Merry Christmas from a Chocoholic
There are a few of you who don't get my need for chocolate at all and others of you have sympathy for me because you are Chocoholics just like me. Funny thing is that one of the new proclaimed health benefits includes chocolate - "Dark Chocolate!" While I believe a true chocoholic has his or her preferences, ultimately he or she will eat any kind of chocolate. That being said, our family lived in England for two years and when we came back to the United States I thought I would never again love American chocolate. This was back in the early 80's. Well, now you can get your hands on just about any brand of chocolate your heart desires, even European.
I'm a friendly chocoholic; I like to share everything chocolate I think almost any dessert tastes better with chocolate on it. So those of you who like peanut butter... I say "add chocolate." For those of you who like peppermint... I say "add chocolate." If you like pretzels... I say "add chocolate." You're getting my drift, right? I guess if you think almost anything would be better with chocolate on it you might be a CHOCOHOLIC!
Just like not all chocolate bars are not created equal, neither is all cocoa powders created equal. European cocoas are darker and richer in flavor. I prefer the taste and have found that any recipe that calls for cocoa can use either American or European cocoa. Dutch cocoa does cost more, but I think the flavor difference is worth every penny. It's what I try to stock my pantry with.
Now that the Holidays are close at hand think CHOCOLATE! Give your friends a jar of homemade Nutella. It is so much better than the store bought - and we love the store bought. You also control the ingredients and it's special because it's homemade with love by you.
Adapted from the Encyclopdie du Chocolat under the direction of Frederic Bau DavidLebovitz.com. David mentions in his article that this recipe makes two jars. He also states that after he first made it, he thought it was not solid enough. After sitting in the refrigerator for several hours he said it was the spreadable consistency he had been looking for. I think this would make an amazing Christmas Gift.
1/3 cup whole almonds
1 1/3 cup hazelnuts
1 3/4 cup whole milk
7/8 cup powdered whole milk
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons mild-flavored honey
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (use one that's at least 30% cacao solids)
1. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet, keeping the almonds separate, and toast the nuts in a 350 degree F oven, stirring a few times, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are browned.
2. While they are roasting, warm the whole milk and powdered milk in a small saucepan with the honey and salt just until it starts to boil. Remove from heat.
3. In a clean, dry bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, or in a microwave oven, melt the chocolates together until smooth.
4. Once the nuts are well-toasted, remove them from the oven and use a spatula to place the warm hazelnuts in a clean tea towel. Then fold them inside the towel and rub them vigorously to remove any loose skins. They don't need to be pristine; just try to get as much off as possible.
5. In a food processor, grind the warm hazelnuts and almonds until they're as fine as possible. You may not be able to get them completely smooth, depending on your food processor. (I have a brand new one and even after five minutes, there were little bits of nuts in mine, which is normal.)
6. Add the melted chocolate and continue to process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the work bowl, as necessary.
7. Once the mixture is smooth, add the warm milk mixture and process until everything is well-combined.
8. (The original instructions here said to strain the paste, which I didn't do because I don't mind the little bits of toasted nuts, but you can.)
9. Transfer the mixture into two jars and refrigerate until ready to use.
Storage: The Chocolate-Hazelnut Paste will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
German Hazelnut CakeWe have a young man from Germany that we love like our own son. He used to be able to visit us once a year and his sweet grandma always made us this cake and sent it with Andre' for us to enjoy. It is a dense, rich cake that is really delicious.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup ground or finely chopped hazelnuts and almonds.
Grease a long loaf pan with shortening or heavily spray with cooking spray. Add batter to the pan and cook at 350 degrees for 80 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Melt 8 ounces of milk chocolate (candy bar) with 2 Tablespoons of butter. Pour over the cake and spread evenly with knife.
Milk Chocolate Truffles
8 oz. chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa
In a double boiler, melt chips and butter. Add cream and stir until smooth and satin like. Cover and refrigerate until set - about 6 hours.
Place cocoa in a bowl and set aside. Form a small ball with your hands; roll in Dutch cocoa and refrigerate until ready to serve.