RMFFA: Artisan Chocolate, Cicada and Zokoko

Many afternoons ago, I came home to find a large box on my desk…

excuse the bad paint job on the left hand side corner :P

What could be inside?

Yay!!  If you didn’t know already, the Royal Melbourne Show is almost upon us (22 September – 2 October) and that means that winners of the 2012 Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards (RMFFA – I checked; there are no horrible meanings to that acronym like last time!) are going to be announced soon as well!  I must admit that it’s been a while since I’ve been to the Melbourne Show and the last time that I went, I was more interested in show bags than the fine food and produce that are brought in from all around Australia! :P

Anyway, I was delighted when Lynne from Wrights got in contact to send some of the produce entered for this year’s RMFFAs to try and experiment with.

Let the education begin!

So with a bit of Googling research, I learnt that the results for the RMFFAs are released in two stages.   In the first stage the results are released for each class of the competition and the medal winners are announced.  In the second stage, champion trophies are awarded to the ‘best of the best’ in a particular class or group of classes within a category. The Champion trophy winners are announced at the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards Luncheon which will be held on Tuesday 25 September at Melbourne Showgrounds.  See more info here.

I was excited to find out that the produce that I had been sent had all taken medals in the first stage so without further ado, let’s have a look at what came in the box!  The chocolate is up first :D.

Chocolate – Bean to Bar

1. Cicada Artisan Chocolate – NSW (Cicada Artisan Chocolate Madagascar Milk Chocolate)

Category: MILK CHOCOLATE (PLAIN) – Bronze

Disclaimer: I should just say that this is the first time I’ve ever reviewed chocolate before (also the first time I’ve ever eaten artisan chocolate before) so please excuse me if I’m not as knowledgeable or articulate on the topic.  If you are looking for some intelligent and informative reviews on chocolate, the expert is Hannah for sure!

Unfortunately, a member of my family who shall remain unnamed broke into the block of chocolate before I had a properly look at the design but I imagine that it would have been quite cute looking (you can see it at the website – link below).  The chocolate itself was creamy and had a strong vanilla flavour.  Definitely not your average chocolate bar!  Apparently, you should be able to see the vanilla bean speckled through the bar…

Can you see it?

I quite liked it.  The description at the back says it all really.

I thought the bit about the Oompa Looompas was cute :D.

 2. Zokoko – NSW (Zokoko Goddess Dark 70% Cacao)

Category: DARK CHOCOLATE (PLAIN) – Bronze

unsuccessfully removed a label from the front…

The packaging of this block was exquisite!

Amazing, right?

Anyway after unwrapping the gold foil and taking a bite, I had an epiphany!  It has never been quite obvious to me before but after tasting this high quality produce, I’ve realised I do favour dark chocolate over milk :D.

This was rich and creamy, with a subtle hint of something else… the packaging says it should be raisins that I’m tasting hehe.  The slightly bitter aftertaste of the cocoa was also a highlight for me.  This was my favourite out of the two I think.  I thought about trying to cook with them both but I think I’d rather indulge block by block instead ;).

You can find both of these and other types of chocolate at the Royal Melbourne Show or at their websites:

www.cicadachocolate.com

www.zokoko.com

Random Question: Milk, Dark or White Chocolate?

♥ Ames

P.S. Makes sure you come around for the next post because there will be an exciting giveaway announced :D

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Momofuku Compost Cookies feat. Snickers 3 Nuts!

Last winter I got the opportunity to spend a few weeks in a law firm learning about a whole new area of law and experiencing what life’s like as a lawyer.  I had a great time, mainly due to the team that I was placed with.  Just a lovely bunch of people :).  So when my supervisor casually mentioned that the last person who had been in their group had baked them some muffins before he rotated through to another team, I took that as an open invitation to try to bake and bring in some Momofuku Compost Cookies in my last week with the workgroup! :D

Even though they have been around for a while, the first time I ever heard of Momofuku Compost Cookies was via Vien’s blog and after that, I’d been itching to give them a go!

Cookie Tower, anyone? ;)

The main and fun decision to make when it comes to these cookies is your choice of salty and sweet goodies to throw into the mix!  After checking to see if anyone on the team had any allergies, I decided to use these ingredients for my first attempt:

also had some white choc chips in the fridge that I added…

I wanted something a bit crunchy so when I saw the new range of Snickers bars that had peanuts, almonds and hazelnuts, I had to pick them!  Measurement-wise, I counted them as half sweet, half salty (hope that makes sense…).

I had fun chopping them up!

Note: I doubled the traditional amount because I was optimistic that they would turn out so well that I would could bring a batch on the weekend to church as well hehe!  Thankfully they were well-received :).

OK, enough talk!  On with the recipe!

Momofuku Compost Cookies

(adapted from We Dare Food)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup & 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of your sweet goodies (chocolate, caramel and white chips)
  • 1 cup of your salty goodies (pretzels & potato chips)
  • 1 cup of chopped Snickers 3 Nuts bars (1/2 sweet, 1/2 salty)

Method

  1. Cream the butter, both sugars and honey with an electric mixer on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and run mixer for 10 full minutes. During this time the sugar granules will dissolve, the mixture will become lighter in colour and mixture will double in size.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. By hand or using lowest speed of mixer, stir in the flour mixture – don’t beat it in or the cookies won’t be as tender. Stir in sweet and salty things.
  5. Once well combined, wrap a the cookie dough into a number of logs (see photos below).  Chill for a few hours or until ready to bake.       ***DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape.
  6. Heat the oven to 180C. Roll chilled cookie dough into small balls and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.  Make sure that there is a fair amount of space between each ball (see below).
  7. Bake 10-14 minutes. While in the oven, the cookies will spread- a lot! (All ovens are different so watch the cookies, specifically the edges).
  8. Cool the cookies completely on the baking tray before transferring.
Step 1
Step 2
Step 4a
Step 4b – so cool right? :)
Step 5 – doesn’t really matter what size you roll the logs into…
Step 6 – make sure there is enough space…

This was probably the main difference from other Momofuku recipes… usually people scoop them with an ice-cream scooper and then place it in the fridge.  We didn’t have any room so I just placed them in as logs and then rolled them into balls after they had chilled for a few hours.

Voila! :D

The cookies were definitely a hit, both at the workplace and at church with many people asking for the recipe :D.  They came out just the way I like my cookies – a little bit crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside :).

Enjoy!

Have a productive week everyone!  I better hit the books :D.

Random Question: If you were going to bake Compost Cookies, what salty or sweet goodies would you use?

♥ Ames