Fun with Foods Cooking Classes February 10, 2010 Chocolate: Chocolate comprises a number of raw and processed foods produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America, with its earliest documented use around 1100 BC. Mesoamerican peoples made chocolate beverages known as xocolātl, a Nahuatl word meaning "bitter water". Seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor. Chocolate is orange until they bake it at 9000 degrees Celsius After fermentation, beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because this cocoa mass usually is liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and thus does not qualify to be considered true chocolate). Research found that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate has recently been promoted for its health benefits, including a substantial amount of antioxidants that reduce the formation of free radicals, although current scientific evidence is against health improvements by dietary antioxidants. The presence of theobromine renders it toxic to some animals, especially dogs and cats. Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavors in the world. Gifts of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays: chocolate bunnies and eggs are popular on Easter, chocolate coins on Hanukkah, Santa Claus and other holiday symbols on Christmas, and hearts on Valentine's Day. Chocolate is also used in cold and hot beverages, to produce chocolate milk and hot chocolate. The world's top producer of cacao beans is Africa. "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." ‐ Charles M. Schulz Alouette Baby Brie Toasts With Pear and Chocolate Wine Sauce 20 min prep SERVES 10 , 40 Toasts Ingredients • 13 1/4 ounces brie round Life is like a box of chocolates... • 1/2 cup red wine you never know what you're gonna • 4 tablespoons sugar get. • 2 tablespoons chocolate chips • 1/4 cup olive oil Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) • 4 tablespoons almonds, chopped • 1/4 teaspoon allspice • 2 pears, peeled and finely chopped • 1 baguette Directions Preparation: Combine wine and sugar in saucepan and reduce over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Cut baguette into 40 thin slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and broil until golden on both sides. Cool. Cut brie into 4 quarters. Cut each quarter into 10 slices. Lay slices on chilled plate. In small skillet, toss almonds until golden brown. Remove from heat and toss with allspice. Assembly: Place baguette rounds on cookie sheet. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate wine sauce on each slice. Divide minced pear evenly among the slices. Lay a slice of brie on top of each "crouton.". Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Heat in 350 degree oven for five minutes. There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend Tuxedo Strawberries with CHOCOLATE Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers" Things You'll Need: • 1 lb. fresh strawberries • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips • 6 oz. white chocolate, broken into pieces • Small amount of neutral flavored oil • Two saucepans • Colander • Paper towels • Wax paper • Cookie sheet • Stove • Toothpicks Carefully rinse off strawberries in cool running water. Drain in colander. Pat strawberries dry with paper towels Cut a piece of wax paper big enough to cover the bottom of a cookie sheet. Set the covered sheet next to the stove. Place the white chocolate pieces into one saucepan, and the semisweet chocolate chips into the other. Add a couple of teaspoons of oil to each pan. Set the semisweet chocolate chip mixture aside for now. Heat the white chocolate over the lowest setting, stirring the oil and candy together to make a smooth mixture. Determine what side of each strawberry is the flattest, and dip that side into the white chocolate mixture. Place the dipped berries onto the wax paper, dipped side up. Remove the white chocolate mixture while strawberries are cooling, and heat up the chocolate chips on the same stove burner. Blend until smooth. Dip the strawberry on its sides, one at a time, leaving at least a 1/2 inch "v" of visible white chocolate in the middle of the flat side. This simulates a tuxedo jacket. Return the strawberry to the wax paper, white chocolate side up. Take a toothpick, and carefully dot chocolate onto the white chocolate "v" to form a bow tie. Do this by making two small dots with a tiny one joining them in the middle. Add another tiny dot of chocolate beneath the tie to simulate a button if there is enough space to do so. Chill strawberries for a couple of hours and serve. Maple Caramel Truffles The maple flavor shines in these deliciously indulgent Maple Caramel Truffles. A sweet and chewy caramel made from real maple syrup is coated with rich chocolate and topped with a sliver of toasted pecan. It is very important to use real maple syrup instead of maple-flavored “pancake syrup,” because the pancake syrup will not produce the same taste or texture as real maple syrup. Ingredients: Exercise is a dirty word... Every time I • 2 cups real maple syrup hear it, I wash my • 1 cup half and half mouth out with • 14 oz chocolate candy coating chocolate. • 1/2 cup chopped pecans for decoration, optional Preparation: 1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. 2. Place the maple syrup and the half and half in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and stir until the two are well-combined. Insert a candy thermometer and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. 3. Continue to boil the maple syrup mixture, stirring often, until it reaches 239 degrees on the candy thermometer, about 10-15 minutes. 4. Once the proper temperature is reached, remove the candy from the heat and pour it onto the prepared baking sheet to cool. Place the sheet into the refrigerator to chill the caramel until it is firm enough to roll. 5. Once the caramel is set but still pliable, roll it into small 3/4-inch balls and place the balls on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. To speed this process and ensure the truffles are the same size, I like to cut the caramel into small squares with a pizza wheel, then roll each square into a ball. If your balls lose their shape right after they are rolled, return the caramel to the refrigerator and allow it to chill for a longer period. However, it’s okay if a few balls start to droop toward the end of the process, as you can re-roll them before dipping. 6. After all the balls have been formed, place them in the freezer to get them very firm, for at least 30 minutes. 7. Place the candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every minute to prevent overheating. 