Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why I Choose Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening instead of Butter in my Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares dipped in Dark Chocolate

My Chocolate Chip Cookie Squared Dipped in Dark Chocolate are  (Gluten-Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, <1 and="" cholesterol="" free="" nut="" peanut="" sodium="" span="" tree="">

Recently I took my cookies to a potential partner whom I wanted to carry my cookies. By the way they loved the cookies, however they posed a question. Read On.....

I was asked by the "Food Buyer" why I didn't use butter instead of Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening in my cookies? I loved the challenge the question presented... 

My response went something like this (paraphrased): If I used butter, it would compromise my integrity and the integrity of the cookie. I then begin to also give him the comparison of why I choose this ingredient for my cookies. CBFAVS adds buttery, rich flavor to my food, naturally and artificially flavored (the taste of real butter) it offers 50% less saturated fat than butter and 0g of trans fats per serving. CBFAVS has Polyunsaturated Fat 6g, Monounsaturated Fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 0mg 0%, Sodium 0mg 0%, Carbohydrates 0mg 0%, Sodium 0mg 0%, Protein 0mg 0%, Vitamin A and E are also prevalent. Also excellent source of ALA Omega-3 fatty acid.

Butter is typically made from cow's milk and consist mostly butterfats. Butter is generally about 80% fat, with the remaining 20% consisting of water and milk solids. Unsalted butters insures that you can control the amount salt you add to your cookies, cakes, fudge and other sweet treats. Different brands add different amounts of salt. Salt is a preservative. Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted, which means unsalted butter is typically fresher. Salt can also mask flavors! Butter isn't a significant source of trans fats, however shortening has 0mg0 trans fat, as mentioned earlier. This is also considered as the worst fat type of fat because it not only increase the levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, but they also can decrease your HDL, or good cholesterol.

While using fat in your baked goods helps them to stay moist which is ultimately important, the type of fat you use is just as important, because they both affect the nutritional facts and the texture of the finished product. 

Shortening is a solid fat derived from plants that undergo a process known as hydrogenation that changes the chemical composition and allows a normally liquid oil to remain solid. Shortening is used in many purposes of cooking, and is especially good in baking. Shortening is a little bit higher in total fat, when consuming a tablespoon (13g) over butter (11.4g), when following a 2,000-calorie diet. While shortening is higher in total fat, butter contains more saturated fat since it comes from animals and shortening is usually made from plant oils, butter contains more saturated since it comes from animals and  shortening is usually made from plant oils. Saturated fat is known as the "bad fats", since it can inflate the cholesterol levels, which raises your risk of heart disease. Saturated fat should not be more than 10 percent of your daily calories. 

In baking, shortening is good when used to make pastries, pie crusts and biscuits to make them flaky. It is also used in frying or deep-frying as a liquid.

Consuming too much fat increases your risk of obesity and obesity-related health conditions like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, so aim to keep your total fat consumption at no more than 35 percent of your total calories.

So overall, for certain desserts I use a variety of oils, however in this instance I choose shortening. Also I would like to say, our Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares (Gluten-Free, Soy Free, Dairy Free, Casein Free, <1 and="" cholesterol="" free="" i="" nut="" peanut="" sodium="" tree=""> will be sold in one of the nations largest high end grocery stores.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Chocolate Partnership

The Bark of Joy Candy Co. started with a simple premise: to take an already healthy product and make it taste even healthier and tasty. Then what I thought would be only one simple candy was born a whole company and a vast of other delicious petite sweet treats. I also wanted to have fun while doing it.

It all starts with chocolate. Every thing we do has chocolate. It's ALL centered around the chocolate. Its the theme of the Party....Always!

I needed to find a partner who was not only providing the world's finest chocolate, but was also committed to the manufacturing specifics and ethical standards that I hold dear. I was blessed and favored to find a partner whose passion for providing premium chocolate is exemplified in everything we do. The character and integrity of the company is just as important a the product itself.

