Well it seems the Golden State has taken the gold, silver and bronze medals this year in the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Recipe Contest: Elevate a Classic Dessert with first, second and third prizes going to California residents! Go west, my chocolate craving friends, go west!
Scharffen Berger’s contest encouraged home bakers to take a tried and true classic dessert and elevate or modernize it using at least one Scharffen Berger chocolate product. I attempted this in a group led by Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef Just Desserts at the kick-off event in Manhattan last October where Johnny elevated chocolate pudding to an incredibly delicious – definitely not from a box – level! It was immediately apparent that I am much better at writing about chocolate, but thankfully Jennifer Daskevich of Los Angeles, CA has talents I can only envy!
Jennifer secured the $10,000 grand prize with the creation of an indulgent Chocolate Lovers’ Whoopie Pie with Coconut Pecan Filling and Ganache Drizzle. Her mouth-watering creation included four different types of Scharffen Berger chocolate products: 99% Unsweetened Chocolate, 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, 62% Semisweet Chocolate and Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder. Jennifer drew her inspiration from the classic German Chocolate Cake recipe first published by a Dallas newspaper in 1957. “German Chocolate Cake is the cake of my dad’s childhood since his Granny made it on his 14th birthday,” said Daskevich. “Fifty years later my dad still loves this classic but now prefers dark chocolate, which inspired me to elevate the recipe.”
Candace Chan of Mountain View, CA modernized an old-fashioned diner favorite – the hand-spun chocolate malted milkshake – into a Malted Chocolate Ice Cream with Pretzel Bark recipe winning her the $7,000 second prize. Sunnyvale, CA resident, Linda Wang, elevated the campfire favorite S’more into a $3,000 winner taking third place with Tall, Dark and Sophisticated S’mores (love that name!).
The star judging panel included some of the country’s foremost baking and chocolate experts: Elizabeth Falkner, owner and executive chef of Orson and Citizen Cake and runner-up of the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef; John Scharffenberger, co-founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker; Alice Medrich, award-winning cookbook author and chocolate expert; Matt Armendariz, food photographer and blogger of MattBites: and Babette Pepaj, founder of Bakespace.com and creator and producer of the traveling TECHmunch Food Blogger Conference.
“Elevating a classic dessert is not an easy feat: to re-do something that’s already amazing takes a lot of thought and creativity, “ says Chef Elizabeth Falkner. “But this year’s winning bakers did it. Their recipes were original spins, sophisticated and, most important, delicious.”
Recipes and photos of these scrumptious chocolate desserts are posted on the Scharffen Berger website. Oh and if any of you decide to recreate these at home, please let me know when I should stop by for sampling. Have passport, will travel for chocolate.