I attended a fascinating seminar by MOF Chef Stephan Tréand. Chef Tréand earned the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France, or “best craftsman in France,” award in 2004. The seminar was described as “Tempering Chocolate.” Chef Tréand dispensed with that discussion in the first two minutes, then spend the next ninety minutes demonstrating how to make a pure chocolate showpiece.
Rather than try to explain the process here are a few photos from start to finish. He brought some of the pieces with him, but made most of them during the seminar.
I will say I did learn new concepts and methods about tempering and using tempered chocolate.
It’s the same old story, but with a different meaning. I had three egg yolks leftover from an earlier bake. As QC says (often) I am both frugal and whimsical and didn’t want to waste three whole egg yolks. As it happens home made scratch chocolate pudding requires three whole egg yolks.
Chocolate Pudding from Scratch
Makes 4 cups; serves 8
INGREDIENTS • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder • 3 tablespoons cornstarch • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1 cup heavy cream • 3 large egg yolks • 2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk • 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes; set aside.
Whisk the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together in a large, heatproof bowl. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture.
Whisk the egg yolks into the cream and cornstarch mixture.
Pour the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.
Bring the milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.
To temper the eggs, slowly pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.
Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. (It should look like lava boiling up!) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker.
Cook for 2 minutes more, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
Transfer the pudding to a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the pudding. Cover with a lid and refrigerate.
Neil sent me a recipe for these cookies, knowing they are among QC’s and my favorite cookies.
Well, they weren’t exactly thin but they were minty. I am not exactly thin either so I don’t hold that against them.
When I make these again, and rest assured I WILL be making these again, I will roll between waxed paper instead of parchment paper. The dough is quite sticky and distorted when trying to remove them from the paper and put on a baking sheet.
I also think coating in tempered chocolate might help as this chocolate will melt in your hands, as well as your mouth.
Thin Mint Cookies
INGREDIENTS ½ cup butter ½ cup granulated sugar ½ cup brown sugar 1 egg 1 cup AP flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1/3 cup cocoa powder ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract Chocolate Coating: 8 ounces baking chocolate ¼ teaspoon vegetable oil ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg and peppermint extract. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
Place the ball of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper. Flatten it into a disk and put another piece of parchment paper on top. It may be a good idea to use waxed paper as the dough is very sticky and did not remove from the parchment paper easily.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough, with the parchment paper, onto a baking sheet.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.
Transfer the flattened dough to a countertop. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use it to line the baking sheet.
Use a small, circular cookie cutter to cut out disks of dough. Transfer the cut disks onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving space in between. Because the dough is chilled, these cookies won’t spread too much while baking. I collected the excess dough, re-rolled and chilled to make about 8 more cookies.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 11 minutes. Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven, then transfer the parchment paper and cookies to a cooling rack to fully cool.
Set up a double boiler and chop the chocolate. Add the chopped chocolate into the bowl of the boiler and stir in the vegetable oil. Stir the chocolate until fully melted and stir in the peppermint extract. Next time I will temper the chocolate. These cookies much be refrigerated or the chocolate will melt in your hands.
Use a slotted wooden spoon to make the dipping process easier. Place a cookie on the wooden spoon. Dip it into the chocolate or use a large spoon to help cover the cookie. Tap the spoon gently against the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Once covered in chocolate, transfer each cookie back to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to fully set and harden.
• Thin Mints are best enjoyed cold. • Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. • Keep in the freezer for one to two months, or in the fridge for two weeks. This will also keep the chocolate coating at its best. • Store in an airtight container for two days.
As the holidays approach, the baker often changes his spots from baker to chocolatier. Everyone seems to like my chocolate coated soft caramels dusted with some Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
I ran out of my favorite Barry 64% cacao chocolate. This chocolate is both delicious and has a 4 out of 5 liquidity which makes a nice thin coating. I found some re-packaged bulk Barry Callebaut 70% dark chocolate which did not have a liquidity rating. After using it I would guess it is in the 2-3 range of 5. By not flowing as well yhis resulted in a thicker coating, but it was all that was available. Hopefully, my “go to” 64% will be back in stock soon!