To start, our chocolate producers work directly with the people who grow the cacao beans that are vital to production of fine chocolate. They invested time, money and energy into partnering with these growers. I've invested time, money and energy as well in selecting a partner that I trust to be true to me as well. The return is beneficial and mutual for all parties.

While the beans are the most important part, what happens after the beans are picked helps define the final product. Fine chocolate making is a recipe that require equal parts of art and science. Each growing season, cacao beans will exhibit different qualities-some things are beyond our control, Mother Nature. Our fine chocolate makers, through over 50 years of experience, take these beans and ferment and roast to specification, based upon the characteristics of the beans, not trying to force a flavor that the beans is incapable of offering. Through their artisanal methods have been honed over several generations, and they are backed by state-of-the-art testing and manufacturing processes.

Through our partnership we are proud to report that the result are a pure and luscious chocolates that has no equal. Because the chocolate is made in small batches, you will notice subtle differences from batch to batch, without compromised taste!

Enjoy the quality product The Bark of Joy has to offer.

Notes on Ingredients

Using the best-quality ingredients possible is an important first step in making a great dessert. Here are my notes on some of the most frequently used ingredients in the recipes that I prepare.

Armagnac. This brandy comes from the Armagnac region of southwest France, and it is aged for a long time in oak barrels made from an area of local trees. It has a very sophisticated taste, subtle yet forceful, and I like to use it in desserts that feature winter fruits, particular prunes, pears, pomegranates and dark berries.

Butter. Always use unsalted butter, the best you can get. I only use Land O'Lakes brand. I use Land O'Lakes butter in my Truffles. Because it has a low moisture content, it is creamier than regular table butter, and will make a flakier pastry and richer sauces and ganache.

Crisco Butter Flavor All-Vegetable  Shortening. My Chocolate Chip Cookie Squared Dipped in Dark Chocolate are Gluten-Free. CBFAVS adds buttery, rich flavor to my food, naturally and artificially flavored (the taste of real butter) it offers 50% less saturated fat than butter and 0g of trans fats per serving.

Cacao Nibs. These crunchy bits of roasted cacao beans add a nice crunch and intense cocoa flavor to everything from tuiles to ice cream.

Chocolate. Theres only one brand of chocolate I use in my store, it is and based on its nutritional value will always be my first choice. Its simply the best. Pay close attention to your cocao percentages mentioned when reading labels and purchasing for your use. Using the wrong percentage in a recipe can sometimes cause problems.

Cocoa Powder. I always use Starbucks Dark cocoa powder, which is really good. It is a Dutch process (alkalized)  cocoa powder and has a dark brown color and deep flavor.

Cocoa Butter. To give dessert a velvet finish (also known as flocoge), melt together equal parts cocoa butter cocoa butter and dark chocolate and spray the mixture through a chocolate or small glass sprayer. I always buy unflavored cocoa butter.

Coconut. I always use unsweetened desiccated coconut in my desserts It is available at many supermarkets and bulk or natural food stores.

Cream. For most recipes, I use a pasteurized heavy cream with 38 percent butter fat. the exception is for ganache, where i use cream with 33 percent butterfat because of the high cocoa butter content of couverture. Try not to use ultra pasteurized cream-it lacks the flavor of pasteurized cream and can also change the texture of your product.

 Creme Fraiche. This is made by adding a bacterial culture to cream that that has about 28-30 percent butterfat. I love its tangy flavor, which contrasts nicely with sweet elements, and I use it frequently in certain desserts.

Fleur De Sel. This salt, which means "flower of the sea," is great as a finishing salt, for sprinkling  on top of things, especially caramel,and it also add nice texture.

Flour. Most of my recipes calls for gluten-free flour, and for that i always use Bob Mills, particularly because it contains no cornstarch, therefore people who are diabetic can eat our cookies and cakes.

Fondant. Poured fondant (not the same as rolled fondant) is a ingredient to get creative with. Keep in mind, to try different brands before settling upon one. Some brands of fondant are so thick that you are practically break a spoon trying to get it out of the bucket.

