Recipes & Tips, etc.




Chocolate Truffle Recipe

Chocolate Tips

Health Benefits of
Chocolate


Hot Chocolate deLuxe

Ginger-Brandy
Tea Cake recipe

Sherry-Almond
Tea Cake recipe

 

Chocolate Tartlettes
Tart au chocolat
Recipe

 






CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
(A simple, basic recipe)

Makes about 20-24 medium sized truffles.

Ingredients:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
(Callebaut chocolate from Belgium, mais oui!)

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 or 2 Tablespoons brandy or rum (optional)


Preparation:

1. Cut chocolate into small pieces and place in top of double boiler. Add water (about 1 inch deep) to bottom of double boiler. Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and place pan with chopped chocolate on top to melt slowly.Stir occasionally with wooden spoon until smooth. Do not cover pan.
2. In small sauce pan heat the heavy cream until just on the point of boiling. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until butter melts.
3. Remove pan of melted chocolate from the double boiler, wipe bottom dry. Pour in the hot cream/butter mixture and stir until thoroughly blended.(Alternate: if you wish to add additional flavor to the truffle mixture, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, dark rum, or brandy.
4. Transfer chocolate mixture to another pan or bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator until firm (approx. 25-30 minutes.)
5. With teaspoon scoop out portions of the firm chocolate and roll into balls. Place on tray or platter which has been covered with waxed paper.Continue until all the mixture is used.
6. When ready to serve, roll in cocoa powder. Unused truffles can be stored in a tin or other air tight container and kept in the refrigerator. Freezing not recommended.

Recipe courtesy Tom Goddard,
Pastry chef, Sundial Gardens

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HOT CHOCOLATE DeLUXE
To make one cup (or an 8 oz mug)

1. Place one heaping teaspoon of Sundial Gardens COCOA powder and 2 level teaspoons of sugar in cup or mug. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water or milk and stir to make a paste.
2. Heat milk to almost boiling, and pour into cup and stir well. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.

To order a bag of our rich dark Cocoa Powder imported from Holland, click here.Cocoa Powder.

To make a larger amount in a pitcher or chocolate pot, increase amounts proportionately, depending on number of cups the container will hold. It is best to make the chocolate paste in a separate bowl or cup and transfer this to the larger container before adding the hot milk. Or you may wish to add the chocolate paste directly to the pan in which you have heated the milk and then transfer it to the pitcher for serving. In any case, stir well and serve immediately. Serve the whipped cream in separate bowl, along with a shaker of cinnamon.



GINGER BRANDY TEA CAKE
Yield: 1 large molded (Bundt-style) cake

NOTE: This is a dense cake, with a slightly bread-like texture. After baking, allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly in a plastic bag for a day or two for the flavor to fully develop. You will notice how the taste improves as it ages. Can be frozen for several months if wrapped securely.

Ingredients

For the cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs (or 3 medium eggs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
2 cups unbleached white flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup diced crystallized ginger
(optional: 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts)


For the glaze:

2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy

Preparation:

1. Butter a 9-inch molded cake pan or Bundt pan, and dust lightly with flour. Invert pan and tap gently to remove excess flour. Set pan aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy -- about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly after each egg. Add the salt, vanilla extract, the ground ginger, the chopped crystallized ginger pieces, and mix slowly until all ingredients are blended.
4. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder together. Remove mixing bowl from the mixer (if used) and with a large wooden spoon alternately fold in the flour mixture with the brandy and milk until fully blended. Do not overmix!
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the pan firmly several times on the countertop (to remove air pockets), and bake in center of preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until done. You can test if cake is done by inserting a thin skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Also, the cake should be slightly firm to the touch and have separated a little from the side of the cake pan.
6. When cake is baked, place pan (with the cake still inside) on a rack to cool (15-20 minutes). While cooling, prepre the glaze (see below). Afterwards, turn cakepan upside down and place on plate. If it doesn't come out, tap the pan gently but firmly with a wooden spoon.


The Glaze:

In a small pan add the brandy and the sugar and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the butter. Stir until melted and well-blended. With a small skewer or toothpick, prick the entire surface of the cake, then brush on the glaze. Repeat until glaze has been used -- or save a little to brush on each slice just before serving.

(If you choose not to glaze the cake, then just before serving dust the top with confectioner's sugar.)


