chocolate

My Big, Fat, Greek Truffle!

Ok, it’s not abnormally large, and not of Greek origin, but it is Anise-flavored like my favorite Greek liquor, OUZO!! If you make a mess while making/eating these, you can clean it up with Windex!

Star Anise Infused Truffles

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/3 C semisweet chocolate
  • 3-4 star anise pods
  • 1/2 tsp anise extract
  • cocoa powder, sprinkles, anise infused sugar, Kosher salt for topping (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream and anise pods to a gentle simmer.
  2. Cover and steep 10-12 mins.
  3. Meanwhile, slowly heat a large pot of water for the double-boiler. I like to use my pasta-pot
  4. In a bowl large enough to rest over the top of the water pot, combine chocolate and anise extract.
  5. When cream has finished steeping, pour it through a wire mesh strainer into the chocolate & anise extract mixture. Discard anise pods.
  6. Heat chocolate, anise extract, and cream slowly over the double-boiler until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  7. Refrigerate genache mixture 6-8 hours or overnight.
  8. When you’re ready to roll the truffles, you will want to have clean, warm hands. I used my smallest Pampered Chef scoop, so my truffles were about 1/2 oz each. I spread a small amount of each topping on a plate so I could easily top each truffle in the topping of my choice.
  9. Scoop out the truffle mixture, making sure to level-off your scoop. Quickly roll it in your hands to desired shape and while the chocolate is slightly melty from the heat of your hands dip it into the topping of your choice. Place finished truffle on a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Continue until all of the truffles are rolled & topped to your liking.
  10. Chill truffles for several hours before serving or gifting. I like to freeze mine so they will keep their shape better & longer. Place each truffle in a mini-cupcake wrapper for adorable presentation!

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Star Anise Infused Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C granulated sugar
  • 2 star anise pods

Instructions:

  1. Put granulated sugar into an airtight container with a lid.
  2. Add your anise pods & shake container.
  3. The longer the anise pods remain in the sugar, the greater the licorice/Ouzo flavor.
  4. If you use some of your sugar & need to refresh, just add some sugar and let your container rest to infuse the flavor.

Fun fact: Black licorice and salt is a classic Nordic combo, so maybe I can also categorize this under #vikinggrub

Wasting away again here in Truffle-ville…

My brain has been overwhelmed with flavor profiles for truffles. My fridge & freezer are filled with truffles at different stages of production. I’ve had a few failures (I’ll address that in a moment) & a few really successful rounds. One might say that I’m slightly obsessed. In fact, BRB, I’m going to update my SM bios to reflect this…  

 So I have good news & bad news. I’ll give you the bad news first. I am not a professional chocolatier by any stretch of the imagination. Almost everything I know about candy-making of all sorts comes from hands-on experimentation. I have not as-of-yet been able to successfully produce a white chocolate truffle. I was experimenting with a saffron-orange blend that I was very excited about, and while I got the color (lovely & golden) & flavor profile spot-on, I cannot seem to get the consistency right. I’ve tried changes to the chocolate/cream ratio & I’ve tried Ghiradelli’s suggestion of adding butter to my melted white chocolate (they’re Ghiradelli, they should know, right?) to no avail. The genache is still too thin to roll and my truffles flatten into delicious but totally unappetizing pancakes. In general, I am not a fan of white chocolate, and this is not decreasing my white chocolate hatred. Grrrr. 😡 Please, if you are a lover of, or have successfully made truffles using white chocolate, I implore you to leave me a comment telling me how you did it. 

On the upside, I have come up with a flavor profile that’s my biggest triumph to date. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but these are definitely my favorite so far…

Cardamom & Orange Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cardamom pods, smashed
  • 1 tsp dried orange zest
  • 1 1/3 C dark chocolate chips
  • orange sugar, powdered sugar, cocoa powder etc for topping 

Instructions:

  1. Smash cardamom pods using the side of a knife until they are all split open.IMG_1203
  2. Put smashed pods and any seeds spilling out into a small saucepan & pour cream over them. 
  3. Bring cream to a gentle simmer over med-high heat. Cover and remove from heat. Allow pods to steep in cream for 12 mins. 
  4. Meanwhile, slowly heat a large pot of water for the double-boiler. I like to use my pasta-pot. 
  5. In a bowl large enough to rest over the top of the water pot, combine chocolate & orange zest. 
  6. When cream has finished steeping, pour it through a wire mesh strainer into the chocolate & zest mixture. Discard spent cardamom pods. 
  7. Heat chocolate, zest, and cream slowly over the double-boiler until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. 
  8. In a small bowl, refrigerate genache mixture 6-8 hours or overnight. 
  9. When you’re ready to roll the truffles, you will want to have clean, warm hands. I used my smallest Pampered Chef scoop, so my truffles were about 1/2 oz each. I spread a small amount of each topping on a plate so I could easily top each truffle in the topping of my choice. 
  10. Scoop out the truffle mixture, making sure to level-off your scoop. Quickly roll it in your hands to desired shape and while the chocolate is slightly melty from the heat of your hands dip it into the topping of your choice. Place finished truffle on a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Continue until all of the truffles are rolled & topped to your liking. 
  11. Chill truffles for several hours before serving or gifting. I like to freeze mine so they will keep their shape better & longer. Place each truffle in a mini-cupcake wrapper for adorable presentation!

