Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2:1 Dark Milk Heart Truffles

I started experimenting with chocolate mixtures in truffles and this is my new favorite.  And of course, since it's Valentine's Day, I had to put some hearts on them.  It's prettier to do once you dip in white chocolate, but really you can dip these truffles in any type of chocolate.  I did. :)  I dipped them in milk, white, and dark.  Dark and milk are my favorites, but I have to say white chocolate is the prettiest.

Stacey's 2:1 Dark / Milk Heart Truffle Ingredients:
16 oz 64% Guittard dark chocolate couverture
8 oz 38% Guittard milk chocolate couverture
11.2 oz heavy cream, organic
3 oz glucose
1.5 oz (3 tbs) unsalted butter, organic, softened

White 31% / milk 38% Guittard chocolate couverture for dipping

The thing I love most about these truffle recipes is that you can make the whole thing only using a microwave.

First I measured out all the chocolate in my 4qt pyrex mixing bowl and then put the cream and glucose in a 16 oz pyrex measuring cup. I microwaved the cream/glucose on 30 second intervals until the cream was boiling (or around 180-200F with my temp gun).  Then I slowly poured it over the chocolate and waited about a minute before slowly stirring to keep the emulsion (more details on that here).  While waiting for the cream to start melting the chocolate, I softened the butter in the microwave at 10 second intervals.  You want it as soft as possible without being liquid. 

Once the cream was all incorporated, I put the softened butter on top and stirred it in.  The recipe I noted above uses the immersion blender with whisk attachment, but I've found that makes the truffles too fluffy, so now I prefer to do it by hand.  When everything was combined, I put a layer of plastic wrap on top and left it overnight to set.  Make sure you put it somewhere cooler than 70F degrees.  65F is preferable, but do NOT refrigerate it. 

After it's set, it's time to roll the truffles.  I use a 1-1/8" scooper and then roll the truffles into balls by hand. I'm usually tempering dipping chocolate at the same time as I'm scooping so that I cut down on the prep time.  I typically temper 1-2 lbs of chocolate at a time for dipping.

A new method I've discovered so you don't have to redip the bottoms is to put the truffles on a chocolate disk and dip them with a dipping fork instead of a spiral dipping utensil.

Then, as long as the disk remains on the bottom (which is sometimes difficult since the rest of it is round), you'll have nice little spheres after dipping.

Once these were set, I tempered some milk chocolate and drew little hearts on top with the end of a chopstick.

And, because it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd share with you the card I made for my boyfriend since we're both nerds.  Happy Valentine's Day!

You : Me

And with that, Happy Valentine's Day, lovely people who visit my blog! <3

Friday, February 10, 2012

V-Day Box 2012

It's that time of year again.  The time of year that people like to eat extra chocolate that isn't Easter or Christmas.  So I thought I'd put together some boxes again to sell to my mom's wonderful friends and my awesome co-workers so that I can keep deducting my ingredients from my taxes.

Stacey's 2012 Mid-February (for those who hate Valentine's Day) Chocolate Boxes:

Strawberry white chocolate hearts with crispies and milk chocolate bottoms

Dark Chocolate Hearts with Candied Almonds

Chocolate Bars: 
Strawberry White Chocolate with Crispies
White Chocolate with Dark Chocolate Drizzle
Dark Chocolate with Candied Almonds

Kahlua Truffles Two Ways:
Dipped in Dark Chocolate with a White/Milk Chocolate Drizzle
Rolled in Chocolate Sprinkles and Organic Turbinado Sugar

And lastly, my pièce de résistance...

The Walnut Meltaway in Milk Chocolate - this is my latest invention of which I am so proud.  I ate one of these and I swear I was transcended to another plane. And I don't even really like walnuts.

And here they all are nestled in a lovely little box:

Happy Chocolate Eating!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Honey Lemon Cake

Yes, another cake.

Stacey's Honey Lemon Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2c unbleached white flour, organic
1/2c whole wheat flour, organic
1/4c brown rice flour, organic
3/4c sugar, organic
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

1c whole milk, organic
1/3c heavy cream, organic
2 eggs, organic
1/4c blood orange infused olive oil
1/4c non-fat yogurt, organic
1/4c lemon juice (about 1 medium sized lemon)
zest from 1 lemon

3-4 tbs honey (I used Blueberry Honey)

9x9" square cake pan with liner

First, I preheated the oven to 350F. I combined all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Then I combined the oil, eggs, yogurt, lemon juice and zest in a measuring cup and beat it with a fork.  In another measuring cup, I put the cream and milk and microwaved it until it was hot, about 125F.  Then I poured both sets of liquids into the dry ingredients and mixed gently with a silicone scraper until it was smooth and combined. 

I poured everything into the cake pan with the liner and baked the cake for about 30 minutes, rotating once at the halfway point.  Then, I allowed the cake to cool for about 10 minutes.  While still warm, I spread the honey on top.  Having the cake be warm makes it easier to spread the honey and allow it to sink into the cake.

This cake was the perfect texture for me.  It was moist, tender, yet still had enough substance to be eaten by hand, and boy did people at work. :)

Tapioca Pudding

I don't know why it took me so long to make this - tapioca pudding is one of my favorite things.  Perhaps I was intimidated by all of it's creamy, chewy, goopy grandeur.  Oh well, better late than never. :)

Stacey's Tapioca Pudding Ingredients:
3/4c water, cold
1/3c small tapioca pearls
2c whole milk, organic
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/3c sugar, organic
2 eggs, lightly beaten, organic

First I hydrated the pearls by letting them soak in the water for 20-30 minutes in a pot.  Then I added the milk, vanilla, and salt and brought it to boiling over low heat for about 15 minutes or until the pearls seemed somewhat clear.  I beat the sugar and eggs together with a fork and then tempered the eggs by pouring in about a cup of the tapioca pearl milk mixture, stirring constantly with the fork.

Then, I added the egg mixture back to the pot with the rest of the tapioca milk mixture and stirred continuously over low flame with a silicone scraper until the temperature was about 160F and the pudding started to thicken. I tried to be careful because I know when there's tempering eggs there's danger of getting scrambled eggs with milk as opposed to pudding. I tasted a pearl to make sure that it was soft all the way through.

It looked like this when I was done cooking:

I put a layer of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming (but, I know there are those of you that like skin, so feel free to let your pudding grow a nice little epidermis), and then I put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours.

Then I put it into a pretty little blue cup with a spoon for serving...

I really love tapioca. Mmmm... tapioca... BTW, using the vanilla bean paste is way worth it.  I love the little crunch and the flavor of those little vanilla bean seeds.