Nut Flours. These flours, which are nuts that haven been ground to a fine powder, are a staple in my pastry kitchen, and I use them frequently in my desserts. They are available at natural food stores, and a variety of sources online, however i prefer to make my own.

Rose Water. This flowery ingredients has a very distinctive flavor, so its so important that you don't use too much, or it will overwhelm your dessert.

Rum. I use dark rum in my desserts, preferably Myers brand, which is excellent.

Liquere. The term ‘liqueur’ refers to all alcoholic beverages which contain added sugar and flavors. Liqueurs usually have an alcoholic content ranging from 15% to 55% and they may be flavored with fruits, nuts, herbs and even flowers. Liqueurs are generally served after a meal and the most common accompaniment is coffee. Mentioned below are some of the most popular types of liqueur.

Types of Liqueurs
Chocolate Liqueurs
There are three types of Chocolate liqueurs – chocolate, chocolate cream and crème de cacao.

Liqueur Fogg – This chocolate flavored liqueur is manufactured in Brazil in Rio Grande do Sul. It was first produced in 1930 and its recipe has remained unchanged since then.

Godiva Liqueur – Godiva is a world famous chocolate making company. Godiva liqueur is manufactured exclusively using Godiva chocolate.

Sabra Liqueur – Manufactured in Israel, this liqueur has an alcoholic content of 30%. The main flavors are orange and chocolate.

Djangoa – This one of a kind liqueur is produced using dark chocolate and aniseed. It is produced and bottled by Period Ricardo.

Mozart Black – This liqueur is produced in Austria and it has a bittersweet taste with notes of vanilla. Other types of liqueurs manufactured by Mozart are Mozart Gold Chocolate liqueur and Mozart Black Chocolate liqueur.

Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream Liqueur – The key ingredients of this liqueur are cream, Dutch chocolate and vodka.

Crème de Cacao – This liqueur originates from France and contrary to popular perception, it does not contain any cream. The word crème refers to its thick, syrupy consistency.

Berry Liqueurs
Crème de Cassis – This liqueur is made using blackcurrants and dark red liqueur.

Lakka Liqueur – This type of liqueur is produced in Finland. It derives its name from the Finnish word lakka which means cloudberry.

Razzmattaz – Manufactured by Deykuper Royal distillers, Razzmattaz is manufactured using raspberries and is often used in mixing cocktails.

Murtado – This liqueur is made from strawberry myrtle which is indigenous to Chile.

Sloe Gin – The main ingredients of this red colored liqueur are gin and blackthorn drupes. It has an alcoholic content ranging from 15 to 30 %.

Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur – The principal ingredients of this liqueur are black raspberries, honey, cognac, vanilla and citrus peel.

Cream Liqueurs
Bailey’s Irish Cream – This is one of the most well known types of liqueur. As the name suggests, Bailey’s Irish cream is made using two principle ingredients – Irish Whisky and cream.
Ponche Cream – This rum based liqueur is manufactured in Trinidad and in Venezuela. The basic ingredients are rum, cream, milk, eggs and sugar.

Advocaat – This is a yellow colored liqueur of Dutch origin. It is quite creamy in texture and contains egg yolks, brandy, sugar and a few spices.

Heather cream – This liqueur was first manufactured in 1980 by Inver House Distillers. The two main ingredients are cream and Scottish Single Malt whisky.

Vana Tallin – This rum based liqueur is manufactured in Estonia by Liviko. It is dark brown in color and has undertones of vanilla, cinnamon and citrus.

Fruit Liqueurs
Cherry Brandy – This liqueur is often used in the preparation of deserts. Denmark is famous for producing some of the best cherry liqueurs.

Peach Schnapps – This peach flavored liqueur is a commonly used in cocktails, especially shooters. It works quite well with cranberry or orange juice.

Curacao – This liqueur originates from the island of Curacao which is located in the West Indies. Although it is an orange based liqueur, it is available in several exotic colors such as blue, green, red and orange.

Banana Liqueur – This banana flavored liqueur has a bright yellow color and undertones of almond and vanilla. It is also known as crème de banana and is often used in making desserts.

