Hello again everybody! Sorry for being out of commission for a little bit, but again I’ve been busy trying to keep busy. Although today, I’m feeling somewhat under the weather and flu-ey, plus my back hurts. So you know what that means for me — Cheezits and Rum! But it also means that I won’t be going to the gym (I’m up to lifting 110,425 lbs. now) so I gots me some time to post some fun stuff for y’all!
This is what I made for a little get-together to help celebrate Cinco de Mayo. You’ll need some cayenne pepper, which is said to have been used by the Mayans and the Aztecs (cultural nugget — yay!). It has been some time since I made these and I forgot the heat they impart. I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but it is definitely noticeable. It won’t hit you at first, but after the chocolate melts away is when you get that kick from the cayenne.
This recipe came from chatelaine.com, and they in turn adapted it from the book A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman and James Chatto. And if y’all remember my chocolate truffles cake, I prefer a more “natural” truffle — one that actually looks like the truffles you dig out of the ground. That’s why these chocolates are called truffles after all. Here’s what you need:
- 10 oz. (280 g) bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 c. (50 mL) room temperature butter
- 1/2 c. (125 mL) whipping cream
- 1 T. (15 mL) liquid honey
- 1/2 t. (2 mL) cayenne pepper
- 1/4 c. (50 mL) cocoa powder
1. Finely chop chocolate. Place in a large bowl with the butter. Pour cream into a small saucepan and set over medium heat.
2. As soon as cream boils, remove it from the heat and then pour it over the chocolate and butter. Stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in honey and cayenne.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment, foil, or silpat. To make truffles, scoop out a small amount of the mixture with a melon baller or a very small ice cream scoop. Use your hands to shape chocolate into 1-2 inch balls. Set each ball on a baking sheet.
5. Place half of cocoa powder in a small bowl. Place one truffle in the bowl and gently roll to coat with cocoa. Shake off excess and return to the baking sheet. Repeat, adding cocoa as needed. When all are coated, place in a container in single layers separated by wax paper. Refrigerate. Will keep for up to 5 days.
Notes — Every time I make truffles I always think that it’s a good idea to always have a bain marie ready. Most recipes I find involve pouring some scalded cream into some chopped chocolate. More often than not, the heat from the scalded cream is not enough to melt the chocolate. That’s where the bain marie comes in to finish the job. . . experiment with different types and amounts of chili and see if there’s anything that you like better. . . Don’t forget to like Jereme’s Kitchen and my bakery Daisy Cakes on Facebook!
One of the things that adds a nice touch to desserts is some croquant. Croquant is very similar to brittle candies (like peanut brittle, for example), but the recipe is a lot simpler. There’s no butter, or cream, or baking soda, or anything like that. Just sugar, water, and your “feature ingredient”, which is usually sliced almonds for some reason. But it’s fall, so I thought this would be great to try with some pepitas / pumpkin seeds. I also wanted to add some lavender for that added twist.
When I first started considering making something like this, I thought it would be extremely difficult and laborious, but it’s really quite simple. I realize now that I was mistakenly associating this with pulling taffy. And if you’ve ever seen or done that, you know what I mean about laborious. This recipe is great on its own as a candy, but it’s also nice to garnish, I don’t know, something like a Pumpkin Cheesecake (hint, hint — that’s my next post!). Of course, this recipe does make more than enough to use as a garnish, so luckily it tastes good in its own right. Here’s what you need:
- 4 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- 1 1/2 c. pepitas
- 1 T. lavender
1. Line a half sheet pan with a silpat or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium-sized, heavy saucepan combine the sugar and water. Over medium-high heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir after this point; only swirl the pan. If a film forms on the sides of the pan, brush the insides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.
4. Pour onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out quickly. Allow to cool completely. You can break it into pieces or before it has cooled 100% you can score it or slice it into desired shapes. If you keep it in a dry space, this could keep for several months, but probably could last a week or so.
Notes — This batch does seem a little cloudy because I wasn’t paying attention and stirred it a little bit too much. When you do that, crystals start to form which isn’t what you want. I didn’t mind too much since I was breaking the croquant into very small pieces to serve as a garnish. If you are trying to make larger sheets, take more care than I did in this batch. A quick trick to help prevent this is to add a little corn syrup. Without getting into too much detail chemistry-wise, corn syrup is a different type of sugar. So when those two different sugars mix, it makes it difficult for molecules to organize and form crystals.