Friday, May 11, 2012

Chocolate Comfort, Part 2: Chocolate Desserts Extravaganza


Last week, I shared our newest chocolate find—Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets—and presented a simple no-frills recipe for the perfect hot chocolate.   This week, it’s everything else chocolate!

First, a note about couverture chocolate.  The bag of Callebaut callets that we purchased through Costco advertises that it is a “couverture” chocolate, meaning simply that it’s used in all sorts of chocolate desserts that require a higher fat content.  Yes, especially for coating or "covering" (thus the name "couverture").  Couverture chocolates must have somewhere between 32%-39% cocoa butter and must contain at least 54% cocoa solids.  (Click here for more information on “couverture chocolate”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couverture_chocolate).  Our Callebaut just barely makes it in there with its “55% cacao,” but you definitely do notice the higher fat content when you make desserts with these callets.

Molten Chocolate Cake:

At the top of this post, you can see the Molten Chocolate Cakes that Will baked using the recipe (halved) that was on the Callebaut bag (click here for the recipe: http://www.callebaut.com/usen/5437).  We would recommend baking the cake for the longer time period as its “molten”-ness was a little too alarmingly lava-like (though attractive) at the shorter baking time. 

The recipe was super-simple, and the only other thing we might do differently next time would be to use darker chocolate for a more intense chocolate flavor.

The rest of the items on this post are even simpler, requiring no baking with the chocolate at all.

Chocolate Frosting:

Bon Appetit’s April 2012 issue included a pared-down recipe for a “Luscious Chocolate Icing” that needed only 3 ingredients: ½ c heavy cream; 2 T hot espresso or strong coffee; and 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.  The recipe wanted you to chop the chocolate, but you can even skip that step if you are using callets since their thinner profile results in fast melting without preliminary chopping.


All you need do is to heat cream, stir in espresso or coffee, and then pour the mixture into a medium bowl containing the callets (or chopped chocolate).  After letting it sit 1 minute to melt the chocolate a bit, you stir until the frosting is smooth and glossy and then wait a few minutes for the mixture to solidify to your liking before using.  The frosting will definitely get harder, so you either want to ice right away or chill and re-warm later.


Will baked a simple one-layer yellow butter cake, and then we spread some frosting on top.  You can frost the whole cake at once, but we actually enjoyed having the unfrosted cake and spreading the frosting on when we felt like having some chocolate cake.  (Another time, we used the cake as a base for strawberry shortcakes.)  The flexibility of such icing use enables you to frost-as-you-go.  Store the unused frosting in the refrigerator and then microwave (and stir) in 10-second intervals until you like the consistency.

Chocolate Cream Crepes:

One day at the grocery store, I found some unfilled frozen crepes that were versatile enough for both savory and sweet dishes.  When I’m not using them for honey ham and gruyere main course crepes (which make nice weekday dinners with the addition of a side salad), I’ve been using them for dessert crepes.


Melt ½ teaspoon of butter in a crepe or shallow omelet pan over medium heat.  Place crepe down and warm for a minute before turning.  Spread about ¼ cup of chocolate callets on the second side and let it melt slightly before folding over the two outer edges to form a filled crepe.  Because of the higher fat content in these callets, they melt beautifully and result in a smooth and creamy filling without adding any cream. 


When serving, I would add a side of ice cream or gelato (in the picture, it’s a vanilla and cherry gelato) to—believe it or not!—cut the richness of the dessert a bit.


Tip: Any of the above will make an easy and impressive dessert for Mother's Day...

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