Tag Archives: minneapolis

in which i continue my love affair with b.t. mcelrath

13 Apr


…and his tauntingly wonderful chocolate bars.

Previously, I’ve displayed my adoration of B.T. McElrath’s Salty Dog and Chile Limón chocolate bars, which in my book are both standout examples of what fine chocolate can (and should) be. Varied, intense, playful, inviting, inspired. Lots of ins. Am I describing my interior decorating scheme, you may ask? No, not this time – although a post describing my infatuation with owl lamps may be in order.

Ahh, B.T. McElrath, providing a distraction from the sad and desolate times that are my most recent baking failure slash unpretty success. You see, gentle reader, once upon a last Friday, I set out to make a Meyer lemon tart. It couldn’t get much simpler, really; lemons poached for two hours in a simple syrup were then placed on a pre-baked (and pre-bought, sheesh!) rectangle of puff pastry. Leave it to meaver to mess this one up, although in all honesty, I blame the grocery store. When I arrived, issuing forth a looking-for-Meyer-lemons tune, I was shocked to find that lo-and-behold, the Meyer lemons were gone! Settling for lame-o regular and Meyer-less lemons, I chose to also pick up one (1) Seville [aka sour] orange, to intensify the syrup’s flavor and add some cheery color. I also thought to choose to write without hyphenating every other sentence.

Well. Intensify the flavor it did, to the point that tart became mouth-puckering. Looking to sweeten the deal, I added more sugar to the perfectly ratio-ed sugar:water mixture, before skipping off out of doors to photograph the same crocus for the fourth time in a week. Here it is!

After being notified a while later by phone that whatever hot mess I was cooking on the stove was indeed a hot mess, I returned home only to realize what a ridiculous choice I had made without thinking.

So. Plan B. Plan B??? The dessert I was making was for a dinner party, and I had a little under an hour to get everything sorted out. I still had my puff pastry (although it ended up almost burning in the oven on its own… suspicious), and the ingredients to make a lovely vanilla-scented (flavored?) whipped cream, so all I needed was the middle layer. Think, think.

Luckily, I had read earlier that day about an ingenious idea! Over at my newest and most enjoyed witty read of the day, Wayfaring Chocolate, Hannah had posted a recipe for a sort of coconut cocoa-nut butter, reminiscent of Nutella, but more appealing to me, a devoted Nutella kinda almost disliker. Having on-hand some almonds and chocolates in various stages of decay, I mixed my version up in the Cuisinart, abandoning the coconut somewhere along the way.

So thanks, Hannah, for saving the dessert at my dinner party. It was in the end fortuitous that I had acted so stupidly, as one of the dinner-goers hates all things lemon (and this I had temporarily forgotten).

It’s too bad the coconut cocoa-nut butter doesn’t make for a more enticing photograph – however, it does mimic the patterning of my intended topic for discussion: B.T. McElrath’s Passion Fruit & Tangerine Chocolate Bar.

I’m so lucky to have a most wonderful mother who beckons at my every chocolate call. More macaroons, I say! More B.T. bars! And more than anything, more more more of my favorite chocolate accompaniment, Tea Source Gold tea (which coincidentally, contains passion fruit)! And like always, she came through.

I mentioned the Passion Fruit & Tangerine Bar the last time I discussed B.T. McElrath. But now, I can profess my love – – – with photos!

Weighing in at 3.0 ounces (85 grams), B.T. bars arrive in a clean- and professional-looking box. The front labels this bar as 100% Natural (how could chocolate be anything but natural to me?), while the back reminds that chocolate is the hero here (I semi-repeat, how could chocolate be anything but a hero to me?), and that taking a bite will plunge me into a labyrinth of indulgence, where I will promptly become lost. Sounds right up my alley, so let’s dive right in, shall we? Let’s shall.

Due to each section’s rounded hump, the Passion Fruit & Tangerine bar is thicker than many of the other chocolates I frequently enjoy. Labeled alternately B.T. and BAR, you’re not likely to forget whose chocolate you’re labyrinthingly losing yourself in. For being such an aesthetically-pleasing mixture of dark and white chocolates, the bar is also tempered evenly and well. Each piece is a smooth snap off the ol’ block.

While mellow, the flavors of passion fruit and tangerine are present throughout the tasting. However, as warned, the chocolate(s) is(are) the hero(es) here. Not a fan of white chocolate as a Rule, I’m nonetheless pleased with the overall smooth taste of the bar. With B.T.’s Chile Limón bar, the added flavors didn’t kick in until the chocolate had nearly melted in my mouth. That isn’t the case here, where the fruitiness is ever present, and evenly palated by my mouth.

