Carole Bloome + a Giveaway

December 7, 2010

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A few weeks ago, I received a very flattering email from an editor at Wiley Press.  She had noticed that I love to bake (just kind of ) and inquired if I would be interested in writing a review for Carole Bloome’s latest book, intensely chocolate.  I happen to have several of Carole’s books; Bite Size Desserts, Truffles, Candies and Confections, and The Essential Baker and I continuously use them for inspiration.

Upon getting the email, I immediately responded and jumped at the opportunity to review the book.  This is my very first “official” book review.  I have a vast library of cookbooks, and in my own way, do my own personal review of them, but I have never been asked to give my “semi-professional” opinion and tell all of you about it.

As, I  rifle my way through this book, I am amazed at how many recipes I want to recreate.  I love chocolate and this book is all about chocolate. I am drawn to the various flavor profiles and combinations and am inspired to take some of my favorite basics and create some not so typical flavor pairings.

What I love most about Carole’s books is how user and reader friendly they are.  She takes simple, pantry ready ingredients and creates recipes, and in turn gives us complicated flavor combinations. She maps out the basic kitchen utensils and essentials and writes extensively about “understanding chocolate”.  Generally, I like to use the best chocolate I can find (Valrhona, Callebaut, Scharffen Berger) and typically, I buy lots of it when it goes on sale!

There are so many recipes I have yet to try; bittersweet chocolate gingerbread, triple chocolate-toasted coconut brownie wedge, cocoa and bittersweet chocolate frangipane tart, milk chocolate dulce de leche bars,and countless others.  Thus far, the few recipes that I have tested,  have all been thoroughly enjoyed!  This book will be used over and over again.  For me, this is the perfect holiday gift and I can’t wait to give it to all of those that love to bake just as much as I do!

Here is a sampling of some very sweet creations:

white chocolate mixed berry muffins (pg. 70)
i made these for some clients of mine.  we had a full day of photography ahead of us and these muffins were the perfect way to start our morning.

milk chocolate-oatmeal pecan scones (pg. 62)
my kids love a good scone, especially laced with chocolate.  these are delicious.

milk chocolate chunk-pecan biscotti (pg. 134)
recently, I was asked to create a “thank you” gift for a friend of a friend.  this was the first recipe I baked out of the book and I knew, after my first bite, that this would be only one of many recipes I tested from this book.

intense hot chocolate (pg. 198)
intense is a mild description. this is decadent, rich, and delicious!!

December is the perfect month to indulge in the baking experience.  I bake all the time, but in December, I go a little “crazy”. I feel fortunate and grateful that I have this book, sitting atop my bookshelf, along side many of my other favorites.  I want you to feel blessed and grateful as well.  That is why, I am doing a GIVEAWAY to one lucky reader who follows the entry suggestions below.

  1. leave a comment and tell me what your favorite holiday memory is and your favorite holiday treat. the good, the bad, and the ugly!
  2. become a fan of The Urban Baker on Facebook and leave me a comment there and let me know we are now “friends”.  then I will turn around and “friend” you!
  3. tweet this tweet; copy and paste the following Tweet into the Twitter Message Field; @theurbanbaker has a copy of Carole Bloom’s intensely chocolate -a giveaway; enter to win here: http://is.gd/ili25.  or be creative and write one of your own!
  4. follow the urban baker on Twitter; here.  we can become fast growing pals.
  5. subscribe to The Urban Baker and receive weekly updates and become my virtual friend.
  6. leave Carole Bloom a comment on her facebook page; here – she will appreciate it!
  7. link this giveaway on one of your blog posts and then come back here and let me know you did so.  i will be eternally grateful!

the winner will be chosen at random by random.org.
the contest closes on Sunday, December 12th at 11:00 p.m., pacific standard time. I will send the winner an e-mail letting them know of their good fortune.  Please don’t forget to leave me your email address!  The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S.A. only.  One last thing, I can not send this fantastic book to a P.O. Box.  Sorry!

Good luck!


