07 October 2015

Choctoberfest: Chocolate Dipped Apricots

Munson's Chocolates, a Connecticut chocolate company that's been around since 1946, makes the most decadently delicious chocolates and chocolate-based confections. Their stores are a kind of dangerous paradise for chocolate lovers, I tell you, because it's so very easy to leave with so much more than you intended. During the bitter give-me-all-your-comfort-foods-now winter months, I like to nibble my way through a box of chocolate brickle -- a delectable blend of brown sugar toffee, almonds, pecans, and walnuts drizzled with milk, dark, and white chocolate -- but the chocolate covered apricots are my hands down favorite year-round. Plump, juicy glacé ‎apricots enrobed in rich dark chocolate ... yum!

Chocolate + glace apricots = superdelicousyumwithknobson

It should be no surprise then that I thought #Choctoberfest would be the perfect time to try my hand at chocolate covered apricots! I knew I didn't want to use the regular ol' dried apricots you find at the grocery store, but the posher (and more correct) glacé ‎apricots. I found a tin at Williams-Sonoma, but the price just about made me cry, so I ended up purchasing them online from Nuts.com for a much more reasonable price. The apricots are beautiful -- plump, luscious fruit -- and taste just lovely all on their own. Obviously, as they're preserved in a sugar syrup (that makes them glacé), they're a bit more like eating apricot candy than, say, a health food and you might not want to eat more than one at a time lest you find yourself buzzing around like a hummingbird.

Superduper awesome glacé apricot on the left & boring ol' regular dried apricot on the right

I'm just saying glacé apricots are a bit sweet. But totally crave-worthy. It's like some cunning soul took a regular ol' apricot and infused it with a mixture of honey and liquid sunlight. It's the kind of thing you need to eat in the darkest, bitterest heart of winter.

Delicious chocolate of melting ... and nibbling!

For chocolate, I used Ghiradelli's dark chocolate melting wafers. I considered using bittersweet chips, but worried the chocolate would be too brittle when it set. I'd never made chocolate dipped fruit before, you know, and I didn't want to mess it up. The melting wafers are advertised as the "trusty recipe go-to for consistent baking and candy-making results" and that sounded pretty good to me! Maybe one day, when I'm all into home chocolate-making, I'll splash out for some couverture chocolate, but melting wafers are just fine for this pessimistic noob. (I mean, I'm not sure where I thought I could go wrong with this recipe -- maybe, blow up the microwave? -- but I was all full of trepidation the first time through!)

Dark Chocolate Dipped Apricots


  • 5 oz dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 12 oz glacé ‎apricots


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass bowl on High 30 seconds; stir well and repeat until wafers are smooth.
  3. Working one at a time, dip about ¾ of an apricot into the melted chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place on baking sheet.
  4. Repeat with remaining apricots and chocolate.
  5. Place in refrigerator until set, at least 20 minutes.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

You will note that some of my apricots are ¾-dipped and some are wholly enrobed in chocolate. This is because, as I came to the bottom of the chocolate bowl, it became harder to dip the apricots so I ended up laying them in the bowl and spooning chocolate over them before moving them to the tray.

Ignore my Christmas cupcake papers ... but these would make a nice Christmas gift ...

While I am mostly pleased with my endeavor, I must say that the chocolate wasn't dark enough for me the first time 'round -- especially considering the sweetness of the glacé apricots -- so, the second time, I used 4 oz dark chocolate melting wafers and 1 oz bittersweet chips. This was a definitely closer to what I had in mind!

I can imagine doing this with other glacé fruits like pineapple or peaches. Or figs! Mmm ... glacé figs!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!

06 October 2015

Choctoberfest: Bittersweet Raspberry Blondies

My first recipe post for #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar and I'm telling you how to make blondies when you're probably all expecting some decadent ooey-gooey chocolate explosion of a brownie. Well. Here's the thing -- I prefer blondies to brownies. Yes. I know. WEIRD. But, seriously, these blondies are vastly superior to your standard brownie, don't take any more time to make, and are just so fine! They're the perfect combination of a sugar cookie and a brownie -- dense and fudgy like a brownie, but the flavor is pure sugar cookie. The addition of almonds and raspberries make them seem extra fancy -- rich and decadent -- but they really are so easy to make and go down a treat with a cold glass of milk. Or big mug of sugary tea. Or tiny glass of dessert wine ...

Baking chips. Some for the blondies, some for my belly.

