Make your Thanksgiving even more thankful! Luxx Bourbon Apple Dulce de Leche Pie Recipe

Ready for the most amazing pie EVER?? Luxx Bourbon Apple Dulce de Leche Pie15109555_10207563418384513_5601104656615057030_n

This pie is more than wow. Pull out some local apples, bourbon, dark chocolate and Luxx Chocolat’s Mi Dulce Amor bourbon-infused dulce de leche and get ready for your taste buds to dance. One of our customers shared with us recently that she created a bourbon apple pie made with our unique dulce de leche and commented that not a person spoke until the pie was entirely gone because it was so amazing!  We took that inspiration and have created this recipe, with dark chocolate of course, that you can serve and be a star. Perfect for Thanksgiving dessert…and your guests will be thankful you did!

set-upIngredients

10 to 12 Apples (we used Honey Crisp)

1/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon maple syrup

5 tablespoons Woodford Reserve bourbon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

2 pie doughs or crusts (either store-bought or homemade)

2 jars Luxx Chocolat Mi Dulce Amor Bourbon Dulce de Leche (www.luxxchocolat.com or Super Cellars in Ridgewood NJ or Steve’s Market in Ramsey NJ)

70% dark chocolate

Preparation

The filling:

sauteed-applesIn a large sauté pan (high heat) add butter. Once melted, add the apples and season with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté for a few minutes until apples are soft but still firm, about 6-8 minutes. Carefully add the bourbon–the apples may flame a bit. You may want to temporarily turn off the burner while you add the bourbon. Once the liquid evaporates, add in the lemon juice, maple syrup and dark brown sugar. Let the mixture cook until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the flour over the top and mix it in. Cook the mixture for a few more minutes until thickened.

The crust:

Choose either a store-bought crust or create your own! Get 2 10-inch pie pans.
rub-dulceRoll out the pie dough in put into 2 10” pans. Brush each with melted dark chocolate and let set…yes, you heard correctly!  This helps keep the crust crispy by creating a moisture barrier between the filling and the crust. And it adds an amazing flavor
choc-with-bowlnuance to the pie. Make sure the chocolate sets before you add the cool filling. Scoop the dulce de leche into the crust on top of the chocolate and spread evenly all over the crust. We like to
have it approximately ½” thick.

Pour in the cool apple filling, drizzle with more dulce de leche (all over) and top with pie dough, cutting in a few holes for venting or braided into a lattice. We cut the dough into shapes and laid each piece on top. Pinch edges of dough to seal. Trim excess crust. Crimp edges decoratively.putting-in-filling-over-dulce

with-cutter

in-oven    15073469_10207562887091231_6413340647876363116_n

Bake at 375F for 1 hour. Let the pie rest for at least an hour before serving. Heat and drizzle Mi Dulce Amor Bourbon Dulce de Leche on top each slice.  And be prepared to be speechless!!

Have you tried our recipe? Send us your pictures!  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day the Artisan Way!

Horiz Final National Ice Cream Sandwich Day

Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day on Tuesday, August 2nd with a special treat!

Remember the ice cream sandwiches you ate as a kid? The rectangular ones with the holes in the soft cookie, holding a brick of ice cream that looked like it was sliced out of a box? We think it’s time you traded in those plain, artificially-flavored sandwiches for something better. Something already topped with real chocolate and salted caramel…like a handheld special sundae. Something that’s all natural and free from preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other hard-to-pronounce ingredients. After all, your mouth will be too full of ice cream to talk much!

