Holidays, Recipes, Uncategorized

Chocolate Caramel Tartlet

Posting from HQ:  November 16

It’s a big cooking week coming up.  So before everyone gets started, we wanted to share this little gem with you.

Our Chocolate Caramel Tartlets were adapted from a recipe by David Leibovitz, a man whose recipes we trust.  He is an American living in Paris and has been a professional cook and baker most of his life.  Among his many credentials, he has a certificate from Callebaut College in Belgium and Valrhona’s Ecole du Grand Chocolat in France.  He has written 6 books, including The Great Book of Chocolate and critically acclaimed Room for Dessert.

While his resume is impressive, we became true fans because of his blog, The Sweet Life in Paris.  In it, David chronicles his daily wanderings through one of our favorite cities and his musings on pure food, made with honest ingredients.  The recipes he posts are for real people, like us.  He is also funny.  And takes beautiful photographs.

This tartlet is the perfect example of having just a little bit of something very, very good.  The rich, dark ganache balances the sweet caramel and salt.  Finished in a slightly crisp tart – you will be completely satisfied after one.  Or two.

Ingredients:

Chocolate Dough:

4 ounces unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 T Dutch process or natural cocoa powder

Caramel Filling:

4 ounces soft butter caramels

3 T heavy cream

Ganache:

4 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (our extreme dark is also great here)

6 T heavy cream

Instructions:

To make the tartlet dough, beat the butter and sugar until just smooth, using a mixer or by hand.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.  Then combine with the creamed butter mixture.  Butter the indentations of a mini muffin tin.  Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and work each ball into the indentations of the muffin tin using your thumb to press dough firmly against the bottom and sides.  Freeze the pans of dough for 20 minutes.  Quantity should make approx 24 tartlets.

While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough appears dry.  Remove from the oven.  While hot, use the handle of a wooden spoon to push down any puffiness and widen the inside of the tartlet.  This helps create a nice clean edge to the outside of your tartlet and any imperfection caused on the inside will be happily hidden beneath the caramel and ganache!  Then let cool completely.

For the caramel filling, heat the caramels and the cream over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Spoon the caramel into each tartlet shell.

For the chocolate ganache, start by heating the cream in a small saucepan or double boiler.  Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate.  Let sit for a minute, then whisk the chocolate into the cream until the mixture is smooth.  Top each tartlet with the ganache and then swipe the excess* with the back of a spoon.  Finish each tartlet with a sprinkle of sea salt.

*We must admit that we continued to pretend we were with David in Paris by dipping a baguette into the leftover ganache.  Ahh, the sweet life!

Holidays, Recipes

Dark Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds and Ginger

Posting from HQ: October 29

Chocolate bark is a great recipe to have on hand throughout the holidays for an easy dessert or beautiful hostess gift. This dark chocolate version showcases simple, pure ingredients high in antioxidants and known for their powerful health benefits. We love the contrast of sweet sun-dried Goji berries with the crunch of salted pumpkin seeds.

But don’t be shy! This recipe is easily adapted to kid-pleasing combos including crushed cookies and candies or bits of toffee and granola.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup roasted almonds, slivered

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sun-dried Goji berries

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, thinly sliced

16 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

a pinch of sea salt

Notes:

To achieve a finished result that is both tasty and gift-worthy, it is important to temper, rather than simply melt, your chocolate. This is because as chocolate cools and solidifies, the cocoa butter in chocolate forms a crystal structure. If chocolate cools on its own, the crystal structure will be loose and your bark will be soft and malleable with a dull finished appearance. Instead, if the melted chocolate is held within the ‘tempering range’ (88-90 degrees Fahrenheit for dark chocolate, 86-88 degrees for milk chocolate), the cocoa butter will form a more dense crystalline structure. So when the chocolate cools completely, it will harden into a very stable chocolate with an appealing sheen, and satisfying snap. It will also keep for months at cool room temperature.

