The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate Milk Pudding

May 15th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

When I was a kid, I never liked to drink chocolate milk. In my cookbook, Choclatique-150 Simply Elegant Desserts, I talked a little about my experiences at the Adhor Farms in West Los Angeles, where they used to give out free chocolate milk in the reception area. Yes, there was a day when there actually was a dairy on the west side. On Fridays they would give us gallons to take home. I wasn’t a big chocolate milk drinker, but I did ‘invent’ a lot of kid recipes to use up the chocolate milk.

I love chocolate pudding, but it has to be the old-fashioned kind where the skin forms on the top—no overly-starched instant pudding for this guy. And you don’t need to take short cuts when it comes to making a great chocolate pudding. The hardest part of the recipe is to wait for it to chill.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Yield: Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 cups, plus 1/2 cup chocolate milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold coffee
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the cold chocolate milk, cold coffee and cornstarch until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, combine 2 cups of milk, heavy cream, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and bring just to a simmer.
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue stirring until it returns to a simmer. It will begin to thicken as the mixture gets hotter.
  4. Remove it from the heat, add the vanilla extract, stir well and pour into ramekins or small bowls.

ChefSecret: I use the coffee to add richness and depth to the chocolate pudding flavor. It is a natural chocolate enhancer and I use it in cakes, pies and cookies when appropriate. Never add cornstarch directly to a hot liquid as it will clump and pearl leaving lumps of cornstarch that are very undesirable in what should be a smooth-as-silk chocolate pudding.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Basic Chocolate Ganache

May 9th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I wrote a whole book (Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts) about cooking and baking with ganache. A ganache is basically a blending of chocolate and cream. The ratio of chocolate to cream can vary depending on whether it will be a coating, filling or truffle.

In this recipe I use an industry standard 1-to-1 ratio of chocolate to cream. This is perfect for a beautiful shinny glaze on a cake or pie. It is firm, but not hard. When chilled and firm it can be whipped an electric mixer and use as a filling for pastry or roll into truffles. Of course you can add flavors, extracts and liquors to your taste.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%) Pastilles
1/2 cup Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate (72%) Pastilles
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (depending on intended use)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon instant espresso granules
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of other flavors, extracts and liquors of your choice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat the heavy cream, butter and espresso granules; bring to a simmer.
  3. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted, glossy and fluid. If desired whisk in additional heavy cream to reach the desired consistency.

ChefSecrets: To use the ganache as a candy coating or decorative outer shell on Petit Fours, reduce the amount of cream in recipe and keep ganache over simmering water or wrap the bowl in a heating pad. Add a little it more cream and whip with an electric mixer to get a frosting-like consistency great for decorating cakes and cupcakes (Do not refrigerate). To make old-fashioned rolled truffles scoop and hand roll room temperature ganache into a ball then roll in chopped nuts, confectioner’s sugar, decoratifs or Choclatique Unsweetened black Onyx Cocoa Powder.

Cake pops are really the popular rage at the moment and are in the forefront of chocolate fashion. They’re easy to make using leftover cake trimmings. Combine the trimmings with warm ganache—add a tablespoon at a time—mix until the cake and ganache are moist and fully combined. Add only as much ganache as needed to hold the mixture together. Roll mixture into balls and place on a waxed-paper lined sheet, insert a loll stick into the center of each ball (found at hobby stores). Place in freezer for about 2 hours and then dip in warm ganache to coat.

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California Chocolate-Marshmallow Pie: S’mores for Snobs

May 2nd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The first recorded version of a s’more was found in the publication Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts in 1927. Although it is unknown when the name was shortened, recipes for Some Mores appeared in various Girl Scout publications until 1971. Using the same ingredients, we have come up with our own version of s’mores in the form of a pie. Starting with a store-bought pie crust and puffy marshmallows, you can have a campfire-style treat at the dining room table even if you’re not a Girl Scout. To tell you the truth, camping never tasted this good.

