Tag chocolate

San Francisco Event Recap: Winter Fancy Food Show 2011

Today was the last day for the Winter Fancy Food Show. Held in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, exhibitors came from all over the world to display their latest and greatest food products, though only National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) members can do so. The show takes place over 4 days, with educational and informational events for those in the food industry scattered throughout.

With more than 1,300 exhibitors and 17,000 retailers, distributors and food service pros attending, over stimulation comes easily. This was my first year attending the Fancy Food Show, and I must say, it pays to have a seasoned guide! Fortunately, maps of the floor plan are available for those who like to have a plan of attack (and don’t mind looking like a tourist/ high school freshman). Thanks to these tips, we made it through the entire arena in less than 4 hours!

Don’t eat breakfast. Doors open at 10am, and many exhibitors are already waiting with samples.
Be picky. There are so many food samples calling your name that one must learn to discriminate quickly. You wouldn’t want to find yourself too full to try the ONE thing you’ve always wanted to try!
Keep moving. Breaks are great, and sometimes necessary, but you’ll lose quite a bit of time waiting to get a picture with
Ina Garten
or Duff Goldman.
Drink water. Take advantage of the strategically placed water stations. Yes, there are countless samples of every kind of thirst quencher, but water guarantees that you won’t be dehydrated!

Cheeses, cured meats, teas and CHOCOLATES are expected. Surprisingly delicious items included Plush Puffs gourmet maple-bacon marshmallows, Julian’s Recipe Belgian waffles, and any kind of goat’s milk ice cream I could get my hands on (no surprise there).

Miso mac n cheese, A Tavola Together’s 5 Minute Focaccia Mix and Tabasco’s Spicy Chocolates all stirred up quite a crowd. One noticeable trend was coconut and aloe waters. I left with more than just a couple samples of exotic water.

Though I may have been drawn to the guilt-inducing foods, there was an abundance of health-oriented products this year. Gluten-free items, organic foods and low calorie snacks were everywhere!  This progression reflects the world’s increasing demand for health-conscious food options –definitely a good thing. I cannot wait to see which products make it big in 2011!

Parties That Cook Gives Santa Something New with Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

This week’s blog is dedicated to our favorite Gleekster, Brittany S. Pierce, who brings being blonde to a whole new (hilarious) level. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she still believed in Santa Claus! Now we can’t just let this holiday season slip by without giving you a new cookie to leave for the big guy. If you would rather not leave a plate out at night, feel free to give some of these scrumptious Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies to your Secret Santa, that guy in the red suit at the mall, heck, even I WILL TAKE THEM! The spice in these cookies is not overwhelming –just enough of a kick to keep Santa on track for the rest of the night!

Mexican Chocolate Chipotle Cookies
This recipe can also be found in our Holiday Recipes Section!


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper (can sub. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or smoked paprika)
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar crystals or can substitute granulated sugar
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Prepare Baking Sheet: Cut out parchment sheet to exactly fit the baking sheet.

Sift dry ingredients: In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, black pepper and chipotle pepper.

Cream Butter:
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated (but don’t over mix).

Shape Dough: Shape the dough into a 12-inch log and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Put dough in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm the dough.
Put sugar crystals in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Roll the dough log in the sugar, pressing the sugar into the dough to coat the log evenly and thoroughly.

Make Cookies:
Cut the log into slices ½-inch thick and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until the cookies are no longer soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let them rest on the baking sheet for about 1 minute to firm them, then transfer to a rack with a metal spatula.

Serve: Cool completely, and serve cookies on a platter.

Serves 24

Check out our Holiday Recipes Section for similar recipes!

I mentioned the Parties That Cook Cookie Exchange in Tuesday’s post as a teaser for today. This cookie exchange photo recap is for those of you out there who, like me, take the holidays as a pass to bake and eat whatever your heart desires (or doesn’t desire, actually).
The Feast.

Bibby’s buttery cookies

Erin’s chocolate dipped macaroons

Traci’s macadamia nut, butter and cranberry cookies

Susanne’s key lime cups

Rosie’s coconut macaroon thumbprints
with homemade plum jam

Carolyn’s shortbread bars
with chocolate and nuts

Beth’s pinwheel cookies

Rebecca’s peanut butter blossoms

Michelene’s chocolate mint cookies

Erin’s chocolate turtles with pecan legs and chocolate shells
Yes, she made 2 kinds of cookies!

Cassandra’s chocolate butter cookies OF DEATH
Terribly delicious recipe courtesy of Paula Dean

Two late submissions did not get photographed, but were definitely worth the wait! Chef Jill stopped by with mint macadamia nut cookies, and Crissy brought in Mexican Wedding Cookies the next day! It was probably better to have some time between cookie binges. Overall, this Holiday Cookie Exchange was such a success! Not a bad cookie in sight. We even managed to avoid duplicates despite a rebellion against a proposed sign-up sheet. Though I sure am glad that we didn’t show up with ten varieties of chocolate and mint! Happy Holidays from Parties That Cook!