, peanut butter and chocolate, get to shine again in this nice, warm beverage.  Top it off with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallow fluff to create the ultimate hot chocolate indulgence.  I seriously think my heart skipped a few beats when I drank this.  Honestly, I don’t know how I have drank hot chocolate for the last 20-some…

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Artisanal Chocolate Created by DB Infusion Chocolates

Source: www.artfulhome.com – Created byDB Infusion Chocolates

Artisanal ChocolateCreated byDB Infusion Chocolates

Artisanal Chocolate
Created byDB Infusion Chocolates

Chocolates: 27 Piece BoxThese beautiful chocolates are hand crafted by artisan chocolatiers using only the highest-quality and freshest ingredients available, creating a melange of flavor, aroma, and texture that provides an exquisite taste experience matched only by the visually stunning color and shape of each chocolate. Artisans capture the flavorful essence of nature’s alchemy, blending the finest chocolate from Belgium, Switzerland, and Spain with delectable, and sometimes unexpected, ingredients and flavors using old-world techniques. Chocolate flavors may include: jasmine, passion fruit, espresso, honey lavender, Tahitian vanilla, curry, ginger, praline, hazelnut, lemon and mango, and many more.

A purchase of multiple boxes of chocolate delivering to the same address may be eligible for special shipping rates. Please contact Customer Care.
Chocolates are non-returnable.
Dimensions: 6.0in W x 12.0in L x 1.2in D

Special Information
To ensure freshness, products are shipped using Priority Mail with delivery in two to three business days. Shipments are made on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please choose an approximate delivery date by clicking on the calendar icon below and selecting from the available delivery dates (highlighted in red.) To guarantee delivery on a specific date, contact Customer Care at 877-223-4600; upgraded charges may apply.

Delivery date:

Shipping charge (based on items in My Basket): $15.00

To view how shipping charges are calculated for this item or to view additional shipping information, click the “Shipping” tab on the left.

$72.00

 
 

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The 10 Best Chocolatiers in the World

Source: intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com

An array of chocolates at the Godiva Factory. (Photograph by Everjean, Flickr)

An array of chocolates at the Godiva Factory. (Photograph by Everjean, Flickr)

Each chocolatier on our list produces signature melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, be it a single-source dark chocolate bar, a cream- or liqueur-filled bonbon, a praline, fruit dipped in chocolate, a truffle, fudge, or some other sinfully delicious treat. You will never regret indulging yourself with the confections produced by these premier chocolate-makers.

1. Teuscher (Zurich, Switzerland)

Teuscher’s version of a box of chocolate. (Photograph by Maako Tazawa, Flickr)

The Teuscher chocolate tradition began more than 70 years ago in a small town in the Swiss Alps. Dolf Teuscher scoured the world to find the finest cocoa, marzipan, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients with which to make his confectionery. After years of experimenting, he skillfully blended these ingredients into his now famous recipes.

Today the Teuscher kitchens in Zurich make more than 100 varieties of chocolates using these original recipes, which have been handed down from father to son. Only the finest and most expensive natural ingredients are used, and absolutely no chemicals, additives, or preservatives are added. The house specialty is a champagne truffle, a blend of fresh cream, butter, and chocolate with a champagne cream center, dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Chocolates are flown to Teuscher stores worldwide weekly.

2. Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Owner and chocolatier Katrina Markoff chooses every spice, flower, and chocolate that is flown into the Vosges kitchen to be transformed into fine chocolates. She learned the art of French confectionery at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Further inspired by her global apprenticeships, infusions of rare spices and flowers are combined with premium chocolate in truffles such as Mexican vanilla bean and Argentinean dulce de leche.

3. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, Inc. (Berkeley, California, USA)

Scharffen Berger chocolate bars wrapped in a bow. (Photograph by John Loo, Flickr)

Specializing in dark chocolate, Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker is a premier chocolate manufacturer. It executes each step of the manufacturing process itself, all the way from bean to bar, to ensure that its finished chocolate delivers a flavor like no other. The chocolate-makers first find the finest cacao available, then carefully taste and blend beans of different origins to create a unique flavor profile. All the chocolate is made in small batches using artisanal manufacturing methods. In addition to its ready-to-eat bars, Scharffen Berger makes a variety of baking chocolates.

4. Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York, New York, USA)

When you step into Jacques Torres Chocolate, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small European specialty store. Many customers compare the experience to the movie Chocolat. Jacques specializes in fresh, handcrafted chocolates. Eat them there, where cafe tables encourage you to sit, sip hot chocolate, and enjoy a freshly baked pain au chocolat — or take a selection home. Visitors often can see the chocolate goodies being prepared behind large glass windows. There are five Jacques Torres Chocolate shops in the city, plus one in Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

5. Norman Love Confections (Ft. Myers, Florida, USA)

Unwrapping Valrhona’s Ampamakia bar. (Photograph by Everjean, Flickr)

“Chocolate is my passion,” says Norman Love, who dreamed of making chocolate that was visually stunning as well as delicious. Love and a partner perfected a technique in which the colored designs for each candy are hand-painted or airbrushed into chocolate molds, which are then filled with the finest chocolate imported from Belgium, France, and Switzerland. The pumpkin white chocolate bonbon is almost too gorgeous to eat. Using only the freshest ingredients, his recipes call for pureed raspberries, bananas, ginger, caramel, passionfruit, and hazelnuts, to name a few.

6. Valrhona (France)

Valrhona has been creating exceptional gourmet chocolate since 1922, with cocoa beans purchased directly from premier plantations in South America, the Caribbean, and Pacific regions. The chocolate, made in the French style, comes in a variety of bars. Valrhona was one of the first chocolatiers to describe its chocolate like wine, labeling creations as grand cru, single origins, single estate, and vintage chocolate from bean to bar. In 2008, it introduced spicy, salty Xocopili.

7. Godiva Chocolatier (Brussels, Belgium and worldwide)

It’s all about finishing touches at Godiva. (Photograph by Everjean, Flickr)

The beginning of Godiva chocolates traces back to a 1920s chocolate- and sweet-making workshop owned and operated by the Draps family in Brussels, Belgium. Their “pralines,” typical Belgian filled chocolates, were sold in the large, highly fashionable shops. At the age of 14, Joseph Draps went into the family business. Over the years, he developed both his ability and creative talent as a master chocolate-maker as well as his business sense. He decided to create a prestige range of chocolates and to give it an evocative name. He chose “Godiva” and marketed his chocolates in instantly recognizable gold boxes. In recognition of its excellence, Godiva has been rewarded with an appointment as supplier to the Court of Belgium. Godiva continues to be an innovator in gourmet chocolate.

8. Richard Donnelly Fine Chocolates (Santa Cruz, California, USA)

These chocolates are unusual, to say the least. Richard Donnelly likes to push the chocolate experience by combining its rich tones — he uses Belgian and French chocolate — with ingredients such as lavender, chipotle, saffron, cardamom, and Earl Grey tea. Such innovation helped Donnelly win the Best Artisan award at the prestigious Euro Chocolate Festival in Perugia, Italy, just ten years after he opened his shop. To maintain quality and ensure freshness, Donnelly produces no more than 50 pounds of chocolate a day. If you need a break from the exotic and unusual flavors, try Donnelly’s white chocolate macadamia nut or a honey vanilla caramel.

9. Richart (Paris, France)

Puccini Bomboni’s doesn’t deliver, but it’s well worth a trip to Amsterdam. (Photograph by Namealus, Flickr)

Committed to quality, the French chocolate-maker Richart guarantees you the most refined chocolates from the most refined ingredients. Richart recipes, developed and tested by the Richart family, have won France’s most prestigious confectioner’s honor, the Ruban Bleu, seven times. Having perfected the art of chocolate making, Richart now focuses on enhanced flavors and distinctive designs and colors. A box of assorted chocolates is visually stunning. If you really want to impress, splurge on the $850 burlwood vault with seven drawers of chocolate — complete with temperature and humidity gauges.

10.

You will actually have to visit Amsterdam to sample what may be the best chocolates in the Netherlands. The proprietors of Puccini Bomboni, a delightful cafe and restaurant, hand-make each chocolate on the premises and do not deliver. Exotic combinations of chocolate and spices, concocted from the freshest ingredients, are a specialty. Although the variety isn’t enormous, the quality is truly amazing.

This list originally appeared in the National Geographic book, The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers, by Nathaniel Lande and Andrew Lande.

