Posts tagged Carole Bloom
Attention Chocolate Lovers!

Attention chocolate lovers!  Carole Bloom's latest cookbook is out, Intensely Chocolate, 100 scrumptious recipes for true chocolate lovers. (Wiley 2010)

Carole notches up the "chocolate factor" creating over 100 recipes with many different types and forms of chocolate.  Many of her recipes in her latest book, call for high cacao, high content chocolate, which intensifies chocolate flavor. Written for bakers of all levels, Carole graciously walks us through the different types of chocolate, equipment, and best techniques. Nine different chapters cover every one's chocolate favorite something.

I read Carole's new book, Intensely Chocolate, like a novel, gliding through each chapter, enjoying the fresh and upbeat easy format and size, and relishing all of the mouthwatering photographs.

It was hard to decide which recipe to make first. I decided on "Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bars" in Carole's Cookie Chapter. Coincidentally, she said it is one of her favorite recipes, too. Enjoy!

Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bars

Milk Chocolate Dulce de Leche Bars

These potent bars have three layers, a coconut and brown sugar crust, a Dulce de Leche (caramel) filling, and a glaze of dark milk chocolate. You can cut these into smaller bite-size pieces, if you like.

Makes 2 ½ dozen 1 x 2 ½-inch bars Special equipment: 9 x 13-inch baking pan

Crust: 4 ounces (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 cup (2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut 1 cup (6 ounces) firmly packed light brown sugar 1 cup (4 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt

Dulce de Leche filling: 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Glaze: 13 ounces dark milk chocolate (38% to 42% cacao content), finely chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the inside of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, pressing it into the pan, and letting it hang over the short edges.

For the crust, melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat. Place the coconut, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a 2-quart mixing bowl and toss to blend thoroughly. Pour the melted butter into this mixture and use a rubber spatula to stir until the dry ingredients are moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and press it in evenly, making sure it reaches into the corners.

Bake the crust for 15 to 18 minutes, until light golden and set. Remove the baking pan from the oven and cool it completely on a rack.

For the Dulce de Leche filling, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the unsalted butter, and the corn syrup in a 2-quart heavy-duty saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat until it thickens and turns a deep beige color. Pour the filling over the cooled crust, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Return the baking pan to the oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the filling begins to bubble. Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, melt the dark milk chocolate in the top of a double boiler over warm water, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Or melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl on low power for 30 seconds bursts, stirring between each burst. Remove the top pan or bowl of the double boiler, if using, and wipe it dry.

Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the Dulce de Leche filling and use an offset spatula to quickly spread it evenly. Tap the pan gently on the counter top to release any air bubbles in the chocolate. Chill the pan for 10 minutes to begin to set the chocolate then let it set completely at room temperature.

Lift the bars from the pan by holding the edges of the parchment paper then peel the parchment paper away from the sides of the bars. Use a chef’s knife dipped in hot water and dried to trim off all of the edges. Use a ruler to help measure where to cut and cut into 1 x 2 ½-inch bars, cleaning the knife between each cut.

Serve the bars at room temperature.

Keeping Store the bars in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper at room temperature up to 3 days.

Streamlining The crust and the filling can be baked the day before adding the dark milk chocolate glaze.

Carole Bloom is a personal friend, and an accomplished European-trained pastry chef, confectioner, chocolatier, and best selling author, speaker, and teacher. For more information on Carole, please visit Carole Bloom.

Please share if you have a "chocolate lover" or "cookie monster" in your life.

Holiday Gifts for the Gardener

Wearing Dianne B. Garden Shoes at DDM Harvest 2009 Best Garden Boots from The Best @ Dianne B. Garden Boots. Tired of the standard Wellies? My dear friend, Debra Prinzing had the skinny when I asked about her great gardening shoes. She was right. These Panther Print Garden Boots ($74) are garden chic, comfortable, and durable. Did I say French, too? I always get compliments on them. Boots are also available in Olive Green ($64). Tip: I ordered a whole size larger, than my normal shoe size.

French Woven Baskets by The French Basketeer. Beautiful, authentic French baskets and totes. Prices vary by different shapes and sizes. They are beautiful! Available online, and Sundays 9am-1pm at the Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market.

Books! My dear  friend, cookbook author, and speaker, Carole Bloom, has another hit with her new book, Intensely Chocolate. More on Carole, and her new chocolate cookbook next month, as I must share with you her "Milk Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bar" recipe that I recently made!  Edible landscaping pioneer, Roslind Creasy has a "hot" new book out, Edible Landscaping, pushing us to continue to explore the endless possibilities of edible and garden together.  I also recommend many more incredible books on VintageGardenGal's home page, right side bar!