It can be tricky to temper chocolate. A good rule of thumb is to remember that chocolate melts at around your body temperature and should be worked with near that temperature. Many people are accustomed to working with chocolate at closer to boiling temperature. Chocolate should never rise above 115 degrees at full melt. So using a thermometer is key.

Instructions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt 2/3 of your chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Using an instant-read thermometer, bring the dark chocolate to just under 115 degrees. Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/3 chunks of chocolate and stir gently to incorporate. The warm chocolate will gradually melt the chopped chocolate, slowly bringing down the overall temperature. Stir constantly until completely smooth and melted and the thermometer reads 88-90 degrees. Your chocolate is now tempered!

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate on the parchment paper in a layer approximately 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle evenly with Goji berries, pumpkin seeds, ginger, almonds and sea salt. Gently press the ingredients into the chocolate. Allow bark to cool completely.

Use a sharp knife to cut into pieces. Enjoy!

Recipes

S’more Pie

Posting from HQ: July 17

This pie is scrumptious and can be put together in a snap.  Inspired by our Campers S’more Truffle Bar,  it combines chocolate and marshmallows in a graham cracker crust that will have everyone licking their fingers!

For the Pie:

12-18 graham cracker squares

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Dark Chocolate Truffle Bars, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 cup milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped

Preparation:

Using a rolling pin, crush graham crackers to a fine crumb.  In a large saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, add graham crackers and combine completely.  Press the mixture firmly into a pie pan, covering the bottom and sides completely.

In a double broiler, or heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate, marshmallows and milk, stirring constantly over low heat until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Cool to lukewarm.  (Cooling is crucial for getting the filling to set properly.  So if you skimp on this step, your pie might still taste good, but it won’t look so great!)  Fold in whipped cream.  Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Recipes

Lemon and White Chocolate Cupcakes

Posting from HQ

This cupcake was inspired by our summertime favorite Lemon Ice Truffle Bar.  The simplicity of the cupcake, topped with a smooth lemon and white chocolate frosting, makes a delicate treat on a hot day.  Or … you can turn up the volume like we did here, by flipping the cupcake upside down and frosting the bottom and the sides to feature the flavors that make this such a fabulous desert.  Finish with some shaved white chocolate and a twist of lemon – it’s a stunner!

For the Cupcake:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

For the Frosting:

4 Lemon Ice White Chocolate Truffle Bars, coarsely chopped

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For Pizzazz:

Lemon Zest

Shavings of Lemon Ice Bar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 12 cupcake liners in a 2 1/2 inch muffin pan.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the lemon peel and vanilla.

Beat in 1/2 of the flour mixture, scraping sides of bowl as needed.  Gradually add in the buttermilk and then the remaining flour until all ingredients are mixed.  Divide batter among muffin cups, filling to about 1/2 full.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.

And now for the frosting.

In the top of a double boiler, melt chopped Lemon Ice Truffle Bars with 1 tablespoon butter.  Once smooth, set aside to cool until lukewarm.

Have the cream cheese cold and the remaining butter at room temperature.  In a medium bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the confectioners sugar one-third at a time and mix until combined.  Slowly add the melted white chocolate and mix until smooth.

Frost and decorate as desired, or remove the cupcake liner and place cooled cupcake upside down on a dessert plate.  Generously frost the bottom and sides.  Then press shavings of white chocolate into the frosting and top with a bright twist of lemon peel.

Recipes

Salted Caramel Brownies

Posting from HQ:  May 22

Chocolate with salt and caramel is a truly exquisite flavor pairing and we think it works beautifully in these brownies.  Although we use dark chocolate here, this recipe was inspired by our customer favorite San Juan Sea Salt Truffles.

But be warned, these are nothing like what you and Betty Crocker might whip up for a quick treat.  This dessert is all grown up and could easily be served a la mode at your next dinner party or as a special Father’s Day surprise.