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Bake Time: 10 Minutes + 10 Minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 1 9-inch pie (serves 6)

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 large egg yolks
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate
1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie shell, baked (store bought)
20 large, puffy, store-bought marshmallows

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar, flour and cocoa powders in a deep saucepan.
  2. Beat the egg yolks with milk. Slowly add the liquids to the sugar-cocoa powder mixture.
  3. Cook on medium heat, being care not to scorch the bottom stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened; about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the butter and chocolate until fully melted. It will look like a rich chocolate pudding.
  5. Top the filled pie with a single layer of marshmallows.
  6. Chill the prepared pie in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  7. Pour the warm filling into the baked pie crust.
  8. Preheat an oven to 325º F.
  9. Bake until the marshmallows are a toasty brown; about 10 minutes.
  10. Serve warm while the marshmallow topping is still warm and sticky.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate & Worm Dirt Cups

April 24th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Worms in dirt may not sound appetizing, but kids will love it. Start by making a delicious homemade pudding that you will chill and later decorate with crushed cookies and gummy worms. I even like to add a sour gummy worm or two. Not that you ever have a problem with getting kids to eat a chocolate dessert, the dirt and creepy-crawly treats will have them ask for more. It’s all about chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. How can you go wrong?

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 Hours 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups chocolate milk
12 ounces Choclatique Heirloom Milk Chocolate Pastilles
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed chocolate cookies
12 to 16 gummy worms

Directions:

  1. Thoroughly wash 6 to 8 new terra cotta garden pots and line with clear, clean plastic inserts (available at your local nursery).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, sugar and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate medium bowl combine the cornstarch and heavy cream.
  4. In a double boiler over simmering water, heat the chocolate milk until steaming.
  5. Remove from heat, pour half of the chocolate milk into the heavy cream mixture, while whisking.
  6. Add the cocoa mixture to the liquid and stir. Return the combined mixture to double boiler. Cook, stirring for approximately 5 minutes or until the pudding has thickened. I will leave tracks on the back of the spoon when you draw your finger across it.
  7. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla extract, stirring until smooth.
  8. Divide evenly among the bowls and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface, to avoid a pudding skin from forming, chill for at least 2 hours or until you are ready to serve.
  9. When ready to serve apply an even layer of crushed chocolate cookies on top of the pudding.
  10. Top off with gummy worms for decoration.

ChefSecret: To give a more 3-dimensional look, stick a paper or plastic flower on the pot.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s St. Paddy’s Day Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake With Guinness Chocolate Icing

February 21st, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

I bet you’ll hear, “This is the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had!“ You’ll hear comments like this and much more when you serve this ultra dark, rich chocolate cake with its luscious chocolate icing. Use Choclatique Elephant Chocolate (76% cacao) or a really good chocolate bar with at least 74% cacao to intensify the chocolate flavor (do not use unsweetened baking chocolate), and you don’t have to wait for St. Paddy’s Day to make this cake! It’s not the luck of the Irish that make this cake so good; it’s the Guinness!

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 9-inch layer cake (2 layers)

Ingredients:
For the Cake:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Choclatique Black Onyx Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 cup Irish Guinness Stout Beer
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter
4 ounces Choclatique Elephant Dark Chocolate (76%), chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crème fraîche (see ChefSecret)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 ounces Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons Irish Guinness Stout Beer
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners‘ sugar, sifted (or more as needed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Butter two the 9-inch cake pans and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, heat 1 cup of the stout beer, 1-1/4 cups butter, 4 ounces chocolate and the sugar just until the butter and chocolate have melted; stir to blend mixture, and cool slightly.
  4. Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a large mixing bowl; gradually stir in the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the melted chocolate mixture in small additions, stirring to blend. Pour half the batter into each prepared cake pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the top of the cake bounces back when touched lightly with a finger, about 40 minutes. Cool the cakes on racks.

