Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

Similar Items Update As Promised

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Update of 2014.04.20

Here’s a link to my Similar Items post:

The Navitas Raw Organic Chocolate powder arrived and it was suitably mockable, I thought, with its “Food of the gods” claim and, to be honest, uninspired packaging. (Except the zip part of the bag is AWESOME!) I noticed that the company is in the same town I work in. As in, I could have gone to their store on my lunch hour.

Today I baked with it. I made cookies and brownies. Since the cookies go to college boy, I was making a double batch. 4 1/2 cups of flour were called for. I used 4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder.

The brownies are in the oven. I made different brownies than usual since I wanted to use cocoa powder instead of chocolate. I found a suitable recipe and made them. The recipe is reasonably similar to my current favorite so I decided it was a good comparison. I sampled the batter and while I cannot render a final verdict since they’re still baking and I have to send them to my son, here is what I can say:


I am not kidding.



Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Through the magic of, I have selected the winner of my newsletter-subscriber only contest.

Kim A

I have emailed her and will be sending her a mug from my favorite hometown chocolate bar and some chocolate to accompany the mug.

My newsletter subscribers are the best.


Better than . . .? Contest!

Sunday, August 4th, 2013
Jar of "better than sex chocoate sauce"

In The Name of Science

I am giving this away. Along with a copy of My Darkest Passion, your choice of format — print, Kindle or ePub. The chocolate sauce is from Patisserie Angelica, which I suspect may well be the best bakery in America. As you can see, it’s called “Better than Sex Hot Fudge Sauce.” The winner will have to let me know if he/she agrees.


No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older to enter. (This means if you enter, you are representing that you are 18 or older). The winner will be chosen at random from among the commenters on this post who followed the instructions. Contest closes midnight Pacific, August 9, 2013 — meaning comment before then. International OK.

How to Enter

Leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite something or other is. Could be move, a flower, holiday, etc. Just something that is a favorite. Like, “my favorite Bollywood actor is Arjun Rampal.”



My Dangerous Pleasure – New Recipe AND a Contest

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

The Contest is officially Over

Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I LOVED reading your cooking stories. They were just wonderful. Thank you for sharing those stories. I’m off to pick the winner.


I’ve made this post sticky for the duration of the contest. There’s a new recipe (this time, chocolate mousse) and a link to Chapter 3 of My Dangerous Pleasure. Also, since I was late getting out my newsletter, I’ve extended my contest deadline to Midnight Pacific June 4th in order to give them time to enter.

The Contest Info

As some of you may know, the heroine of My Dangerous Pleasure, Paisley Nichols, owns a bakery. In honor of that and in shameless promotion of the book (it’s out May 31, have you bought your copy yet?) I’m going to be giving away a slew of cooking supplies to one lucky winner. The supplies will include, among other things:

  • Baker’s Sugar
  • Cake Flour
  • Chocolate (assortment)
  • Dutch Process cocoa
  • Vanilla
  • Parchment paper
  • Flour
  • A cookbook or two

If the winner is in the US I will also arrange to ship some awesome butter to the winner. If I find out that butter can be shipped internationally, I will so do, but I cannot guarantee that will be possible. I will also include some other baking-related surprises.

But Wait! There’s More!

Over the next three weeks my publisher will be making chapters 1-3 of My Dangerous Pleasure available for you to read:

  1. Chapter 1 (pdf).
  2. Chapter 2 (pdf).
  3. Chapter 3 (pdf).

What Would I Do With All That Baking Stuff?

Well, you could make some awesome desserts . . .

The week before last, I posted a recipe for Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Cookies. download a pdf of the Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Recipe. Last week’s recipe was for download a pdf of the Butter Cookies recipe

This week? Chocolate Mousse. download a pdf of the Chocolate Mousse recipe

Notes on the Mousse

The higher quality the chocolate, the less tolerant this is to inattention, over-beating, cheating and timing. I recommend making this once with cheap chocolate, as it is less prone to seizing and will still taste really good. (but not to-die-for good) that way you’ll understand the steps involved and will not be as tense when you’re using the good chocolate.

Also, despite the cautions, this doesn’t take all that long to make. You can do it!

