Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label almonds. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Whipped Ganache "Rocher-Style" Truffle Bombs


Whipped Ganache "Rocher"-Style Truffle Bombs

crunchy salted almonds, crisp snappy dark chocolate coating with smooth fluffy  whipped ganache surprise inside.


i must admit...these where an unexpected accidental delicious truffle treat.  i had a huge bowl of dark chocolate ganache frosting in the fridge and no cake...hmmmm...chocolate will not go to waste in this house.  i'll make truffles.
the interior, as you can see, is simply the whipped ganache.  the same you might use for frosting something like the unbelievable Black Magic Cake.  by the way...do check out the cake, it's a must for chocolate lovers.  with a quick dip in some tempered chocolate, a little roll in salted almonds and you're golden.  you've conquered the ultimate truffle.

if there's someone special, someone to impress or you're just in the mood for chocolate...suit up...put your creative hat on and give these a try.  put your own flavors together and see what delicious little ball of chocolate you can create.



WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING 
or INTERIOR FOR ROCHE STYLE TRUFFLES

8 oz Guittard 70% bittersweet coverture chocolate discs
8 oz heavy cream
you could add an extract, a little cinnamon, some spice etc... if you want a different flavor other than pure chocolate.
NOTE...you can make as much as you want with a 50-50 ratio of chocolate to heavy cream.

heat heavy cream in a small sauce pan.  bring to a boil, remove from heat and pour directly into and over the chocolate.   allow to sit for 1 minute.  start to gently stir from the middle.  take your time.  you will see it magically come together with a beautiful shine.  stir until you have it all incorporated.  let sit on the counter for at least 45 minutes.  you are looking for a pudding consistency and ABOUT 70 DEGREES.  if you need to speed it up, refrigerate and stir every 10 minutes until pudding consistency.  put this in the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment.  start slowly and move the speed up to high.  you will see that it forms soft peaks after one minute.  keep a close eye so you DON'T OVER WHIP.  watch it until it gets just a bit more firm. you want frosting consistency.  do not over whip or you will end up with chocolate butter.  
NOTE...as stated...this was originally a frosting recipe that i stuck in the fridge.  i found the frosting recipe with some great visuals at Joe Pastry.com so please check out his helpful photos for the correct frosting consistency.

refrigerate until set.
these are a bit more difficult to ball up than a regular smooth ganache truffle...a little messy, but doable.  definitely worth the effort.  when ready to roll...use thin rubber gloves and a spoon or small scoop.  the ganache might seem "crumbly".  do the best you can to make a ball.  remember, the more you handle it, the more it will melt.  i like to quickly press the ball together with my finger tips.  make small balls and refrigerate while preparing chocolate for dipping.

MISE EN PLACE !!!

COVER YOUR WORK SURFACE
CHOP ROASTED SALTED ALMONDS
PREPARE COOKIE SHEETS WITH PARCHMENT
TEMPER YOUR CHOCOLATE
check link HERE for my instructions.
i use the easy microwave method similar to Alton Brown's seen HERE, but have adapted it slightly.  (Alton is thorough, but tends to complicate things sometimes.)
NOTE...i have only tempered 16 oz (1 lb.) of chocolate.  i am not a master, but any less might not come out perfect.  1 pound of chocolate will be too much for just these truffles.  SO...always have extra stuff (like nuts, cookies, chips, pretzels) or more truffles to dip and have fun with.  let no chocolate go to waste.

remove balls from fridge.  let them sit out for just a moment to take the chill off.  there is a fine line between cold and cool.  if too cold they with expand and crack after dipping and the outer layer has set.  if too warm they will loose shape.  

dip each ball in tempered chocolate.  lift out of chocolate with a fork, tap off excess and drop into bowl of chopped almonds.  carefully cover the whole thing and gently place on parchment
OR...you can place these into mini cupcake papers and sprinkle more almonds on top.

BIG NOTE...i was in a hurry so for the last few so i took a short cut.  i sprinkled a few almonds in the bottom of the mini paper cups, dropped the chocolate coated truffle in the cup and sprinkled almonds on top.  these are not shown here.  they're not quite as uniform, some almonds spill while eating, but it definitely did the trick, looked fabulous and tasted delicious.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Greek Yogurt Lemon Tart with Rosemary Almond Crust



SWEET
TART
CLEAN
REFRESHING
GLUTEN FREE


sweet tart lemony citrus desserts are so refreshing especially this lovely tart with it's little rosemary kick.
i seem to forget about lemon desserts.  they get pushed aside for the dark chocolate, the savory peanut butter and the gooey caramel goodies.  i often post about bacon, chocolate, pig ears, pork belly and various decadent sweets and savories, but i bet you'd never guess... i actually DO eat a lot of yogurt, egg whites, grilled fish, steamed vegetables, aloe vera, kombucha, blah blah blah...
i call it my "yin and yang theory".
a little good and a little bad keeps everything in balance.

