Friday, October 30, 2015

Petit Four Glaze: Chocolate instead of Fondant

Bella Chocolat

Hello chocolate Lovers!
Did you know chocolate acts as an antibacterial in the mouth and protects against tooth decay? My daughters dentist even recommended Chocolate for her so she doesn't pull out her appliance, with candy like caramel...though my caramel is quite soft...which is up for debate.
Petit four means little oven...Hopefully I'll get a better understanding studying french with my son. Fortunately you don't need a little oven to make these precious treats. I found so many glaze recipes for petit four, until I came across this chocolate glaze I'm sharing today. The recipe for the Chocolate Glaze. My first attempt well is just so histerical. That old saying "if at first your don't succeed try, try and try until you get it right." I love this recipe for the glaze and the almond cake.

Chocolate Glaze 
8oz. Chocolate 
6 Tbsp butter 
1Tbsp. Shortening 

Melt the chocolate the same as tempered chocolate, because if its melted too much the oils separate. Keep hot water simmering to keep the glaze warm as needed. 
 1. Mix the chocolate, butter and shortening in a heat proof bowl. Place over barely simmering water until the mixture is just melted, stir and set aside. Keep the water available simmering to keep the chocolate warm. 
 2. Take the petit fours from the fridg. Place each of the cakes on a rack over the pan with the parchment. checking that the flattest side of the cakes are up. 
 3. Using a Ladle or measuring cup just pour over the top of each cake. Checking the sides. You can scrape the cookie sheet and reuse the glaze but if you want a less shear coat make a double batch of the glaze. 
 4. Chill the cakes again and prepare some royal icing or other decorations. 
 5. Decorate the chilled cakes…eat immediately or keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For more on the actual cake, filling and royal icing follow this link to the Joy of baking.. 

I really loved the way the chocolate glaze covered the petit
fours on the first coating. I didn't need to cover them twice.
I only needed to be quick with my off set spatula, so the sides
would get covered and then touch up the sides.
brush off the crumbs and pick the
better side ;D

The chocolate really melds well with the almond cake, caramel and apple butter I used for the filling. It was reminiscent of a candy apple...without the lock jaw, Delicious!  Use a real pound cake recipe or  the recipe  from The Joy of Baking (link above). It is more like a cookie dough consistency and there isn't any leavening in the dough. Just remember like most cookie dough batters, they cook fast...and the ones in the picture are a bit toasty The filling and frosting took care of that and the tiny crisp gave them a nice texture. I had the pleasure of making a cake sized version of these for a Thanksgiving Dinner.

practice makes perfect
Ciao Bella Chocolat!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chocolate Notes

My favorite timeless children's book which talks about how the ice trade brought cacao to the US or visa/versa, is Cocoa Ice

How to Cook that is hosted by Ann Reardon.How to make Chocolate gives great information on how to make chocolate candy from bean to bar, but she also shows at the end of the video how to make chocolate candy from cocoa powder, using cocoa butter! Interesting and delicious! This one is especially for my Friend Rosalyn Henderson, who generously shared her chocolate covered peanut candy, which was mixed with two types of chocolate, yum! We love a sweet and easy going Chocolaty experiment.

Finally, this web site poses the question I've long ago answered for my mind, "Is chocolate good for you?" It just further confirms what I've known since my first taste of excellently crafted chocolates! Chocolate goes beyond tasting good, it is good for you...
Most things in moderation are good.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Time for Cocoa with Michele!

Happy Chocolate Monday Everyone,
  Let's all say Good by 89° + weather! Hello 35°! Before the changes of the weather go from awesome hotness to face numbing frigidness. Lets begin Autumn and all it has to offer crisp mornings, warm afternoons a rainy day here and there thrown in with a soup and sandwich for lunch. Best of all my favorite warmer upper... in fact a two for one deal.
Hot Cocoa! Today I'll share with you a Cocoa mix, I use for gifts during the Holidays and GP. 
Then I want to show you  what I mean by a two for one deal, where you steep ginger or ginger tea packets into the cocoa. 
My friend Margarita, who is a great host shared Cocoa/Ginger tea with me when I visited her.
One of her friends taught her how to make it and she thought I'd like it, because I'm more of a cocoa and tea drinker, than a coffee drinker. In her version she mixed the cocoa mix with the rabbit on the box, with the ginger tea packet. I usually use half of those packets, when I make tea on it's own. Ginger is strong! So when I was saying ooh that's plenty...she said "Look, you can't get the complete taste if you don't put enough ginger, so try it first." I loved it, go figure.
 Below are two ways I love to make hot cocoa, the mix being the fastest...cocoa mix hot water or milk,  and I'm in comfort. I like my cocoa mix,  because as you know I make my brown sugar so I can control my sugar intake and get all the benefits of the cocoa too.  All I need to do is add the ginger and honey tea, when I want to take my cocoa to the next level!