GREENWICH POLO LUXXELLESEnter Luxxelles Artisan Ice Cream Sandwiches created by Luxx Chocolat. They’re handcrafted with only the highest quality ingredients. Award-winning Chef and Master Chocolatier Lisa Mecray Rogers has created a fresh twist on the old ice cream sandwich that’s decadently different. Instead of a mushy cookie, Lisa designed a thin, crunchy wafer covered in award-winning caramel, kissed with Sicilian Trapani sea salt and slathered in a single origin (cacao Venezuela) 72% deep dark chocolate. Her ice cream is silky smooth, handmade in small batches using local milk, cream, and seasonal fruit. Flavors include Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Black Raspberry Chip, ChocoChocoChip, Cinnamon Caramel, Local Strawberry, Local Blueberry, Local Black CherryChip, Matcha Mint and Chambord with fresh raspberries. She’s always introducing a new flavor! Customers often say that it’s the best ice cream sandwich they’ve ever had! They show up to see her at the farmer’s markets she attends with their own coolers to stock their freezers. Can you say ice cream sandwich stalkers?

Luxx Chocolat 6 Star Master Award 2016What makes Luxx Chocolat different? Well, they’re definitely not your average box of chocolates! Based in Ridgewood, Luxx Chocolat was just voted one of 2016 BEST Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America for the 4th year in a row. This year, it also reached the highest possible ranking of 6-Star Grand Master. The International Chocolate Salon and TasteTV also awarded Luxx Chocolat 28 new awards so far this year. In the Luxury Caramel Competition: 5 Gold, 5 Silver, 6 Bronze, including Most Unique, Best Ingredient Combinations, Best Taste, Best Overall Chocolate Artistry, and Best Exterior Design. In the Top Chocolate Bar Competition: 1 Silver, 3 Bronze, including Best Mixed Chocolate Bar, Best Ingredient Combinations, and Best Product Name. In the Luxury Bridal Competition: 2 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze, including Best Presentation and Packaging, Most Artistic Designs, Most Luxurious Chocolate Experience, Best for Wedding Reception, and Best Dark Chocolate. With Luxx Chocolat, you know that you’re getting the best and most beautiful creations.

So on National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, and for the whole week, get dazzled with an unforgettable ice cream sandwich! To celebrate, Luxx Chocolat is offering $1 off each Luxxelles purchased between 8/2-8/7!

Order online for pickup in Ridgewood or see them at next weekend’s farmer’s markets. It’s a treat the whole family will love! Experience the sweet, crunchy, smooth and refreshingly cool Luxxelles Artisan Ice Cream Sandwich for yourself.

For more information, please visit http://luxxchocolat.com/ . For upcoming events and farmers’ markets, see https://www.facebook.com/luxxchocolat/events/

Article written by Tracy Nieradka, a healthy-living advocate with a passion for food, fitness and teaching

Like fairy tales? Not when it comes to wine or chocolate… Fairy tales Dispelled Part One

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Just when you think you have a good handle on something, surprise! Well, it’s time to dispel some common tales and partial truths associated with wine and chocolate. And since there are SO many, this is only the first part you’ll be reading. Knowledge is the key to better experiences and offering proper guidance to your family members. And you’ll also look even more brilliant at your next event or dinner party.

Better wines are sealed with a cork?

CorksNot necessarily. Screw capped wines can age just as well as a cork. And times are changing. Traditional cork is becoming a limited natural supply and has ongoing quality issues which impacts the ability to preserve wines from the negative effects of oxygenation on aging and wine preservation and even cork spoilage. Many wineries have been experimenting with plastic and plant-based polymer alternatives and screw caps and can attest that quality control is much easier and in many situations can improve wine aging. The use of these alternatives though are associated with cheap wine, right?

That image started to change about a decade ago, when commercial winemakers in New Zealand and Australia started using the enclosures much more widely for all kinds of wine, including some higher-end bottles. The fact is, screw caps have topped bottles from some of the world’s best wineries for about a decade, and even the most reputable wine critics openly acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with sealing a wine bottle with a screw cap in lieu of a cork. New Zealand is leading the wine industry with the majority of wineries converting from cork to cap. Wineries in Australia, Spain, South Africa, South America, Canada, the U.S. and France are all testing the capping trend as well.

But even with many advantages over cork, expanded cap adoption really comes down to wine industry marketing reservations due to wine drinkers’ attachment to the pomp and circumstance of opening a bottle elegantly with a cork screw. What matters is what’s in the bottle, no?