For the Icing:

  1. Place 1/2 cup of the butter, 4 ounces of dark chocolate and 5 tablespoons of stout beer in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Continue to cook and stir just until the chocolate has melted; stir to blend mixture completely. Remove from the heat, and cool slightly.
  2. In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, and vanilla extract until smooth; gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar. Pour in the cooled chocolate-stout mixture and mix well. Add confectioners’ sugar until the icing is to your desired consistency, adding more sugar if you like a firmer icing.
  3. Place a cake layer on a serving plate, and smooth about one third of the frosting over the cake top. Place the second cake onto the frosted layer, and spread remaining two thirds of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

ChefSecret #1: By dusting the cake pans with cocoa powder you won’t get messy white flour streaks on the cake and the baked layers will still release from the pan.

ChefSecret #2: You should have about 1/4 cup of Guinness left in the bottle (if you didn’t cheat and drink it all). For a moister cake pour the remaining Guinness into a small sauce pan along with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Using a wide pastry brush, brush on the mixture on to the first layer before frosting.

ChefSecret #3: You can make your own crème fraîche by adding 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk to 1 pint of heavy cream in a non-reactive container (glass or plastic). Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until thickened to desired texture, about 12 hours. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Or, sour cream can be substituted for the crème fraîche.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Chocolate-Orange Valentine’s Dessert Pizza

February 6th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

There are now over 1500 recipes for dessert pizza on the internet. Some are made with real pizza dough and many are made with a cookie or brownie base. I spotted a couple using a graham cracker crust and even saw one that was made on a bagel. These all seemed a little too heavy for an ending to a wonderful homemade Valentine’s Day dinner. I decided to make our Chocolate-Orange Valentine’s Dessert Pizza with a light and flaky puff pastry. It’s okay to use the frozen, store-bought stuff.

I looked everywhere I could and couldn’t find anything on the history of who made the first dessert chocolate pizza. I even looked it up on Wikipizza. If you know who invented it or where it was first served, drop me a note and you may win a free box of Choclatique Valentine’s Chocolate.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cool Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 90 minutes
Yield: 1 Pizza (Serves 2 to 4 people)

Ingredients:
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

1 1/4 cups water
2/3 cup light corn syrup (Karo)
2 tablespoons Choclatique Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 pound Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate Pastilles
1 1/4 teaspoons chocolate extract (Star Kay White Pure Chocolate Extract)

For the Pizza:
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (Pepperidge Farms or equal private label)
1/2 cup dark chocolate ganache (ingredients above)
2 tablespoons toasted almond slivers
10-12 orange segments
2 tablespoons caramel sauce
2 tablespoons Choclatique White Chocolate Curls

Directions:
For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:

  1. Bring the water, corn syrup, cocoa powder and salt to a boil.
  2. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Add the chocolate and chocolate extract.
  4. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Let the ganache cool to room temperature. Continue to stir periodically while cooling to keep it from separating.
  6. Cover and set aside.

For the Pizza:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Line a flat baking pan with a piece of parchment paper.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry so that an inverted 9” pie pan will fit on it. Cut out the puff pastry around the pie pan.
  4. Prick the pastry round all over with a fork or pairing knife.
  5. Place the dough on the baking pan and cover with a second sheet of parchment. Place a second baking pan on top of the parchment and place a weight, such as a small sauce pan on top of the second baking pan.
  6. Place the weighted pastry in the oven and bake for 14 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove the top baking pan and the top piece of parchment paper. Carefully place a pie pan into the direct center of the pastry round, leaving a uniform amount of dough exposed on all sides. Place the small sauce pan onto the pie pan to weigh it down. This will create the raised edges of the pizza crust.
  8. Place the pan back in the oven and bake for an additional 12 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature.
  9. Spoon the ganache into the center of your “pizza” crust and carefully spread it to the raised edges.
  10. Sprinkle the almonds evenly over the ganache.
  11. Carefully place the orange segments in a circular pattern. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the whole pizza and finish by sprinkling the white chocolate curls over the top.

