Chocolate and Pistachio make Magic!

Chocolate Pistachio Tart

Are you looking for a wonderful dessert for Valentines Day celebrations?  Look no further, my sumptuous Chocolate Pistachio Tart is decadent goodness perfect for the occasion.  The simplicity of this dessert will amaze and it’s sure to become a regular in your repertoire!

Slice of Chocolate Pistachio Tart

Chocolate Pistachio Tart


20 Oreo cookies

½ stick butter

⅓ cup raw pistachios


¾ cup heavy cream

2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

¼ cup crushed pistachios for garnish

To prepare the crust, melt the butter in the microwave in a medium-sized bowl. Combine cookies and pistachios in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Pour ground cookie mixture into the melted butter and stir well. Place crumbs into a tart pan and press firmly up the sides and evenly on the bottom of the pan. Place crust into the refrigerator for 10 minutes. To prepare the filling, heat cream in a double boiler until it begins to steam. Add extracts and remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and stir until the chips are completely melted. Pour chocolate filling into the prepared crust and sprinkle the top with pistachios. Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight before slicing to serve.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



Raspberry Chocolate Fudge

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge- Just in time for Valentine’s Day!!

Raspberry Chocolate Fudge

What goes together better than silky dark chocolate and raspberries? I could not resist heading to the kitchen to create something to pair these flavors just in time for Valentine’s Day!

I am so excited to share this scrumptious recipe with you.

You can make Dark Chocolate Raspberry Fudge in less than 10 minutes and your Valentine will swoon over the taste explosion!

Raspberry Chocolate Fudge flowers and macaroons

Raspberry Fudge

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cup Ghirardelli’s 60% cocoa chocolate chips

1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons freeze dried raspberries, finely ground and divided

Heat condensed milk and chocolate chips over low heat in a heavy bottom sauce pan, just until chocolate is melted.  Remove from heat and add butter and 3 tablespoons ground raspberries and stir until smooth.  Line an 8 x 8 glass dish with greased waxed paper and spread chocolate mixture evenly into the prepared dish.  Sprinkle with remaining ground raspberries for garnish.  Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours until mixture is firm enough to slice.  Keep refrigerated until serving for up to 3 weeks.

There is still time to book one of the last seats for the winter ATOP French Inspired Event, this Friday, February 7th 10:30-2:30 Toulouse Legacy West – Tickets

It’s Valentines Day- An Enchanting French Experience


My Favorite Holiday and a Recipe of Course!

cupids paintng a heart

Does Valentine’s Day seem like a strange holiday to be my favorite?

One of my V-Day rituals is to ask my husband and children if they will BE My Valentine, to which they reply YES of course!  This entitles me to shower them with some of the traditional goodies designed for this day and the best part, there is little to no expectation for something grand so it’s just plain FUN.

assorted chocolates

This is part of my love for February 14th, but it’s mostly the fact that I am literally surrounded by all of my favorite things.  I love all of the romantic girl-things like the color PINK, hearts, flowers, chocolate, and champagne.  AND I take 100% liberty this time of year, to mix pink and red in my outfits and feel boldly fabulous doing it!

assorted roses piled high

In my younger days, I relied on my husband to shower me with my favorite things on this momentous day, after all, it seemed like his job as my guy.  I will say that he has never let me down.  Most years I receive a big beautiful bunch of flowers, usually red roses, and a package or two of some of my favorite chocolate morsels and life is good!

closeup red roses

Somewhere along the way, I discovered that I can be my own best Valentine.

Lighting a beautiful candle at my desk, picking up a small bunch of pretty flowers at the grocery store or making a batch of chocolate truffles to enjoy in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day (recipe below).  I can even open a bottle of my favorite French sparkling wine to enjoy…on a weekday! Treating yourself in a special way makes you feel good and it’s a lovely thing to do!

Being YOUR own best valentine was part of my inspiration for Its Valentine’s Day- An Enchanting French Experience, the exclusive winter A Taste of Paris event scheduled for February 7th, from 10:30-2:30.

Valentine event chocolate 3

I wanted to create something dazzling around Valentine’s Day and the idea occurred to me that I could assemble MY FAVORITE things to share with YOU!  There are still a few tickets left.  For all of the delightful details CLICK HERE!

And for one of the last tickets, CLICK HERE!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Chocolate truffels in a bowl

Spiced Rum Truffles


1 cup heavy cream

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon spiced rum


½ cup cocoa

½ cup powdered sugar

Heat heavy cream on medium heat in a double boiler until cream is simmering.  Add rum and vanilla and remove from heat.  Add chocolate and butter, stir until completely smooth.  This may take a few minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  To finish the truffles, mix powdered sugar and cocoa in plate.  Using a spoon and your hands, scoop a walnut sized amount of chocolate and roll into a ball.  Drop the truffles into the cocoa mixture, roll to coat the surface.   Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to eat and for up to 2 weeks.