Suggestions for serving:

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with sprigs of rosemary or mint. You can add a bit of brandy for a more adult taste.

Note: this cake tastes better a day or two after baking, for the ginger and the brandy flavors will have had time to fully develop. It also freezes well, and often tastes better after it has been frozen and allowed to thaw at room temperature!

Recipe courtesy Tom Goddard, pastry chef at the Sundial.
Copyright 1999 Sundial Garden, LLC

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Sherry-Almond Tea Cake

A delicate, yet tasty almond-flavored cake to serve plain
or with fresh fruit and a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream.


Ingredients:

For the cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups unbleached white flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup medium dry sherry (as Amontillado)
1/4 cup milk (or half and half)
about 14-16 whole blanched almonds for decorating top of cake


For the glaze:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sherry (med-dry)


Preparation:

1. Butter a 9-inch molded cake pan or Bundt pan, and dust lightly with flour. Invert pan and tap gently to remove excess flour.(or use 2 smaller pans approx 6-1/2 inches in diameter x 3-1/2 inches deep) Set pan(s) aside. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy -- about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating slowly after each egg. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and the almond extract. Mix slowly until all ingredients are blended.
4. In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder together. Remove mixing bowl from the mixer (if used) and with a large wooden spoon alternately fold in the flour mixture with the sherry and milk until fully blended. If batter seems stiff, add a tablespoon more of sherry or milk. Do not overmix!
5. Carefully position the whole almonds (in the same direction- see photo) in the indented areas of the bundt or molded cake pan.
5. Carefully spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan, being cautious not to disturb the almonds beneath. When all the batter is in the pan, tap the pan firmly several times on the countertop (to remove air pockets), and bake in center of preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes for larger cake 25-30 minutes for two smaller cakes.Since oven temperatures vary, it is best to check a few minutes before. Cake is done when firm to the touch and has pulled away from the outer edges of the pan. You can also test if cake is done by inserting a thin skewer into the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done.
6. When cake is baked, place pan (with the cake still inside) on a rack to cool (15-20 minutes). While cooling, prepre the glaze (see below). Afterwards, turn cakepan upside down and place on plate. If it doesn't come out, tap the pan gently but firmly with a wooden spoon. Then glaze the cake, if desired. See glaze recipe below.


The Glaze:

In a small pan add the sherry and the sugar and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes until sugar has melted, then brush glaze over the top and sides of the cake. Repeat until glaze has been used -- or save a little to brush on each slice just before serving.

(If you choose not to glaze the cake, then just before serving dust the top with confectioner's sugar.)


Suggestions for serving:

Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and garnish with sprigs of rosemary or mint. You can add a drop or two of vanilla or almond extract to the cream for a more adult taste.

Note: this cake tastes better a day or two after baking, for the flavors will have had time to fully develop. It also freezes well, and often tastes better after it has been frozen and allowed to thaw at room temperature!

Recipe courtesy Tom Goddard, pastry chef at the Sundial.
Copyright 2003 Sundial Garden, LLC

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Tart au chocolat
Chocolate Tart/Tartlettes

(for one 8-9 inch chocolate tart, or for 9-12 tartlettes (depending on size of pans)



Above: Chocolate tartlettes with glazed raspberries



Prepare crust (see recipe below)


Ingredients for the chocolate filling:

8 oz fine chocolate (4 oz bittersweet, and 4 oz semi-sweet)
1 cup heavy cream
1 or 2 tablespoons brandy or dark rum

1. Cut chocolate into very small pieces and place in heat-proof pan or bowl. Set aside.
2. In small sauce pan bring cream just to the boil -- let simmer about a minute or two, but watch carefully.
3. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chopped chocolate, and let rest for about a minute without stirring.
4. With wooden spoon stir cream-chocolate mixture slowly until blended. Fold in the brandy. (If chocolate doesn't seem to blend smoothly enough, place the bowl over a pan of hot water and continue stirring slowly until smooth).
5. Carefully pour or spoon the melted chocolate into the precooked pastry shells. Fill the pastry shells about 1/4-inch from the top to allow for fruit topping later. Cool at room temperature before adding the fruit. If it is very warm in your kitchen, place in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes until chocolate is firm but not hard.
6. To decorate: for tartlettes, cut tips of strawberries and place in center, then arrange a circle of raspberries around each strawberry. For a large tart, you may want to make an inner circle of small strawberry tips, then continue placing raspberries around the inner circle until top of tart is completely covered. Of course, you can be creative and use an assortment of other fruits, such as mandarin orange slices. After tart or tartlettes have been covered with fruit, brush tops of fruit with some of the apricot glaze (see recipe below).
7. Serve slightly chilled with a dollop of whipped cream or crème fraîche on the side.



