Raspberry Dark Chocolate Ganache Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:

makes 48-64 chocolates, depending on mold size

for dark chocolate ganache:
(this recipe should make more ganache than necessary for these chocolates, but ganache is always a great thing to have around and it keeps very well in the fridge. Use the excess ganache for truffles, if you want, or save for more chocolates later!)
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Gittard, but any good quality dark chocolate will do)
  • 6 Tbspn heavy cream (preferably manufacturing cream, if you can find it)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbpsn Godiva chocolate liquor
METHOD:
  1. Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before boiling.  Immediately pour hot cream over the chocolate in a bowl.  Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the chocolate and cream until a homogeneous mixture forms.  Stir in the chocolate liquor.
  4. Place overnight in the fridge until firm.
for chocolates:
  • 1 lb. dark chocolate, split into two half pounds
  • dark chocolate ganache, recipe above
  • raspberry preserves
METHOD:
You will also need plastic chocolate molds.
  1.  Chop a 1/2 pound of the dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off stove.
  2. Add the other 1/2 pound WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  This is the easiest way to temper chocolate that I’ve found.  No need to mess with marble pastry boards or thermometers!  But, if you have your own method, feel free to temper the chocolate as you wish.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time. Once the chocolate is poured into one mold, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the raspberry preserves in the microwave until easily spreadable consistency.  Fill a pastry bag with the preserves, and set aside.
  7. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Using the pastry bag, squeeze a small amount of raspberry preserves into the bottom of each chocolate mold.
  8. Roll small pieces of the dark chocolate ganache.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds on top of the raspberry preserves, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.  Take care not to overfill the molds.
  9. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  10. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate around the candies.
  11. You should probably store the chocolates in the fridge, but since the chocolate is tempered, they will survive a bit of time outside the fridge as well, as long as it’s not too hot outside!
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Rose Marzipan

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 48 chocolates
for marzipan:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 lb. almond paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn corn syrup
  • 1 Tbspn rose flavoring (available at specialty food stores; I got mine at Sur la Table)
  • 1/2 Tbspn water
  • 3-4 drops pink gel food coloring

METHOD:

  1. In a food processor, pulse confectioner’s sugar until no lumps remain.  Add the almond paste in chunks and process until combined.
  2. Add the corn syrup.  Pulse a few times until the corn syrup is incorporated.
  3. In a separate small bowl, combine rose flavoring, water, and food coloring and mix.  Add the food coloring mixture into the food processor.
  4. Process until the combination starts to come together.  Stop right before it forms a big ball.
  5. Turn out the marzipan onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap tightly and store in an airtight container overnight before use.

for chocolates:

  • 1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Gittard, but any good quality dark chocolate will work), split into two half pounds
  • rose marzipan, recipe above

METHOD:
You will also need plastic chocolate molds.  available  at arts & crafts stores or online.

  1. Chop a 1/2 pound of the dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off stove.
  2. Add the other 1/2 pound WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  This is the easiest way to temper chocolate that I’ve found.  No need to mess with marble pastry boards or thermometers!  But, if you have your own method, feel free to temper the chocolate as you wish.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time. Once the chocolate is poured into one mold, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Break off small pieces of rose marzipan–about the size of a small cherry, and roll into a ball.  Press the marzipan into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  7. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the marzipan.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  8. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate around the candies.
  9. You should probably store the chocolates in the fridge, but since the chocolate is tempered, they will survive a bit of time outside the fridge as well, as long as it’s not too hot outside!

Ginger Carrot Dark Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:
Makes about 48 chocolates, with leftover ganache

  • 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbspn butter
  • 2 heaping tspn ground ginger
  • 1 Tbspn brandy
  • 1 medium carrot (preferably organic), julienned into short and thin, thin strips*
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate

METHOD:

  1. Place 8 oz. chopped dark chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, butter, and ground ginger.  Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in a bowl.  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in 1 Tbspn brandy into the chocolate ganache.
  5. Add the cut carrots in the ganache.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight.
  6. Chop 8 oz. of the remaining dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off the stove.
  7. Add the last remaining 8 oz. of dark chocolate WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  8. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  9. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time.  Once the chocolate is poured, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold.  Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  10. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  11. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Roll small pieces of the ginger-carrot ganache–about the size of a small cherry.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  12. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache.  Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  13. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate from around the candies.

*I chose not to shred the carrots because then you don’t get the crunchy texture of carrot chunks that contribute so nicely to these chocolates.  Instead, I used a mandolin to slice the carrot, cut those into strips, and finally, chopped the strips into one-to-two centimeter long pieces.