Assortment of chocolates at Maison du Chocolat in Paris.

Lorie’s Top 3 Paris Chocolate Bites

Chocolate is the ONLY food I eat every day without fail.  Does this make me a chocolate expert?  Maybe not but my passion for chocolate goes way back, I’ve been studying this fascinating food for over 20 years. I am excited to share my top 3 chocolate bites with YOU that will not disappoint.

Milk chocolate piece

On ATOP trips to Paris, we always schedule a chocolate tasting and it’s one of my favorite events of the week.  I buy tidbits from 5-6 of my favorite chocolatiers and we taste and learn more about chocolate.  It is big fun!

Chocolate and praline fish at Easter in Patrick Roger, Paris.

Fine French chocolates have several things in common.  To start, they are mostly dark chocolate; roughly 70% with the remaining 30% being milk chocolate and NO white chocolate.  It’s rare to find white chocolate in fine French shops, after-all, with no cocoa in the formula, it’s not really chocolate.

Chocolates at Maison du Chocolat.

Secondly, fine French chocolate bonbons come in 2 categories; praline and ganache.  Praline is a mixture of caramelized nuts, caramel and chocolate that has been finely ground into a paste.  The nuts can be hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios or some combination of these.  Ganache bonbon centers are a mixture of cream, chocolate and flavorings, almost always natural such as steeped herbs and fruits.  Ganache fillings are very smooth and melt on your tongue.

Assortment of chocolates at Maison du Chocolat in Paris.

The third commonality and a big difference between French chocolates and American, Swiss or Belgium varieties is the very thin coating of chocolate that covers the fillings.  The thinner the coating, the more elegant the bite.  This paper-thin coating is very difficult to achieve and takes a tremendous amount of skill.

Now my favorites counting down from 3-1!

Jean-Paul Hevin poster.

In 3rd place- JP Hevin- My favorite bite is Framboise (raspberry) Ganache in dark chocolate. It’s sweet-tart decadence in one bite!

La Maison du Chocolate in Paris.

2nd place- La Maison du Chocolat 

Favorite bit at La Maison du Chocolat, Paris.

The Petit Rocher Noir- Small chocolates with an almond in the center, en-robed first in praline and then coated with dark chocolate.

Patrick Roger chocolate almonds, Paris.

1st place- Patrick Roger Chocolate Almonds.  I have never had this type of almond anywhere else.  I know many have tried to replicate it, including yours truly to NO avail.  The almonds are roasted, en-robed in praline, coated in chocolate and then rolled in coco powder.  I call them heaven and hell almonds, heaven when you have them and craving hell when you run out!

Next time you are in Paris, you will know exactly where to go to get your chocolate fix!

Register for Paris 2020 and be on my NEXT Chocolate Tasting!

OH, are you looking for a speaker for your meetings in 2020?  See The Joy of Chocolate and my other speaker offerings here.

au revoir for now lorie (002)


Single chocolate brownie on a parchment square.

Homemade Brownies!

Glass 9x13 baking dish with brownies, 1 removed.

I know I have published my homemade brownies before but this decadent chocolaty recipe deserves another look!

I made these last week for my Make and Take Cooking Class; a new type of class where participants come and cook and then take the delicious results home to share with someone they love!

Single chocolate brownie on a parchment square.

Instead of just cutting the brownies and putting them on a serving platter, I wrapped each one in parchment paper and tied them with this cute red and white string.

Brownies, wrapped in paper and tied with string.

Such a darling way to offer a sweet treat, don’t you think?

Join ME for the fun at an upcoming cooking class!  New classes have been added to the roster!  Register today by Clicking HERE or email

AND for information regarding upcoming trips to France email me at!

