Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer See Ya

Oh, Summer, must you leave so soon?!

Even though Labor Day is late this year, summer is slinking off before our very eyes.  Our student employees are getting ready to go back to school, the light is changing, thoughts turn to fall flavors.

Cider Caramels, hooray!
I had some really good luck with a new recipe for wrapped cider caramels, so that's exciting, and a nice change from pumpkin spice everything that we see come September.  I for one, have always loved autumn the best, but after last year's winter, the summer has been too sweet to let go of quite yet.

Let's cling to the last week of summer with a guilty pleasure recipe, shall we?  We're dipping into my recipe book, Turtle, Truffle, Bark!  for this one, so keep in mind, the recipe for tempering chocolate can be found in Master Recipe One.


 Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bark

Can you say guilty pleasure?!

 Layer upon layer of childhood memories and guilty pleasures here!  Milk chocolate pairs with peanut butter in a most irresistible way, without a doubt.  If you're a dark chocolate purist, go right ahead.  To  my palate, though, the sweetness of milk chocolate and the saltiness of the peanut butter really complement each other well.  To really send this over the top, I stir in puffed rice cereal into the bark and then sprinkle with salt.  You can make this without the rice cereal, but why would you want to do that?                                                                                                                                     

What You'll Need:

1 sheet parchment paper
1/2 cup scoop of peanut butter
2 lbs. tempered milk chocolate
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
2 pinches large flake salt
offset spatula, or a silicon spatula
chef's knife

Lay out the parchment paper.

Stir peanut butter into the tempered chocolate, incorporating fully, then fold in puffed rice cereal.

Pour chocolate mixture on the center of the parchment paper.

With your spatula, spread the chocolate out on the parchment.  Keep the thickness uniform (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick).

Using your hand (a vinyl glove is nice on that hand!), drag your fingers through the chocolate to evenly distribute the cereal.  Sprinkle salt lightly across the top of the bark (Go easy -- a little goes a long way.)

When it's just set, but not wet looking, cut the bark with a chef's knife.  Start the cut with the tip of the knife and rock the rest of the blade into the bark.  Remove from the chocolate and continue.  If there's too much chocolate buildup on your  knife, wash it off, rinsing with cold water.  Make sure the knife is completely dry before cutting into the chocolate again.

Best scarfed up within 2 weeks of storage in an airtight container.

Here's to the rest of summer!!

PS:  favorite chocolate right now:  dark mocha truffle

PPS: currently butchering NOTHING on the uke.  Too busy!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Hearty hellos and here goes!

Sooo serious, this chocolate stuff.
Hallie Baker here, from Turtle Alley Chocolates, my own personal haven, and your own personal pit-stop for all things sweet.  This is the place where I get to write about the things I'm elbow deep in, whether it's a new recipe, a flavor I can't get enough of, the latest song I'm butchering on my uke, chocolate tips, recipes, just whatever the hell I'm excited about -- on the sweet side.
Such freedom! Such overwhelming freedom!


About half my life I've been messing around with chocolate.  In 1999, I opened up my first shop in Gloucester, MA.  A few years later, a second shop in Salem, MA.  We've had a  lot of luck with great reviews, and extremely loyal and devoted fans.  In the past year, everything culminated in the chance to write and publish Turtle, Truffle, Bark! -- which was way more fun than I could have anticipated.

It's a lucky life I lead.
It's true.  All those words came out of MY HEAD.

As the business has grown, our Turtle Crew has expanded (in a most excellent way, I might add), leaving me more time to play with flavors and test out new recipes, which is my favorite thing. Because I really am a lucky so-and-so.

So welcome to the blog, welcome to my world, hold on to your hats, and enjoy the ride!

Papaya coconut caramel.  Genius!  
PS.  favorite chocolate right now:  dark chocolate papaya coconut caramel.

PPS. currently butchering "Girl Talk" on uke.

PPPS.  favorite smell on a scooter ride is beach roses on the back shore.

Over and out, good buddies!