Laura Valaas

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CNC Chocolate Addendum

RE: previous post.

Those BootDock molds are looking awfully clean in my photos. Once they’re polished I bet they really ARE super clean. And talking about molding things makes me think about candy molds… or chocolate molds, like the little chocolate seashells and starfish in a Godiva box. I’m just saying– there’s really no reason you couldn’t inject melted chocolate into one of these molds is there? Chocolate BootDock anyone? Or chocolate BootBuddies, fully functional AND edible?

Sounds like this year’s Christmas presents.

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Chocolate Thermometer

My mother gave me a bar of chocolate earlier this week. (Chocolove Ginger crystallized in dark chocolate, 65% cocoa content, for those of you who think THAT is the most important piece of information in this blurb.)

This is behavior of which I highly approve. I put it in the car door pocket on the way home. And when I got home, I took it out. I am not such an idiot as to leave an entire bar of chocolate in the car on a hot summer day, despite previous evidence to the contrary. The crisis in this story is that my mother had requested to try a square when she gave it to me. (Which leads me to believe that the gift wasn’t entirely altruistic. Gifts of chocolate rarely are.) So she sampled, & I sampled, & my little sister mysteriously showed up right at this time and she sampled too. Two squares of chocolate fell out of the admittedly poorly re-wrapped chocolate and remained, unbeknown to me in the car door pocket. For some reason I had a lot of errands that day, and when I noticed the chocolate remaining in my door I got to watch it solidify as I drove and then melt and puddle in proportion to the length of my errand. I really should clean that out. Or I could never ever put anything else in that pocket ever again.

Hey, I never got around to finishing that chocolate bar. And if I can’t read the love poem on the inside of the wrapper until I finish the chocolate. First things first, I must be going.

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Rhubarb Bread

Rhubarb is my current favorite flavor and one of the things that actually grows very well here in Anchorage. There’s only a few small plants at my house but I’ve been trimming back the rhubarb plants at my neighbors’ house regularly.

1/3 c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 c chopped rhubarb, raw
2 c sourdough starter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Cream butter & sugar. Add egg, vanilla. Add everything else. Bake in greased loaf pan at 350°F for 1 hr or until done.

I have actually quit measuring ingredients but the above is the amounts I think I should be using. And I probably shouldn’t call this “bread” it’s more like cake without frosting.

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Maybe the best cornbread I’ve ever made… okay so the only cornbread I’ve ever made not from a package but still…

2 Cups White Flour
1 Cup dry Polenta
1/2 Cup Ground Cornmeal
2 1/4 T Baking Powder
1/2 T Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Corn Kernals

2 Eggs
1/2 Stick Butter, melted
1 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients, including corn kernals. In separate bowl whip eggs and add butter and buttermilk. Add wet ingredients to dry, do not over-stir. Pour into greased pan, about 8-9″ square and bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until done.

Recipe from

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Sourdough Banana Bread

Can’t help but love banana bread. AND it’s better because I can use my sourdough starter!

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla or 1 tsp grated orange rind

Cream together the shortening and sugar, add egg, and mix until blended. Stir in bananas and sourdough starter. Add orange rind or vanilla. Add dry ingredients, stirring until just blended. Pour into greased 9×5″ loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour.

This came from Don and Myrtle Holm’s Sourdough Cookbook in 1972 via

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Key Lime Pie

When I made this for Alan, he asked if it was a quiche. Silly boy, who puts whipped cream on quiche, although now that I think about it…

So my pie didn’t turn out a brilliant lime green like the ones in the store, but it tasted delicious. My sister, Kirsten, was co-cook for this one.

Lime Filling
4 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 c freshly squeezed lime juice (3-4 limes)
4 egg yolks
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Graham Cracker Crust
9 graham crackers, broken
2 Tbs granulated sugar
5 Tbs unsalted butter, melted & still warm

Whipped Cream Topping
3/4 c chilled heavy cream
1/4 c confectioners’ sugar
1/2 lime, sliced paper thin & dipped in sugar

1. For the filling: Whisk the zest and yolks in medium bowl until green, about 2 minutes. Beat in the condensed milk, then the juice; set aside to thicken at room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. For the crust: Preheat Oven to 325 degrees with oven rack in middle position. In a food processor, process the graham crackers until evenly fine, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse while adding the warm melted butter in a steady stream; pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch glass pie plate and evenly press the crumbs into the pie plate. Bake the crust until it is fragrant and beginning to brown, 15-18 minutes; transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
3. Pour the lime filling into the crust; bake until the center is set yet wiggly when jiggled, 15-17 minutes. Return the pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours.
4. For the topping: less than 2hrs before serving, whip the cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer to very soft peaks. Adding the confectioners’ sugar 1 Tbs at a time, continue whipping to just-stiff peaks. Decoratively pipe the whipped cream over the filling. Garnish with sugared limes.

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More Candinas

I don’t know why I call this the recipe page, I should call it the “Things Laura Likes to Eat” page. Yuri was in Cable this weekend and brought me a box of Candinas truffles. Candinas has the prettiest packaging of any choclate I have met. I always thought that Godiva was the best, but it looks really flashy next to a Candinas box. Check out their website at for a picture of their chocolates. And not just the packaging, you open the box and there sit 9 truffles in a perfect square looking almost too gorgeous to eat. Almost.

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Hot Fudge Sauce

I would recommend serving this with some ice cream to your competition… that way the get fat and slow. In fact all of the foods in my recipe collection would be good to fatten up the competition. I really do eat healthily most of the time. Susan Heyvaert made this for me while I was visiting.

1 c sugar
3/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp instant coffee (I don’t usually like coffee things, but this is really subtle)
1 c heavy whipping cream, divided
1/2 stick butter

Combine sugar, cocoa, and coffee.
Add 1/2 c of whipping cream and mix into paste.
Add the remaining cream and butter.
Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved & butter is melted.
Cook 5-8 minutes on low heat until thickens.

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Name: Candinas Truffle- from asst. Candinas gift box.
Cocoa: unknown, guessing 60%
Country: Verona, WI
Form: Round truffle dollop
Review: This truffle had a crisp outer shell coating a silky fudge filling. I found it a refreshing treat for a summer evening. The flavor is delicate with a very short finish. The inner chocolate has a hint of hazelnut and melts quickly on the tongue, leaving the outer shell to finish the taste with a classic sweet chocolate. In the end it left me searching for a deeper, more complex flavor. Luckily, Candinas is associated with CXC so I will hopefully get to try their other chocolates.

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Name: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Dark Chocolate.
Cocoa: unknown, guessing 60%-70%
Country: Durango, CO.
Form: 3.0oz/85g bar
Review: This thick bar in gold wrapping reminds me of a gold brick from some robbery movie, say the Italian Job. This creamy, dark chocolate is true comfort chocolate. It provides a sense of solace and warm fuzzy feelings when consumed. With a hefty thickness, this bar is not for nibblers. The chocolate is filling and the flavors are not complex, but sweet and subdued, reenforcing my imagined state of being curled up in a big, comfy leather chair with a fireplace and a good book.

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