Last night I had the privilege of being one of several judges at this year’s Chocolate Madness event, put on by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. The event is a gathering of Boston’s best pastry chefs and dessert-makers and proceeds support the organization’s efforts in advancing reproductive freedom for women and families in Massachusetts. More than two dozen restaurants, bakers and chocolatiers served up their most inventive chocolate creations for the huge crowd that showed up to indulge their sweet tooth at Cyclorama.
Before the main event, the judges were led to assigned tables where we tasted the entries in our designated category. I, along with Meghan and David, was assigned to the Heavenly Homemade category, which included cakes and brownies and the like. One of my favorites was this chocolate peanut butter roulade from Amanda’s Cakes and Things in Arlington. After judging, we had a chance to check out the full spread of desserts and treats. Below, a look at some of my favorites from the evening.
Malted chocolate coconut macaroons with a homemade malt ball center from Katie Kimble of Area Four. Definitely not your typical coconut macaroon, it was fudgey and soft.
Chocolate mousse with cookie crumbs, caramel, and meringue from Keenan Langois of Union Bar & Grill. This was dangerously rich, and half of that cup probably would have been sufficient. The combination of mousse, caramel and cookie crumbs was right up my alley, though if I had my way, I’d have topped it with a lighter whipped cream instead of the dense, sweet meringue. But still, it was fabulous.
Salted chocolate caramel cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies sprinkled with sea salt from South End Buttery. I’d had their cupcakes numerous times before, but I had no idea they made such stellar chocolate chip cookies.
Peanut butter brownies, fudge and cookies from Buttergirl Baking. The brownies were another of the entries in the Heavenly Homemade category and it was overall favorite of the table. Laurelyn of Buttergirl was one of our vendors last year at the Harvard Farmers’ Market so I’ve gotten to sample her full line of cookies and brownies and they are outstanding. If you need further proof of that, her baked goods have even been featured on the Today show.
Jam cupcakes with cranberry frosting from Robin of Doves & Figs. In addition to delicious treats, Robin won the award in my book for best table display.
Taza Chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel and coffee cream from The Fireplace. This one won first place in the Pastry Pleasure category. Not pictured was the delightful chocolate hazelnut martini from Hammersley’s Bistro.
Many thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts for inviting me and to all of the participants for helping to make this event such a huge success.