Paying attention to the temperatures while tempering the chocolate really pays off. The chocolates don’t melt in your fingers and have an attractive, shiny appearance.
I hit the maximum temperature of the caramel perfectly. (238 deg) To cut it I put in in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, then cut into about 1” squared. I still had to coat the knife with some baking spray to make cleanish cuts.
That title is a mouthful, but not as good a mouthful as the cake!
Roll the cake as soon as it finishes baking. The cake will be HOT. I ended up using the parchment paper and rolling the ends like a small Tootsie Roll. It worked pretty good and saved my fingers.
The cake broke as I unrolled it. Apparently this is not uncommon. I believe I unrolled it too soon after it came out of the refrigerator. It wasn’t much of a problem as the frosting covered the breaks. I was going to make some marshmallow fluff to add to the filling, but forgot to make any this morning. Maybe next time.
I used grapes instead of cranberries for the decorations. (I am not a fan of cranberries.) I wish the long section of log were even longer. The jelly roll pan was a good size, and I think rolling a longer sheet of cake would be much more difficult, but it would have been nice for it to be bigger.
Most of the cake will be given away to family and neighbors, but we will be sure Manufacturing and QC have enough for proper assessment.
I ended up using half the suggested confectioner’s sugar for the frosting (topping.) QC and Manufacturing I checked it often during mixing, until we decided it was sweet enough, but not too sweet.
Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake
INGREDIENTS Cake • 4 large eggs, separated • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar • 1/3 cup (65g) packed light or dark brown sugar • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) strong brewed coffee • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted (see note) • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • 1/2 cup (62g) all-purpose flour • 3 Tbl natural unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 2 Tbl (10g) for rolling* • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon salt Vanilla Whipped Cream • 1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream • 3 Tablespoons (38g) granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract • optional: 2 Tablespoons marshmallow creme (“Fluff”) Chocolate Topping • 3/4 cup butter • 1 1/2 cups (125g) unsweetened cocoa powder • 5 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar 624g (1c confectioners sugar = 117g) • 2/3 cup milk • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 12×17 inch baking pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter, so the parchment paper sticks. Then line it with parchment paper so the cake seamlessly releases. Spray or grease the parchment paper too. We want an extremely nonstick surface for this cake roll.
Make the cake: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl on high speed for 5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Sift the flour, 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl bowl. Pour the melted butter, coffee, and egg yolk mixture over the dry ingredients. Beat everything together on medium speed until completely combined. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in the egg whites until completely combined. Avoid over-mixing and deflating those whites. Batter will be very light.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. It will be a very thin layer. Shimmy the pan on the counter to smooth out the top. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the cake gently springs back when touched with your finger. Do NOT over-bake.
Roll the cake: As the cake bakes, place a piece of parchment paper (larger than the cake) or a thin kitchen towel flat on the counter. Sprinkle with a light coating of cocoa powder. Once the cake comes out of the oven, immediately invert it onto the parchment/towel. Peel off the parchment paper that was on the bottom of the cake as it baked. Starting with the narrow end, slowly and gently roll the cake up with the parchment/towel. The cake will be warm. Allow the cake to cool completely rolled up in the parchment/towel. Place in the refrigerator to speed it up, about 2-3 hours.
Remove the cake roll from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes to warm up as you prepare the whipped cream.
Make the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Then beat in the marshmallow creme, if using.
Slowly and gently unroll the cake. Spread whipped cream evenly on top, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the cake. Gently roll the cake back up, without the parchment/towel this time. Place on a wire rack set on a baking sheet (to catch the extra ganache). Set aside on the counter or in the refrigerator as you prepare the ganache.
Make the topping: Cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners’ sugar alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.
Pipe in horizontal strips to resemble bark. Use an M1 star tip.
Refrigerate for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving.