Cobra Head Weeder & Cultivating Tool. My dear friend, Anneliese Valdes, and her family out of Wisconsin, make a wonderful must-have gardener's tool, The Cobra Head ($24.95). Created by her father, the Cobra Head concept was invented from a five-tined old fashion cultivator. I use my Cobra Head all the time. It is easy on your hands and wrist, and glides through soil. Check out other fine products for gardeners on their website, Cobra Head.

Zingerman's Olive Oil Food Club. ($125.00). Most gardeners are terrific cooks. What better gift for them than rare olive oils from around the world. Think spring mesclun salads, roasted home-grown vegetables, and dipping with artisan fresh-baked bread. Zingerman's Rare Olive Oil Food Club. Coined "Best Food Club" by the Wall Street Journal in 2007. You have the option of different monthly installments.

Succulents Galore. Author, speaker, and painter,Debra Lee Baldwin, has opened an online store, Debra Lee Baldwin with "everything succulents" from key chains to mouse pads, to her paintings. We all need to add a few more succulents in our life!

Bake With Bloom, Bite-Size Desserts

Carole Bloom's Latest Book, Bite-Size Desserts If you or any of your loved ones has a sweet tooth, you must know about my long time dear friend and baking expert, Carole Bloom. Carole is a European-trained pastry chef, confectioner, chocolatier, and best selling author of nine cookbooks.

Her latest cookbook, just released from Wiley in April 2009, is Bite-Size Desserts. Carole is riding the wave of one of the hottest food trends in this country today, small desserts that deliver big delectable flavors. Bite-Size Desserts, has a lively and lovely format, beautiful mouth-watering photos, and a total of 87 tantalizing recipes.

I had her book one week, and had already gleefully made "cornmeal-dried cherry scones", "wicked brownie bites", and "raspberry-blueberry crisps".  Below is a special treat for all of you,  Carole Bloom's "Cornmeal-Dried Cherry Scones" recipe. Enjoy. For book and purchase information, click on, Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, from Cupcakes and Cobblers to Custards and Cookies

Carole Bloom's "Cornmeal-Dried Cherry Scones"

"I love to use cornmeal in baking because it provides lots of texture. It works deliciously with the dried tart cherries in these scones. These are lovely for breakfast, afternoon tea, and as a snack. They taste best when warm and can be reheated in a 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes."

MAKES 2 dozen 2-inch round scones.

Ingredients: 3/4 cup (3-1/4 ounces) all purpose flour 2/3 cup (4 ounces) fine yellow cornmeal 1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/8 teaspoon kosher or fine-grained sea salt 2 ounces (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled 2/3 cup (3-1/2 ounces) dried tart cherries 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners.

*** Pulse together the flour, cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of sugar, baking powder, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

*** Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the four mixture. Pulse until the butter is cut into very tiny pieces, about 30 seconds. The texture should be sandy with very tiny lumps throughout. Add the dried cherries and pulse a few times to mix.

*** Use a fork to lightly beat 1/3 cup of cream with the egg and vanilla in a liquid measuring cup. With the food processor running, pour this mixture through the feed tube and process until the dough forms itself into a ball, about 30 seconds.

*** Dust a large piece of waxed or parchment paper with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough briefly and form it into a round about 3/4 inch thick. Dip a 1-1/2 inch round plain-edge biscuit cutter in flour and use it to cut straight down through the dough and lift straight up, without twisting, to form the scones. Twisting seals the edges of the dough and keeps the the scones from rising well as they bake. Gather the scraps together, knead briefly, and roll and cut the remaining dough into scones. Transfer the scones to the lined baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between them so they have room to expand as they bake.


Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 teaspoons of cream, taking care that it doesn't run down the sides and under the scones. If it does, wipe it up because it can cause the bottoms of the scones to burn. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the scones with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.

*** Bake for 9 minutes. Switch the baking sheets and bake another 9 minutes until the scones are light golden. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and cool the scones completely on the baking sheets on racks.

*** KEEPING Store the scones in an airtight plastic container between layers of waxed paper at room temperature up to 4 days. To freeze up to 4 months, wrap the container tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Use a large piece of masking tape and an indelible marker to label and date the contents. If frozen, defrost the scones overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.

MAKING A CHANGE Add 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans with the cherries. Replace the dried tart cherries with dried cranberries or dried blueberries.

Congratulations Carole, on your new Bite-Size Desserts cookbook! It is such a delightful cookbook to read, as well as bake with. Your flavor combinations are genius. Please visit for more information on her cookbooks, classes, and schedule.