Wine critics are always right?

winesnobWine criticism is a very particular thing. Everyone has a different palate although some wine reviewers may have fallen in line with your particular taste on an occasion or two. In order to be exactly in step with a wine critic, your expectations from any particular bottle of wine need to be shared. How do you really know you share the same taste? Our noses, mouths and brains vary in performance from one individual to the next. What it comes down to is learning what traits you like in different types of wines and to trust your palate. Ultimately, you are the one that counts.

Sweet wines pair best with chocolate?

cropped 90s beautySweet dessert, sweeter wine? Why? Forget those who think this is the only way to go. Remember, it’s about your palate, not a narrow-minded view on what makes a great experience. Please…no…  Don’t get caught in the sweet trap as it will limit your chocolate and wine pairing pleasure! Dessert wines, like Sauternes and Ports can make way for too much sweet going on. Occasionally a nice Port and a very dark high percentage and more bitter chocolate, ok. But how often do you really drink dessert wines? Your goal should be to compliment or provide a nice contrast with the actual flavors that exist in the many wines you enjoy normally…like smokiness, pepper, black berry, earth, cherry, honey etc. and not to overpower or compete on a sweetness level. It should be about flavors, scents and aromas! Note though that not every wine does go with chocolate, especially very dry tannic wines, so we’ll be discussing those principles as we go forward. It’s not a simple as it appears.

Stay tuned for the next fairy tale installment of wine and chocolate!

cropped Lisa press photoLisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder of Luxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind, Ridgewood resident, recognized as one of 2014 and 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America. Luxx Chocolat offers unique handcrafted works of art. Nothing artificial, no preservatives, not mass produced.

www.luxxchocolat.com, luxxchocolat@optonline.net, 201-312-7936

Sauvignon Blanc beats the heat!

Baby, it’s hot out there!

sauvignonLooking for the perfect hot weather wine? It’s definitely Sauvignon Blanc (SB) on the top of the list. Crisp, cold and refreshing, it’s light in body yet full in flavor. SB’s distinctive herby yet fruity qualities make it a stand out from Chardonnay, which tends to fill your palate with weight since it is full-bodied. It’s like wearing a sweater when it’s 90 degrees. We’re less inclined to pull that out on a sweltering day.

SB grapes produce aromatically pungent wines with strong citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) and gooseberry tones along with grassy and herbal notes. Using the word “herbaceous”, “green” and even “cat piss”, yes you heard it right, as a descriptor of its bouquet (smell) will impress even wine connoisseurs. But don’t let that scare you away. SB is a beautiful wine and perfectly pairs with light seasonal food fare and even a bit of chocolate for dessert.

There are many styles of SB, so if you’ve tried one and have not been a fan it doesn’t mean you’ll dislike them all. While it traditionally has a “veggie” or “herby” flavor, the fruity and mineral-like character of it changes depending on the climate and the soil it’s grown in, or terroir. When looking at a label, check to see where it’s coming from and whether or not it’s a warm vs. cold region. Here are some general guidelines below. But remember that the winemakers add their own artistry, like blending with other grapes, so there will be variations from vineyard to vineyard.

Warm = more tropical fruit styles such as mangos, peaches and melons, California, Australia and Washington State

Cold = more citrus fruit styles such as lemongrass, grapefruit, lime and pears,  France, Chile and New Zealand

NZ vineyardSB Growing Regions

“Old World” – Loire Valley (France), Graves (Bordeaux, France),

“New World” –  New Zealand, Australia, California, Washington, Chile

SB’s homeland is the Loire region of France –  most famously from Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. No other wine-producing region on earth can quite match the Loire Valley for the pungent citric, grassy style of SB along with a lovely flinty cement-like mineral character (Sprite-like).  New Zealand comes closest. SB from California ranges in style from minerally, grassy, and citric wines (more akin to examples made in the Loire Valley or New Zealand) to opulent, tropical-fruity wines. Try different ones and see what you like!

