April 18th, 2013
Do you love chocolate? Have you admitted to being a “chocoholic?” I know there are a ton of you out there, including me! I can’t get enough of Seattle’s fabulous local chocolates!
Fran’s Chocolate is a Seattle institution when it comes to sweets. Internationally recognized, Fran Bigelow is truly the Mother of Chocolate in Seattle. From hand-dipped truffles, to sea salt caramels, everyone has their favorite treat. My personal guilty pleasure is the famous Gold Bar – gooey buttery caramel studded with almonds and covered with dark chocolate – yum! It’s definitely one of my go-to’s.
Theo Chocolate is another top dog in Seattle, famous for their delicious bars. Theo’s is also dedicated to addressing social issues, something we love to support! Theo is the only Organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life certified Bean-to-Bar chocolate factory in North America. In fairly recent news, they have teamed up with Ben Affleck to help Congolese farmers.
Theo Chocolate in Seattle’s Fremont Neighborhood!
You can visit the Theo’s shop in Fremont and browse all of their delectable chocolates, and even take a tour! Watch as their artisans hand-place garnishes, learn about their chocolate-making process, and even get a little sample! What a yummy excursion!
Hot chocolate more your style for a good chocolate fix? Be sure to check out Chocopolis in Queen Anne! Chocopolis can make any of their artisanal chocolate bars sippable! They also host Chocolate Happy Hours on Thursday evenings and tasting classes.
So when you get the craving to bite into something a little sweet, head to one of Seattle’s wonderful chocolatiers! Or if you want to get your chocolate fix in your own kitchen try whipping up on of my fave recipes: Chocolate- Cherry Pound Cake a la mode with Drunken Tart Cherries made with dried tart cherries from the Chukar Cherry Company, who’s been producing all natural dried cherries in the Northwest since 1988! – Kathy
Chocolate-Cherry Pound Cake à la mode with Drunken Tart Cherries
Makes 8 servings
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular, not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 cup (3 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream
Chocolate cherry ice cream or other ice cream of your choice
Drunken Tart Cherries (recipe follows)
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 5-by-9 1/4-inch nonstick loaf pan and set aside.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until very fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture, in three parts, to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until well combined; do not overmix.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, filling evenly. Rap the pan sharply on a counter several times to release any air bubbles, then smooth the surface of the batter.
Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pan after the first 30 minutes of baking.
Unmold the cake and turn it right side up. Let cool thoroughly on a wire rack before glazing.
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven, gently heat the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is just melting. Remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool to almost room temperature but still liquid. Pour over the cooled cake. Let the glaze set for 15 minutes before serving.
To serve, slice the cake into 16 slices and serve 2 slices, shingled, per serving. Top with a scoop of ice cream and a spoonful of cherries with their syrup.
Drunken Tart Cherries
Makes 1 cup
1 cup pitted dried tart cherries
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
Mix the cherries, amaretto, and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over the cherries and stir well. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours before using. Store, refrigerated, for up to 2 months.
Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table, Chronicle Books.