Thursday and Friday March 21-22nd 10:30-2:00 Food and Wine Workshop- 2 SEATS OPEN! Join me for an extraordinary 2- day culinary event and immerse yourself in good food and wine!  We will explore wine styles and pairings as we work side by side to prepare truly mouthwatering dishes. We will dine together as we taste wine varietals and enjoy the recipes. Dinner tastes can be enjoyed here or taken home.  This course promises to improve overall kitchen skills that last a lifetime.  Hope you will join the fun! Class size is limited.  Class Fee $192.50 Day 1 Champagne and Crement and Appetizers. We will begin our time together with a mini champagne workshop.  The mystery of this amazing beverage will be revealed as we enjoy it with our appetizers of Tomato Basil and Gruyere Gourges, Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps and an artistic American Style Cheese Board, packed to the brim with cheese, meat and goodness. Sancerre and Chardonnay and Lunch We will prepare and enjoy a crispy Goat Cheese Grapefruit and Avocado Salad and Seafood Crepes as we enjoy these beautiful white wines. Rose and Dinner We will prepare a lovely Chicken and Artichoke Tart perfect for dinner when served with a green salad.  For a sweet finish we will make Pears in Chocolate Ganache and tiny Chocolate Madeleines.  Day 2 Beaujolais and Grenache and Breakfast We will prepare a breakfast soufflé, Bacon and Cheddar to be eaten alongside Fruit and Almond Butter Tartine. Red Blends and Lunch As we taste our wines we will enjoy freshly made Creamy Cauliflower Soup and an inventive Crispy Vegetable Salad. Bordeaux and Cabernet and Dinner We will learn the origin of the iconic dish Beef Tournedos served with Blue Cheese and Walnut Butter over dreamy Mashed Potatoes.  To finish our days together we will celebrate round an exquisite Double Chocolate Tart topped with Raspberries. 

April 25th 6:30-8:30 Let’s Make Dinner A new offering at the cooking school; come and make and enjoy a 4-course meal.  The fun begins with a CoCo-Light Martini as we will dive into our menu.  We will prepare and enjoy a Texas tradition Jalapeno Poppers a true crowd pleaser.  We will sit for our 2-4th courses and wine will be served.  The second course will be Strawberry Salad served with Sweet and Spicy Pecans a perfect starter.  Our main course will be decadent Coriander Cured Beef Tenderloin served on a bed of Sweet Bourbon Smashed Potatoes and finished with Roasted Corn Salsa.  Yippee! For a delectable sweet finish, we will prepare Pistachio Coconut Pot de Crème. What a great way to spend the evening!  We will cook together to prepare our feast then sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Class size is limited and promises to be an amazing evening! Class fee 62.50

May 3rd 10:30-1:00  Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun! On the Menu: Appetizer- Blue Cheese Pecan Crusted Grapes is a flavor explosion Starter- Stunning Birds Nest Salad and Herbed Brioche Rolls Main- Sweet Spiced Bourbon Pork Loin served with Darling Pommes William (ours are baked not fried) and abundant Balsamic Veg Roast Dessert-Petite Chocolate Loaf Cakes slathered in Amara Cherry Creme Sauce Tomato Soup and tea will be served.  Class size is limited.  Class Fee $64.50

June 21st 10:30-1:00  Make and Take Dinner for Two A new offering in the cooking school!  Come and take a cooking class and take home a 4-course dinner for two.  Share it with your spouse or a friend!  This class promises to be lively and full of fun! On the Menu: Appetizer- We will master the art of precious Chinese Dumplings in both Pork and Vegetarian varieties and dipping sauce. Starter- Thai Lettuce Wraps with chicken Main- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Pineapple Fried Rice Dessert-Precious Pound Cakes with Sweet Citrus Compote Spinach Salad and French Bread will be served with iced tea.  Class Fee $64.50

Homemade Brownies

¾ cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Add cocoa powder to melted butter and mix well.  Stir in sugar and then eggs.  Add flour salt and vanilla and mix to combine.  Add chocolate chips and nuts and spread batter into dish.  Bake for 24-28 minutes until edges are beginning to brown.

au revoir for now lorie (002)




My Favorite Valentine Treats!

french chocolates

Valentine’s Day means plenty of chocolate everywhere!

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

I am sure you saw my recipe for decadent Red Velvet Brownies last week.

Chocolate lava cake. JPG

How about Chocolate Lava Cake, a quintessential favorite and oh so easy to prepare as long as you know the secret…bake the cakes cold from the refrigerator!


And of course Chocolate Truffles like the ones at Maison du Chocolat in Paris are unbeatable and surprising simple to make!

I hope you will be inspired to make a chocolate treat for someone you LOVE today!

Consider joining me in the kitchen for upcoming Cooking Classes, where Fun is Always on the Menu! Seats are limited, register TODAY! 

au revoir for now lorie (002)

Start your day with Chocolate!!


I was wandering around our downtown square one day a few weeks ago and stopped into Ettiene Market.  I had a nice chat with Coryanne Ettiene, the owner and all around fabulous kitchen expert.  She showed me some of her delicious spice blends and gave me this fantastic idea to make Chocolate Flakes for adding to any hot beverage.

