All Things Chocolate

Ok Ok…. I may not do Valentines Day, but who doesn’t do CHOCOLATE.

Here’s some recipes for a fabulous Chocolate Tea!  Induldge!!!!

 

 

Chocolate-Feta Scones

Yield: 15

Ingredients

1.    2 cups all-purpose flour

2.  1 tablespoon sugar

3.  2 teaspoons baking powder

4.  ½ teaspoon salt

5.  ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6.  4 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into pieces

7.  1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels

8.  1 (8-ounce) package feta cheese, coarsely chopped

9.  1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy whipping cream, divided

10.                 Garnish: raspberry jam and raspberries

Instructions

1.    Preheat oven to 350°.

2.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

3.  In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper, whisking well. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add chocolate morsels and feta, stirring to blend.

4.  Add 1 cup cream to flour mixture, stirring until mixture is evenly moist. (If dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 tablespoon at a time.) Working gently, bring mixture together with hands until a dough forms.

5.  Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently 4 to
 5 times. Using a rolling pin, roll dough to a ¾-inch thickness. Using a 2¼-inch round cutter, cut 15 scones from dough, rerolling scraps as necessary. Place scones 2 inches apart 
on prepared baking sheet, and brush with remaining 1 tablespoon cream.

6.  Bake until edges are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.

7.  Serve warm.

 

Creamy Parsnip-Leek Soup


Ingredients

1.    2 tablespoons salted butter

2.  1 cup sliced leek* (white part only)

3.  4 cups sliced parsnip

4.  5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

5.  1 bay leaf

6.  ½ teaspoon salt

7.  cup heavy whipping cream

8.  Garnish: 1 recipe Chocolate Brioche Croutons (recipe follows), frilled green onion tops†

Instructions

1.    In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat. When butter melts, add leek, and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leek is tender and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes.

2.  Add parsnip, vegetable stock,
 bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until parsnip is very tender, approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

3.  Remove and discard bay leaf.
 Add cream. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and creamy.

4.  Return soup to low heat, and heat through, if necessary.

5.  Garnish individual servings with Chocolate Brioche Croutons and a frilled green onion top, if desired.

Notes

1.    Since leeks can be sandy, soak and wash leek in a bowl of water, separating rings to make sure sand is released. Rinse well.

2.  To make frilled green onion tops, cut vertical slices in the top of a green onion. Roll onion into a round stalk, fanning out frills.

3.  Make-Ahead Tip: Soup can be made a day in advance and refrigerated in a covered container. Reheat over low heat. Garnish just before serving.

Chocolate Brioche Croutons

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

  1. 2 cups cubed brioche*
  2. 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  3. 3 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss brioche cubes with melted butter. Spread cubes in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until cubes are light golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, combine cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar, whisking well. While cubes are warm, add to sugar mixture, tossing until coated. Let cool, and store in an airtight container until needed.

Notes:  If brioche is not available, challah bread may be substituted.

 

Turkey & Green Apple Slaw Rye Squares with Cacao Nibs

Yield: 8

Ingredients

1.    8 cocktail rye squares

2.  2 cups very finely chopped savoy cabbage

3.  ¼ cup very finely chopped celery

4.  cup very finely chopped radish

5.  ¼ cup very finely chopped green apple

6.  1 recipe Herbed Buttermilk Dressing (recipe follows)

7.  1 tablespoon cacao nibs*

8.  8 slices ultra-thin mesquite-smoked turkey breast

9.  Garnish: fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

1.    Preheat oven to 350°.

2.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place rye squares on prepared pan.

3.  Bake until rye squares are firm and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely, and store in an airtight container until needed.

4.  In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, celery, radish, and green apple with enough Herbed Buttermilk Dressing to moisten. Cover, and refrigerate until well chilled, approximately 4 hours.

5.  Top each rye square with slaw. Sprinkle with cacao nibs. Fold each turkey slice in half and then in half again. Place on top of slaw.

