By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2016-02-11
I have been experimenting with marshmallows and naturally-flavoured ones lately (for dipping in chocolate, of course), and have discovered that my recipe for raspberry marshmallows pairs quite nicely with Madagascar-origin chocolate. The recipe can be found on my blog here, but is also pasted below:
Pink Raspberry Marshmallows - natural and 'homemade'
1/3 cup organic corn syrup (I used organic, vanilla-flavoured by Wholesome Sweeteners)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used raw, organic cane sugar by Camino)
1/2 cup (split into 1/4 cup measurements) juice from thawed frozen raspberries, sifted to remove seeds
1/8 tsp salt
21 gram of unflavoured gelatin powder (3 7 gram packets)
1/4 cup organic icing sugar (I used Wholesome Sweeteners - it's the only organic icing sugar I could find)
1 tsp cornstarch
1. Prepare a 8-inch square brownie pan by greasing it with coconut oil or cooking spray. Then line it with plastic wrap, ensuring it comes up all sides about an inch. Grease the plastic wrap as well. Set aside.
2. Stir together 1/4 cup of raspberry juice, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and place on the stovetop. Heat on medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring the ingredients together.
3. While waiting for the syrup to boil, warm the other 1/4 cup of raspberry juice in the microwave for 20 seconds. Then place in the bottom of a stand mixer bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over top and give it a stir. Let rest for 2 minutes to soften.
4. Set your mixer on high, with the whisk attached, and pour in your hot syrup, letting it stream down the sides steadily. Use a spatula to scrape in the rest. Beat on high for 4 minutes, until it is thick and light pink and peaks form.
5. Immediately pour into your pan and quickly spread around to even out the top.
6. Let set on the counter for about two hours.
7. Place the cornstarch and icing sugar in a bowl. Grease a long straight-edged knife. Remove the marshmallow from the pan and slice into 1-inch cubes. Roll in icing sugar mixture, coating all sides.
8. Dip in, or drizzle on, tempered Madagascar origin dark chocolate.
9. Seal in bags or airtight containers. These seem to keep for well over a month when sealed airtight (if you only use plastic wrap, they will harden from air exposure).
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2016-01-18
One of my readers asked last week for a recipe for chocolate ganache made from 100% dark chocolate; he had received several bars from a friend. So I worked out a recipe for him and put it on the blog (http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2016/01/recipe-for-ganache-made-from-100-dark.html). It is quite smooth and delicious. There is an option to make it with agave or coconut sugar, instead of cane sugar, and suggestions for coating it. It is also pasted below:
Dark Chocolate Ganache made from 100% Dark Chocolate
With options for No Cane Sugar Truffles
Makes: 20 truffles or ganache topping for one 8" cake
Time: takes about 15 minutes to chop chocolate and make truffles, 4 to 8 hours resting/setting time before rolling, dusting or dipping your truffles in chocolate.
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) 100% dark chocolate
- 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar, or agave or coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup whipping cream (any heavy cream will do)
- Optional ingredients (see below), but not necessary.
- 200 grams semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, if dipping in chocolate. Or 1/4 cup cocoa powder for dusting
1. Chop the chocolate into 1/2 inch cubes and place in a medium bowl (use microwavable safe just in case you need help getting the chocolate to melt).
2. Pour your cream into a small saucepan and place on an element on the stovetop. Heat on medium high. Add the sugar and stir, heating and stirring until it dissolves. If using, add the vanilla, mint or coffee extract.
3. Do not let the cream boil, just bring it to nearly a simmer then immediately pour half of the cream over the chocolate. Stir until you get a smooth and dark chocolaty-looking mixture, but with large lumps of chocolate in it.
4. Then reheat your remaining cream and pour into the mixture. Stir until smooth. If lumps still remain, microwave for five seconds (not more!) and stir again until the mixture is smooth.
Immediately pour over the cake and spread to the edges. You can even let it drip over slightly, if you are not decorating the sides with icing.
