Behind The Cocoa Mines

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Chocolate Roses are.Red...

Sometimes when things don't turn out the way you want or planned...step away or take really deap cleansing Breaths! Suddenly you will be aware of how the situation is just what you wanted or better after all! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Chocolate Lover's Birthday Dream!

It's chocolate Monday...what did I do? Played with Chocolate modeling clay. Coloring, cutting, rolling....
I really wanted to demo the Chocolate flower heart today..My son's birthday cake took over my brain...and the pictures for the demo didnt make it from my son the photographer's ipad this time to my hopefully next week. 
A sneak peak at the Poke' Ball and two  favorite Pokemon...Pikachu, never get out of favored with this kid, who drew a wonderful poster of Pikachu and Ash in his eyeball. He is a brilliant artist and his perspective developed at an early age. I'll update with his poster as soon as I find it. Most of their work is packed away. I want to be sure they have their favorite pieces of art and trinkets to go in their new space. We have moved so much and lost so much, more times than I can count or want to redo. So I'm doing my part to create a clearer view by communicating with each of the children about what create the feeling of happy trials. So they can trust This time shall be better! Just like every time I make a cake. I create something better than the last. 
 Some things do take more consistant concentral ed practice and effort like my photography. Still the whole point for us is to celebrate my son's life, his being a part of this family and fun ,fun, fun, fun, fun. What's more fun than a summer day, with my kids going crazy with appreciaton, over something I made with my little hands. Making him happy makes me very happy. I think he loves chocolate more than me. The Poke' ball  is Xtra Special Cake from Pilsbury's Alpha Bakery Booklet. They put the order form on the bag every year! I consider the cake vegan, because there is no dairy at all. I just mixed in chocolate chips,  chocolate filling, butter cream and covered it all with modeling chocolate.
I can't leave out that  his younger sister and brother used their even smaller hands to dye to chocolate, mix cake, oil and flour the pan and cut grass.  His 1st sister help me buy yet another 3 bags of white chocolate, 6 lb. all together I've bought! The first 2 lbs. I'm was making good use of what I have(no microwave..I don't even like them, lol) and got distract, by my three boys..heat testosterone, need i say more? ugh ���� The second 2 lbs! humidity finally caught up to me! Melt it in the pot says a neighbor, and add a little milk...nooo!  I did. too loose. no worries filling! With 8 more days to go. Grocery squeeze..trying to justify 6-13 dollars to my hubby! He's not buying it, no! We're not buying it.
I'm not a easy one to give up especially for something  I love, my son, my passion, and chocolate. My first daughters words, "that boy is annoying...not getting!" She's been thru almost everything with me and actually gets me and is sooo supporting She's a darling))��
I asked for her help and she did above and beyond what I asked. We had a ton of fun going to get the chocolate and making the modeling clay...I think she really was thrilled with how fast it came together. I'd forgotten she loves white chocolate...I'm not a fan but i can file that away for a special treat, just for her one day, since she doesn't eat sweet that often.
In some way almost all 10 of us had something to do with this cake, we care Happy Birthday and Many more! which is what family is about. Love thru caring.
So, what did you do for Chocolate Monday?
Make everyday a great day no matter the chaos, press on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chocolaty Perspectives

What would you do if everyday was Monday? Everyday!? Like a Twilight Zone experience! Our perspective on our life situations are what brings us peace or the lack of peace. How would you survive, manage and  find a way to thrive? I had a job that felt like there was no peace. My supervisor expected the worst always! I was eating chocolate like crazy, on that job! The sweet stuff...I was "feeling" her game and not my own.  If you are a leader in any type of way...keep this in mind! I'm so much happier rediscovering my passions. What I took from that experience. Is always keep my aim in mind when I get up and lay down. So others ideals don't encroach on mine. What is my motivation! Does it mesh with others around me, I know when I'm out of my comfort zone, thats the time to study...I learned that I had to faithfully, check in with myself at a "set" time. Even if it's only two min. and two sec. The love connection was with me, myself and.I ;) Get some God breazzies!
Recently I found some really interesting information about Chocolate/ Cocoa and Coffee. There is no caffeine in Chocolate. The page below is where my research Starts. Chocolate: Facts or Fiction. Maybe you might find it fascinating too. Enquiring minds want to know...the good stuff :D

Happy Glad Chocolate Frosting Recipe:
1 stick of butter
2/3 cocoa powder (dark)
1/3 milk
3 c. 10x sifted
1 tsp. Vanilla
Melt the butter stir in cocoa then alternate stirring in Milk and 10x. Then Stir in the vanilla. 
Top Left:Chocolate Modeling clay flower and leaves, Bottom left: Chocolate modeling clay flowers created using rose molds and Right: Torquoise pearl royal icing,  and chocolate flower on Happy Glad Chocolate Frosting and buttercream all on a chocolate mini cake! 

