I love using local products and supporting regional businesses. I went to this new chocolate shop in Irvine, Orange County called Choxco.
They offer a concept called "bean to bar" for all of their chocolate and I must say it really makes all the difference.
Having the beans roasted onsite seems to really pull out an extraordinary flavor and makes even a regular chocolate chip cookie seem special.
I went with my kids to their grand opening celebration with free samples of hot chocolate, tasting chocolate and bar chocolate. It also included a guided tour of the facility. To my understanding large groups can call in and schedule a tour of the facility as well.
They have all sorts of specialty chocolates and most of them were organic.
The hot chocolate is divine.
The flavor of the chocolate is so delicious. I can't wait to try this chocolate in a brownie. This is the recipe I use to freeze cookie dough balls which I later pull out whenever I want a fresh cookie and indulge.
The Local Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
2 ⅛ cups white all-purpose flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp.baking soda
12 tbsp. unsalted, European-style butter (for best results)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups local semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325°, with racks set in the middle of the oven.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix to incorporate. Add dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
3. Divide dough into 1/4 cup portions; roll into balls (you can freeze the balls and store in a freezer bag at this point), transfer to parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. When fully cooked, the outer edges of the cookies should be golden and slightly crisp, while the middle should still be slightly soft.