The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
Shut the front door! Truffles and Bonbons?! How excited was I?!
I instantly had a bajillion ideas that I wanted to try! Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately, I can't decide) I just don't have that many people to share food with still, and I decided that having 3,000 homemade chocolates in my kitchen all to myself would be good for the soul, but not for my thighs. So I made myself choose TWO (it was so hard!) and stuck to that.
The first I made was not a tempered chocolate - I felt I needed to get my feet wet, first. It was a cut chocolate, kind of like a bar, and I went BOLD. I saw a recipe for Mayan Chocolate Truffles over at Nourished Kitchen and I knew instantly that I wanted to make these. Dark and bitter chocolate, sweet vanilla, zesty orange, smoky chipotle, and hints of cinnamon and coconut. Whowza.
I kind of freaked out at the instructions that said to roll the ganache into a log (um, yeah right!) and instead laid out my chocolates into a 9x13 casserole. Then I realized I should have used something smaller because my chocolates turned out really thin. But I actually really like them that way! I also recommend brushing off as much of the cocoa powder as you can, because otherwise it will try and kill you by coating your throat. Other than that, I really like these chocolates! I mean, utterly addicted! At first bite, they are harsh, bitter and spicy. Then slowly, the chocolate begins to melt in your mouth and you can taste the sweetness of the cinnamon, vanilla and coconut. And lastly, the orange zest and chipotle leave a warm tingling on your tongue. This is definitely grown up chocolate.
My second attempt was to recreate a childhood favorite of mine. In a quaint little corner of town (and later in the mall) was a place called Chocolaterie Stam, and they made a chocolate that I was gaga over. Milk chocolate in the shape of a maple leave, filled with a earl grey cream. I only occasionally got this little treat, and I haven't had one in years, so I thought it would be fun to try and make one myself! I couldn't find a recipe for what I wanted, so I totally winged it and made one myself!
It didn't out too bad, but I could have used waaaaay more earl grey flavor. I decided to try the seeding method of chocolate tempering, and it wasn't until I was halfway through that I realized that my candy thermometer doesn't register low enough temperatures! Ah! Sure, I can read temperatures up to 450 degrees, but try and read something that is 80 degrees and its a no-go! So I totally guessed at the temperatures, and of course I didn't temper it correctly and my chocolate bloomed. I'm going to blame it on the fact that I could not find any high quality chocolate here, so I used a bag I pulled off the shelf at Wal-Mart. That's probably why, right?
Also, after much cajoling and begging (ok, ok, she was actually excited) my best friend has JUST joined the Daring Bakers, and she has done a phenomenal job! Everyone head over to her blog, Modulating Up, and leave her some love! :)
Mayan Chocolate Truffles (Nourished Kitchen)
10 ounces 85% chocolate, chopped coursley
1 orange, zested
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 vanilla bean
dash of unrefined sea salt
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter)
cocoa powder, for dredging
In a large mixing bowl, add the chocolate chips, orange zest, cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, the contents of one vanilla bean and the salt.
Bring the coconut milk and coconut oil (or butter) to a slow simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.
Pour the warmed coconut milk and oil over the chopped chocolate and seasonings and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture becomes thick, uniform and glossy.
Transfer the mixture to a plate (or square baking pan) lined with parchment paper, molding it into a log as best you can, and allow it to harden in the fridge overnight.
After the chocolate has hardened in the refrigerator for at least 8-12 hours, remove, unmold, and carve into bite sized chunks.
Toss the chunks with cocoa powder, then brush off as much as you can, and serve.
Earl Grey Bon-Bons
6 ounces white chocolate
3 earl grey tea bags
1 cup cream
12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped finely
Prepare the filling:
Prepare a loaf pan by lining the inside with cling wrap.
In a small saute pan, add the cream and earl grey tea bags. Gently warm, without simmering, and let the tea infuse for a few minutes.
Add the white chocolate to the saucepan and stir with a rubber spatula until all the chocolate is melted and a smooth ganache has formed
Remove the tea bags.
Pour the ganache into the prepared loaf pan and let sit until hardened. (I added a few leaves of tea to the top of mine because I didn't think it had enough tea flavor).
Temper your chocolate:
Prep your double broiler - fill a small saucepan with a tad bit of water, and find a glass bowl that fits snugly on top. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the pan.
Bring the water up to a simmer, and add 2/3 of your chocolate into the bowl.
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly.
Once the chocolate is melted, keep an eye on your thermometer. As soon as the temperature reaches 45C/113F, remove rom heat.
Add small amounts of the remaining 1/3 un-melted chocolate (seeds) and stir to melt.
Continue to add small amounts of the chocolate until you have brought the temperature down to 27C/80.6F.
Put the bowl back on the double burner and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of 30C/86F. Be careful that it does not go above its working temperature or you will ruin the temper!
Remove the filling from the pan , pull away the cling wrap, and cut into squares.
Dip each square of filling into the tempered chocolate and shake off excess.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to harden.