6.  Garnish each with a parsley leaf, if desired.

7.  Serve immediately.

 

Chocolate Pancetta & Smoked Ham Tea Sandwiches

Yield: 8

Ingredients

1.    8 slices pancetta (Italian bacon)

2.  2 ounces 80% dark chocolate

3.  16 slices soft Italian sandwich bread, frozen

4.  8 slices ultra-thin smoked ham

5.  ½ cup baby arugula leaves

6.  1 recipe Caramelized Shallot-Sherry Aïoli (recipe follows)

7.  Garnish: baby arugula leaves

Instructions

1.    In a large nonstick sauté pan, cook pancetta over medium-high heat until brown and crisp, reducing heat if necessary to prevent burning. Drain on paper towels, and let cool.

2.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave oven at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each. Brush melted chocolate onto top side of cooled bacon. Let chocolate cool and set.

3.  Using a 2¼-inch round cutter, cut 16 rounds from frozen bread. (Cover with damp paper towels, or store in resealable plastic bag to prevent drying out during assembly.)

4.  Spread Caramelized Shallot-Sherry Aïoli onto each bread round. On 8 bread rounds (aïoli sides up), arrange ingredients in the following order: arugula leaves, a piece of ham folded in half and gathered into a ruffle, and a pancetta slice (chocolate side up). Top each with a remaining bread round (aïoli side down).

5.  Garnish each with a baby arugula leaf, if desired.

Caramelized Shallot-Sherry Aïoli

Yield: cup

Ingredients

1.    1 tablespoon salted butter

2.  3 tablespoons sliced shallot

3.  cup mayonnaise

4.  1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

5.  ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

1.    In a small nonstick sauté pan, heat butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add shallot, and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is tender and caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Finely chop shallot.

2.  In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, cooled shallot, sherry vinegar, and pepper, stirring to blend. Cover, and refrigerate for up to a day.

 

Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies

Yield: 24

Ingredients

1.    1 cup unsalted butter

2.  2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate

3.  1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

4.  1 cup sugar

5.  3 large eggs

6.  1 tablespoon vanilla extract

7.  ½ cup all-purpose flour

8.  1 teaspoon baking powder

9.  ½ teaspoon salt

10.                 1 cup milk chocolate morsels

11.1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter morsels

12.                 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

13.                 ½ cup creamy peanut butter

14.                 Garnish: chopped bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

1.    Preheat oven to 350°.

2.  Line a 13-x-9-inch pan with foil, letting foil hang over sides to use as handles. Spray with cooking spray.

3.  In a small saucepan, combine butter, unsweetened chocolate, and semisweet chocolate morsels. Melt over low heat, stirring to combine. Remove pan from heat.

4.  In a medium bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract, stirring to blend. Add chocolate mixture gradually, stirring to incorporate and temper eggs.

5.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt, whisking well. Add to chocolate mixture, stir ring until incorporated. Add milk chocolate morsels, stirring to blend. Spread mixture into prepared pan, smoothing with an offset spatula.

6.  Bake until edges are dry and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.

7.  In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine peanut butter morsels 
and cream. Melt morsels in microwave oven at 50 percent power 
in 1-minute intervals, stirring between each. Add peanut butter, stirring to blend. Spread mixture onto warm brownie in pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth surface.

8.  Garnish with chopped bittersweet chocolate, if desired.

9.  Cover pan, and refrigerate until cold, approximately 4 hours.

10.                 Lift brownie from pan using foil, and place on a cutting surface. Using a large knife, cut brownie into bars, pressing downward to create clean cuts.

11.Place in an airtight container, and refrigerate. Let come to room temperature before serving.

 

Mini Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies

Yield: approximately 36

Ingredients

1.    ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

2.  ¼ cup granulated sugar

3.  ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4.  1 large egg

5.  1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

6.  1¾ cups all-purpose flour

7.  ½ teaspoon salt

8.  ¼ teaspoon baking powder

9.  cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

10.                 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread*

Instructions

1.    In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat at high speed with a mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating to combine.

2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking powder, whisking well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just until well combined. Add hazelnuts, stirring well. Divide dough into 2 portions. On plastic wrap, roll each portion into a 1-inch-diameter cylinder. Wrap firmly, and secure to make airtight. Freeze for 4 hours.

3.  Preheat oven to 350°.

4.  Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

5.  Unwrap frozen cookie dough. Cut into ¼-inch slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

6.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, approximately 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely, approximately 30 minutes.