I love these truffles rolled in some orange sugar! Flavored sugars are easy to make, and the longer the sugar is in contact with the orange zest, or lavender buds, or rose petals, or whatever you’re flavoring it with the stronger the aroma & flavor will be. Running out of flavored sugar? Just top off your container with some more sugar & wait for the magic to happen.  

Orange Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 C granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Instructions: 

  1. In a small resealable container combine sugar & zest. 
  2. Close & shake to combine. 
  3. Allow zest to flavor sugar overnight before using. The longer the zest is in the sugar, the stronger the flavor/aroma will be.  

Gastro Goodies? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Want some of the delicious treats you’ve been seeing in my blog in your own mouth? Check out my Etsy shoppe, Mise en Place Gourmet for 40-day-aged black garlic, hand-rolled truffles in 6 flavors, flavor-infused finishing salts, flavored sugars, and more! Hand made by me & delivered right to your door! You definitely have time for that!! 

Do the “Truffle Shuffle” with Your Valentine!

Help! I’ve fallen down the truffle rabbit hole! 

  
I’m making truffles & I can’t stop!! Making truffles 1) is easy 2) is fun (in my opinion) and 3) looks impressive to your friends. I’ve made truffles a handful of times over the years, but this time I upped my game & made them in some outside-the-box flavors (I’m nothing if not outside-the-box).

Lavender-Love Truffles

makes 16-18 truffles 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried lavender buds
  • 2 tbsp honey (lavender honey if you can get it)
  • 1 1/3 C dark chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder, sprinkles, lavender buds, lavender salts etc for topping (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan over med-high heat bring cream to a gentle simmer. 
  2. Whisk in the lavender buds, cover, and steep for 10-12 mins.    
  3. Meanwhile, slowly heat a large pot of water for the double-boiler. I like to use my pasta-pot
  4. In a bowl large enough to rest over the top of the water pot, combine chocolate and honey.    
  5. When cream has finished steeping, pour it through a wire mesh strainer into the chocolate & honey mixture. Discard lavender buds. 
  6. Heat chocolate, honey, and cream slowly over the double-boiler until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. 
  7. Refrigerate genache mixture 6-8 hours or overnight. 
  8. When you’re ready to roll the truffles, you will want to have clean, warm hands. I used my smallest Pampered Chef scoop, so my truffles were about 1/2 oz each. I spread a small amount of each topping on a plate so I could easily top each truffle in the topping of my choice. 
  9. Scoop out the truffle mixture, making sure to level-off your scoop. Quickly roll it in your hands to desired shape and while the chocolate is slightly melty from the heat of your hands dip it into the topping of your choice. Place finished truffle on a sheet pan lined with wax paper. Continue until all of the truffles are rolled & topped to your liking. 
  10. Chill truffles for several hours before serving or gifting. I like to freeze mine so they will keep their shape better & longer. Place each truffle in a mini-cupcake wrapper for adorable presentation!

By the way, this is Chunk from The Goonies. Then & Now!

Viva Los Brownies!

I’ve always had a slight obsession with the combination of spicy and sweet… it had lay dormant for a bit & was reawakened over Cinco de Mayo weekend. I hit my local Scooters coffee drive-thru to find a new concoction: the Fiesta Chai Blender! So it’s a iced & blended chai with a touch of what they call “sweet heat”. Turns out it’s a sweet & spicy (Yes!) syrup made with ghost peppers! My mouth was confused (It’s cold & creamy! No! Wait! It’s hot!!!) but delighted. Scooters, you need to keep that “sweet heat” syrup around at all times because I am enamored!!

In keeping with this theme, my wheels started to turn of what else I could make with this sweet/spicy/chocolatey combo. Thanks to Pinterest (By the way, are you following me on Pinterest yet?) I found a few recipes for Mexican Brownies, including this one by Aaron Sanchez (of Chopped fame). These soft, sweet, chocolatey brownies are enhanced by a bit of cinnamon and a kick of cayenne. I have a slight inkling to increase the cayenne the next time I bake these, just a little, because the spice was just a slight hint at the end.

Mexican Brownies

(adapted from a recipe by Aaron Sanchez)

Makes 16-18 brownies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cooking spray, like Pam
  • 2 C granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (Use Mexican vanilla if you can find it.)
  • 2/3 C unsweeted cocoa powder
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9X13 pan and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a nonstick saucepan over medium-low heat; do not bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla to the saucepan and whisk until combined.  IMG_0579
  3. Add the dry ingredients (cocoa, flour, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and baking powder) to the saucepan and using a tempered rubber spatula, mix until smooth.  IMG_0580
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fudgy but not wet.  IMG_0581
  5. Cool in the pan on a rack, for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.