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Posted by on May 20, 2018

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Good Food Hunting: Spices, Witches and Chocolate Cake

Posted by on March 24, 2014

By Kat Nielsen

By now you’re asking, what on earth is she writing about this time? Well, I can tell you that all three of these things have quite a bit in common. Hear me out.

decadent spiced cake 2Healers are typically defined as practitioners of alternative medicine, basically it’s our terminology here in America for medicine as it’s practiced by other cultures. There is Aryuvedic, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Reiki just to name a few. As open minded individuals of Boston, many of us have embraced balancing these therapeutic modalities out with western medicine, but just how did we get to our current status of things as we know it? Believe it or not, it actually goes back to witches.

Every culture imaginable has had some version of a healer. They work with “magic,” better known as energy work, along with treatment options coming from nature’s elements. When the witch population died out here in America (Salem witch trials), we lost our ties with herbs and a form of healing energy. While I speak of medicine in our country as a whole, think about our food culture as well. Do we have a wide range of spices used in American food? Not really. Isn’t it a coincidence with the way things have developed?

This month I’m bringing to you a recipe that will perhaps stir up some magic in the kitchen by broadening your spice cabinet. And as luck would have it chocolate is a wonderful medium for spice. While I recommend cinnamon and chipotle chili powder in the main recipe, don’t be afraid to experiment with more bold pairings including curry powder and dark chocolate, cardamom and bitter sweet chocolate, ginger and dark chocolate or orange and pepper with milk chocolate.

To full plates and adding some spice into your life,

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen is a horse enthusiast turned food blogger. She maintains a day job in the horse world handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at or email her at

Recipe: Decadent Spiced Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:decadent spiced cake 1

4 ounces of Ghirardelli or other good quality baking chocolate
1/2 cup of butter, unsalted
3/4 cup sugar 3 eggs
1/2 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment paper and butter paper. If you don’t have a springform pan, a round 8-inch pan will work, just butter generously.

In a double boiler, or metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chocolate with butter. Stir till smooth and completely melted. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture.

Add eggs one at a time and whisk generously. (A slow addition of eggs and fast whisking does not allow the egg to heat and scramble on you).

Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle chile powder and salt into chocolate mixture, whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cake will be domed, and during cooling will invert.

Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and remove from pan. If you don’t like the inverted look, cool the cake for five minutes and invert onto a serving plate. Cake can be served immediately or stored in refrigerator till consumption. Dust with powdered 2 tablespoons of powdered Sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Best eaten with ice cream and/or fresh fruit. You can also top with a homemade chocolate ganache or caramel sauce.

Oreo Cupcakes

Posted by on March 13, 2014

Oreo Cupcakes 1small

All over the web we’ve been seeing some great Oreo Cupcakes, so today we decided to try some of our own. These can be as simple or as complicated as you would like to make them based on the cupcake recipe you use and how much Oreo you want to put in them.

We’ve gone with the simplest recipe possible, for all you busy people out there. It takes no time at all to have a fabulous dessert.

The first step is the best, and a great way for kids to help out. Oreo Cupcakes 2smallLine your cupcake tin with your favorite liners (we used polka-dots) and place an Oreo in each.

Next, preheat your oven and prepare cupcake batter according to your favorite recipe or package directions. We used chocolate cupcakes, of course. Because who doesn’t want some extra chocolate in their lives? We know we do.

Once you’ve got your batter prepared, you are ready to add it to the Oreos. In order to get the Oreo to stay in the cupcake better, use a rubber scraper to shape it around the edges of the Oreo, pushing down on the batter so the Oreo “sticks” inside the cupcake instead of falling off the bottom. Oreo Cupcakes 5small

Make sure all sides of the Oreo have batter around them. Otherwise the Oreo will fall into the liner when you take it off the finished cupcake.

Bake your cupcakes according to recipe or package directions. As always, make sure they are not too close to the bottom of your oven (this is even more important than usual, as you don’t want to burn the Oreos).

Take your cupcakes out of the oven and cool completely- if you can. Oreo Cupcakes 7smallWe can never manage to not eat at least ONE warm- it’s just too good!-but do your best.

Once they are cool, frost and decorate as desired. Consider crushing some Oreos on top, like we did, or placing a mini-Oreo into the frosting.

So now that we’ve made the cupcakes what do we think? We give them 2 thumbs up. As other bloggers have mentioned, the hard Oreo on the bottom is a bit of a stark contrast to the softness of the cupcake. We think adding crumbled Oreos to the top makes this a little less unexpected. Overall, though, you can’t go wrong when combining cookies and cupcakes. Really, what’s NOT to like?!?


Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

Posted by on February 24, 2014

One of the tour guides for Boston Chocolate Tours always opens up her tour with a question. It gives everyone a chance to get to know one another when you answer “what’s your favorite kind of chocolate?” Are you a milk chocolate kind of guy, are you a nuts and dark chocolate kind of girl?

chocolate almonds 2I always have a hard time answering this question because it varies by day. Chocolate has so many wrappings, coatings, stuffings, etc., that depending on my mood or what my body seems to be craving, dictates which variation I’ll lean towards.

However, there are two that I always seem to be in the mood for, chocolate and almonds and caramel coated chocolate. It’s a shame not too many people include all of them! But in an effort to bring one of my more enjoyable combinations to life, I decided to look at chocolate and almonds. For whatever reason I enjoy whole almonds more than the pieces in chocolate, yet trying to coat them at home usually leaves you with a blobby mess. Well that is, until now!

This recipes uses sheer force and a coating of cinnamon and cocoa. The cinnamon offers a welcome surprise that helps compliment the sweetness and nuttiness, bringing a whole new level of delicious to your chocolate almond experience. And the best part? You can whip this recipe up in just under fifteen minutes.

And if that weren’t awesome enough, you then can mix the leftover bits of chocolate and cinnamon powder for a delicious base for your next cup of hot chocolate. Sounds like a great way to spend Valentine’s, or to share the love with those around you.

As always, let us know on Twitter and Facebook what you thought of the recipe so we can continue bringing you delicious recipes and more fun ways to incorporate a little more chocolate into your life!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Cinnamon Chocolate Almonds

1 cup of almondschocolate almonds 1
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of salt

In a dry saucepan, heat the almonds on medium heat until they give off a nutty aroma, 4-5 minutes turning periodically. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

In a double boiler, heat chocolate until melted. Add the almonds and coat completely.

In a large tupperware container, container with a lid, or ziplock bag, add the remaining ingredients. Add in the almonds and all of their chocolate shaking vigorously until coated completely with the cinnamon mixture.

Lay individual almonds onto plate or cookie sheet and allow to set. Anything remaining from the chocolate/cinnamon mixture, set aside and use as a base for hot chocolate.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen (Tarte Chic) is a horse enthusiast/musician turned food blogger. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at or email her at

Brownie Batter Dip

Posted by on January 15, 2014

browine batter dip 1 Brownie Batter Dip is an appetizer, great party food and serious craving satisfier. It’s chocolate in the most versatile form.

I watch many a food trends, and in 2013 there were quite a few that stood out that cater to the home cook. One was dips, and the other was salty/sweet combinations such as with Lay’s Potato Chips in milk chocolate. Pinterest was full of ways to celebrate both of these combinations, yet none intrigued me more than Brownie Batter Dip.

Mel’s recipe for Brownie Batter Dip went viral, just like Cookie Batter Dip did in 2012. They were ways to enjoy batter without worrying about any contamination from eggs, and getting to dip extra goodies into a frosting like concoction.

When I set out on the trending bandwagon, I quickly realized that Mel’s version didn’t have enough chocolate. I love brownies for their intense chocolate flavor so I wanted to develop a recipe in which a person could tailor it to their likes (milk or dark), and even add in extra flavorings.

brownie batter dip 3I also didn’t see the purpose flour served in the recipe other than being at risk to develop gluten. Out went the flour with no gumminess, and so the gluten-free folks out there could enjoy this recipe too! My recipe for Brownie Batter Dip mimicked my favorite brownie recipe in that it first started with melted chocolate.

I made the initial batch with milk chocolate (as seen in the photos), but I much preferred it with bittersweet chocolate chips as it helps compliment the tanginess from the cream cheese. At this stage you could even use peanut butter chips, white chocolate, or a combination of any chips you have in the cupboard. Make it your own I say!

From there, the melted chocolate is mixed in to a basic cream cheese frosting (hello, there’s nothing quite like eating frosting either). With the melted chocolate and additional cocoa powder, you get the rich chocolate flavor of a brownie.

As you start to mix everything together, you’ll achieve a much smoother and lighter consistency with milk. However, if you want a more bold flavor profile, you can add in fruit flavors from extract (raspberry, orange, butterscotch), or just add in caramel sauce. The bottom line is you have a delicious dip to set out on the table for Super Bowl, Mardi Gras or even Valentine’s day that will entice even the most wary snackers.

Serve with potato chips and pretzels to keep your creations trending and hip.

As always, enjoy your share of chocolate and let us know on Twitter and Facebook what you thought of the recipe so we can continue bringing you delicious recipes.