For the Brownies:

6oz Dark Chocolate Truffles, coarsely chopped

3/4 cups Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1 cup Sugar

3 Eggs

1 cup Flour

For the Caramel Glaze:

1/4 cup Heavy Cream

1 cup Sugar

1/4 cup Water

1/8 cup Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9×13 in. pan with butter or baking spray.  In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter stirring until melted.

Add sugar and stir gently until combined.

Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs.  Drizzle the eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly.  Then add flour and stir until combined.

Pour batter into greased baking pan and spread to even out the surface.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely in the pan.  We recommend giving these the full cooking time so that the brownies come out slightly crunchy – a base that will hold its own with the sweet, gooey caramel top.

Now comes the hard part  – the caramel glaze.

The flavor is determined by two things:  the cooking time of the sugar and water, and the amount of salt you stir in at the end.  Overall, we strive for a smooth, delicate flavor where no single element overpowers.  But if you like a more roasted flavor, increase the cooking time of the sugar and water.  And of course, you can kick up the salt by dusting the top.

If that just confused you and now you feel the need for moral support, check out Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman blog while your brownies cool.  She is funny.  She goes for it.  (We like that in a girl!)  And, for all her time on camera at the Food Network, we were relieved to see that she too has to finesse the caramel to make it cooperate.  Check out her slightly different version of this recipe!

OK.  Back to the glaze.

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the heavy cream.  Do not boil.  In a separate tall saucepan, combine sugar and water.  Do not stir.  Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

Cook until the sugar and water mixture turns an amber color.  It takes a while so be patient.  But once it darkens remove immediately because it will start to taste burned long before it looks burned!  Should look about like this.

Now add warm cream, butter, and salt.

It will bubble up slightly but stir gently until mixture is smooth and well combined.  When it is smooth, stir in water.  Cool ever so slightly and pour over completely cooled brownies.

Allow to set completely.  Cut, serve (don’t be afraid to scoop a little vanilla on there).  Enjoy!

Recipes

Chocolate Pizza


Posting from HQ:  April 12

We love thinking about new flavors.  Things that go with chocolate and are sure to surprise and delight whether it’s a special occasion, or just because.  But we are always mindful of staying this side of the fine line that could turn great taste into some sort of a taste test.

So when we saw this, created by a chef who knows what he is doing, we just had to scratch our heads.  Chocolate pizza??  Don’t misunderstand, bread and chocolate are two of our favorite things.  Chocolate croissant – unanimous yes.  Chocolate spread on a lovely french baguette – mais oui!  But this particular creation left us feeling confused…and of course scrambling for our wallets so we could sample it.

This pizza is made with a lightly sweetened thin crust, dusted with graham cracker and drizzled with chocolate syrup.  Topped with marshmallow and broken chocolate, the chef lightly caramelized the top which made the whole thing look very melty, and worth a try.

The verdict?  Decidedly split.  Between us we polished off a piece, but we were absolutely dying for a glass of milk!

Recipes

Mint Chocolate Mousse

Posting from HQ:  March 9

Some companies let off a little steam together over ping-pong.  But here at Seattle Chocolates we make dessert!  And there are very few easier, or more crowd pleasing desserts than chocolate mousse.  The other day, we added a twist of mint to this classic treat.  Substitute any of our truffle flavors to enjoy an espresso, peanut butter or even sea salt version.  Sure to be a hit!

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups whipping cream

12 ounces (approx 5 bars) meltaway mint truffles, coarsely chopped

1/4 teaspoon mint extract, optional

4 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin

Directions

Chill 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in refrigerator.  Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.

In top of double boiler, combine mint truffles and butter.  Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to just above room temperature.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into metal measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin.  Allow gelatin to “bloom’ for 10 minutes.  Then carefully heat by swirling the measuring cup over a low gas flame.  Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged.  Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks.  Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses.  There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine.  Do not overwork the mousse.

Spoon into bowl or glasses and chill for at least an hour.  Garnish and enjoy!

(If mousses are to be refrigerated overnight, chill for one hour and then cover each with plastic wrap.)