Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Haute chocolate ...

For me there is nothing more indulgent or tempting than rich, creamy dark chocolate. I cannot resist! I am a 'chocolate connoisseur.' Perhaps 'chocoholic' is an equally appropriate title.

It all started innocently enough with a love of my Mom's traditional cakes and Chocolate Chip cookies. Add a glass of cold milk, and I was in heaven. Someone should have staged an intervention right then and there!

Something extraordinary happened when I got older and I began to find more daring desserts with dark chocolate chunks, curls and drizzles. Ooh, yum to the inth degree! Can you hook up an intravenous line with chocolate syrup? Just wondering.


With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, I thought I would share the love and let you in on some truly delectable chocolate choices and recipes I've found.

First up: Breakfast

There will never be any instant mix that comes close to
freshly-made hot chocolat from a Parisian cafe.

If you can't be in France for your early morning cup of chocolat, try Les Confitures a l'Ancienne. This is the best powdered mix I've tasted and is available online through Amazon.

Snacks

The Mast Brothers are the brilliant minds behind a very logical theory: just like the grapes that flavor wines differently, cacao beans from different regions flavor chocolate differently. So, rather than loose the specific flavors of beans when combined, the Mast Brothers craft their chocolate with beans from a single farm, village or province.

They roast, careful winnow, stone grind, age and flawless temper truly one-of-a-kind handcrafted chocolate bars with using only two ingredients, cacao and cane sugar. There are no other butters, oils, vanilla, soy, preservatives or emulsifiers.

Dessert

A molten chocolate cake takes first prize as my favorite dessert. Served with Crème Anglaise, it is hard to deny. Whoever came up with the irresistable, warm center is my hero. Okay, its not true ganache in the middle, but ever so similar. Try out the simple recipe I use ...

Molten Lava Cake

 
Ingredients:


6 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (or use your favorite 70% dark chocolate bar)
6 oz. Butter (diced, room temperature)
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Flour
Butter for Ramekins

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F

1. Melt chocolate on low flame in a bain-marie (double boiler). When melted, take off flame.
2. Stir in butter, until it melts.
3. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar, until it starts to whiten.
4. Stir in melted chocolate and then the flour.
5. Butter 4 individual ramekins, and pour in chocolate batter.
6. Cook for about 10 minutes.
7. Tip ramekins upside down onto dessert plates and serve.

You can definitely prepare your chocolate lave cake recipe ahead of time, and then bake 10 minutes before serving. Voilà!

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