• Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
  • Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
  • Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
  • Mushroom Chicken Pie
  • Pistachio Wasabi Beets
  • Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches
  • Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
  • The Fort Greene
  • East African Sweet Pea Soup
  • Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
  • Malaysian Chicken Satay
  • The Wildman’s iPhone App
  • Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
  • Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
  • Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
  • Peposo
  • Toasted Hazelnut Chai
  • Kentucky Coffee Spread
  • Banana Guacamole
  • Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
  • Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
  • Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad (with frisee, parsley, and cardamom)
  • Chevre Truffles
  • Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
  • Jack is Closed (but you can vote for our pie on Sunday)
  • Our Wedding
  • Pecan Mole
  • Son-in-Law Eggs
  • Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
  • My Triumphant Return, with a Book Giveaway!

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Judging the BlissPR Bakeoff

Food blogging opens a lot of doors. I’ve made wonderful friends, received gifts and marketing materials, started an occasional restaurant, and really had a lot of fun.

About a week and a half ago, though, something new happened. BlissPR asked me to be the celebrity guest judge for their company’s holiday bakeoff party. I don’t think I’m much of a celebrity (not until someone writes a Wikipedia entry about me, anyways!), but it sounded like fun, so I accepted.

Everyone was friendly, excited, and proud of the food they’d made. We met at one employee’s apartment, where her young children helped us out in judging the entries. Up above you can see my cake expert for the night. Her brother acted as my cookie expert.

I was very charmed by the way they put their recipes together. Being a PR firm, they had each contestant write up a bit of a press release to go with their recipe. The stories were fun to read, just as I love reading the stories food bloggers write about each recipe we post. It offers a window into the emotional background of the food that I love.

My favorite cookbooks tend to be the ones with enough background and flavor text that I can read them like novels, too. Everything tastes better when contextualized well.

I was pretty impressed by the woman who actually printed out photos of all the BlissPR employees in sugar and food coloring to decorate her cake. Watching the kids argue over who would get to eat their mother’s head was very charming.

We actually ran an interesting experiment on the children. One of the women there and I were discussing whether there were any innate personality differences between little boys and little girls. Personally, I lean towards saying no, and I’ll spare you the full argument here since this is a post about food. She said yes. She felt that little girls were calmer and more likely negotiate and be tricky than little boys.

We ran the experiment by asking the little girl and the little boy at the party what they would do if someone told them they couldn’t eat cake in the den, but they really wanted to anyway. (It’s just a game!, we assured them. Eating cake was totally okay!) The little girl told us that she would punch the person who told her not to eat the cake. The little boy told us that he would sneak into the room to eat the cake without anyone knowing.

I rest my cake case.

All though food was wonderful, but I personally liked the chocolatey drinks the best. So, as a gift from the bakeoff to you, here are the recipes for the two drinks that I enjoyed most that evening. They’re simple, but so tasty that the Winter Wonderland Delight was the only entry I was actually able to finish off rather than tasting and setting aside to leave room for more that night.

Winter Wonderland Delight

Aven of BlissPR writes:

“The history of how I came to be in possession of the fabulous Winter Wonderland Delight recipe can be traced as far back as the history of hot cocoa, which begins with the Aztecs, who used to roast beans to make a chocolate drink; however, their version is much than the hot chocolate we know today. The Aztecs actually drank it cold, flavored with wine and chili peppers, and not at all sweet.

“In the early 1500s, Chocolate was discovered and brought to Spain by the explorer Cortez. After its introduction in Spain, the drink began to be served hot, sweetened and without the chili peppers – but the Spanish were very protective of their wonderful new hot and chocolaty beverage, and it was over a hundred years before news of it began to spread across the rest of Europe.

“When it hit London, chocolate houses became popular and very trendy. In fact, it was the English who started adding milk to their chocolate and it was enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage. And it was in one of these London chocolate houses where this recipe began with my great, great, great grandfather. While most chocolate houses were trendy at the time, this “Chocolateria” was especially popular due to the “secret” ingredient in the Winter Wonderland Delight, which was only offered around the holidays.

“The ingredient, of course, was Coffee Liqueur, which my great, great, great grandmother brought with her from Italy, where it was initially made by monks from an ancient secret recipe.

“Since that time, the recipe has been passed down for generations where it will – on Monday, November 10, 2008 – face its ultimate test…the BlissPR bakeoff.

Winter Wonderland Delight (this is for a single serving)

1 oz Coffee Liqueur
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Whipping Cream
5 oz Hot Cocoa”

The Secret Life of Chocolate

Cortney of BlissPR writes:

“Milton Zelman, publisher of Chocolate News said “Giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of secrets.” Good Living is an act of intelligence, by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not. – Brillat-Savarin Thus I share with you all something pleasing to the palate, indicative of the festive season, lovely to look at and delectably enjoyable in every way all at the same time.

“The Secret Life of Chocolate:

vanilla vodka
godiva dark chocolate
godiva white chocolate
strawberry garnish”

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4 Responses to “Judging the BlissPR Bakeoff”

  1. Gretchen says:

    Now I’m mentally composing a Wikipedia entry.

    both those drinks sound delicious and the perfect thing to warm one up on a cold, wintery night.

  2. Dan says:

    Danielle, we were so glad you could make it out to our bake off. We all had a great time and truly appreciated your sage judgment – with the exception of you not choosing my drink… :) Also, I really dig your blog. I’m trying out that corn chowder recipe tomorrow!

  3. jubliant cerise says:

    That bake-off sounds fun! A friend of mine had a “trompe l’oeil” birthday party where all the guests brought food disguised as other food: a gigantic hamburger was the birthday cake; cupcakes were actually meatballs with coloured mashed potatoes for the frosting; french fries were cookies with raspberry coulis for the ketchup. It was pretty awesome.

    I totally concur that little girls are psychotic ;)

  4. Lori says:

    Hmmm. I would love to be sipping one of those drinks tonigh after my kids go to bed. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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November 2008
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