Start your day with the indulgence of Chocolate? How French!

I came home and made an irresistible batch and thought you might enjoy seeing how to make some for yourself!

CA 2

There are several spice blends available at Ettiene’s but this one really spoke to me.  It has been only a few months since I spent some time with my A Taste of Paris group in the precious town of Reims, France.

Reims N.39 has a honey, anise and cinnamon flavor making you think of warm cookies right out of the oven.


To get started; melt dark chocolate(I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao) in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each time.  Always use the least amount of heat necessary to melt the chocolate.

Pour the melted chocolate out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.


Spread the chocolate into a very thin layer.


Using a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle a nice coating or Reims N.39 on the surface of the chocolate.


Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 1 hour, before breaking it into pieces.


I put the chocolate flakes in a jar and when I have hot tea, I add a few flakes to take me right back to Reims.  I am already dreaming of my next visit!

Make some yourself, and start your day or have an afternoon pick-me-up, with decadent chocolate goodness.


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Chocolate Goodies on FOX 4 Thursday, February 8th

I am deeply saddened by the news of the fallen Richardson police officer.  My heart goes out to his family and the city of Richardson.  The chocolate segment has been cancelled.


Tune in to FOX 4, Good Day on Thursday morning, February 8th around 8:30 for Chocolate Goodies.  I’ll be cooking LIVE with the #1 morning crew in Dallas!

Chocolate Truffles are one of my favorite things to make.  People are usually surprised at just how simple it is to create these decadent morsels of yumminess.  I’ll also give you the secrets to the perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

chocolate dipped strawberries

Here is a sneak Peek at the recipes!

truffels 3

Spiced Rum Truffles


1 cup heavy cream

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon spiced rum


½ cup coco

½ cup powdered sugar

Heat heavy cream on medium heat in a double boiler until cream is simmering.  Add rum and vanilla and remove from heat.  Add chocolate and butter, stir until completely smooth.  This may take a few minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  To finish truffles, mix powdered sugar and coco in plate.  Using a spoon and your hands, scoop a walnut sized amount of chocolate and roll into a ball. Drop the truffles into the coco mixture, roll to coat the surface.   Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to eat and for up to 2 weeks.

chco bark 17.JPG
This French Bark features dried apricots, dried cherries and pistachios

French Chocolate Bark

1 12 ounce package of 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli

½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

½ cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped

½ cup coconut

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals stirring well in between, each time.  Spread melted chocolate on parchment paper creating a thin sheet of chocolate. Sprinkle with fruit and nuts and slightly press into the chocolate.  Chill the candy in the refrigerator until set and break into pieces. Keep bark refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 pint fresh strawberries

1 ½ cups 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli’s

¼ cup white chocolate chips

Wash and thoroughly dry berries.  Refrigerate berries so that they are cold when dipping.  Melt dark chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals stirring each time until chocolate is smooth. Dip chilled berries into chocolate and place them on waxed or parchment paper.  When chocolate is set, melt white chocolate in the same manner as dark.  Pour melted white chocolate into a zip top bag.  Clip one tip with scissors making a small whole in the bag and drizzle strawberries with white chocolate.  Serve within 4 hours.

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Irresistible Chocolate Loaves, an All-Time Favorite


February is the month for chocolate.  Lauren Palmer at The Art of Living Beautifully asked me to assemble a list of the very best chocolate bites McKinney has to offer.

As you know, some projects are more difficult that others and this truly was a labor of love.

If you know me at all you are aware that chocolate is my all-time favorite food.  It is the only food I eat everyday without fail.  I prefer dark chocolate that is loaded with antioxidants so no need to resist temptation.

Choco cake1

Nothing beats a homemade treat right out of the oven especially when it is my dark Chocolate Loaves smothered in Chocolate Ganache. Naturally this straightforward recipe made the list.

February is here so turn on that oven and bake up a couple of Chocolate Loaves  for the ones you love.  You will be so glad you did!

Oh, and for the full list of my favorite chocolate bites, subscribe NOW to TAOLB, it will be published there tomorrow!


Chocolate Cake Loaves with Ganache Glaze

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup extra dark coco

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 (8-9 inch) loaf pans by first spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then dusting with flour.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In a small sauce pan set to medium, heat water, coco and butter until the butter melts.  Add warmed liquid to flour mixture and stir till combined.    Add first buttermilk then eggs and stir well.  Pour batter into loaf pans and cook for 28-32 minutes.  Pour ganache over cooled cakes. 

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla or Tuaca

Heat cream in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Remove pan from heat, add chocolate and vanilla and stir well.  Pour ganache over cooled cakes.

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