 

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Peppermint Chocolate Bark

Let's Spice Things Up

Hope everyone had wonderful Christmas 🙂 Sorry I haven’t been active lately but you know with the holidays life gets pretty hectic…especially if you wait to do your shopping until the very last second…

And the day before Christmas Eve I was on a mission. I had my game plan on: list of all the gifts I need to get, what stores I need to go, in what order and what section to find everything. There was no time to be looking at other things, I had to get this done..and fast. I was storming through the stores, pushing everyone out of my way and within an hour and a half I had gotten everything I needed 🙂 The only thing left was wrapping and since I’m the worst gift wrapper ever that task was transferred over to Chris 🙂 Christmas itself was a lazy day where we didn’t do much of anything…

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Candy Dessert Recipes For Your Leftover Halloween Candy

Source:  www.allyou.com

Make the most of your leftover Halloween goodies with these chocolate candy dessert recipes.

Candy Dessert Recipes

Don’t let leftover Halloween candy go to waste–use it to make these mouthwatering treats! Dig into your children’s Halloween loot for the ingredients to these delicious recipes.

Candy Dessert Recipes: Candy Cake

Candy Cake

Cost per serving: $1.22
Try Snickers, Almond Joy or Reese’s peanut butter cups in this candy-lovers recipe. And if you’re in a hurry, feel free to skip the icing–the cake is perfectly delicious without it.
See Recipe: Candy Cake

Candy Dessert Recipes: Candy Corn Fudge

Candy Corn Fudge

Cost per serving: 13¢
Make this rich dessert for pennies! If the fudge is too brittle to cut right out of the refrigerator, let it stand at room temperature until it has softened up a bit.
See Recipe: Candy Corn Fudge

Candy Dessert Recipes: Milky Way Pudding

Milky Way Pudding

Cost per serving: 87¢
Milky Way Midnight bars have darker chocolate than traditional Milky Ways, which gives this pudding a richer chocolate flavor.  You can swap in the regular Milky Ways, but the pudding will be much sweeter and not as chocolatey.
See recipe: Milky Way Pudding

Candy Dessert Recipes: Snickers Cheesecake

Snickers Cheesecake

Cost per serving: $1.17
This treat-inspired twist on cheesecake is sure to be a hit this Halloween. You can swap in another kind of candy for the Snickers, if you prefer: peanut butter cups, malted milk balls or chocolate-covered toffee bars all work well. Then drizzle with chocolate syrup for extra decadence.
See recipe: Snickers Cheesecake

Candy Dessert Recipes: Almond Joy Brownies

Almond Joy Brownies

Cost per serving: 58¢
These decadent Almond Joy Brownies will be a Halloween hit! For a creamy, nut-free take on this recipe, try 12 chopped snack-size 3 Musketeers bars in place of the Almond Joys.
See Recipe: Almond Joy Brownies

Candy Dessert Recipes: Chocolate-Strawberry Licorice Bites

Chocolate-Strawberry Licorice Bites

Cost per serving: 7¢
Use everyone’s favorite chewy candy to make these fun-to-eat Chocolate-Strawberry Licorice Bites! For a different look, drizzle melted white chocolate over chocolate-flavored Twizzlers, then top them with orange and yellow sprinkles or nonparells for a cute Halloween theme.
See Recipe: Chocolate-Strawberry Licorice Bites

Candy Dessert Recipes: Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Peanut Butter Cup Pie

Cost per serving: $1.26
Chocolate, peanut butter and ice cream? This to-die-for combo will be tasty treat for Halloween guests. If you want to try another flavor, opt for peppermint patties with chocolate ice cream and chocolate cookie crust instead of graham cracker.
See Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Pie

 

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DIY: Chocolate Caramel Apples

AJM

I obviously have a serious sweet tooth and I love a good caramel apple.  They remind me of when I was a kid and my dad would take me and my brother  to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (in La Jolla, not the Rocky Mountains).  We were allowed to get one treat each – I would always pick a chocolate caramel apple.  Lucky for me, they are very easy, albeit a little messy, to make.  Here’s my simple DIY in 4 steps.

Ingredients needed (for 4):

  • 4 apples + popsicle sticks
  • 1 (14 ounce) package  individually wrapped caramels
  • 1 (10 or 12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Milk (approx 4 Tbsp)
  • Toppings (i.e. sprinkles, nuts, whatever you want!)

1. Wash apples and push popsicle sticks into the apple’s center – set aside. Place unwrapped caramels in bowl with 2 Tbsp milk; Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds.

2. Stir…

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Chocolate Facial

 

Yes, chocolate is rich in copper, an essential nutrient for skin-firming. Here’s what you do: Mix 1 heaping tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder with enough heavy cream to form a paste. Apply to clean, dry skin and leave the paste on for 15 minutes. Wipe off the chocolate mask with a washcloth, and rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat dry.

 

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