Sweet Pastry crust (Pâte sucrée)

Ingredients:

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (large)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water

1. In food processor fitted with metal blade, place the flour, salt, sugar and pulse until mixed. Then add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract and pulse a few seconds until blended. Drop in the butter, chunks at a time, and pulse until mixture starts to crumble, then drizzle in the ice cold water. When mixture starts to look coarse and slightly doughy, empty contents onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth. Do not over-knead.
2. Flatten dough into oval shape about an inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
3. When ready to bake, remove chilled pastry dough and let rest about 15 minutes. Then roll out to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut sections large enough for your pan(s) and gently press dough around the inner edges and trim as necessary with sharp knife. For tartlette shells I suggest cutting circles slightly larger than the pans with a round cookie cutter, and placing dough in each pan. Then press another tartlette pan of the same size into the dough. This takes the place of adding weights while baking and makes the crusts firm without creating air pockets. However, for single large tart, you will have to place a sheet of foil or parchment into the unbaked shell and fill it with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake in preheated oven (375° F) for about 15-20 minutes. Then remove weights or the additional tartlette pans, and bake for 8-10 minutes more, until lightly browned. Let crusts cool completely before using.
4. When ready to use, brush bottom and sides of the crust with some of the apricot glaze. Then proceed to fill with the chocolate mixture and decorate as above.



Apricot Glaze

In a small sauce pan heat about 1/3 or more apricot preserves until hot (do not boil). Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon brandy. Strain into separate bowl and set aside until ready to use. Any leftover glaze can be stored in a small jar, sealed and placed in the refrigerator or other uses.

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Tips on Melting & Tempering Chocolate

1. Chocolate is very delicate and absorbs moisture and odors easily. Store chocolate in a cool, dry place away from drafts and light. The best temperature for storing chocolate is 54 to 68° F. (12 to 20 C).

2. Melt chocolate at temperatures between 104-115° (40-45 C). You should not melt chocolate directly over the heat source, but over indirect souce of heat such as hot water. This way the chocolate reaches a more uniform temperature. Do not try to speed up the melting process by increasing the heat. This will cause the chocolate to "seize" or harden unevenly. Chocolate prefers to melt slowly -- you will be surprized how little time it does take. Usually, while the chocolate is melting you can prepare other ingredients, etc.

3. If you plan to use chocolate for dipping, then you must "temper" it. Tempering is vital if you want a nice glossy shine. This is the classic way to temper: To temper, chocolate must be heated to 104-115° (40-45 C). When it has melted and has reached this temperature, pour contents out onto a cold surface (preferably a marble slab). With a spatula spread the chocolate around on the slab for several minutes. With the spatula transfer the chocolate back to the pan and check its temperature (88-90°). If necessary place pan on top of the hot water to bring temperature to 88-90°. The chocolate is now ready for dipping, but check the temperature periodically.
An alternate, and a bit easier, method to temper chocolate is to reserve about 2 tablespoons of the unmelted chocolte and cut into very fine pieces. After the initial batch of chocolate has melted in the top of a double boiler to 104-115°F, remove the pan, wipe dry and add the reserved chopped chocolate. Stir until temperature of 88-90° has been reached.You may have to place pan over the hot water again to bring temperature back to 88-90°.

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Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

à votre sante!

Recent news highlighting the health benefits of chocolate may have helped contibute to the increased sales of dark chocolate. The latest research shows chocolate, especially dark chocolate, to have sustantial levels of many polyphenols – antioxidants which may help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. Additionally, the stearic acid nautrally occurring in cocoa butter also inceases HDL, the "good cholesterol."

Chocolate has about four times the amount of catechins (substances with antioxidant properties) than brewed tea, and four or five times the polyphenols and tannins as many fruits and vegetables.

–from Specialty Food Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000

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