Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate everywhere…

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, I surprised The Hubs with a road trip and a cooking class.   (What a combination—he is such a trooper!)

We traveled to The Canebrake near Wagoner, OK.    The resort is located on the shores of Ft. Gibson Lake.    It is a truly beautiful spot.

This eco-friendly and green resort is a retreat, a spa, a yoga destination, and includes a fabulous restaurant.  (For my take on one of their signature cocktails, click here.)

We have visited this restaurant twice for Thanksgiving, for numerous romantic meals, and now it was time to take a chocolate cooking class with Pastry Chef Sarah Leavell.

The class started at 10:30 and lasted until almost 1:30.   It was chocolate heaven, I tell you!    When we arrived, the tables were decorated with exotic chocolate samples and Chef Sarah’s abundant library of chocolate cookbooks.    (I was thrilled to see David Lebovitz’s chocolate cookbook right by my place setting.)

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As Chef Sarah began her class, she encouraged us to sample the chocolate she had out for us.   (All of it was purchased at Whole Foods.)   Our table gladly passed the serving dishes and we tried ginger infused chocolate, dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt, guajillo and pasilla chillies with Tanzanian bittersweet chocolate, and my favorite—dark chocolate with quinoa.      This bar tasted like a Nestle’s Crunch bar only remarkably better.    (I am off to Whole Foods to buy a stash of these bars to hoard.)2013-02-09 11.15.59

Chef Sarah gave us a lesson in tempering chocolate and  a brief history of chocolate before she set out on her marathon cooking class.    All the chocolate she used for her recipes was at least 70% cacoa.

We, like any normal humans, cannot get our hands on enough chocolate.    I have to say, however, that after this marathon chocolate cooking extravaganza, our cravings are sated for quite awhile.

Similar to how I shared our last cooking class adventure, I will highlight Chef Sarah’s recipes and tips in the next few posts.

What’s coming up then?

  • Classic chocolate truffles

  • Chocolate almond cups and marbled chocolate strawberries

  • Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Earl Grey Buttercream

  • Chocolate Pear Jam

  • Cocoa Chili Rubbed Steak with Manchego Melts and Chimichurri

  • Double Chocolate Ice Cream with Cocoa Nib Pistachio Praline

  • Chocolate Spaetzle with Butterscotch and Orange

Can you see why we almost overdosed?

Tip on cooking classes:   Always find a seat to the right of the chef or instructor.   I learned long ago in one of my teaching methods classes to be cognizant that one always has a tendency  to address students or an audience on the right.    Sadly, we were sitting to the chef’s left and saw her back many times BUT she did make many rounds to all the tables during her demonstrations.

Postscript:   I can’t tell you how much I loved that chocolate with quinoa.   I swiped the label off our table so I could scan it in and share it here.   You must seek out this bar, no matter how difficult!PD request


Interesting fun facts:   Chef Sarah’s favorite chocolate to cook with at home is Ghiradelli and (sit down for this) Hershey’s.    But her favorite chocolate to eat by itself is Patric (which is somewhat local, being made in Columbia, MO.)

Hmmmm—may need to plan a road trip soon.

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A classic truffle, an almond cup, and a marble dipped strawberry.

Stay tuned for these delicious recipes!

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