Here are some fun facts about Sauvignon Blanc:

  • The SB grape gets its name from the French word sauvage (“wild”) and blanc (“white”) due to its possible early origins as an indigenous grape growing all over southwestern France

  • Did you know that Sauvignon Blanc is the mother of Cabernet Sauvignon? The father was Cabernet Franc. This was proven in 1997 by DNA testing

  • Sancerre and Pouilly Fume are also SBs. This is because wines from France are usually labelled according to area or region rather than grape

  • Sancerre wines are generally more delicate than close-by Pouilly Fumé. Pouilly-Fume tends to be richer and a bit fuller-bodied, with greater aromatic pungency perhaps due to more flint in the soil

  • White Bordeaux is also a blend of Sauvignon Blanc mixed with Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes

  • Sauternes is an area of Bordeaux famous for its white dessert wine. This too is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle

  • New Zealand has only been growing Sauvignon Blanc since the 1970s

  • Oaked Californian versions of SB are sometimes called Fumé Blanc

  • French SB is the best in the world, although New Zealand and other New World examples, from California, Washington, Chile, New Zealand and Australia, are rapidly improving

  • There’s little if anything to be gained by cellaring these wines. Go ahead and open that bottle!

Perfect pairings…

SB is perfect for lighter fare such as shellfish, spinach-artichoke dip, grilled veggies, garlic or Italian seasonings in creamy sauces, fragrant salads – like Greek, Caesar or Garden, Thai food, sushi, chicken and the list goes on. It’s good with just about anything other than heavy red foods such as steaks and marinara sauces.

Lemon Honey Panna CottaAnd even though it can easily melt in this heat, chocolate is always in order! Try pairing a 72% dark chocolate with a lemon filling, like our Lemon-Honey Panna Cotta, or a white chocolate that has a filling that features lemon, grapefruit, or matcha tea like our Gotcha Matcha. These complimentary flavors will enhance similar aromas and tastes in the wine.

Stay cool!

cropped Lisa press photoLisa Mecray Rogers, award-winning Master Chocolatier and Founder ofLuxx Chocolat® xquisite artisan chocolate, ChocoVin Chocolate & Wine Tastings® and Luxx Academy du Chocolat offering classes with adults in mind,  recognized as one of 2014 and 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America.

And again! Voted one of 2014 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America!

Thank you again International Chocolate Salon and TasteTV! 

Please take a look at our latest press kit!  Click FINAL Luxx Press Kit update March 2014AmericasBest2014-4star

Luxx Chocolat as 2013 Best in America? You bet!

Happy New Year!! And what a great start to have…Luxx Chocolat was named one of 2013 Best Chocolatiers & Confectioners in America!

AmericasBest2013-4star

TasteTV and the International Chocolate Salon announced the names of the 2013 Best Chocolatiers and Confectioners in America Award winners on January 3rd. The International Chocolate Salon Awards are based on the combined total number of Gold and Silver Awards received by each entrant in the 2012 TasteTV Chocolate Salons in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Fall (SF) and standalone Chocolate Salon Award Competitions for Best Caramels, Toffees, Bars, Truffles, Chefs Roundtable, and Best Bridal Chocolates.

Luxx Chocolat was the proud winner of the following in 2012… THANK YOU ALL!

Luxx Chocolat 2012 awards

Want to know more about Luxx Chocolat? Check out our press kit!  FINAL Luxx Press Kit update March 2014

Chocolate as a full body experience: health, happiness, love, sex and beauty?

Chocolate as a full body experience? Oh yeah…. First I think it’s important to say that beauty really starts from within. Your appearance is a reflection of your physical health and happiness. Makeup and other beauty regimens can only go so far if you’re not looking good and healthy on the inside. Taking care of you is important. It’s really amazing though that chocolate has and continues to play quite an interesting role in health, happiness, love, sex and beauty. They are all so intertwined.