{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria December 7, 2010 at 6:58 am

Making cinnamon rolls with my dad on Christmas morning! Great giveaway!

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2 admin December 7, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Cinnamon rolls with your dad! That is a lovely visual.

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3 Kristen December 7, 2010 at 7:27 am

I remember making homemade pulled taffy with my mom one time. I couldn’t tell you how the taffy turned out, but am impressed that my mom would attempt such a feat!

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4 admin December 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Pulled taffy. That is one of those things I have yet to make. I think I need to put that on my to-do list!

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5 Amanda December 7, 2010 at 9:52 am

Hum…. as far as memories we watch White Christmas every year and I love that. For food… I love TURKEY!! With lots of the other stuff!!

All of your pictures are just gorgeous girl… truly beautiful! I cant wait to try out each and every one!

Blessings-
Amanda

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6 admin December 7, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Amanda, you would love this book! Your cakes are off the charts…we need to talk! xx

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7 Michelle Kipper December 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Your blog just gets more beautiful every time I see it. Re: Holiday and food memories, I would have to talk about my Mom’s latkas. My parents used to have HUGE Hanukkah parties and everyone looked forward to my mom’s latkas. So, one year, my friend Ricki and I helped my mom make 600 latkas for the party. And, my mom decided to have this process video taped, so there we were (me and Ricki) in our Lanz nightgowns, with our hair pulled back in buns on top of our heads (looking great I am sure) frying up those latkas in the iron skillets. It was a really fun time for us all. And, the latkas were delicious. Now, I make those latkas and my friends look forward to coming over to devour them every year (just made about 150 the other day!!) p.s. thank goodness there are no more VCRs so I don’t have to see that footage of myself back in my Lanz nightgown!!!

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8 admin December 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Michelle, I could so see you and Ricki ( i remember her), two cute girls in your kitchen on Club Drive. I probably had the same night gown!!!
xx

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9 Bebe December 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for my older brothers and sisters to wake up, we were NOT allowed downstairs until everyone was up! I also loved making cookie plates with my mom for our friends and neighbors.

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10 admin December 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

There is really nothing better than making holiday cookies! I am sure yours were delish!

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11 Jackie December 7, 2010 at 2:21 pm

My mom was the best cook but she couldn’t bake at all and rarely did except from a mix. We knew when she was mad at us when we came home and she was making tuna croquettes but we knew she loved us when she made anything and everything else. When I hear people say, my mom never cooked or couldn’t cook, it makes me sad. We did have some great Entemens cakes and yodels and drakes and hostess treats and cookies from the Charles Chips delivery man. Holidays is when my mother and grandmother and the aunts all shown. Everyone made their best receipes and all the food was always delicious. We had a dear friend of our family who didn’t have kids and she was the best baker! Her oatmeal raisin cookies are legend. Now that she is gone, I am lucky to have the Urban Baker!!!!! Yum Yum and Happy Holidays – Keep on spreading your receipes that even me, who inherited the non baking gene from my mom, can make and even taste pretty darn good!! Jackie

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12 the urban baker December 7, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I love this memory. It is so clear, so vivid. I am happy to share myself with you! Happy, Happy to you! xx

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13 Mindy December 7, 2010 at 5:01 pm

My favorite holiday tradition/memory is making latkes with my daughter, Zoey, in the backyard. We fry for hours leading up to the first night of Hanukkah every year. We really look forward to this time together! We then start baking cookies in every size, shape and color for the holidays to begin!