I hope to showcase more of these bars in the future, because I think they’re really pretty spectacular. And Minneapolis too, way to go. Two great chocolate treats in one week!

What I’m basically saying, to vaguely quote Shakespeare, is get thee to a B.T. McElrath!

B.T. McElrath Chocolatier

2010 E. Hennepin Ave., #78
Minneapolis, MN 55413

http://www.btmcelrath.com/

New this spring for B.T.: Blood Orange Blossoms, Chai-Spiced Honey Truffles, and Strawberry Balsamic Caramels, which reminds me of a recently-posted recipe for balsamic strawberry ice cream over at Bake Me Away.

And finally, check out my favorite part of B.T.’s advertising scheme: labeling their cardboard boxes, on the inside, as SFI Chain of Custody certified (see below) – way to go, forestry/chocolate interactions!

macaroons from minneapolis

11 Apr

I’d tried them once before.

While I don’t often veer off of my chocolate bar-crazed course, I admit that I have a weak spot for Lily Bloom’s Kitchen’s  Kosher Parve, Gluten-Free Gourmet Chocolate Macaroons. And now I have another pack of six in  my possession. Oops, make that had.

Straight outta Minneapolis, Lily Bloom’s Kitchen was founded in 2009 with the premise of creating gluten-free chocolate macaroons based on a family recipe. Normally anything touted as gluten-free raises my heckles a little bit, as I refuse to jump on the trend-labeling anti-gluten bandwagon that suggests that 1 in 105 Americans may suffer from Celiac Disease. Sorry Wikipedia, I don’t believe you this time.

I should point out here that there are two principal ways to make a coconut macaroon. One school of ingredient-mixing-thought does involve gluten, as an ingredient such as cake flour is used to help bind the coconut mixture together.  However, it seems just as common to use no flour, and instead rely on the eggs to blend and bind the other ingredients.

I’ll abandon my desire to talk trash about overfed, over-medicated, and overly allergic Americans, though, because these macaroons are amazing and merit the focus of this discussion.

Included in my 6-piece sampler were two cherry (which didn’t stick around long enough to be photographed), two orange, and two white chocolate raspberry (maybe?? I’m guessing with the help of the interweb) macaroons.

The last time I was treated to some Lily Bloom’s Kitchen macaroons, I promised myself I would save the cherry macaroons for last if I ever had them again. I forgot about that promise as soon as I pulled them out of the box, however. I also forgot that I liked the cherry ones best. Well, I have now been reminded. And I have committed my lovey-dovey macaroon sentiments to print, so that I’ll best be reminded the third time around, if such a momentous event should ever occur.

The white chocolate raspberry macaroons, if that is what they are, are probably my least favorite of the three flavors. I’m not a white chocolate fan by any means. However, I gobbled this one up as quickly as the others, hence why I’m not even sure of the flavor that I quickly devoured. Despite the white chocolate label, this was a tasty macaroon.

The humble orange macaroon. So good. I’m convinced that macaroons could lead armies and unite nations, they’re that delicious. And orange is really a wonderful flavor to pair with coconut, chocolate, eggs, and of course, sugar. Although the cherry macaroon is my hands-down favorite of the bunch, orange sneaks in at a close second.

The cherry macaroon made for the best pairing with chocolate, in my opinion. It also mixed well with the coconut. For all three of these flavors, the thrill in eating them lies in a combination of the flavors and the texture. My mind nearly goes blank when looking for words to describe what a macaroon really tastes like. Eggy? Not really…. Chocolatey? In this case, yes, I suppose. Coconutty? Yeah…. sure. Whatever, the taste, it wouldn’t be the same without the accompanying texture. The chewy but firm coconut mixture makes for a great (but hard to describe) snacking extravaganza.

If you find your way to Minnesota (or you’re already there), do yourself a favor and purchase a few of these amazing things. Maybe soon you too will be leading an army or uniting a nation.

For more info:

Lily Bloom’s Kitchen

Minneapolis, MN
612.242.4602
info@lilybloomskitchen.com

Purchase at http://shop.lilybloomskitchen.com/

You can also find Lily Bloom’s Kitchen macaroons for sale at Lund’s, Byerly’s, and Kowalski’s stores, as well as at my favorite, Hampden Park Co-op!

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