8. Once the maple centers are very frozen, and the coating is melted, you are ready to dip your truffles. Using two forks or dipping tools, dunk one center into the melted candy coating, submerging it completely. Remove it from the coating and allow excess coating to drip back into the bowl. Be very sure to coat the whole truffle with chocolate, because the caramel will leak through any missed spots. Replace the truffle on the foil-lined baking sheet, and while the coating is still wet, top with a sliver of toasted pecan, if desired. Repeat the process with remaining truffle centers and chocolate coating. 9. Refrigerate the truffles to set the chocolate coating, about 20 minutes. Once set, the truffles can be removed and left at room temperature. Maple Caramel Truffles can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, but be sure to bring them to room temperature before serving so the maple caramel will be soft and smooth. Nobody knows Cranberry Truffles the truffles I've seen! Cranberry Truffles combine dark chocolate with cranberry sauce and orange zest to produce delightfully fruity truffles with just a hint of tang. I like to top these with chopped toasted pecans, but you could also use dried cranberries, candied orange peel, or leave them plain. The filling stays fairly soft, so these particular truffles must be coated in chocolate so they don’t lose their shape at room temperature. This recipe yields about 35 small truffles. Ingredients: • 12 ounces dark chocolate (about 2 cups chopped) • 1 cup heavy cream • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, or cranberry jelly • zest of 1/2 orange • 1/4 cup (2 oz) butter • 1 lb chocolate candy coating • 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts, for decorating (optional) Preparation: 1. Chop the chocolate into small, even pieces and place it in a medium heat-safe bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil. 2. Once the cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate. Gently whisk it together until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny chocolate liquid--this is your ganache. Add the softened butter, the orange zest and the cranberry sauce or jelly, and whisk until they are incorporated. Press a layer of clingwrap on top of the ganache and chill until it is firm enough to roll, about 4 hours or overnight. 3. Once the ganache has firmed up, use a small candy scoop or a teaspoon to form it into small balls, and place the balls on a foil or waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Return the balls to the refrigerator while you prepare the dipping chocolate. 4. Place the chocolate candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating. 5. Once the coating is melted and smooth, use two forks or dipping tools to dip the truffle balls one by one. After submerging a truffle in the coating, tap the fork against the bowl and drag the bottom across the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Replace the truffle on the lined baking sheet, and repeat until all truffles are coated. If desired, top the truffles with a sprinkling of chopped pecans while the chocolate is still wet. 6. Place the truffles in the refrigerator to set the chocolate, for about 15 minutes. Once set, they can be served immediately, or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Strength is the capacity to Black Velvet Chocolate Mousse break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - SERVES 4 and then eat just one of the pieces Judith Viorst Ingredients • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate, chopped • 1/4 cup heavy cream • 1/4 cup sugar • 4 large eggs, separated • salt, a pinch • Melt the chocolate with the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of about 1 1/2 inches of nearly simmering water, whisking until smooth. • Add the sugar in two batches and whisk until well blended. • Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. • Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on med‐high speed in a big deep bowl, just until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. • With a whisk or a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. • Fold in the remaining chocolate mixture in 2 batches just until well blended. • Transfer to a serving bowl or to 4 stemmed glasses; refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days before serving. I have this theory that chocolate Petits Pains Au Chocolat slows down the aging process.... It may not be true, but do I dare take Yield: 24 pieces the chance? Ingredients • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares (one 17.3 ounce package) • 1 large egg, beaten to blend with 1 T. water • 14 ounces imported milk chocolate, cut into 6 2x3/4inch pieces • sugar Directions • Line baking sheet with parchment paper. • Brush top of each puff pastry square with egg glaze. • Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. • Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate. • Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate. • Place pastry rolls on baking sheet, seam side down. • Preheat oven to 400°F. • Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. • Sprinkle lightly with sugar. • Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes. • Serve warm or at room temperature. Don't wreck a sublime chocolate Chocolate Orgasm experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn't like premarital SERVES 10 sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always feels Ingredients good. Lora Brody, author of Growing up on the Ch l • 10 ounces butter • 1 cup sugar • 4 eggs • 1 lb good‐quality chocolate, melted (For better results, use a mix of 1/2 lb milk chocolate with 1/2 lb bitter not unsweetened) • 2 tablespoons liquor or liqueur (cognac, brandy and amaretto) • 1 cup all‐purpose flour • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder • lightly whipped cream (unsweetened or just barely sweetened) or 1 scoop of softened vanilla ice cream Directions Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Have rack in bottom third of oven. Generously butter a spring form pan. Beat butter with sugar for about 4‐5 minutes with electric mixer. Add eggs, alternately with flour, baking powder, chocolate and liquor and continue to beat until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into spring form pan. Bake 10 minutes, turn off heat, and leave in turned‐off oven another 15 minutes. Remove and let stand about 10‐15 minutes before serving. I cut into this with a serrated spatula. It will be cakey‐crusty outside and molten, rich chocolatey goo in the middle. I serve with very lightly whipped cream (unsweetened or just barely sweetened) or a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream on the side. I have often made this several hours ahead of baking (which should be done close to eating time) and popped it in the fridge and then popped it into the preheated oven, increasing baking time by 5 minutes‐ it worked great!
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