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14 admin December 7, 2010 at 10:55 pm

oh Mindy, I can just see you and Zoey, in your backyard, her curls up in a pony…love this tradition! you are a good mommy! xx

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15 anna benavides December 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Hi Susan,
My favorite memory of the holiday is Christmas Eve at my grandparents house. I come from a large family, have 22 cousins, lived all over mexico, so it was great for all and get together. My grandfather would always buy fireworks for us and after dinner we would go oustside and light them up. Also one of my uncles would dress up as santa to suprise us with gifts a tradition that my nieces and nephews got to experience before both past away.. so many memories.. the pine tree smell when we opened there house door.. being around the tree seeing so many gifts. the music, my grandmother would be listening to nate king cole or frank sinatra xmas music. For holiday treats.. one of my favorite is hot chocolate and bunelos.. My grandmother would always have them at her house..my aunts pineapple upside down cake. the ugly side…. it would probably be the yams with marshmallow, never liked them.. there was always good food but the yams not a fan,, till this day. i really miss those moments.. thanks for sharing your stories i always find them intresting.. You have helped me in developing a library of cook books.at my place. So thanks…

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16 admin December 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

oooo…bunelos and hot cocoa. mmmm, i could totally get into that! I love your memories and your family sounds
amazing! happy holidays and thank you so much for hanging out with me!

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17 elizabeth silver December 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

My favorite holiday treat is my grandmother making guccidaries. Not even sure if the spelling is right. All I know is that on Christmas she would make these fig delights and sometimes would make them using apricots. It was a special kind of dough wrapped over the fig or apricot mixture and then baked. An Italian treat! She too, loved to bake but also liked to hide her treats in different places around the house all wrapped up in linen and in tin containers. I would try to find them and beg her for more. She would kindly dole out one at a time and I would gobble them up very fast. I will always remember my Nana’s guccidaries.

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18 marla {family fresh cooking} December 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

Great giveaway & I would love a cop of this book. Thanks for sharing this review with us!

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19 marla {family fresh cooking} December 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

I follow your tweets. xo

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20 marla {family fresh cooking} December 8, 2010 at 5:58 am

I am a Facebook fan of Urban Baker.

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21 marla {family fresh cooking} December 8, 2010 at 5:58 am

My favorite holiday treats: anything with lots of chocolate, butter, sugar & cream.

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22 admin December 8, 2010 at 6:11 am

Marla, I’m with you!

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23 Anne Wright December 8, 2010 at 7:54 am

We always made Calumet Sugar Cookies, puffy cutouts of clove speckled dough in shapes of bells, snowmen, Santa boots and Christmas trees. We frosted them in green, yellow, red or blue icing, maybe with raisins for the Snowman’s eyes or walnuts on some of the others. I liked them warm from the oven, plain, and that’s the way my mom liked them too. Now it’s me and my daughter Lisa, and she wants to make them any time of the year when she comes home from Los Angeles to our home in Moss Beach. She likes them with icing.

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24 Susan December 8, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I love baking and creating with your daughter, Lisa. She is a great kitchen partner. Thanks for teaching her all your tricks and for giving her that gift!

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25 Priscilla - She's Cookin' December 8, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I love how fresh your photos look! My favorite holiday memory is waking up to a White Christmas – doesn’t happen anymore ;) Favorite treat – champagne and chocolate treats!

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26 Susan December 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Priscilla – champagne and chocolate! Now we are talkin’!

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27 Priscilla - She's Cookin' December 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I follow you on Twitter.

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28 Priscilla - She's Cookin' December 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I now “Like” The Urban Baker on FB too :)

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29 Patti December 8, 2010 at 3:53 pm

My favorite memories are of making Moravian ginger cookies with my mom, grandmother and sister. We all sat around our kitchen table and mixed everything together. I was the “squisher”…the person who squished all the dough together. The dough was way to thick to use a mixer. After it was all together and a nice caramel color we got to roll it out. You had to roll it out as thin as possible. We made a game out of who could get it the thinnest and get them in the baking pan. It took forever to go through the entire batch and it sometimes took us a day or two to get them all made. It was something we did every Christmas and still try and do even now, although my Grandmother gets to watch from heaven now.

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30 Susan December 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm

that’s a lovely memory!

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31 Emily@Darby O'Shea December 9, 2010 at 6:45 am

Favorite holiday memory would be my wedding, which took place two years ago right after Christmas. Favorite holiday treat? My dad’s fudge. He makes about 20 pounds of it each year and I generally eat about half.