Line a small box, container or half of a loaf pan with plastic wrap, letting it come up all the sides. Pour your ganache into it and let sit 6 to 8 hours (or overnight) if dipping them in chocolate (you don't want to put ganache for dipping in the fridge at all or it will cause cracking in your chocolate shell). If you simply want to roll them in cocoa powder, you can let your ganache set in the fridge for 4 hours.
Once set, remove the top plastic wrap from the ganache. Then flip the rectangle of ganache out onto a cutting board. Cut into 20 pieces. You can leave these in rectangular or square shapes, or you can roll them between the palms of your gloved hands to make truffle balls (without gloves you will melt the truffle, plus there's that sanitary thing).
Dip in 200 grams (6 oz) of melted, tempered, semi-sweet chocolate, or roll in cocoa powder.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days, or freeze for up to 6 months in a deep-freeze (only 2 months in the freezer attached to your fridge).
Stir in 2 tbsp. of softened salted butter (warmed but not melted) to the ganache just when it becomes smooth.
You can add a 1/2 tsp of real vanilla to the cream, but I did not like it when I did. If you are used to eating chocolate with a lot of vanilla flavour (i.e. Lindt, Godiva, Giradelli, etc.) then you might prefer a little vanilla. For a high vanilla flavour, add both extract and the scrapings from one vanilla bean.
Add 1/2 tsp peppermint extract or just 2-3 drops of peppermint oil to the cream.
Coffee Ganache or Espresso Truffles:
Steep the cream with 1/4 cup lightly ground coffee or espresso beans for 15 minutes. Simply heat the cream in your saucepan, then remove from the heat, add the ground beans to the cream, and place a lid on the pot. Let steep. Then reheat and run the cream through a sifter as you pour the cream over the chopped chocolate to remove bean pieces. You can use a 1/2 tsp of instant coffee in the cream instead, but there will be that funny 'instant' taste from the coffee.
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-06-14
I have partnered up with zChocolat to give away a gorgeous gift box of 30 chocolates & confections from the 'With Love from Provence' collection, just launched for summer 2015. A nearly $100 value! Enter now for your chance to win on my blog: http://www.ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2015/06/win-box-of-frances-finest-chocolate-and.html
Contest open to U.S. and Canadian residents.
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-04-13
This cake is creamy, buttery and delicious. A touch of sea salt makes it perfect. You can use either Callebaut's Caramel-Flavoured Callets or Valrhona's Caramelia couverture for this recipe: http://ultimatelychocolatecakes.blogspot.ca/2015/04/sea-salted-butter-pecan-caramel.html
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-03-30
After trying SOMA's Roasted White Chocolate Rabbit last week, and discovering that fired-up white chocolate is delicious and tastes like campfire marshshmallows, I was inspired to try this technique in my commercial kitchen. Now SOMA needs not worry about me competing with them anytime soon, but it was certainly fun to pull out the culinary torch and tinge my chocolate eggs. Here are the results: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2015/03/roasted-white-chocolate-eggs-treat.html.
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-03-24
Chia seeds have been taking off lately as the next big thing in health food trends, and just a few weeks ago a story about Taylor Swift hit the celebrity-news circuit, attributing a recent weight loss to munching on these little seeds. So here are the details on the seeds and a recipe to give your dark chocolate a fun crunch and a healthy kick: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2015/03/chia-chocolate-bars-perhaps-chocolate.html.
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-03-15
Sure you could learn to temper chocolate without a thermometer by doing the lip test (kinda gross) or the back of your hand test (still gross), but it isn't always accurate when you are learning. What I've learned is to just jump to a digital thermometer to get an accurate reading every time and ensure your chocolate really is in temper. So here is a little advice on choosing a thermometer for tempering chocolate: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2015/03/digital-thermometers-must-have-when.html.
By Lisabeth Flanagan, 2015-03-15
Learn to make beautiful truffle-filled eggs for Easter with inexpensive and simple candy & chocolate molds, plus find the recipe for melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter meltaway truffles to fill the eggs. Get the recipe and instructions here: http://ultimatechocolateblog.blogspot.ca/2015/03/white-chocolate-peanut-butter-truffle.html.