Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Chocolate Eruption

Anybody who knows me knows that I have a weakness for chocolate. It's funny cause my love for chocolate started only a few years ago. There's something about eating chocolate that hits you in all the right places. It's no wonder it's the first thing many of reach for when we need our spirits lifted. If you've never had premium chocolate like Lindt or Callebaut then you can't really say that you've had chocolate and a true chocolate lover would know this.

I remember the day I fell in love with Lindt chocolate. I would always pass it in the aisles cause I felt that I could just never pay that much money for a bar of chocolate. One day I was felt like rewarding myself with something good so I decided to go ahead and buy one. I chose the plain milk chocolate bar(no particular reason). I still remember thinking I can't believe I'm spent so much money whey I could have spent so much less for my then favourite chocolate.

I took my first bite and then I paused, I had just experienced something new with chocolate. The chocolate was light, smooth, creamy and velvety, everything a good chocolate should be.

I have decided to share to treats with you just in time for the cooler weather. When preparing your favourite chocolate desserts or cakes don't use chocolate that you wouldn't normally eat. Good chocolate = Good desserts.

Molten Chocolate Cakes

There's something about soft gooey chocolate that makes you go weak in the knees. These small decadent cakes are sure to have that effect on you. These cakes are best served warm with your favourite ice-cream or fresh whipped cream or maybe both. They are easy to prepare and bake in no time and that is what I love about them.
If you love chocolate you will enjoy making and eating these.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tins
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for muffin tins
3 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
226 g (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, melted
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Whipped Cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius / 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter 6 cups of a standard muffin tin. Dust with granulated sugar, and tap out excess. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour and salt until just combined. Beat in chocolate until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
Place muffin tin on a baking sheet; bake just until tops of the cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.
To serve, turn out cakes, and place on serving plates, bottom sides up. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with whipped cream (or your favourite vanilla or chocolate ice-cream), if desired.

Chocolate Fountains

Chocolate fountains are all the craze right now. You will find them at weddings, parties or maybe you have one at home. What I like about them is that anyone can enjoy them cause there'll always be something for somebody. Some enjoy it with fruit or nuts, others biscuit and some with marshmallows. Whatever you choose you know you will enjoy it cause what could be better than a never ending flow of chocolate. Most people enjoy it with fruit, nuts, biscuits, or marshmallows. I prefer pouring some of the chocolate into a bowl and dipping some of my favourit nuts. That way I don't eat too much cause the nuts fill me up fast. For times when I'm watching my waistline I prefer to go with fruits like strawberries, oranges or bananas. When I'm tired of fruits and nuts I always reach for marshmallows another favourite of mines.

I love marshmallows and I love that I can make them on my own. If you've never made marshmallows before don't be afraid to try. They are so easy to make and you only need a handful of ingredients. I have decided to share a recipe that I have from Michael Smith, one of my favourite chefs from BBC Food.

Homemade Marshmallows

Timing Hints: Marshmallows can be made a week in advance and refrigerated.

4 gelatin packages
1 1/2 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 cup of corn syrup
1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin powder over 1/2 cup of the water. Place the sugar and the remaining one-cup of the water in a pot and heat until warm to the touch. Add the gelatin mixture to the warm syrup and stir until fully melted.

Pour the gelatin syrup mixture into the bowl of a large stand mixer ( I use a large bowl and a hand mixer) fitted with a whip. Add the corn syrup (glucose syrup) and vanilla and begin beating at high speed. You may find it useful to cover the bowl with plastic wrap while it beats to keep down the splatter.

Continue beating until the mixture cools, increases in volume, and forms soft peaks. Working quickly before the mixture fully sets in the bowl transfer to either a standard hotel pan (rectangular baking tray or pyrex) dusted with powdered sugar for later cutting into cubes or transfer to a piping bag fitted with a straight tip and pipe mounds onto a non stick surface such as a silpat mat dusted with powdered sugar.

  • Unfortunately here in S. Africa we don't have corn syrup but you could use glucose syrup. You can find it in a shop that supplies baking ingredients.

  • Use a large bowl as the mixture will increase in volume and you the last thing you need is marshmallow all over your floor and walls.

  • You can smooth the top surface of the marshmallows by placing a greased piece of wax paper over the entire top surface and smoothing it out with your hands.

  • Instead of dusting the tray you can grease it and roll the cut marshmallow into toasted coconut. I would use this for with the chocolate fountain though cause the coconut might clog it.

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