Cover leftover cake and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. NOTE: To make sugared cranberries and rosemary, add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until sugar has melted. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Spread 1/2 cup of sugar evenly on a shallow dish. Dip cranberries and rosemary springs to the sugar water, then roll in the sugar. Let dry before adding to the cake. I also used some of the clumps of sugar left behind to add “snow” to the cake.
Do you like soft, chewy caramels, especially when coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with a bit of Malden Sea Flake Salt? Well, I do!
If you read the past few posts you know I bought 11 pounds of very nice chocolate and am looking for places to use it. Today I discovered it took about 360g, or 12 oz of chocolate to cover 72 one inch cubes of caramel. Now I know..
These are really easy to make, and worth the modest effort. I experimented with coating with simple melted chocolate or using tempered chocolate. Tempering is worth the extra step. The chocolate won’t melt in your hands, but will in your mouth.
I was shown a picture of a Jack ‘O Lantern cake, found the tutorial and more of less followed it. It is supposed to be one of those plastic buckets used to collect your spoils during Trick or Treat. I am satisfied with my first attempt. The recipe called for chocolate cake, so I used my Extreme Chocolate Cake. I also used my recipe for buttercream frosting and marshmallow fondant.
While a little time consuming, most of the individual elements can be prepared well in advance. I made the cakes almost a week early and frozen them. When thawed they are every bit as good as fresh. Fondant needs to rest overnight and buttercream will stay in the fridge for several days before use.
Mark a 4” circle on the top and the mid-point down the cake. Try your best to carve a half a sphere, evenly around the center of the cake. I put a 4” flat plastic disk to serve as a base. The QC department suggested the top of a round plastic storage container that worked perfectly. Take a deep breath, hold the cake tight and flip it end for end. Repeat the same carving on what will now be the top of the cake, making a perfect sphere, or in my case a slightly distorted, but acceptable, ovoid.
Make the cakes and cool, or if frozen, let warm to room temp.
Mix the buttercream.
Before coloring I set a piping bag full aside to frost some birthday party cupcakes I made.
Frost between the layers, smooth any seepage and refrigerate overnight.
Carve the cool cake and crumb coat, back to the fridge.
Frost the cake and yup, refrigerate again.
Make the marshmallow fondant, break off some of the un-colored fondant and set aside.
Knead in the orange food coloring. Protect your work surface to avoid stains. I like to wear gloves for this.
Knead black food coloring for the face into the white piece set aside.
Find a face you like, or draw your own.
Cut it out, pin it to the cake and cut out holes for the black fondant.
Cut the black fondant to fit the template and fit into the holes on the cake.
Cut a 4” circle on the top about 1/2” deep and line with fondant. (Which ever color you have left over.)
Roll a piece of black fondant out into a long trip. Lay a piece of wire on it and wrap with the fondant, leaving a couple off inches of wire uncoated. Push the clean ends into each side of the top opening.
Place a few pieces of wrapped candy in the shallow hole on the top.
In a continuing search for places to use chocolate I found Chocolate Torsades. The name derives from the French ‘tornado’ for ‘twist.’
There really isn’t a recipe for this. I used my creme patisserie recipe from the eclairs, (I had some left over.) I also had a leftover sheet of puff pastry, and of course lots of existing chocolate. (Still trying to exhaust the old stock.)
French Chocolate Torsades (Puff Pastry Twists)
INGREDIENTS • 4 egg yolks • 1/2 cup of sugar • 2 tablespoons of flour • 1 1/2 cups of milk • 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla • 1 tablespoon of butter • 1/4 teaspoon of salt • 1 sheet Puff pastry (270 g) • Chocolate chips dark or milk • 1 egg for egg wash • Sparkling sugar
METHOD For the custard
Whisk eggs and milk together and add to all other ingredients (except vanilla) to a medium saucepan.
Bring to boil whisking constantly
Cook until thickened (it will look lumpy, its ok)
Sieve lumpy mixture into a bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla, mix thoroughly
When incorporated, cover with plastic directly on the cream and cool.