Apricot Brandy – This is made using apricot flesh or kernels and cognac. It also has undertones of almond.

Limoncello – This lemon flavored liqueur originates from Southern Italy. It has an alcohol content of 31 to 32%.

Manzana Verde – This liqueur has Spanish origins. The word manzana means apples while verde means green.

Other Types of Liqueurs
There are several other types of liqueurs such as nut liqueurs, flower liqueurs, herbal liqueurs etc.

Amaretto – This is a sweet, almond flavored liqueur made from apricot pits. It originated in Italy and derived its name from the word ‘amaro’ which means bitter.

Rosilio – This liqueur originates from Italy. It is made with equal parts of sugar water and alcohol and is then flavored with rose petals.

Anisette – This anise flavored liqueur is popular in Spain Italy and France. It has a clear consistency and high alcoholic content. When mixed with water – it turns white in color and its taste becomes much more enjoyable.

Galliano – The yellow color of this herbal liqueur is meant to resemble the gold rush of the 1890s. It is made from 30 herbs and is named after the heroic Italian warrior – Giuseppe Galliano.

Tennessee Honey – This liqueur is made using Tennessee whisky and honey.
Due to their syrupy texture, high alcohol content and sweet taste, most types of liqueur are generally served in small glasses. Liqueurs should not be confused with fruit brandy and flavored ‘liquors’ as these do not contain added sugar.

Vanilla Beans. Any of the recipes I use calls for using whole vanilla beans as opposed to extract; whole beans give you a much fuller flavor. I like the strength of Bourbon beans.

Monday, April 14, 2014

My View of Wealth

My View of Wealth....In learning wealth I went to what I am most familiar and is more a part of me.....The Bible. My dreams and aspiration are surely from The Higher Source. As God spoke to me about my vision He gave me great source and resources to learn from. As I researched the Bible I learned more about Joseph and what his thoughts were about wealth. I learned that Joseph and I have a lot in common, we both are dreamers. I read about Abraham, how he grew wealthy with cattle, land and acquisition, gold and silver all to the tune of .......priceless. During my studies I learned that Abraham and I also had something in common....Faith (both Warriors). Isaac (Abraham's son) planted a field that yielded a hundredfold harvest. I believe the seeds i've sewn (planted) in my past (into good ground), secures my future. I'm believing and expecting my hundredfold harvest.

God describes His own wealth in Psalms by saying, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

After reading that I immediately believed I too can own own cattle and hills for the cattle to graze on. On the hills sits my beautiful home where the smell of good clean home cooking and fresh smelling creamy chocolate. I also know I need good clean water since water is more important to life than food. Yep, that's right. Water has more value than food. (Google "the value of food", and the importance of water to the body).

Yes, i'm "all in".

The best part of the vision God has given me is the dream to produce the world's best chocolate petite sweet treats and blog some the healthiest eating tips, myth busting tips about nutrition and exercise and have fun doing it, to provide water, food, shelter, clothing and encouragement to people who need it most, to offer a source of inspiration and best of all, hope to slowly debilitating world, is not my dream alone. Many other Foodies and Inspired Bloggers are too reaching out to thousands around the worlds. Many are on the mission to transform the health of this nation and the world, one life at a time.
My invitation for you to join me, refer me, Follow me (Twitter-BarkOfJoyCandyCo), Like my Page on FaceBook The Bark of Joy Candy Co., follow my Blog

What Makes a Great Dessert?

The philosophy of what makes a great dessert is a simple one:To capture great flavors you must use fresh ingredients as they come ti to season. Every great cook/chef/pastry chef/baker works with the seasons, just like every great culinary chef. This means using certain fruits when they're at its peak, not because they just happen to be available. Working within the Seasons will make the job a lot easier. The flavors are already there-so making the most of it by matching complementary flavors. Having slight variations in a presentation that combines textures and temperatures. Along with a great dessert plate comes, begins marrying simple presentation with incredible flavors. With this also comes lots of hard work, which is the key to great success.