ChefSecret: You can easily substitute fresh berries or canned peach slices for the orange segments. You can have some fun with a kid’s version of this dessert pizza by cutting out round shapes of fruit leather that look like pepperoni or salami.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate Cherry Valentine’s Cookies

February 5th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

White chocolate and cherries seem to belong together for Valentine’s Day, or is that just me? I love the combination of the red and white colors, not to mention the flavors. I wanted to make a cookie that was different. Yes, chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies are delicious, but sometimes you need a little something else. So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and I came up with these. I hope you enjoy them, we did—they didn’t last long here!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 11 to 12 minutes
Cool Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose-flour
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (I used my blender)
2 cups Choclatique White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Beat the butter, sugars, egg and almond extract until creamy.
  3. Mix the soda, salt and flour together and add to the wet ingredients (the dough will be thicker than most cookie doughs until you add the cherries).
  4. Add in the cherries and mix well.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet (about 2 tablespoons each leaving enough room to allow the dough to spread when baking).
  7. Bake for 11 to 12 minutes, cool for 3-4 minutes on pan and then cool on a rack.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Cocoa-Miso Glazed Halibut

February 4th, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Japanese cuisine has developed over the past 2,000 years with strong influences from China and Korea. But it is only in the last 300-400 years that all the influences have come together to form what nowadays can be described as Japanese food culture.

The introduction of rice from Korea around 400 B.C. was most notable. Within a hundred years it became the staple food of Japan. Rice is used not only for eating, but also for making paper, wine, fuel, and building materials. Soon after the introduction of rice, soy beans and wheat were imported from China. These two ingredients became an integral part of Japanese cooking. Tea, chopsticks and a number of other important food-related items were also introduced from China which was thought to be the more civilized culture of the time.

Cooking “Japanese” is not hard, it’s just a matter of having the right ingredients (which include ingredients made from rice and soy) and enough time to do it right. You’ll love the flavors in Japanese food and you will be surprised just how simple most of the recipes are. This Valentine’s recipe is no exception—a beautiful piece of fresh fish and a little miso (soy), mirin (rice) and sake (rice). That’s all there is to it. Well, not quite; we added the cocoa powder. It seems that the cocoa, when added to the miso, mirin and sake brought a new dimension to the marinade. It made for a richer, fuller-flavored entrée. It’s amazing what a little bit of cocoa can do.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Marinade Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup nigori sake
1/4 cup mirin
4 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Choclatique Natura Cocoa Powder, sifted
2 fresh halibut fillets, about 1/2 pound each (you can use salmon, cod or other white fish)

Directions:

  1. Combine the sake, mirin, miso, sugar and cocoa powder in a small both and whisk together.
  2. Place the fish filets in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over them. Distribute the marinade evenly and refrigerate for no more than sixty minutes—set a timer. Try to remove as much of the air as possible before sealing the bag.
  3. About 20 minutes before you are going to start cooking set the oven broiler on high and your top rack about 6 to 8 inches away from the heating element.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, remove the fish from the marinade and place on the baking sheet. Do not wipe too much marinade off the top of the fish.
  5. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and broil for 8-10 minutes or until the top of the fish starts to char. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Chef’s Secret: We tried this recipe with several different kinds of fish. Some of us preferred halibut (as this recipe is written) while others liked salmon or cod. This will work on most pieces of fresh fish. Not all sake is created equal. Nigori sake is sweeter, unfiltered sake that lends itself well to the preparation of this dish. The more common Junmai sake is fine to use in this recipe, but the Nigori better complements the chocolate notes from the cocoa powder.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s White Chocolate Grasshopper

February 3rd, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

A grasshopper is made with crème de menthe. My White Chocolate Grasshopper is made with crème de menthe and white chocolate ganache. Crème de menthe is a mint-flavored liqueur. Its flavor is typically made with Corsican mint. It is available colorless and, most typically green. Both varieties have similar flavors and can be used interchangeably.

Crème de menthe is the main ingredient in several cocktails such as a Stinger or Grasshopper. It can also be served as an after-dinner drink. Some people use it in food recipes as a flavoring.