For the Chocolate Torsades
Preheat oven to 410 degrees (215 Celsius)
Roll out puff pastry about 14 inches long or just use the store bought roll
Spread a thin layer of the vanilla custard on top
Sprinkle chocolate chips on top
Fold in half and cut into strips
Twist each strip a few times to create the twist
Whisk one egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of the twists with the egg wash
Place chocolate torsades on baking sheet with parchment paper
Sprinkle with sparkling sugar
Bake at 400 degrees (215 Celsius) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
I saw a picture of an elongated bread roll, like a hot dog roll, but slashed with a lame and the slashes were filled with lemon curd before baking. Well, I couldn’t find the recipe so decided to create my own. This is the first time I have stepped out of my chemist-trained-recipe-following comfort zone.
I also decided, since I don’t really care for lemon curd, I would instead roll chocolate ala pain au chocolat but using an enriched bread dough instead of puff pastry. This was also an excuse to use some of the 11# of chocolate I bought a couple of weeks ago.
The QC department suggested a less bitter chocolate (64% cacao) and sparkling sugar topping (good suggestion.) QC will have to live with 64% as I do have 11 pounds. Manufacturing suggested no chop the chocolate so small. Something the size of chocolate chips should melt fine and be easier to handle.
Chocolate Filled Bread Buns
INGREDIENTS • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast • 1 cup barely warm milk • 3 cups all-purpose flour • 2 tablespoons butter, melted • 3 tablespoons sugar • 1 teaspoons salt • 2 eggs, one for dough, one for egg wash • 1 tablespoon orange zest • 165g, about 1 cup (4-6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chopped fine (pulse in a food processor)
In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add 2 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, salt, egg, and orange zest. Stir until blended and fragrant.
Add 3 cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together. It will be sticky! On a lightly floured surface knead the dough until soft and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding more flour to keep the dough from sticking if necessary. Do not add too much flour! The dough will become more workable the longer you knead. Or, if you have a standing mixer, knead the dough with the dough attachment for 5-7 minutes, or until elastic.
Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Punch dough down, divide into 12 equal portions, and shape each portion into a round ball. Flatten into an oval then roll to ¼ “ thick rectangle.
Place a stripe of chocolate ½ “ from long end of rectangle. Roll to cover chocolate and place a second stripe of chocolate. Roll up and seal edges and all seams.
Place rolls a on baking sheet coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for another 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Slash diagonally 4x with lame.
Brush 1 egg wash over the rolls. Sprinkle with coarse sparkling sugar.
Bake for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
So, I started the morning with Pain Au Chocolat, (making, not eating.) I have some opened chocolate I need to use before I open the new bag. To me, baking is a hobby so I like to make everything I can from scratch. I don’t use mixes or other short cuts…. except for puff pastry. In the past I made puff pastry a few times and must admit that what I make is not nearly as good as what is available in the super market.
I buy two brands of puff pastry. Trader Joe sells a box with two 10”x10” sheets. TJ’s is good when you don’t want a huge puff when baked. If you knock it before baking it will puff less than 100%, which is what I used for todays pastry. Pepperidge Farms puff pastry also comes in two sheets per box, but each sheet is conveniently individually wrapped. This pastry puffs 200% if baked without knocking, a little less if you do. Pepperidge Farms is available year round, while TJ’s is only available from roughly Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Buy a few boxes and put them in the bottom of your freezer. I do.
Using Trader Joe’s puff pastry makes Pain Au Chocolat a snap. There is the added benefit it is also delicious.
Pain au Chocolate
INGREDIENTS Puff pastry (Trader Joe’s) Chocolate ( I used Guittard’s 63%) Confectioner’s sugar
Roll out puff pastry
Dust with confectioner’s sugar
Cut into 2” wide (Trader Joe’s Puff Pastry – cut 5 long strips, then cut each in half)
Lay chocolate at one end, roll one time, press down gently and roll again, press gently again
Add second row of chocolate and roll one last time, press gently
Chill overnight or at least 2 hours.
Brush with egg wash
Bake 360 deg 20-25 min on parchment lined baking sheet