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Brownie Batter Dip

  • 10 ounces of chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of milk

Melt your chocolate over a double boiler until creamy. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

brownie batter dip 2Combine together the cream cheese and butter, mixing on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Add in your melted chocolate and continue mixing. Next, add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Once incorporated fully, stir in the remainder of your ingredients. Mix on medium speed, adding more milk for a creamier, less dense mixture.

Serve with fruit, potato chips, animal crackers or pretzels.

About the writer: Author Kat Nielsen (Tarte Chic) is a horse enthusiast/musician turned food blogger. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at or email her at

Perfect Pairing: Pretzel Crisps

Posted by on December 22, 2013

When we tweeted at Pretzel Crisps with our address, we didn’t expect a hand delivered assortment of the yummy snack.

pretzel crisps delivery

We immediately got to work! Have you ever tried an Equal Exchange milk chocolate bar? If not, you are missing out on everything good. Combine this chocolate treat with some red wine Gouda from Cape Cod Winery and an Everything Pretzel Crisp. You will not regret it.

perfect chocolate pairing with cheese

perfect chocolate and cheese pairing

Then, we went apple picking. The tart addition with some sharp cheddar was fantastic, which was a huge hit around the office.

apples and chocolate

pairing chocolate with apples

How could we make this chocolate pairing even better, you ask? Add wine! Pretzel Crisps were quite a hit at our public chocolate and wine tasting in September. The deli flavors act as a palate cleanser and a savory snack all at once.

perfect wine pairing with chocolate

We can’t get enough Pretzel Crisps and neither can Boston Chocolate fans. Through the beginning of 2014, every tour will include samples as a special treat!

If you’re looking for a savory snack to pair with just about anything, get a little inspiration directly from the source.

Recipe: Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Posted by on December 17, 2013

There is nothing quite like a Reese’s. Yes of course there’s stuff in there that probably isn’t so good for you, but who cares! It’s delicious!!! Keeping that in mind, people love chocolate and peanut butter. It’s a magical combination that always delights a crowd. Doesn’t adding some texture like crunchy Rice Krispies and some caramel sound even better? Then you’re in luck!

PB Crispy barsI started adding Rice Krispies to my peanut butter bars a few years back when I wanted a peanut butter truffle. The hidden crisp was so darn popular that I’ve just been meaning to bring it back in a fun way. In reality these “no bake” peanut butter bars are super easy and can be transformed in a ton of ways, such as with truffles or even as “out of the freezer snacks” during the humid months.

A typical recipe for peanut butter bars aka “Reese’s taste-a-likes” always contains graham crackers, peanut butter and sugar. I have a lot of gluten free friends that this just doesn’t work for, so I decided to keep those caramelly notes of graham crackers, but do it with more sugar (hey, you can’t cut all my carbs out). From there it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

Things to think about to help personalize your experience and make these super extra delicious.

•   Use fresh Rice Krispies, the semi-stale ones end up being chewy and gross.
•   Consider adding Cocoa Rice Krispies just because extra chocolate is always a good thing.
•   If you are eating gluten-free, then by all means use Gluten Free Rice Krispies.
•   For a sweet and salty combo, omit the Rice Krispies and add chopped pretzels in after your chocolate.

As always, enjoy chocolate and let us know on Twitter and Facebook what you thought of the recipe so we can continue bringing you relevant content containing all things chocolate!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Peanut Butter Crispy Barspeanut butter

1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of peanut butter
2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 cup of Rice Krispies
12 oz of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of butter

In a small saucepan, heat your butter and brown sugar together over medium heat. Continually stir until sugar has completely dissolved, about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and salt. Be careful as the mixture will violently bubble. Let cool to room temperature.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper going up the sides of the pan. Set aside.

PB Crispy bars 3Combine the caramel with peanut butter until completely incorporated. Sift the confectioner’s sugar over this mixture and completely mix together. Fold in your Rice Krispies as gently as possible. Spread the mixture into your pan and press out into an even layer.

Melt your chocolate and butter together over a double boiler or in a microwave. Allow to cool to room temperature and spread over peanut butter layer. Refrigerate for thirty minutes before slicing and serving.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak (Tarte Chic) is a horse enthusiast/musician turned food blogger. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at or email her at


PB Crispy bars 2

Get Free Shipping on Boston Chocolate Tours Gift Vouchers for the Holidays

Posted by on December 10, 2013

Use code FREESHIP and provide a US mailing address (in the 48 contiguous states) to purchase the gift of a Boston chocolate experience this holiday season. We’ll ship you one of our limited edition printed vouchers.