I will be posting a tutorial on next Monday for this sweet little blue flower! Tah tah!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How I'm Chillin on Hot-Muggy Chocolate Mondays

Hello Friends,
   Ok you can tell by that greeting I have kids! Little Bill episodes still dancing in my apologies, yea... Anyway. What did you do for Chocolate Monday?? What good came your way or not so good but you were able to turn it around?  "Make it work!," as Tim Gunn always admonishes.
My Chocolate Monday...began too early but since I was up. I decided to try my newest discovery, using a mason jar to whip up my smoothies. First time out my Favorite Chocolate Ice cream found here.Ice Cream list and here.Chocolate ice cream recipe
Oh my goodness, how fantastic is one banana a tsp. of cocoa and a blender?! I brought some Hershey's syrup. Wait let me tell you why I brought the syrup, not just for laziness.  I went to the McDonald's  in Queens, on 21st St. near my son's school. Good service worse Chocolate chip cookies. Ok, I order for the first time an iced coffee. Once you get to know me curiosity about all the hype, will bring me around a day later...more like after it's still got steam after a yr.! So the manager on duty runs down all the flavors they add, in his thick latin accent. Since my face gives away that I didn't catch the last one, this amazing guy! Walks over to the flavorings and says...hazel nut! We laughed and I say oh, no thank you...may I have chocolate...he says sure! Let me work it out on the register for the price. 1.50 something! You want sugar?, just the chocolate. So he goes on to say "you let me know if you want sugar after I fix it.
Plus he is doing several other things. When he comes over shaking my drink... he give me a straw and ask me to taste it for sweet enough! It's perfect. Now I'm elated!  This stuff's good. Now why'd I buy the syrup, because I got mad when I went to another McDonald's and they wouldn't give me the chocolate?  Finally one girl asked the manager if she could switch out the vanilla for chocolate for me! "Yes,"she said...I think she put less than a tsp. And i paid closer to  2$! Uh huh! So I went back there yesterday with my dd, with my own chocolate that I keep in my purse now and bought a plain cafe' with cream. Walked over to the condiments. Opened my cup and my dd got into the act too and walla! I have my own mocca iced cafe' on the go...for months, if I I got the syrup on sale! My lesson in all that is if your gonna get mad do something constructive, for everyone concerned...when possible you know what I mean! We got such a tickle out of having the chocolate the way we wanted it! My dd enjoyed her strawberry lemon cafe' with chocolate too. Perfect for a summer travel on the muggy subway :D

Monday, June 29, 2015

Chocolate Congratulations Graduation Cake

So I made this cake for my son Completing High School. This was difficult not because of all the usual teen trials and growing pains, but mostly because the SSI dept. didn't do much in the way of supporting us or our son for the three yrs. He went there. Torture. Manipulation, assuption, deception all under the guise of putting the child first was to say the least degrading  and shameful...hypocrisy runs rapid in the  world where folks are supposed to be leading students toward success. Admid all that, my child has survived and he will recover and thrive under the continued loving care of his father and I and as he said this week when I gave him his certificate "I'm free!"  I'm so happy for him, and extremely proud of his endurance and his successes thru this whole experience! One of my many ways to say I love you is thru cake...
I baked him this cake. It was originally a... 
Mint Chocolate Ganache Devils food Cake from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.
I bought a box Chocolate cake and made it into a mock pound cake . Then I used half of the ganache for the filling by whipping it after it cooled.
Here's the recipe below;

One box dark chocolate cake
4 large eggs
1/3 c. Yogurt
1/3 c. Vegetable oil
1/2 cup brewed instant coffee
1/2 cup dark soda

My 10 yr. Old daughter mixed all the ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer while I sprayed the springform pan and coated the pan with cocoa.

BAKE: According to box direction..about 30 min. Test doneness with a skewer. Keeping in mind that chocolate cakes don't need to be dry when you remove it from the oven...if some crumbs cling...perfect...just not a liquid for this cake.

9 inch springform;  I used the bottom insert for cake to sit on.
cocoa for dusting the pan

Ganache pouring & whipped

12 oz. Simi sweet chocolate
1 3/4 c. Heavy cream (about two cups...don't want it too I stopped short of 2c.)

1.Heat the heavy cream just to a boil,
2.Then pour in the chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for a few min. Then whisk until the mixture is combined. Set aside while the cake cools.
3.Seperate the ganache about 1 c. Or more for the filling and crumb coating. Whip with the hand mixer until thick and creamy, like chocolate frosting.

4.Once the cake cools torte the cake in half you could pipe a well of the whipped Ganache on the outer edge and then fill with the rest of the Whipped filling. place in the frig. for 10 to 15 min.
5. Place a large piece of parchment on the counter. Place the cake on the plate onto the parchment, pour the ganache over the cake. When the cake is set up(stop dripping) Cleanup the plate with a bench scaper or spatula. Lift the set cake to your stand.
Use the scaper to clean up any access ganache on the parchment! Somehow I still managed to get ganache under the parchment but most of it went back into my bowl for other uses... like flubbing to transport the cake and having to doctor the damage! You know for stuff like that ;)

Note#2 My teen daughter ate a good bit of my chocolate soo I didn't have enough of the simi-sweet chips. So i used a mixture of  plain cocoa and a special dark cocoa to create the simi-sweet chocolate for the ganache. So it's darker than the Martha Stewarts version, and because I used box it is somewhat smaller cake. Still least to my crew of discriminating tasters.
Hope get to try this yummy cake...if you would like the link to Martha's original recipe you'll find it here. Martha Stewarts: Mint Devils Food Cake