The Grasshopper is a sweet, mint-flavored, after-dinner drink. The name of the drink is derived from its green color, which is provided by the crème de menthe. The drink originated at Tujague’s, the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans located in the heart of the French Quarter, facing the historic French Market. The Grasshopper gained popularity during the 1950s and 1960s throughout the American South.

So how did we improve on the best? I added a little white chocolate ganache to the recipe. Our white chocolate ganache has several uses in our Valentine’s Day recipes. If you have the White Chocolate Ganache, made it only takes about 5 minutes to make this drink. So make enough ganache to make sure you can try it in everything. Be creative and see what you can come up with. I’d love to hear some of your creative ideas.

Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cool Time: 2 hours
Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup (Karo Syrup)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 pound Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate Pastilles
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the White Chocolate Grasshopper:
3 oz crème de menthe
3 oz crème de cacao
1/2 cup white chocolate ganache
6 generous scoops vanilla bean ice cream
1 tablespoon Choclatique White or Dark Chocolate Curls

Directions:
For the White Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the cream, Karo Syrup and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk until blended. Remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Immediately add the chocolate and the vanilla to the pan and whisk until smooth. Set aside for about 2 hours to cool completely, whisking every 15 minutes or so to keep the ganache in emulsion.
  3. When cool, transfer the ganache to a rigid plastic or glass container, cover, date and refrigerate overnight before using.

For the Grasshopper:

  1. Combine the crème de menthe, crème de cacao, white chocolate ganache and ice cream in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Garnish with the white chocolate curls.

ChefSecret: You can make your own Crème de Menthe by steeping dried peppermint leaves in grain alcohol for two or three weeks; filter it 3 times using coffee filers; add simple sugar to taste.

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The ChocolateDoctor’s Insalata Caprese de Valentine With Chocolate-Balsamic Vinaigrette

January 31st, 2014
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

The original Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale is made from cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and is not a vinegar in the usual sense. It has been made in Modena and Reggio Emilia since the Middle Ages (as early as 1046). Balsamic vinegar is highly praised and most often used by chefs and food lovers.

I commonly use Balsamic vinegar for salad dressing and meat marinades together with a little olive oil. For Valentine’s Day, Chef Jonathan and I came up with a wonderful dressing using two ancient ingredients—Balsamic vinegar and Choclatique chocolate. We found the two flavors to be complimentary resulting in one of the most delicious dressings we’ve ever tasted for a Caprese Salad. You can put the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes and the results will be winning you praise for many Valentine’s Days to come.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 – 1 oz. servings

Ingredients:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

1 cup balsamic vinegar

For the Chocolate Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Choclatique Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles
1/3 cup balsamic reduction
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 5 turns on a grinder)
1 tablespoon extra fine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction

For the Caprese Salad:
6 slices large beefsteak tomato
6 slices fresh mozzarella
2 tablespoons chocolate vinaigrette
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
10 leaves fresh basil

Directions:
For the Balsamic Reduction:

  1. Place the vinegar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced by about two-thirds.
  3. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Once cooled, the reduction should be a light syrup consistency.

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Place the olive oil in a glass bowl and heat in a microwave for 45-60 seconds.
  2. Add the chocolate to the olive oil and whisk together until they form a smooth emulsion. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, sugar and balsamic vinegar reduction. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. While whisking, slowly drizzle the cooled oil mixture into the vinegar reduction.
  5. Hold at room temperature and set aside.

Assembling the Salad:

  1. Starting with tomato, alternate slices of tomato and mozzarella on a dinner plate. Three slices of each for each serving.
  2. Season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle one tablespoon of the vinaigrette over and around the tomatoes and mozzarella.

ChefSecret: An easy way to see if your vinegar has reduced enough is to dip the back of a metal spoon into the vinegar and let it cool for a minute. Then run your finger along the back of the spoon to check its consistency. If the swipe mark holds without running at all, then your vinegar is ready. The French say that your sauce has reached the nappé stage.

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