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix
1 1/2 c. Dark Brown Sugar
1 c. Cocoa powder
2 tsp. Kosher salt (adjust to your taste)
The Mix
 Sift ingredients in a bowl. If any salt or sugar gets left behind in the sifter just push it through or pour it in the mix and blend. Keep indefinitely in a lidded jar.
A Cup of Cocoa
To make hot chocolate use 2 Tbsp. Per cup Of hot milk~stir in 1/4 tsp. Vanilla and dollop or pipe on whipped cream and dust on more cocoa with a shaker! You'll feel like royalty I promise!

To take the cocoa to the next level mix in a packet of Ginger & Honey tea granules before topping with whipped Cream. Stir and enjoy!
This tea comes in green packets too

I believe my children prefer the chocolate syrup version, to make cocoa. I usually doubled the recipe to accommodate our crowd of 10 at the time. The chocolaty aroma is very intoxicating!

Hot Cocoa (syrup version) serves 4 cups
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 dash of salt
1/3 c. water
4 c. milk (optional)
3/4 tsp. vanilla(optional)
  1. Mix Cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir/Whisk in water on medium heat until boiling
  3. Let the mix simmer like that for 2 min., whisking a bit.
  4. If you are using this as hot cocoa then slowly pour in the milk and stir well. Be careful not to let the milk boil or you will get a skin. Once the syrup is done, it can be used for topping other treats like ice cream or popcorn.
  5. Stir in Vanilla and vwalla, Hot cocoa!
  6. Now if you want to add the individual Ginger tea crystals now is the time or when the cocoa is mixing into the milk add 1 to 2 slithers of ginger. Just like I have in the photo below. You can adjust the sweetness within your cup, but I want encourage you to taste it first and try and train your pallet to really "taste" more than just the sweetness of the cocoa. Enjoy!
"In the this photo are the two types of cocoa, ginger granules and slices"

After mixing in the milk in the syrup version, while it is simmering/warming up you can add a couple slices of ginger or the packets of tea granules, to achieve the same combination with the cocoa mix.

Subscribe, Like and Stay Sweet!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Easy way to make Brown Sugar!

Have you ever been to ? You can print out mandala. I was introduced to them several month ago, only to see a usefulness to them...other than rote therapy of repetitive motions. Good mix of pattern ideas for cakes or crochet. I was reading a post about washing dishes creating the same type of repetition therapy. Putting you in a state where thoughts can flow or you can direct them in a fun creative way. Finally something I'm already in the know of.  Some of my best ideas or inspiration came during washing dishes. After crocheting  weaves out tension of the days events my mind releases a flow of good thoughts.

Speaking of "good" thoughts. For the next few weeks I'm going to share my favorite condiments! I thought about all the money saving ideas out there, but I like to put my simple sweet spin, on money saving. well its more like having your ownprodution line, and you get to decide what goes in the final product.
Everyone has things in their house that are special, sacred. I know I do. I'm going to share those sacred items for my kitchen pantry. The children know even if they can't understand...this condiment is ask first...or the planned muffins or cake? canceled!
Vegan Brown Sugar
Today I'm starting with Brown sugar. I love this condiment. Mixing my iron fortified molasses with a non-nutritional valued condiment.  It's best in Oatmeal with fruit, and pineapple upside down cake!  Molasses makes this my number #1 condiment on my list.
Depending if I'm making cakes/sweets determines how much sugar I use. If you are vegan like my 1st daughter you will need to process the granules of organic or raw sugar to granulated sugar consistancy,  to absorb the molasses, which will only take a few seconds.
I'm not being paid for using product seen a matter of fact I just like the container, so I just fill it with whatever sugar I want. Sugar and molasses is all the ingredients you need to make brown sugar. Use your favorites Or what your pocketbook allows 😉

1.clean hands or rubber gloves for those who don't like the feeling of stickiness ;)
2.a large mixing bowl (space to work in the sugar)
3.air tight container with a top!
4.bullet or blender to process raw sugar for a few pulses

2 c. Granulated sugar
1/3 c. (Or more depending if your making dark brown sugar)

Make it like this:
1. Pour your sugar into a large bowl. Create a small well for the molasses.
2. Pour the molasses into the well of sugar and cover with the granulated sugar. Begin to mix and squeeze to combine the two sugars until they are one cohesive mixture of moist not wet brown sugar.
*The consistancy of wet sand, perfect for sand castles. It should hold the shape of your hand.

*Cooks Note... I eyeball the sugar and the molasses. based on my experience. If you find the mixture too wet, then add a bit more sugar a little at a time or if it's too light carefully mix in more molasses.

Disclaimer; Be forewarned this brown sugar is light years yummier, than what you buy at the supermarket. That said Chocolate Mondays and Co. are in no ways liable for any addictive behaviors such as but not limited to eating it strait as a side dish and so forth. Please eat/use modestly and all will be well. Enjoy!!