Gift Vouchers | Use code FREESHIP

To apply this offer and receive your gift voucher before Christmas, orders must be placed by midnight EST December 15, 2013. Shipments will go out on December 16, 2013. Offer only applies to gift vouchers, not tour reservations that are associated with a specific tour date. 

free shipping gift certificate

You must provide a shipping address during your order to receive the physical gift voucher. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact kendra[at]bostonchocolatetours[dot]com.

Recipe: Chocolate Dinner Rolls

Posted by on November 25, 2013

When the holidays come about, it’s hard to reinvent family favorites or envision new ideas. It can also seem all but impossible to incorporate chocolate into anything but dessert. Luckily I’ve come up with a way to have the goodness of chocolate showing up at the dinner table way before dessert ever makes an appearance.

chocolate bread recipe - thanksgiving

Bread meets chocolate. And it’s in the shape of a roll so if your sister at the end of the table doesn’t want to hear you trying to explain to grandma why there’s chocolate in the rolls, then you can chuck one to her and not deprive anyone. It’s downright genius. You can slather cranberry sauce on them, consider the age old chocolate covered potato chips (this time with mashed potatoes and a roll), or go really crazy and make a chocolate turkey sandwich….perhaps I’ve gone too far.

If you’re thinking I’m nuts, then you obviously don’t know me or you’re not a complete chocoholic – I won’t judge of course, but you’re still reading, aren’t you?

My first memory of chocolate meets bread was with Vermont Creamery’s epic Cultured Butter with Sea Salt. Sold at Wegmans and other fine retailers in Massachusetts, it’s addicting all on its own. The little flakes of sea salt melt in your mouth and you wonder why you even put it on anything. But alas, I gave in and toasted some baguette slices with a slab of butter on top. Once they came out of the oven, I shaved some dark chocolate to become melty and then indulged. It was bliss.

Now the tables are turned and it’s chocolate that’s getting added to the bread. Changing up a recipe of Featherbed Rolls my father held onto from the Buffalo Evening News, 1940’s edition, I added chocolate to wake things up and bring my love of chocolate to the dinner table.

recipe chocolate bread - thanksgiving

As always, enjoy your chocolate obsession and let us know on Twitter and Facebook what you thought of the recipe so we can continue bringing you relevant content containing all things chocolate!

To full plates and eating your tarte out,

Chocolate Dinner Rolls


  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 3/4 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips, good quality
  • Sea salt


In a large saucepan, scald milk and remove from the heat. Discard the film that has formed on the top of the milk. Add the butter and stir, let cool until mixture is lukewarm.

In 1/4 cup of warm water, add your yeast and sugar, stirring gently. Allow the yeast to proof (if foam doesn’t appear, start this step over).

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Mix together the cooled milk mixture and proofed yeast until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Oil another large bowl and place batter into it. Cover with saran wrap and allow to rise until doubled.

Butter two muffin pans. Scoop risen dough into muffin pans, about 1/3 full. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cover with dishtowel and place in a warm area. Let rise until dough has doubled.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

About the writer: Author Kat Wojtylak (Tarte Chic) is a horse enthusiast/musician turned food blogger. She maintains a day job handling marketing and brand support to various companies while enjoying her evenings and weekends writing recipes and blogging all about her culinary experiences. Visit her blog at or email her at

EHChocolatier: One of Boston's Greatest Artisan Chocolate Companies

Posted by on October 28, 2013

EHChocolatier is a  small independently owned artisan chocolate and confection company in Somerville, MA. They share a building with Taza!

The kitchen doors officially opened in November, 2010. Co-founders and chocolatiers, Elaine Hsieh and Catharine Sweeney, started their chocolate adventures by sharing bonbons and confections with friends and family after they met in the Spring of 1999.

A mutual friend threw them together to bake her wedding cake (their first) and had them deliver it to Martha’s Vineyard (which was hot). Although they do still speak to this mutual friend (wedding success!), their friendship with each other has deepened as they work side by side to cultivate a strong mutual passion.

ehchocolatier boston chocolate company

EHChocolatier doesn’t make chocolate from scratch; however, they do create deliciousness and beauty. Their chocolates are all handmade in small batches with attention to every ingredient and a great deal of care.

boston chocolate tour guide - ehchocolatier

While visiting their kitchen, we sampled and watched the construction of their Ancho Bar – spiced nuts and pretzels blended into a Balvenie Scotch caramel and enrobed with a 65% single varietal chocolate. Yum!

good boston chocolatier - eh

You can find EHChocolatier products online, at local events or (even better) get in on their chocolate club or their CSC (just like a CSA, but for chocolate).