7.  Place chocolate-hazelnut spread in a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip (Wilton #12). Pipe onto bottom of a cookie. Top with another cookie, placing flat sides together and twisting slightly to evenly distribute filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and chocolate-hazelnut spread.

8.  Place cookies in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers, and refrigerate until serving time.

Notes

1.    We used Nutella Hazelnut Spread.

 

White Chocolate Mendiants

Yield: 22

Ingredients

1.    2 (4-ounce) bars white chocolate*

2.  2 teaspoons fresh orange zest

3.  cup chopped dried sour cherries

4.  cup chopped roasted salted pistachios

Instructions

1.    Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or waxed paper.

2.  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave oven at 50 percent power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each.

3.  Add orange zest to melted chocolate, stirring to blend. Immediately, using a levered 1-teaspoon scoop, drop chocolate mixture 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Decoratively arrange dried cherries and pistachios on melted chocolate disks.

4.  Refrigerate until firm. Carefully remove mendiants from silicone mats, and place in a covered container with waxed paper between layers. Refrigerate until serving time.

Notes

1.    We used Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bars.

 

 

Pairing Tea and Chocolate

 


 

 

 





Text and Photograph by Bruce Richardson

Of the world’s three great temperance beverages—cocoa, tea, and coffee—cocoa was the first to be introduced by the Spanish to Europe in 1528. A century later, the Dutch brought tea to Europe. Finally, coffee made its European debut in 1615, thanks to Venetian traders.

From the onset, only wealthy families could afford cocoa, tea, and coffee. These exotic beverages were shared exclusively with guests who might appreciate the uniqueness of the newly discovered drinks. As the 17th century ended, coffee shops appeared in cities such as London, New York, and Boston, and all three beverages were offered to their customers.

I frequently design tea and chocolate classes for my customers who want to delve into the similarities of these two historic products. Rather than finding a good chocolate to nibble while drinking tea—although that can be a pretty satisfying experience—my intent is more about focusing our tasting skills.

With so many excellent purveyors of chocolate and tea today, you can easily assemble your own chocolate and tea tasting. I suggest gathering a variety of gourmet chocolates that contain varying percentages of cocoa. Look for one or more dark chocolates (70% or more cocoa content) and one milk chocolate. I often work with a local chocolatier to craft my pairing. 

Once the pairing is set, cut the chocolate into small portions with just enough volume to allow three or four nibbles. Prepare the steeped teas, and arrange a display of the dry leaves and chocolates for guests to see and smell. 

Ask your guests to take a bit of chocolate into the mouth and to allow the cocoa butter to melt slowly until it covers the tongue. Next, sip the tea, and compare the mouthfeel of the tea to the mouthfeel of the chocolate. Is it thick or thin; sweet or bitter? Take another taste of chocolate, and discover how the tea has influenced the second nibble. Does the tea enhance the flavors of the chocolate? Or does the chocolate bring out the flavor notes of the tea? Take a few luxurious minutes to evaluate each pairing and to compare your findings. 

This rare tasting experience is too good to be enjoyed alone, so be sure to invite a few friends to share your pairing. I’m certain you won’t have any trouble finding eager subjects willing to join you on this decadent culinary adventure.

Beginner’s Tea and Chocolate Pairing Guide 

Milk Chocolate and Indian Chai
Both chocolate and chai are enhanced by the addition of sugar and milk. Pay attention to the way these two popular products complement each other as they coat the tongue.

Dark Chocolate and Yunnan Black Tea 
It takes a dark chocolate to stand up to the rich earthy teas of Yunnan, China. Be sure to take a long sniff of both before tasting. Your nose will give you an indication of what the tongue is about to experience.

Dark Truffle and Earl Grey
The citrus notes of the world’s favorite flavored tea blends perfectly with a delicious hand-rolled truffle. The rich, soft center of the truffle is made even more flavorful when paired with this historic English blend.

Chocolate-Covered Caramels with Sea Salt and Lapsang Souchong
Smokey Chinese Lapsang Souchong black tea stands strong in the face of a rich chocolate-covered caramel laced with a few grains of sea salt. Notice the savory notes of the salt and smoke as the two marry with the sweet caramel melting on your tongue. 

 

Bruce Richardson is co-owner of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. Find out more his tea blends and books at elmwoodinn.com.

                                                                     © Michelle Young 2012