March 05, 2005

Vosges Black Pearl Layer Cake

Having loved the Vosges Black Pearl Chocolate Bar, I was thrilled to find a recipe for a cake with the same ingredients on Epicurious. The recipe came from Katrina Markoff, founder of Vosges and had appeared in the January 2005 Bon Apétit magazine.

Now I'm off to find wasabi powder. Hopefully, I can get it at the local Wegman's.

Update: I got sidetracked into making another cake. However, check out "In My Kitchen's" description of making this cake.

March 04, 2005

Cardamom Hot Chocolate

So, after tasting cardamom hot chocolate as part of a dessert at Indebleu, I decided to make it at home. This was especially appealing to me since it was in accord with my need for simplicity and minimalism (*cough* laziness *cough*). The idea was simple and elegant: add cardamom to my hot chocolate. So, I did and the result was highly satisfying.

The short recipe:

  1. Prepare your hot chocolate as you normally would. Use plain hot chocolate. No flavored ones, please.
  2. Towards the end of the heating period, add 1/4 tsp. of finely powdered cardamom to the hot chocolate. If you microwave your hot chocolate, I don't want to know about it.

The more complete Viren recipe:

  1. Measure 1 cup of milk (preferably 2%) and pour into pot.
  2. Slowly heat up the milk on a medium low setting.
  3. As soon as vapors start rising from the milk, slowly mix in 3 tablespoons of Dagoba Hot Chocolate mix into the milk. Ensure that the milk never boils.
  4. Keep stirring slowly the entire time that the milk is being heated.
  5. Just before removing the hot chocolate from the stovetop, add 1/4 teaspoon of finely ground cardamom powder. I sometimes add a little more cardamom depending on my mood, but more than 1/3 tsp. would be a bit much.
  6. Froth up the hot chocolate either with a molinillo or a hand blender.
  7. Pour into a big mug -- the better to wrap your hands around.
  8. Go stand outside in the cold.
  9. Drink!

February 28, 2005

Valrhona Drinking Chocolate Recipe #1

I decided to experiment with drinking chocolates. Since I had a bar of Valrhona Dark Bittersweet Chocolate (Le Noir Amer: 71% cacao) around the house, I used that as the base.

2 squares (approx. 1 oz.) Valrhona Dark Bittersweet chocolate
1 glass milk (8 oz.)
1/4 tsp. sugar (optional)

Grate as much of the chocolate as you can without getting tired or shredding your fingers. Break up the reamining chocolate in small pieces (as much as you can break with your fingers assuming the bar has been residing in a cool place). Seperate the grated chocolate from the broken pieces.
Pour the milk into a pot and heat over medium low heat until vapors start to rise. Slowly mix in most of the grated chocolate, leaving aside some to sprinkle over the finished drinking chocolate. Change the heat to low. Keep stirring the milk until the chocolate has dissolved. Now slowly add the chocolate pieces one by one into the milk. Thoughout the process, keep stirring the milk making sure that it doesn't burn or boil. If desired, mix in the 1/4 teaspoon of sugar.
After all the chocolate has dissolved, pour into a mug and sprinkle the remaining grated chocolate over the drinking chocolate. Enjoy!

Just a note: Drinking chocolates traditionally have much more fat than hot chocolates. In the case of this recipe, you are getting almost 50% of your daily requirement of saturated fat from 1 glass of drinking chocolate. So be careful, or at least be aware :-)

January 09, 2005

Hot Chocolate Recipe Tips

Just a note: this isn't a recipe as much as tips on making hot chocolate:

  1. Use milk (or soy milk for vegans). Please don't use water unless the hot chocolate milk has milk powder/fat mixed in already (in which case, desist from using it altogether). I tend to use 1% milk since that's what I have lying around the house. I prefer 2% milk for hot chocolate in general. Whole milk makes the drink a little too rich for my taste.
  2. Heat up the milk in a saucepan. Places like Williams-Sonoma will happily sell you a cast iron "hot chocolate pot" for $99. *rolls eyes* I'm fine with using a stainless steel pot. I prefer milk that is heated to just below boiling. There will be another blog forthcoming on the different ways of heating milk
  3. Make sure you froth up the drink with a hand mixer or a proper mexican molinillo if you happen to have one lying around
  4. If you are using good hot chocolate, please do not dump in whipped cream or marshmallows. They just detract from the taste. If you are using Swiss Miss or Nestle, go for it -- after all, I need my sugar rush sometimes, too

However, to quote Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have."