Chocolate Savoy & El Rey

26 Apr

Being the nationalist that I am, I believe it is my duty to present to you guys Venezuelan chocolate. Savoy is Venezuela’s pride and glory. It tastes so fruity and delicious! I highly recommend this chocolate for milk-chocolate lovers. They are just the perfect balance of quality, taste and texture. This chocolate is used not only for snacking, but also for baking. My family uses it most to cover cakes with.

 

In my opinion; however, I prefer “El Rey.” It has a better quality. It has a richer taste, a more pure taste of chocolate. Mainly because this huge bars come in high percentage of cacao it why I prefer this one. But I know this chocolate has a lot of recognition worldwide. Trust me on this one, buy a bar (or two) and you will be hooked! To some, enjoying Venezuelan chocolate is an acquired trait because if its fruitiness, to others not. I am a pretty biased subject since I grew up eating this chocolate. As a matter of fact, I had to acquire some traits to like American brand chocolate–they are just too sweet!

Chocolution

23 Apr

The world’s a pretty big place, right? And you know that you share the same interests with many people around the globe. Well, I found “Chocolution.” This is a sort of movement that works in providing the healthy benefits and information about chocolate. Trust me, once you read this and what they do, you understand the power of the chocolate. I have to admit, I give props to these guys, they went above and beyond your typical chocolate research. Check them out!

Which one do you prefer?

23 Apr

So I found this pretty cool infograph. I probably would prefer eating chocolate after dinner. I don’t know why, but I crave sweets during the night. And if I had to chose my favorite chocolate, it would be dark. The darker, the better. I like sweets that have just a small amount of sweet. I cannot stand milk chocolate, for instance, it’s too sweet for me (plus it doesn’t mix well with my “lactose intolerance.” When it comes to chocolate, I have to go Ghiraldelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. They’re just amazing (and they don’t cause any type of secondary effects-nutritionists and chefs do say that the darker the chocolate the better for people who can’t tolerate lactose too well)! What do you prefer?

Concorde Cake

23 Apr

Ok..time for an exotic cake that I know you haven’t tried..or at least it’s very unlikely you have tried it. This cake is one of my favorite! It tastes amazing, it’s texture is so unique and it’s flavor…well, it’s great. My sister always asks for this cake on her birthday. I personally do not complain about it, since it’s not everyday that my mom buys that cake. So far, I haven’t seen any bakery that sells this down here in Miami. There might be, so I’m still on the look out. Anyway, here’s a the recipe for this amazing cake. Enjoy!

 

Daniela

Concorde Cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate meringue
120g Egg whites
120g  Icing sugar
30g Cocoa powder
120g Granulated sugar

Chocolate mousse
125g Dark chocolate (70%)
75g  Unsalted butter (soft)
2 Egg yolks
40g  Icing sugar
90g Egg whites
10g Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 120 °C
Chocolate Meringue
Line the baking sheets with baking paper or silicone baking mat.
Sift the cocoa powder with the icing sugar, set aside.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks formed, gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks formed.
Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into the meringue, fold lightly until fully combined.
Put the batter into the piping bag fitted with 1.2 cm piping nozzle.
Pipe the meringue into 15 disks (7cm in diameter), then pipe the rest of the meringue into long strips.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringue dry, turn off the oven and rest the meringue in the oven for 1 hour.
After taking off the meringue out of the oven,  let cool completely before proceed the next step.
When ready to assemble the concordes, cut the meringue strips into small pieces.
Chocolate Mousse
 Melt the chocolate by putting the chocolate in the bowl and place the bowl over warm water (without letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water), stir until melt.

Put the soft butter into the melted chocolate, stir to combine.
Pour the egg yolks (one at a time) into the chocolate mixture, stir to combine after each addition. Sift the icing sugar into the chocolate mixture, stir to combine.
Whip the egg whites until soft peaks formed, gradually add the granulated sugar and whip until stiff peaks formed.
Fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture, 1/3 of the meringue at a time, fold lightly until combined.
Assembling the cake
You can use the piping bag or just spread the chocolate mousse over 1 disk of the meringue, place one meringue on and spread the mousse again, then top with another disk of the meringue.
Spread the mousse over the top and side of the concorde, decorate with the meringue strips. Sprinkle the icing sugar over the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

America’s Top Ten Chocolatiers

21 Mar

The list has finally arrived. Every year, Dessert Professional Magazine choses the top ten chefs. This year’s chocolate winners are the following:

  • Gail Ambrosius
  • Christopher Curtin
  • Katherine Clapner
  • John Doyle
  • Adam Chandler
  • Jonathan Grahm
  • Shaineal Shah
  • Christopher Elbow
  • Tariq Hanna
  • Rick Jordan

This guys’ stories are incredible. I wonder how can they become so famous in such a competitive business. Here is why creativity is so important. The more creative, unique you are, the higher the chance you’ll be in the top ten list :).

