Chocolate Notes:Artisan CaCao

 Today was more than interesting. I hope your day was fulfilling... For today's Chocolate Monday I want to share my taste testing experience and experiments, with the cacao and artisan chocolates.

First off, I'm not affiliated with Jacques Torres, Ghirardelli or Rawclates. I just wanted to try other specialty chocolates. I see expensive chocolate candy on the market and often wonder about the taste.  So far Jaques Torres is tops...and it's what I'm reaching for actually in creating my own chocolate delights.

a Valentine to remember!

I personally don't like assorted chocolates, but his Chocolate changed my mind. It's hard to measure up to when every single piece of chocolate was delicious. Y'all know how it is with a box of chocolates?? Hit and miss, not with these. I was so happy to receive such a treat from my daughter. Then about a month ago I found his shop in an area that I travel now and then. Guess who's going to tip over there on Freedom Friday??

Chocolate doesn't go bad, but this chocolate was weird and it's
wasn't because of the percentage either! The cranberries were
dryer than dried cranberries are supposed to be...I wasn't
happy with this one at all, so I didn't use it in anything.

This is how the chocolate looked from
Rawclates, and it really didn't taste
better than it looks...bitter and the fruit
Was....advanced dry! I was more than
A little disappointed!

Totally different story with Ghirardelli Cacao...smooth and easy to
work with not to mention the flavor! xoxo This is the chocolate we used on these pretzels

for the workshop samples...I mixed in dried cherries and
sunflowers, then drizzled royal icing...don't ask why.  
Chocolate brittle Mmm.( bark is thicker)
This made for a lighter snack, while I'm
out and about.


These are my  little addtions!

Every time I think I'm going to make chocolate bark...I end up making something else. This chocolate bark recipe is so good...when I share this with friends, I never bring any home again . Gone in a matter of min. So you've been warned, it's very delicious! Martha Stewart always says, that you really have to use the best you can afford. Good quality Chocolate is the secret to setting your treats apart from what's offered to everyone else pallet(did I ever mention that cacao from different regions offer different flavor in the chocolate)...but skill in how you pull all those special elements together. So on a budget, how do you make the difference between the shakers and the bakers? ...I mix the good chocolate with the regular chocolate. Since good always dominates!

 Jacques Torres dominates the candy and chocolate world in my book. Then he married a Chocolatier, Hasty. Talk about Double Chocolate Pleasures. Below is a recipe for Chocolate Bark i found in Food and wine magazine by Jacques. It's easy to make but has such a decadent taste due to the combination of fruit and nuts...which makes chocolate sing  to my taste buds.

 You can literally do any combination Fruit, nuts other seeds, you want with this recipe. I love chocolate covered peanuts and cherries. I usually go for the seeds I've grown up with all my life...Sunflowers, peanuts, walnuts, pecans and cashews, not to leave out other seeds like pignoli or pine nuts. I then combine those with dried cherries, crazins or apricots...I think pineapple or candied fruit would be a nice combo with the cashew... Three items are best to add to the chocolate. I wouldn't want to overwhelm the balance of Chocolate, fruit and nuts... but please yourself.

Chocolate Bark~

1 lb. dark chocolate(60 to 70 percent cacao)
1 1/4 c. roasted whole almonds
3/4 c. salted roasted pumpkin seeds
and sunflower seeds
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you are using really thick chocolate, Using a sharp knife, finely chop the chocolate. Gently over simmering water, heat the chopped chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it is about two thirds melted; do not let the bowl touch the water. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir the chocolate until it is completely melted and the temperature registers 90° on a candy thermometer. If the chocolate has not melted completely and is still too cool, set it over the saucepan for 1-2 min. longer, stirring constantly; do not overheat.
2.Stir the almonds, seeds and cherries, into the chocolate and spread onto the prepared baking sheet in a 1/2 in. thick layer. making sure the nuts and seeds are completely covered in chocolate. Refrigerate the bark for about 10 min., until hardened. Invert the bark on to a work surface. Remove the parchment paper. Break into 25 pieces  and store or serve.

Make Ahead-The broken bark can be stored in an airtight bag or container at cool room temperature for up to 10 days. If it last that long;)

More experimenting to come :D


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