Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chocolate Plums

Chocolate Plums

24 dried plums (prunes)
24 whole almonds, toasted
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Crushed nuts for decorating

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and set aside for now.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until the chocolate is smooth, and allow it to sit and cool slightly while you prepare the prunes.

Insert the almonds into the centers of the prunes, one nut per prune. Use a paring knife to create a small hole for inserting the nut.

Use a fork or dipping tools to dip one of the prunes into the chocolate, submerging it completely. Remove it from the chocolate and drag the bottom along the lip of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Place it on the prepared baking sheet and, if desired, sprinkle the top with crushed nuts while the chocolate is still wet.

Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to set the chocolate, then serve. Store Polish Chocolate Plums in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chocolate Green Tea Pudding

Chocolate Green Tea Pudding

10 ounces (one bag) semisweet vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon loose green tea leaves

1 cup chocolate soy milk
12 ounces silken tofu
1/4 cup soft tofu
2 tablespoons matcha tea (green tea powder, available at any good tea shop), optional

Pour the chocolate milk and tea leaves into a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let the chocolate milk cool. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler.

Put the soy milk mixture, melted chocolate, silken tofu, and soft tofu into a food processor. Blend until totally smooth. Put into individual cups or bowls, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Before serving, take a paper doily or any other design cutout and lay it over the pudding.

Generously powder the top of the doily or cutout with the matcha. Lift the doily or cutout, making sure not to disturb the design you just made. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chocolate Salami (Salame al Cioccoato)

Chocolate Salami Salame al Cioccoato

1 lb cake or cookie scraps(4 cups, not packed)
8 oz (1.25 cups) bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips, finely chopped
2 oz soft dried figs (about 15), coarsely chopped
2 oz medjool dates (about 5 large), pitted and coarsely chopped
2 oz (1/2 cup) dried cranberries
4 oz (1/2 cup) toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
4 oz (1/2 cup) toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl, and place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the cream to a simmer, so that bubbles appear on the edges of the pan, but do not let it boil. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it soften for a minute, then whisk it until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well-combined and smooth. Set aside your ganache for now.

Place the cake or cookie scraps in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Put the cake or cookie crumbs into a large bowl.

Add the chopped fruit, nuts, and salt to the cake crumbs and mix until well-distributed.

Add the vanilla extract to the ganache, and then pour the ganache over the cake mixture. Stir until well-combined and there is a uniform texture throughout. Press some cling-wrap to the top of the mixture and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, at least 1 hour.

Once the candy has firmed up, scoop half of it from the bowl and, using waxed paper or parchment, roll it into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 9 inches long. Once it is a cylinder, roll it on the counter a few times to try and get it as round as possible. Repeat the process with the second half of the candy, forming an identical log.

Place the logs on a baking sheet and freeze them until firm, at least 2 hours. The salami can be kept frozen for up to a month, but if you plan to freeze them for that long, wrap the logs with plastic wrap to prevent odors or freezer burn.

About 15 minutes prior to serving, remove the logs from the freezer. Roll them in powdered sugar to make them resemble salami. Cut them into thin slices and serve. The logs can stay at room temperature for several hours before getting too soft. If they do start to get too soft, refrigerate or freeze briefly to firm them up. If the sugar coating starts to melt, re-roll them in sugar as needed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chocolate Loaf Cake

Chocolate Loaf Cake

5 oz / 145 g spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 oz / 225g unsalted butter

7.5 oz / 215 g v. loosely packed dark Muscovado sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 oz / 115 g bittersweet chocolate, barely melted
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
another 1.5 oz / 45 g Muscovado sugar (optional)
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the center. Butter a 9x5-inch (23 x 13-cm) loaf pan and line with parchment paper. You have to line the pan if you ever want to get this cake out of it. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and set aside.

Combine the flour baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the butter until light and feathery, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric mixer. Beat in the sugar. Then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Add the vanilla, then fold in the melted (and now slightly cooled) chocolate, stirring until just barely combined.

Now stir in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the water, alternating until all the flour and water has been incorporated into what seems like an impossibly thin batter. Go with it. Pour into the prepared pan, place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 325F / 165C and continue to cook for another 15-18 minutes. The cake isn't going to test done like other cakes, but as long as your oven temp is accurate, you should be fine.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, let cool completely.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

24 whole dried apricots
2 ounces (1/2 cup) toasted almonds, finely chopped
6 ounces dark chocolate

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Place the chopped almonds in a small bowl.

Temper or melt the chocolate in a medium bowl.

Holding an apricot by the tip, dip most of the fruit into the melted chocolate, swirling to ensure even coverage. Remove it from the chocolate and drag it along the lip of the bowl, removing excess chocolate.

Pat both sides of the chocolate-dipped apricot on the chopped almonds, covering both sides with nuts.

Place the candy on the prepared baking sheet, and repeat for the remaining apricots.

Place in the refrigerator to set the chocolate for approximately 10 minutes. If the chocolate has been tempered, the candy can be served at room temperature, but if it has not, it should be kept refrigerated until served.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ginger Chip Chocolate Cookies

Ginger Chip Chocolate Cookies

3.5 ounces / 90 g turbinado sugar
6 ounces / 170 g bittersweet chocolate
2 cups / 8.5 oz / 245 g whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup / 4 oz / 113 g unsalted butter
1/4 cup / 2 oz / 60 ml unsulphured molasses
2/3 cup / 3.75 oz / 100 g fine grain natural cane sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, peeled
1 large egg, well beaten

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C degrees - racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Line a couple baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper or a Silpat mat, and place the large-grain sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

Finely chop the chocolate bar into 1/8-inch pieces, more like (mostly) shavings really.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, and salt.

Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is just barely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the molasses, sugar, and fresh ginger. The mixture should be warm, but not hot at this point, if it is hot to the touch let it cool a bit. Whisk in the egg. Now pour this over the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate.

scoop out the dough in exact, level tablespoons. then tear those pieces of dough in two before rolling each 1/2 tablespoon of dough into a ball shape. From there, grab a small handful of the big sugar, set aside earlier and roll each ball between palms to heavily coat the outside of each dough ball.

Place dough a few inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies puff up, darken a bit, and get quite fragrant.