 

 

 

 

Saffron-honey Dark Chocolates & Blackberry-cassis Dark Chocolates

Blackberry-Cassis Dark Chocolates

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 3 Tbpsn creme de cassis liquor
  • Blackberry jam

METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream and butter.  Stir and bring to just barely a boil.
  3. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour over the prepared dark chocolate in bowl.  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  4. Stir in the creme de cassis liquor.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.
  5. When filling the chocolate molds, pipe a bit of blackberry jam and then fill with the cassis ganache.
 For directions on molding the candies:
  1. Chop 8 oz. of the  dark chocolate and place in a double boiler.  Melt this chocolate.  Turn off the stove.
  2. Add the last remaining 8 oz. of dark chocolate WHOLE, without chopping!, to the melted chocolate in the double boiler.  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Once the chocolate is tempered, make sure to keep it only hot enough to keep it melted.  Turn on the stove to simmer the water in the double boiler if heat is needed.
  4. Pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the molds one at a time.  Once the chocolate is poured, use a paintbrush to spread the chocolate evenly to coat the inside of each mold. Do not pour chocolate into all of the molds first and then spread later–your chocolate will cool!  Do this one single mold at a time.
  5. Once the molds have been coated, place them in the freezer for about five minutes.  Be careful not to leave them in for too long–the goal is only to let the chocolate set.
  6. Remove the molds from the freezer.  Roll small pieces of the  ganache–about the size of a small cherry.  Press the ganache into the chocolate molds, leaving a tiny bit of space at the top of each mold.
  7. Pour melted chocolate into the molds to cover the ganache. Jiggle each tray a few times, and tap them gently on the counter to allow the melted chocolate to settle and to release any air pockets.
  8. Return the molds to the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour.  Remove from the freezer and turn out onto a cutting board.  If needed, use a round cookie cutter to trim the excess chocolate from around the candies.
Saffron-Honey Dark Chocolates
The recipe below is for the ganache. For directions on molding the candies read above
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbspn honey
  • A generous pinch of saffron threads (~10-15)
  • 1 Tbspn butter
  • 2 Tbspn Godiva chocolate liquor

METHOD:

  1. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the cream, honey, and saffron threads.  Stir and bring to a near-boil, remove from heat, cover, and let steep for ten minutes.
  3. Return the cream, honey, and saffron to heat and add the butter.  Bring to just barely a boil.  Make sure the honey is completely dissolved.
  4. Remove the cream mixture from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer over the prepared dark chocolate.  (to remove saffron threads, but if you don’t mind the threads, skip the strainer.  I did.)  Allow to sit for two to three minutes, then stir until the chocolate melts into the cream.
  5. Stir in the Godiva chocolate liquor.  Allow the ganache to set in the fridge overnight before use.

Cocoa Brownies

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 8 x 8″ square pans

  • 2 1/2 sticks butter (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup black cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 heaping tspn coarse salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 cup AP flour

METHOD:

  1. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C. Line the sides and bottom of the two 8 x 8 baking pans with parchment paper or foil, leaving some overhang so that you can lift out the brownies after baking. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler over simmering water, combine the butter, cocoa powders, sugar, and salt. Stir until the butter melts completely, everything is thoroughly combined, and the batter is just barely hot to the touch. Remove from the double boiler and let cool until warm.
  3. Add the eggs to the chocolate batter one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  5. Fold in the flour in < 40 strokes.  Divide the batter between the two prepared baking pans.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. The brownies will look a bit underdone, but they will continue to cook as they cool in the pans.
  7. Once completely cool, lift the brownies from the pans and cut into pieces.

Rocky Road

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Nutella (or omit Nutella and use 1 cup peanut butter)
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nut)
  • 13 whole cracker sheets / or digestives or biscotti

METHOD:

  1. Grease or line a 7″ x 11″ pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Place 6 crackers over the bottom and cut one cracker with a serrated knife to make pieces that will fit into the blank spots.In a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt together 2 cups of chocolate chips, peanut butter, and Nutella. Stir until smooth.Remove from heat and stir in marshmallows and nuts.
  3. Spread mixture over crackers. Cover with a layer of crackers, again cutting the extra cracker to make smaller pieces to fit into blank spots. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. Allow to cool completely in the refrigerator overnight. When chilled, lift out of pan by the paper and cut with a serrated knife into four long stripsIn a double boiler, melt 1 1/2 cups of the remaining chocolate chips. Stir until just melted. Remove top of double boiler from the bottom and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup and stir until completely melted. If it seems to take a long time, you can place on the double boiler again  for 15-20 seconds to heat a little more.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Carefully spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over every side of each strip of rocky road. Set on wax paper and place in refrigerator to set.
  5. Once chocolate is set, cut 3/4-inch segments with a serrated knife. Store in an airtight container. I think it tastes best at room temperature.
Makes about 4 dozen pieces.