but...about this recipe...
i'd say it weighs in on the "good for you" side.  i found the original lemon rosemary tart on pinterest at Good Things Grow and pinned it to my "must-try" board.  i finally got around to it, but wanted to make a gluten free crust.  i am not gluten free, but i love to experiment and i have a few gluten free friends.
the original almond crust comes to you from Flourishing Foodie.  i love the almond flour crust idea so i just added the fresh dried rosemary...delicious.  the crust was crisp out of the oven and would be perfect served the day of, but alas...i needed to shoot the tart the next day so i stuck the finished product into the fridge.  the crust lost it's crunch, but was still a winner.  i would compare it to a cheesecake style crust.  it holds up and slices well, but got a little moist after refrigeration.  solution?...i added some crispy lightly toasted almond slivers to the servings and "voila"...the crunch was back in the mix..


Rosemary Almond Crust
Gluten Free
almond flour crust original found at Flourishing Foodie

2 cups almond flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh oven dried rosemary
1/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

preheat oven to 400F.  lightly butter a 9 inch tart shell.  i used a silicon pastry brush.

in a food processor add almond flour, sugar, salt, rosemary, butter, vanilla bean paste and egg white.  pulse until all ingredients are combined and start to stick together, resembling coarse meal...do not over blend...it will get mushy and ball up.

put mixture into tart shell and press out with your hands and form up the sides of the shell.  create an even layer.  i used a flat glass to lightly tamp  it down.  it will seem quite thin, but will cook to a nice crust as shown.

bake on middle rack for 15-20 minutes, or until it is light brown.  remove from oven and cool completely.


GREEK YOGURT LEMON VANILLA BEAN CUSTARD FILLING
original found at Good Things Grow

1 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 to 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

preheat oven to 350F
place yogurt, vanilla bean paste and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.  whisk in the egg, one at a time, then add the lemon juice and zest.  whisk until completely smooth.

pour into prepared tart crust.  i poured as much as i could and only had 1-2 Tbsp left over.
BAKE at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until the center is set and only slightly jiggles.  mine was in for 28 minutes and i could have pulled it at 26 minutes.  as you see i had a few cracks, but it was not over cooked.

allow to cool completely.  stick it in the fridge for just a slight chill and a complete "set"...i refrigerated mine over night and the crust got a little moist.  it resembled a graham cracker crust, but still delicious.  i think it would be best to slightly chill and serve the day of.  this tart served very well.  it might be a bit more crumbly (not a bad thing), yet...crunchy and crisp if served the day of.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rosemary Almond Salted Caramel Chocolates


ROSEMARY and CHOCOLATE...
FABULOUS COMBO
add some smoked salt caramel and roasted almonds?...done deal


just trying to squeeze in as many chocolates as possible before it's too late.  i'm obsessed with tempering chocolate, learning new tricks and trying new flavors.
 although chocolates make great gifts anytime of the year, this one looks and tastes very "winter holiday-ish".
if you temper your chocolate they will keep for quite a while and package up nicely with a little fresh sprig of rosemary...nice aroma burst when opening the bag.  there's no dipping involved and the only pain is going the extra step with the caramel center...but trust me, the oozing caramel is a fabulous hidden surprise.

BIG NOTE...if i have left anything out of the recipe or instructions in my mad dash to get this post done before X-mas...or you have any questions, please leave a comment and i will get back ASAP.
my measurments might not be exact...i tend to have all these things on hand during treat making time and sometimes i throw in extra here and there.


ROSEMARY ALMOND SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATES
makes about 25 depending on size

1 pound good DARK chocolate, tempered
1 cup (have extra on hand) roasted salted almonds, chopped
7-8 oz. Werther's chewy caramels
1 Tbsp cream
1 1/2 tsp fresh oven dried rosemary, minced as fine as possible
smoked salt
cumin

do your caramel first.  unwrap caramel pieces and put in a microwave safe glass bowl with 1 Tbsp cream.  melt in small increments and stir in between so as not to over heat...heat and stir until combined and liquid.  pour onto light sprayed parchment paper and sprinkle with a little rosemary, smoked salt and cumin.  put in fridge to set for about 1 hour.
when set...make small balls of caramel.  roll in a little bit of chopped almonds.  make about 30 of these small balls.  you don't want this ball too big because it has to fit in the cup and be covered with another layer of chocolate.  refrigerate caramel balls so they do not spread.  if they DO spread, just ball them up again before placing in chocolate.
NOTE...it's helpful to have the caramel balls separate and ready when the chocolate is ready.