ImageThroughout history of over the past 1,500 years, chocolate has been known to have special powers. The earliest civilizations in Mexico, including the Aztecs and the Maya, believed cacao, the bean from which cocoa, cocoa butter and chocolate are made, was of a divine origin and given to them by the Gods. Chocolate was highly valued and honored as a health and vitality giving drink. It was not solid nor sweet like it is today with added sugar –those nuances came from the Europeans much later. Chocolate was reserved for use in marriage and fertility ceremonies due to the belief that had mystical and aphrodisiac qualities. Even the Aztec emperor Montezuma, who had 600 or so wives to keep happy, is reputed to have consumed fifty golden goblets of chocolate a day to enhance his sexual abilities.
The Aztecs shared their chocolate and its properties with the Spaniards in the 1500’s who eventually introduced chocolate as a tantalizing tonic and remedy to Europe, most afforded by the wealthy. Casanova is even said to have indulged in chocolate before seducing his women. And today even noted sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer says chocolate is a “wicked pleasure” and that “the taste of chocolate is a sensual pleasure in itself, existing in the same world as sex.” And the pleasurable sensation caused by this luscious substance melting at mouth temperature also plays a role in the sensuality of chocolate. I’m also pleased to add that my handcrafted chocolates at Luxx Chocolat have left people speechless and in fact described as “orgasmic”!  It’s the combination of the smooth, creamy texture and the flavors, spices and fillings like mouth-watering sea salt caramel that consistently generate mmmm’s, ooooh’s and aaaah’s.
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So how can chocolate affect our inner selves? Well it’s no wonder why chocolate is called the food of the gods. Its magical qualities are due to a number of things. Chocolate does contain small amounts of several psychoactive chemicals that act as stimulants and mood elevators. When a person eats chocolate, these chemicals act on the nervous system in the same way as they do when the brain releases them. So, eating chocolate may induce some of the same feelings that love does.Serotonin, one of the chemicals, also has an energizing effect. This increased energy may also improve longevity and stamina, which in turn frequently has the perceived effect of increasing libido. The Aztecs were definitely onto something! And apparently chocolate has a stronger effect on the body chemistry of women than it does on men. So perhaps that nice box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day does more than you thought!
Have you heard that chocolate contains flavonoids? Flavonoids offer potent antioxidant effects. There are more and more studies available that link the flavonoids in dark chocolate to possible health benefits including reduced heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes as well as other conditions. But remember its dark chocolate, not white or milk chocolate. The % cacao that you see on package labels indicates the % of cacao solids vs sugar and other additives. So the higher the %, the darker the chocolate and the less sugar, the more chocolate flavor and the healthier it is for you.
Chocolate can affect our outer selves too. In the world of beauty, antioxidants play a huge role. These molecules protect skin from environmental damage. Antioxidants fight free radicals and slow down damage. Chocolate is also being seen as extremely rejuvenating and refreshing for the skin and is often used for its skin softening ingredients. The cocoa butter in chocolate is an exceptional natural moisturizer which makes skin soft and supple. Chocolate is now being used in various beauty treatments to smooth out the wrinkles and reduce scars and stretch marks. It’s even being investigated as possibly providing UV protection. Some companies are claiming the potential for anti-inflammatory and blood vessel–constricting properties, which can reduce redness and puffiness of the skin, but more proof needs to be seen in this area. Also, here’s a great fact. There is a belief that chocolate causes acne. This is a myth. Multiple studies have disproven this notion. This is great news!
As a result of the proposed beauty benefits of chocolate, spa centers and beauty salons are making chocolate the rage and its gaining popularity every day. Special packages are commonly offered promoting chocolate beauty treatments; chocolate massages, body scrubs, masks, skin care, hair care, manicures, pedicures and the list goes on.
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So chocolate is quite multifaceted! From our inside to our outside appearance, chocolate can play a role. Health, happiness, love, sex and beauty…what more could you want? We now have more and more reasons to incorporate chocolate into our daily lives and not just for Valentine’s Day and major holidays. Make it a part of your well being! Just be smart and keep it in moderation.

Check out excerpts of an interview on the same subject matter with Leora Edut, Celebrity Makeup Artist, at http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Weekly-Contours—Highlights.html?soid=1102736301207&aid=4ZFtsO6egBo