Notes on Ingredients

Heavy Whipping Cream: Get the highest fat content you can find. Not the cheapo grocery brand unless you happen to know it’s high quality.

The Chocolate

You have to look really, really hard to find chocolate without soy lethicin in it. Sadly several formerly high quality chocolates have started adding soy lethicin. If you find chocolate without it, almost by definition, you’ve found a high quality chocolate.

You should be able to pronounce all the ingredients in your chocolate: cocoa, cocoa butter and not much else. Look to the Belgian or Swiss chocolates.

A note on separating the eggs

There CANNOT be EVEN A DROP of egg yolk in the egg whites. This means you need three bowls. One for successful egg whites with no yolk, one for the egg yolks and one to use when you’re separating an egg. That way if the egg is old and the yolk is runny or what have you, you only need to discard one egg and won’t contaminate the successes.

Seized Chocolate

Seized chocolate gets instantly grainy and lumpish. You can try stirring your way out of it, but you’re likely to get mousse with an unappealing texture. This actually happened to a friend of mine. It was sad, and she cried.


16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped or as chips.

2 cups cold heavy whipping cream

6 large eggs, separated


1. Whip the cream to soft peaks, put aside in a new bowl and refrigerate

2. Melt the chocolate.

You can do this in a double-boiler (over-but-not-in hot but not simmering water). Stirring often. With this method you will almost certainly end up having to wait for the chocolate to cool down to warm.

It’s far easier to do this in the microwave:

Put your chocolate in a bowl, and NEVER nuke for LONGER THAN 30 seconds.

Stir. Nuke again for 30 seconds.

Stir and nuke, stir and nuke etc until the chocolate still has a few lumps.

Now, you just stir continuously until the rest of the chocolate melts. It doesn’t take long and the chocolate will not be all that hot. Dab some chocolate on your lower lip. It should feel warm but not hot. If it’s too cool, the chocolate will seize. Same if it’s too hot.

3. Whip the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Beat until soft peaks form. Soft peaks should fold over and not be rigid.

4. When the chocolate is at the proper temperature, add about 1/4th or less of the whipped cream.

Add the egg yolks. If you don’t add the whipped cream first, the chocolate will seize when you add the yolks. (It will also seize if the chocolate is too hot.)

Fold by hand until mixed. Do this fairly quickly because you don’t want the chocolate to seize. (Fast, but not too fast!) Too slow and the chocolate will seize.

Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. You need the fluffiness, so be gentle.

5. Fold in half the egg whites until just incorporated using a whisk, then fold in the remaining whites, switching to a spatula. Be gentle. There should be no chunks or bits of white, but you need this fluffy so don’t over-work.

6. Spoon the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

How to Enter the Contest

Leave a comment on this post in which you mention your fondest, funniest, saddest or most embarrassing cooking memory. Feel free to make one up. If you have one involving Elves, demons, fiends or other supernatural creatures, that would be pretty darn funny.

Leave a comment by midnight Pacific June 4, 2011.

Contest void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. People related to me can’t win. Sorry.

Winner will be chosen at random on or shortly after June 5.



My Mood Is Markedly Improved

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Today was a better day. The bar was low, but hey. Yesterday is over. My computer is working as expected. I went to my local RWA meeting today which is always inspiring, and then I met up with someone I met on Twitter along with another friend of mine — who lives near me but who I also met via Twitter. The first person was in town from Minneapolis. We hooked up and went to Chocolatier Blue where we had hot chocolate, bought chocolate and shared a devilishly good ice cream in a chocolate chip cookie cup topped with caramel and chocolate sauce and talked about interesting stuff.

Chocolatier Blue Chocolates

Then I came home and published Lord Ruin to Nook myself. It should be available by tomorrow. I’ll provide a link when it is. Yay!!!

See? Happier post today!


Chocolate Winner

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Through the magic of, the winner of 2 lbs of Leonidas chocolate is:::::


I’ve sent you an email, so if you haven’t heard from me, email and/or check your spam.

You guys had some really great answers and I enjoyed reading them all.