put paper cups in a mini muffin tin...makes them stable and easier to deal with.  set aside.

temper the dark chocolate.  click HERE for "how-to microwave temper and Tips and Tricks information.
mix about 3/4 cup chopped almonds and about  1 tsp. of rosemary into tempered dark chocolate.
spoon a small amount into paper cups...do one tray of 12 at a time.  now put a small caramel/almond ball in the cup on top of chocolate.  push in ever so slightly.  cover with another spoonful of chocolate/almond mixture.  tap the tray on your work surface gently a few times.  if any caramel is showing add more chocolate mixture to cover.  you can sprinkle a few almonds and some smoked salt on top or just leave to set.  if your room isn't cold enough, put the chocolates in the fridge for about 15 minutes...then remove from fridge.  if tempered, they will be fine at room temperature.
ANOTHER NOTE...you might want to do a taste tester...make one up and stick it in the freezer for a quick set.  see if you need to add some more rosemary?...salt?
also...you might have left over caramel...but i'm sure you'll find a few takers to polish it off.



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spicy Dark Chocolate Bacon with Roasted Almonds


YES, chocolate bacon has been around for a few years...BUT if you haven't tried it...

YOU MUST PARTAKE IN THE PHENOMENAL FLAVOR COMBINATION AND SHARE WITH YOUR BACON LOVIN' FRIENDS !

if you have tried it and weren't too impressed, i guarantee this is far better than the pathetic scrap you paid big $$$ for at the local fair.  besides...you will amaze your friends with your chocolate making abilities.  there are still loads of people out there who haven't tried it and are in shock and awe with their new found love of the sweet savory chocolate covered pork belly bits.  when tempered correctly, it makes a fabulous gift and or party treat for any occasion.

the 3 main tricks to fabulous chocolate covered bacon are...
GOOD CHOCOLATE
TEMPERED CHOCOLATE
CRISPY BACON


A FEW TIPS AND TRICKS I HAVE FOUND HELPFUL FOR TEMPERED CHOCOLATES...

#1...buy GOOD "coverture"chocolate.  pay the extra $$$
#2...the room should be cold.  wear a sweater, but don't turn the heat or the oven on.
#3...mise en place!  get everything out you will need.
#4...chocolate is a messy job.  cover your work area.
#5...use microwave tempering method...no chance of water being introduced to your expensive chocolate.
#6...use a hair dryer to keep chocolate at working temperature.  again, no water is involved.
#7...use a larger bowl lined with a dish towel to place chocolate bowl in while working...the snuggle effect helps keep it warm.
#9...only put dipped chocolates in the fridge to set if necessary for about 10-20 minutes.  then remove.  you don't want condensation.
#10...have extra dipping stuff on hand because there is always that extra bit left that you don't want to waste.  pretzels, cookies, potato chips, fruit...your finger!
#11...keep finished items airtight in the coolest room of the house..even in the garage if necessary

FINAL TIP...websites i found VERY informative...
ALSO...i must add...i am NOT a professional Chocolatier 

SPICY DARK CHOCOLATE BACON with ROASTED ALMONDS

1 12oz package bacon, cooked crispy
1 pound good coverture Dark Chocolate, in discs or chopped
roasted salted almonds, chopped
red pepper flakes
smoked finishing salt
ground cumin and chipotle powder for cooking the bacon.

first get everything ready...put almonds, red pepper flakes, and salt in separate bowls for sprinkling on wet chocolate..  prepare a few cookie sheets with parchment to place dipped bacon.  get a hair dryer out and introduce it to the kitchen... you will use it to rewarm the chocolate if necessary.
think the process through so you are ready when the chocolate is ready.

cook bacon in the oven.  one layer on an aluminum lined cookie sheet.  start in a cold oven at 380 F approx. 25-30 minutes ( i use convection), turning once or twice.  drain off excess fat half way through and sprinkle with chipotle powder and cumin.  then flip all pieces over and proceed to cook until crispy.  drain fat again if necessary.  BACON MUST BE CRISP.  set the slices on paper towels and dab off excess bacon fat.  let cool completely.


EASY MICROWAVE TEMPERING...(dark chocolate)
adapted from Alton Brown's Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses "pure cocoa butter".  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

put 12 oz. of the DARK chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds...STIR.  one more time 30 seconds...STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called "seeding" i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the sheen...so i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel...this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it's temper.

start dipping.  let excess chocolate drip off and place slices on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with red pepper flakes and almonds while the chocolate is still wet....then a little finishing salt.  do about 4-5 slices at a time so you can get your toppings on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.


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