While I love blondies, I don't like them too sweet so when I threw this recipe together one afternoon I opted for bittersweet chocolate morsels instead of white (which is what I usually find in blondies) to try to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and berries. I think I was successful, but these bars are still very rich, so feel free to cut them smaller than I did!

These are most delicious served warm so the chocolate is a bit gooey.

I used King Arthur Flour's white whole wheat in this recipe, but the same amount of all-purpose would work just as well. White whole wheat adds an air of virtuousness to these blondies, legitimatizing my tendency to scarf them down like nobody's business! Also, if you want to play around with it, I'm betting blackberries and pecans would make a tasty variation.

I did not line the pan with parchment the first time & it was pretty much impossible to remove the baked bars.

Bittersweet Raspberry Blondies

Yield: 16 bars (cut 4x4)


  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour [King Arthur Flour]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking spice mix [Penzeys]
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste [Nielsen-Massey]
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate baking chips [Ghirardelli]
  • 4 oz fresh raspberries
  • ⅓ cup flaked almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 8x8 baking dish and line with parchment paper so that there is a bit of overhang -- this will make it MUCH easier to get the baked blondies out later.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or in large bowl with hand-held mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
  4. Add egg and vanilla. Beat until blended.
  5. Add flour mixture to egg mixture. Beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Scatter raspberries and almonds evenly over batter. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is set, about 35 minutes.
  7. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Remove blondies from pan, cut into 16 pieces (4 rows by 4 rows) and serve.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for fabulous Choctoberfest prizes!

05 October 2015

Choctoberfest: Giveaway Post


It's October 5th and that means it's the first day of #Choctoberfest! What's #Choctoberfest? #Choctoberfest is a virtual cooking event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will post their favorite chocolate recipes and you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What's not to love?

#Choctoberfest would not be possible without our sponsors, starting with our 2015 Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens since 1843. Their sugar products and sweeteners are made from non-GMO cane sugar and ensure consistently delicious results. We'll be using Imperial Sugar whenever we use sugar in our recipes this week, and can't wait to share the sweetness with you!

You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Make sure you visit the recipes section of their website for some sweet inspiration, and you can also find coupons on their website if you want to try out Imperial Sugar yourself.

Imperial Sugar and our other sponsors have banded together to contribute some awesome prizes for our #Choctoberfest giveaway! Entering is simple -- just click below to follow us on Pinterest. Here's what you could win:
We also have a nonprofit sponsor this year -- Rescue Chocolate! They make vegan chocolate treats and donate 100% of their proceeds to animal shelters.

Enter now to win the #Choctoberfest prize. Hurry, because we're picking the winner on October 12 at 8:00 AM, so if you don't sign up before then, you'll miss your chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of the other blogs participating in #Choctoberfest 2015. Check out their blogs throughout the week for chocolate recipes you won't be able to resist:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin' MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmAloha FlavorAmy's Cooking AdventuresAngels HomesteadBalancing MotherhoodBless this MessBusy-at-HomeChocolate SlopesCoconut & LimeColie's KitchenCookaholic WifeCooking In StilettosCooking With LibbyCookistryCopyKat RecipesCravings of a LunaticCrumbs in my MustachioCulinary CoutureCupcakes Take The CakeDeliciously SavvyEat It & Say YumFairyburgerFamished Fish, Finicky SharkFarm Fresh FeastsFood Hunter's Guide to CuisineFull Belly SistersGet Off The Couch and CookGrumpy's HoneybunchHey What's for Dinner Mom?Honey and BirchI Can Cook ThatJane's Adventures in DinnerJessie WeaverLife on Food Life, Love, and Good FoodMajorly DeliciousMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMother Would KnowOr Whatever You DoPoet in the PantryRecipes Food and CookingRhubarb and HoneySassy Southern YankeeSavory TartSeduction in The KitchenSerena LissySumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeThatsSoYummyThe Chonchudo FilesThe Crumby CupcakeThe Dinner-MomThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiced LifeThe Spiffy CookieThe Two Bite ClubThe Weekday GourmetVintage KittyWendy PolisiWhat A Girl EatsWhitBit's Indian KitchenWit Wisdom & FoodZesty South Indian Kitchen

Are you a blogger interested in joining us during out next community event? Sign up here now! We'll make sure you get an email about our next event.

[I'm actually in the hospital today so all of the above is strictly #Choctoberfest boilerplate and my own posts will start tomorrow. If you have any questions, please leave comments below and I will respond to them as I am able].