When creating these great delicious sweet treats I believe that using only as many ingredients as are necessary and no more, keeps the dessert not only simple, but also great tasting. If I am making Dark Chocolate covered Roasted Edamame Beans with Fleur De Sel for example, the secret is to find the best chocolate with the highest quality in cocoa beans (one that I currently use), then I would find the best flavored roasted beans available in the world from the market to represent it's flavor in the best possible way, accenting it with the finest Fleur De Sel. Melting the chocolate to a thick creamy consistency, while layering my molds with sprinkles of the Fleur De Sel and pieces of the roasted edamame, then topping them with warm sweet creamy dark chocolate.

Though I may present my Dark Chocolate covered Roasted Edamame Beans with Fleur De Sel with other elements on the plate and a fine wine to complement the flavors, its still all about the chocolate.

I've seen chocolates presented with lots of flashy elements on the plate, but they tend to forget about how flavors work together or whether not they add to the overall theme-too much show and not enough substance.

What makes a great dessert? For me its the subtle combination of flavors, texture, temperature and a streamlined presentation conceals its complexity-to me, thats wha makes a great dessert.

Let me hear from you on what you think?

Talk about Fad Diets

We spoke on this subject before and I felt the need to revisit, with more insight. These crazy plans-and we must agree many are crazy- actually offer mental tricks that can help you stick to a healthy lifestyle, not just "dieting". Skip the starvation, but steal their insights.
Tempted to try a new get-slim-quick scheme? There's a good reason. "Fad diets are designed to connect with our emotions in ways that healthy ones don't". They tap into human nature and what inspires us. Use that as motivation-boosting power to supercharge you own (sane) eating plan.

1) Start Strong. Diets that are low-carb and high-protein often start with an "induction" period when you swear off refined carbs or eliminate almost everything except lean protein. It's hard-core, but that's part of he point: Pain equals pride. "A drastic change makes you feel tougher, and you believe you'll be successful because you survive it". Kick off your own era of healthy eating with a big dietary change, too: Pick your biggest food pitfall (let's say sugar-just a guess!) and eliminate it for a few weeks. You'll be so proud that you'll be motivated to stick to other parts of your diet. Just be sure to make a mental note that the transition was tough. "That way, you avoid falling back into old habits, because you won't want to put yourself through that ordeal again," so they say.

2) Narrow your options. Limiting your diet to, say, grapefruit and bison helps take the guesswork out of eating. "The more options you have, the more likely you are to make a bad choice." Not only that, when more options are available, you're prone to gorge. There was a study conducted giving people free rein over a bowl of M&M's. When the bowl has 10 colors of candy, people ate 43% more than when there were 7. "Variety, or even a perception of it, can increase consumption".  Try plotting out four or five healthy options for each meal and rotate among them, nixing what's not on the plan. Continue until you get sick of them, then refresh your menu with a new set of choices.

3) Throw some money at it. Fad diets often involve purchases-elixirs, apps, books, seminars. There's a mind game at work: Spending cues you to make an emotional investment. And since you ponied up them cash, you feel obligated to stick to he plan. "Fear of wasting money can override a short-term food craving. So do a little splurging yourself. Relish those fancy goji berries (a SELF superfood!) at get that Benz-grade smoothie blender you've been coveting. Just eyeing them reminds you to make good on those investments and eat healthy all the time.

4) Be a trendsetter. Fact is, fad diets are newsier than celebrity breakups, so if someone in your office is only eating raw food, everyone wants to know all about it. When you cube mate asks about your discipline, you get a little share-your-secret ego bump and it helps out stick to it. But any healthy, eye-catching new food does the trick. Try this: Bring a plate of DIY veggie sushi to work. (a) You'll instantly be office MVP, and (b) when everyone asks for the recipe, say it's part of your super-sane, no-more-lunch-sandwiches regimen. All those people who have been chugging kombucha for three days straight will be thrilled to chew food again. Instant followers!