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32 Kathy - Panini Happy December 9, 2010 at 6:52 am

My sisters and I would bring a flashlight to bed on Christmas eve so we could sneak into the living room during the wee hours of the morning to see what Santa had brought!

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33 Kathy - Panini Happy December 9, 2010 at 6:53 am

I follow you on twitter :-)

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34 Julie (Bananas for Bourbon) December 9, 2010 at 12:13 pm

My favorite holiday memory? Drinking warm apple cider at Dunsmuir house. And I think my favorite holiday treat has to be anything gingerbread. I love it!

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35 Julie (Bananas for Bourbon) December 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I am a fan of the Urban Baker on facebook!

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36 Susan December 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

of course! that’s fantastic

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37 Julie (Bananas for Bourbon) December 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I sent Carole a friend request on FB, does that count? :)

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38 Sandy in South Dakota December 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm

My favorite holiday memories have to be the ones when we were young and there was less commercialism and more attention paid to the reason we have Christmas, our Lord and Saviors birth.

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39 bmart December 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

My favorite memory is every year the plea to my parents for a Hannukah bush. I grew up in a mostly Jewish area and my best friend celebrated Christmas. I loved going over to her house and seeing “how the other half lived”. Her mom was from Latvia, so there were all these Old European traditions honored in her home. But I always felt so bad for my friend because I would go over to her house after presents were opened and she’d have 2 presents at most……and boring ones for a kid and then growing into a teenager. A cashmere sweater for a 13 year old!?! But they were always gifts from I. Magnin. I, on the other hand, would receive 8 gifts, and most of them, if I do say so myself, pretty good ones: Suzy Homemaker Bake Oven, was one I remember fondly (and the washing machine too)
Ah, pink is for girls; blue is for boys in the 60′s!

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40 Susan December 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm

i also had a friend from Latvia! and I too, loved I Magnin. It was such a great store!

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41 Charlene December 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

My favorite holiday meal to prepares Thanksgiving, but my favorite chocolate inspired holiday memory was the wonderful chocolate cake with sprinkles that my kids made with their baby sitter when they were little. It was supposed to be a surprise for Chris’ birthday. They shaped it like a star, frosted it and covered it with rainbow sprinkles. Our chocolate labrador Baci surprised us all by secretly eating half of it when the kids were curled up on the couch watching a movie.

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42 Stella December 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

My favorite holiday memory is of my first Christmas with my husband, we decided to sleep under the Christmas tree to rekindle our inner children or something. It was so ridiculously uncomfortable, but neither one of us wanted to be a party pooper and admit it, so we tossed and turned on a pile of pillows and blankets, under the tree, totally miserable. In the morning we ate warm cracquelin (holiday favorite!) and had two mugs of hot chocolate and crawled into our bedroom without opening any presents because we were sooooo tired. We slept until mid-afternoon, opened presents and continued with the day bleary eyed. But every year since, I make cracquelin for Christmas morning breakfast.

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43 Schmidty December 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

My favorite holiday memory is the night I met my husband …on Christmas eve. My favorite treat: Doberge cake!

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44 Schmidty December 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Your fan on facebook.

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45 Schmidty December 12, 2010 at 10:56 pm

Following you on twitter @rusthawk.

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46 Betty Johnson December 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

I remember going to the high school to help ready for an upcoming dance to arrive back home walking in from the cold outside snow into a dimmed living room with only the tree lit and baking coming from the kitchen…it was just the best! Talk about comforts of home, not to mention my favorite treat of all, my mom’s homemade chocolate fudge with black walnuts hand picked by my dad. To this day, I can’t have either without missing them both.

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47 Susan December 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

that sounds like a fabulous memory. There are so many foods that remind me of my dad and eating them, although sometimes sad, is comforting all at the same time!

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48 Adrian December 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

My favorite holiday memory is waking up one Christmas morning to my kitten snuggling at my side, a cup of hot coffee and a freshly baked homemade cinnamon roll on the nightstand, and my boyfriend playing Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” to me on his trumpet.

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