Chocolate Adventure Contest winners announced

Scharffen Berger chocolate and TuttiFoodie.com announce the winners of the Fourth Annual Chocolate Adventure Contest - Cupcake Edition 2010 – and this year, it's all about chocolate and stout beer. As part of the contest, daring bakers were invited to develop an original cupcake recipe using Scharffen Berger chocolate and one or more of 14 "adventure ingredients." The $10,000 Grand Prize went to "You Make Me Want To Stout" by Elaine Barbee from Missouri. A deeply rich chocolate cupcake included stout as the only adventure ingredient, used in four different ways, was unanimously chosen as the winner among over 2,000 recipe entries.

The icon-studded culinary judging panel included Top Chef: Just Desserts guest judge and award-winning chef Elizabeth Falkner; Scharffen Berger chocolate co-founder John Scharffenberger; chocolate expert and award-winning cookbook author Alice Medrich; award-winning food blogger, photographer and art director Matt Armendariz of MattBites.com; and baking expert and blogger Angie Dudley of Bakerella.com. Cupcakes were judged on creativity, spirit of adventure, ease of preparation, appearance and flavor.

"Stout adds an extra depth of flavor to Scharffen Berger chocolate; the notes play off of, without smothering, one another. And, the winning recipe uses stout impressively within four unique components - the batter, the filling, a reduction and the frosting," said Chef Falkner. "The innovation of using only one secret adventure ingredient to highlight the various flavor profiles of Scharffen Berger chocolate made it the clear winner."

"It was the kind of cupcake we all wanted to eat and keep eating and then eat again!" said Matt Armendariz. "The stout in the cupcake and filling added a malty, sharp note that complimented the chocolate so well. It was interesting and unique, and stood out among all the entries."

A new and comprehensive list of adventure ingredients is carefully selected each year to complement the unique bean blends in Scharffen Berger chocolate. This year's adventure ingredients were the following:
• Adzuki bean
• Almond flour
• Bee pollen
• Beet (fresh)
• Buttermilk
• Coconut butter, cream or milk
• Fresh or whole dried chili pepper
• Meyer lemon
• Molasses (light, dark or blackstrap)
• Ricotta
• Saffron
• Stout Beer (any variety)
• Sumatra coffee bean
• Sweetened condensed milk

"Scharffen Berger chocolate is made using the best beans sourced from around the world in order to create the finest artisan chocolate experience," said John Scharffenberger. "The winning recipes truly complemented the flavor of the chocolate, and showcased an impressive spirit of adventure by creatively pairing Scharffen Berger chocolate with the adventure ingredients—whether just one or five."

Both runners up also used stout beer, along with other adventure ingredients, including buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, chili pepper, coconut butter and meyer lemon. The $7,000 second place prize was awarded to Jennifer Daskevich from California for "Spicy Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Cream Stout Cupcakes with Chile Ganache and Candied Serrano Chiles." And the $3,000 third place prize went to Jennifer Burke, also from California, for "Beer Bellies, a Cocoa-Stout Cupcake with Beer-Malt Frosting and Spicy Pretzel Crumbles."

Each year the Chocolate Adventure Contest recipe submissions tend to reveal food themes and trends – and this year was no exception. Some of the common trends of this year's contest included modern twists to nostalgic favorites, the incorporation of traditional Mexican ingredients and the use of a vast range of craft beers.

For additional information on the Chocolate Adventure Contest, and to see winning recipes from this year and past, visit www.ChocolateAdventureContest.com. For additional information on Scharffen Berger chocolate visit www.ScharffenBerger.com.