5) Make it new. We love novelty, and fad dies play into that. Starting a new meal plan can keep us engaged and excited. "When you adopt different behaviors, it automatically triggers a massive feeling of success. Strategies like reducing portions certainly work, but they can be a yawn. Instead, make a more fundamental change: If you're a takeout fiend, cook meals at home three nights a week, using a cookbook with exotic and healthy recipes. Even the tiniest thing can re-excite you, so get that new bento box lunch container. "Sometimes the best of faddish food is the pretty packaging", they say.

The Spice is Right

Trim down with crushed red pepper
Its metabolism-boosting properties (and heat) come from the capsaicin in the chiles. Plus, a study found women who added 2 tsp of the spice to their food took in fewer calories and fat in later meals. Stir into guac and pasta.

Curb appetite with fenugreek
This spice packs fiber-each nutty-tasting teaspoon for the seed has gram. Study participants who took a fenugreek supplement in the A.M. ate less at lunch. Sprinkle it generously onto chicken before roasting.

Beat the blues with turmeric
Research shows that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric called curcumin can help reduce depression. Stir it into rice and couscous.

Quell muscle pain with ginger
Blend this spice into your post workout shake. It contains gingerol, a natural anti-inflammatory that research finds may reduce next-day muscle pain. Bonus: It may even ease period cramps.

Phytonutrient Cheat Sheetugenol, may soothe your stomach. Try a pinch in applesauce or tea.

Stay sharp with cumin
A lab study shows cumin's anti-inflammatory properties may improve memory and lower stress. Blend it with hummus or toss it with pumpkin seeds before roasting.

Stronger bones from cinnamon
Yes, it can help regulate blood sugar, but it also provides manganese, a mineral that helps maintain bone density. 1 tablespoon provides nearly a day's worth. Spread it out: Shake it into coffee and onto apples and oatmeal.

Phytonutrient Cheat Sheet

How many servings of each color are you getting today? Only 20% of us get enough of the health-promoting, disease-fighting phytonutrients in colorful fruits and vegetables. For best health, eat two 1/2 cup servings of each color, daily.

Green - green or black tea, spinach, kale, salad, greens, broccoli, collards, green peas, chard, parsley, watercress, green beans, Brussels sprouts, arugula, sugar snap peas, Chinese cabbage, legumes, etc.

Red - tomato, watermelon, grapefruit, pomegranates, raspberries, walnuts, persimmons, red cabbage, chili powder, cherries, papaya, cranberries, etc.

White - Garlic, onions, apples, black tea, green tea, coconut, parsnips, rutabaga, etc.

Yellow - Cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, citrus fruits, pumpkin, corn, peaches, turmeric, ginger, mango, corn, pineapple, etc.

Purple - Grapes, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, purple sweet potatoes, cocoa, peanuts, wine, beets, eggplant, prunes, purple potatoes, etc.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Even though I will be blogging a lot about Chocolate and all the fun stuff that goes along with, I am still compelled o talk about Healthy Nutrition because is all a part of who I am.

I'm Back!!!!

Well I'm back. I had a lot of adventure over the past year. I traveled a lot with a new opportunity, had two major accidents but ALL IS WELL, I had to abruptly move to a new yet bigger house, was so busy with the last business opportunity it kept me busy, yet so unpredictable. I did learn a lot throughout out it all. During the many places I've had the opportunity to visit the most enjoyable is all the wonderful people I met. I learned a lot about them and also shared a lot about me. I will pass on my learning throughout the coming months and years.

I wanted to advance my Career as a Nutritionist and gain more knowledge in a variety of areas. It was a lot of work and learning but I am a CHOCOLATIER!!

I love food and all the different wisdom that comes with it. I also love talking about how food can heal the body. Before turning to practical medicine if I have an ailment I turn to more natural ways of eating to relieve me.

I will be blogging now more about Chocolate, Tips on Chocolate and Health, Chocolate and Wine, Nutrition and Fitness and many other exciting and fun things about FOOD.
It's all about FOOD, CHOCOLATE and NUTRITION.   YUM!!

Angel'a M Jones
Follow me on Twitter TheBarkOfJoyCandyCo