New Contest with a Chocolate Prize!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I’m interviewed over at SOSAloha and there’s a discussion about chocolate going on. In a comment I said I’d have a contest on my blog where the prize is a 2 lb box of Leonidas chocolates – your choice, I’ll have it shipped to you or do a gift certificate. If you’re in Europe, we’ll work something out. It seems silly to ship Belgian chocolates back to Europe. Which is a way of saying, enter wherever you are. We’ll work it out.

Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. International is fine. Contest closes midnight Pacific, Friday February 4th. If you don’t leave an email address when you comment, then you need to make sure you provide one in your comment or commit to check the blog after the contest closes to see if you won.

To enter, answer the following questions:

1: What is your favorite color and WHY?

2. Diamonds, emeralds or rubies. WHY?

3. A hot elf wants to give you a gift of 1 and 2 combined. What is it?


Help An Author Out

Monday, December 13th, 2010

It recently occurred to me that January 4th is coming up really soon, and January 4th is the day my paranormal My Immortal Assassin comes out. I suppose I ought to pimp the book. But how? What should I do? This author turns to you to select options in my scientific super-duper accurate and helpful poll.

To Pimp her January 4th Novel, Carolyn should. . .

View Results

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I have this suspicion your comments would also be helpful. Feel free to add suggestions.


Literature, True Blood and Carolyn’s Obsessions Also – Rant Alert

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Ranting about Literature

Today I saw a little blurb that suggested Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse was the best beach read ever. To which I immediately said, WTF?

There’s just so much wrong with that statement, which yes, I do realize was meant partially in jest. But what’s behind that jest? Nothing less than the usual insulting dig at commercial fiction and the readers thereof– actual beach read books, which I hope we can agree are books you can take to the beach and read to forget your problems or simply enjoy an exciting story. To suggest that To The Lighthouse is a beach read is simply absurd. It implies that people who read actual Beach Reads are somehow so silly and harebrained that we have to be led down the path to literature because otherwise Beach Readers would never know about Virginia Woolf.

And then there’s To The Lighthouse itself. This book is not an easy read. It takes concentration and exquisitely careful attention to the prose. I once said To The Lighthouse is a cubist novel and it is. If offers a perspective that shifts and feels uncomfortable and forces you to struggle to give shape to what you’re reading. You are forced to see the world and The Novel itself in a whole different way. It is a tour de force. But as you learn how to follow the shifts and make new shapes from the prose, a new world opens up.

To The Lighthouse is NOT a beach read. And guess what? I’ve read To The Lighthouse and I’ve read actual beach reads and I get value from both. I bet I’m not the only one.

True Blood

Last night I watched the season 2 premier of True Blood, the HBO series based on Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books. Which, by the way, I loved.

Then I heard about a controversial opinion that in the final scene of the episode, Eric Northman bites the penis off a hapless redneck who has done vampires wrong. Could that be so? I know other appendages were, er, removed (an arm, seen in silhouette), but was there actual biting off of a male member? Well, upon review the scene and doing my best not to be distracted by the obvious fact that my One True Love Alexander Skarsgard has been working out, I can only conclude that, well, yes. He did do that.

My Current Obsession

Did you read the paragraph above? No, not To The Lighthouse. Alexander Skarsgard. I have it bad. Really bad. It’s embarrassing and mostly I’m not even embarrassed.

In other News

I have begun receiving my candy of the month from the brilliant Hank Phillippi Ryan and guess what? Since I won it in Brenda Novak’s diabetes auction (ignore the irony! It’s for a good cause!) I’m in the club all by myself. And I’m not sharing. Sorry.

Not really.

Also, I finally worked my way out of my earliest dead end in a Work In Progress (WIP) ever. Chapter 4, for crying out loud. But now I’m out of it and things are looking pretty good.

I’m not due for another episode of Writer’s Neurosis for another 6 chapters at least.

So, who else loves Alexander Skarsgard?


Birthday Bash!!

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

My birthday is April 30th. And I am going to celebrate with you! Please send tens and twenties — just kidding!!

Probably I’ll make other prize announcements, but this one might bust the limited funds of the Bank of Carolyn.

1 pound of Leonides Chocolates. You pick your assortment, up to $34.00. I’ll have them shipped to you.

Leave a comment and commit to leaving an email or checking back on 4/30/2009 to see if you’ve won.

Chances are good I’ll throw in an ARC of My Forbidden Desire or something.