Archives for category: Chocolate

It’s that time of year, early summer and the end of strawberry & rhubarb season. Thanks to my CSA I had a bit of both on hand. I like the flavor of rhubarb, but really don’t like the texture and have never cooked with it before. Some kind of strawberry rhubarb crisp or pie was the obvious choice, but I didn’t want to make something with pieces of rhubarb in it.

So… I ignored the rhubarb and made this strawberry cake from smitten kitchen:

Then this morning I went strawberry picking with a friend. The bushes were pretty much picked out, but we managed a couple pounds each. Since my freezer is already pretty well stocked with frozen berries I decided these should be jam. I had just enough for a batch of fresh strawberry jam! Summer stored away in jars to last all year long, yum!

So… two rounds of strawberries and that rhubarb was still mocking me.

I’d recently been thinking that I wanted to experiment more with new flavors of ganache for truffles… why not rhubarb? I do like fruit (or in this case tart veggies) with my chocolate… I hunted around a bit online and found a couple recipes that at least gave me a starting point. I used this one for the base of the rhubarb puree (though I added less sugar and on a whim a bit of grated ginger). Since I was already playing with a couple new things why not make them vegan? I used almond milk instead of cream (and left out the corn syrup and butter – those don’t belong in ganache!). The puree is super tasty and I’m happy to have extra to use for something else. I don’t know that you’d guess the truffles are rhubarb, but it’s a nice tart fruity contrast to the dark chocolate. I’ll call them a success.

I’m thinking the perfect dessert would be a tart crust and a layer of the rhubarb ganache topped with the rest of the rhubarb puree. Maybe next rhubarb season…

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Just a random assortment of some of my favorite ingredients so far this year…

homemade ricotta

 

about to be candied lemon peel

 

candied lemon peel
(this went on top of a lemon tart with bourbon maple syrup)

 

the perfect spring pizza toppings

 

fresh from that morning’s farmers market
(asparagus, garlic greens, fresh ladysmith cheese on a baguette)

 

sea salt, lime juice & zest and dark, dark chocolate
(yup, these are going into a dark chocolate batch of brownies)

It may be trendy, but it’s trendy for a reason and I’m a sucker for any combo of chocolate, caramel & salt. The proof is the latest string of desserts I’ve made that are all variations of the triple threat.

The funny part is that as a kid I was so against salt being in anything sweet, that I wouldn’t even put the salt into the chocolate chip cookie dough. Guess I’m making up for it now…

First, the sweet, but not too rich, perfect finger food: chocolate caramel shortbread bars.

It’s like making ganache, but with caramel instead of cream. Who knew?

Then the chocolate caramel goes on top of the brown sugar shortbread layer.

Chill, cut, a generous sprinkle of sea salt, perfect!

Add in a bit of savory and some wine and it’s the perfect spread for an afternoon of girl talk in the garden.

 

Next up, salted caramel chocolate chip bars – simple, gooey decadence.

Adding the caramel to the bottom layer of chocolate chip cookie dough.

A little more cookie dough on top.
(my pan was bigger than the recipe was meant for, but it all worked out just fine).

It was almost disaster when I dropped the pan on the way to the potluck. But the caramel kept the bars locked into the pan.
Yum!!

While I loved the first two and they’re perfect for potlucks or parties, nothing tops my new favorite (and sure fire crowd pleaser), the salted caramel chocolate tart.

This was the first dessert I’d ever dared to attempt caramel for (luckily the recipe had very specific directions) and now I’m hooked (obviously).

Every layer of this tart is amazing. The chocolate crust is my new favorite tart crust. And the caramel that fills it is definitely my favorite caramel recipe. I was afraid I’d over cooked it the second time, but it actually worked even better to counter the sweet chocolate.

Some bittersweet chocolate ganache and some sea salt to top it off.
While each layer is pretty simple, they do all need to chill for a few hours so it’s a lengthy process, but more than worth it.

It tasted even better as the final course of a beach-side feast.

 

 

 

When I found this recipe for nutella truffles I couldn’t resist.

Nutella, bittersweet chocolate, liqueur, cream, vanilla & a little butter… a winning combination.

Chocolate, nutella, cream & butter melting together…

… into a beautiful ganache

Add the liqueur and vanilla and let it set-up and then its ready to roll.

Final step is rolling the truffles in crushed, toasted hazelnuts.

One of my favorite secrets is how easy rolled truffles are to make. And while these were really tasty, the nutella gets lost completely. Someday I’ll learn that nutella will always get overpowered by bittersweet chocolate and I might as well keep things simple. But you still can’t go wrong with chocolate and hazelnuts in any form.