Traditional Nanaimo Bars

INGREDIENTS:

Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½  cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
Middle Layer
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Custard Powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Top Layer
  • 1 cup semi-sweet-chocolate chips (or, even better, about 22 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white or milk chocolate, melted

METHOD:

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 X 9-inch pan (glass or metal) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  2. Bottom Layer:  In a 150° oven, toast coconut and chopped pecans until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally. (This toasting is optional, and not necessarily traditional, but I like it.)   Remove from oven and set aside.  In the top of a double boiler, melt ½ cup butter and  cocoa and sugar. Whisk to combine.  Whisk in the beaten egg.  Whisk until thickened, and then remove at once from heat.  Fold in the cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans.  Press into prepared pan.  Put in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
  3. Middle Layer:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter, half & half, and custard powder.  Fold in the powdered sugar.  Beat until very light.  Spread evenly on top of the first layer.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in refrigerator again for an hour or so, until middle layer is firm.
  4. Top Layer:  In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and Crisco or vegetable oil. The chocolate may melt the middle layer if it’s too hot, so you might want to let it cool for a little bit.  Pour onto second layer and spread evenly.  Drizzle white or milk chocolate over the top for decoration.*(method explained below)  Let set in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes and then cut.  (This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you cut it.)  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Note: Be sure to remove any foil or parchment paper that may have stuck to the bottom of individual bars.
VERSION 2

INGREDIENTS:
Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate (or ¼ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup white sugar)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 ½  cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped
Middle Layer
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons half & half
  • 2 tablespoons powdered vanilla pudding mix(of the instant variety)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Top Layer
  • 1 cup semi-sweet-chocolate chips (or, even better, about 22 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises)
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped white or milk chocolate, melted

METHOD:

  1. Line the bottom of a 9 X 9-inch pan (glass or metal) with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
  2. Bottom Layer:  In a 150° oven, toast coconut and chopped pecans until golden brown and fragrant, stirring occasionally.   Remove from oven and set aside.  In the top of a double boiler, melt ½ cup butter and Ghirardelli Ground Chocolate (or cocoa and sugar). Whisk to combine.  Whisk in the beaten egg.  Whisk until thickened, and then remove at once from heat.  Fold in the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and pecans.  Press into prepared pan.  Put in refrigerator while you prepare the next layer.
  3. Middle Layer:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together ½ cup softened butter, half & half, and pudding mix.  Fold in the powdered sugar.  Beat until very light.  Spread evenly on top of the first layer.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in refrigerator again for an hour or so, until middle layer is firm.
  4. Top Layer:  In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and Crisco or vegetable oil. The chocolate may melt the middle layer if it’s too hot, so you might want to let it cool for a little bit.  Pour onto second layer and spread evenly.  Drizzle white or milk chocolate over the top for decoration.*(method below)  Let set in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes and then cut.  (This keeps the chocolate from cracking when you cut it.)  Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Note: Be sure to remove any foil or parchment paper that may have stuck to the bottom of individual bars.

How to Make Those Feathery Lines on Nanaimo Bars

  1. Make a wax paper or parchment paper pastry cone (http://on.aol.com/video/how-to-fold-a-parchment-cone-264593972)                   
  2. Melt your chocolate in a double boiler.  Don’t let the term “double boiler” freak you out if you’ve never used one.  I use a medium size pot half-filled with water, and then I place a metal bowl on top.  That’s it.
  3. Get the rest of your materials ready because once you get the chocolate melted, you want to be ready to spread the chocolate, make your white chocolate lines, and then drag the toothpick through.
    Before you put on the top chocolate layer, melt a small amount (2-3 teaspoons) of white or milk chocolate (I also add a few drops of canola oil).  Scrape melted white/milk chocolate into pastry cone that’s resting inside an empty glass or cup to keep it from spilling.

    Everything’s ready to go.  Melted white chocolate is in pastry cone with top folded/rolled down.
  4. Once you’ve spread the melted dark chocolate on top, snip off about 1/8 of an inch from the tip of the pastry cone.
    White chocolate filled pastry cone with tip snipped, ready to go.
  5. Pipe parallel lines about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart on top of chocolate.  I don’t even make exact lines, I just sort of zig-zag.  If you get stray drips of white chocolate on the dark, that’s okay, they’ll add character to your finished product.
  6. ake a toothpick and run it back and forth every 1/4 to 1/2 inch perpendicular to the lines you’ve piped.  You don’t have to be too careful because it will turn out beautiful even if it’s not “perfect.”
    Four o’clock in the afternoon wasn’t the best time to photograph this, but hopefully you get the idea.
  • Be sure to refrigerate for about 10 minutes, or until chocolate is JUST set, and then cut.  If you cut before the chocolate is set, it won’t be “cut.”  If you cut after the chocolate is hard, you’ll end up with ugly crackage.  Nobody wants that if they can avoid it.
    This chocolate is not set.  Not ready to be cut.