After you see the chef’s biographies, you’ll want to begin your own chocolate shop. I know that I do. Perhaps that can be my 10-year goal.

Daniela

P.S. Check out the rest of this magazine. I know you’ll love it.

 

 

Four-Layer Chocolate Cake

19 Mar

So I decided that it was time to make a chocolate cake. No reason what-so-ever. I was stressed yesterday, and once I got home I had the yearning to bake something. I went through my stack of recipes and found this magical, delicious cake from Food Network Magazine. 

The mixture seemed to me a bit different than what I am used to making. It was very liquid. But no worries, it comes out perfectly. I tweaked the recipe a little bit to my liking just because I do not like make desserts to sweet.  

Word of caution: I am NOT  professional baker, all my baking is for fun…a trial and error kind of thing.

Ingredients
For the cake:
Cooking spray
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (sift, then measure), plus more for dusting
2 cups hot strong coffee 
1 1/2 cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil, and it worked out fine)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups of water, room temperature

For the ganache:
1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 1/3 cups heavy cream

For the bark:
4 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preparation:

Prep the pans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fold a large sheet of parchment paper in half; put a 10-inch-round cake pan on top. Trace the cake pan, then cut out the circle to make two rounds of parchment. Spray two 10-inch cake pans with cooking spray; fit a parchment round into each. Spray the pans again, then dust with flour and tap out the excess.

Make the batter: Pour the coffee into a liquid measuring cup or bowl; whisk in the cocoa powder. Put the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; mix with the paddle attachment on low speed, 1 minute. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and 2 cups water; beat on medium speed, 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low; beat in the coffee-cocoa mixture in a slow stream until combined. The batter will be thin.

Bake the cakes: Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the pans on a rack, 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely. Place each cake on a 10-inch cardboard cake circle (this helps stabilize the layers as you move them around), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Make the ganache: Pulverize the bittersweet chocolate in a large food processor. Bring the cream just to a boil. With the motor running, pour the hot cream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and set in a bowl of ice water. Chill, stirring often, until the ganache is cool but not stiff, about 20 minutes.

Make the bark: Microwave the white chocolate in 15-second intervals until two-thirds melted; stir to fully melt. Scrape into a zip-top bag and seal. Put a plastic sheet protector on each of 2 baking sheets. Snip a corner of the bag; pipe thin lines of white chocolate over the sheets.

Refrigerate the baking sheets until the white chocolate is set, about 10 minutes, then repeat the process with the milk chocolate, piping thin lines over the white chocolate. Refrigerate until the milk chocolate is set.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in the same way, then spread over the white and milk chocolate lines using an offset spatula. Refrigerate until hard, about 30 minutes.

Peel the sheet protectors off the chocolate and break the chocolate sheets into shards of various sizes.

Slice the layers: Put one cake on a cake turntable. Position a long serrated knife against the side of the cake, about halfway down. Slowly rotate the turntable so the knife slices the cake in half horizontally. Don’t move the knife much-let the rotation of the turntable do the work. Repeat with the other cake to make 4 layers; transfer each to a cardboard circle. (If you don’t have a turntable, carefully slice the cakes in half on a cutting board.)

Frost the cake: Transfer half of the ganache to a bowl and whisk until light brown and fluffy. Place one cake layer (still on a cardboard circle) on the turntable; spoon one-third of the whipped ganache on top. Rotate the turntable to smooth the ganache with a long spatula (or just assemble and frost on a cake plate). Repeat to sandwich all 4 cake layers with whipped ganache. Spread all but about 1/2 cup of the unwhipped ganache over the top and sides of the cake.

Decorate the cake: Press the chocolate bark against the sides of the cake, using small dollops of the remaining ganache to help the pieces stick, if necessary.

Image

This cake is DELICIOUS. It’s also very fun to make.  The cake’s texture is so dense and filling, that one slice may be enough..or two. The coffee mixture intensifies the chocolate flavor. My cake may not look as nice as Chef Ron Ben-Israel‘s, but it sure came close to it.

Truly one of my favorite recipes.

 

Daniela

 

Brigadeiros

14 Mar

So last time I talked about going to a chocolate festival. There I tried brigadeiros. Though it wasn’t my first time eating them, I must say they are one of the best I have ever eaten. So, I believe it is fair to share with you the recipe so you can make your own and try them. They are not that hard to make and they require only a few ingredients and a saucepan.

Image

 

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. of cocoa powder

1 Tbs. of butter (salted is fine)

1 (14 oz.) can of condensed milk

 

Preparation:

In a saucepan over medium heat, pour all the ingredients and mix them well. Keep stirring the mixture for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thickened. Be careful to not let the mixture burn. After it has a thick consistency, let cool completely. Form bite size balls. You can roll them over cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles or nuts. It goes well with almost everything. You can now eat them or refrigerate them. I prefer them a little bit cooler, but that’s my opinion.

Enjoy!

Daniela