Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adding Extras to Chocolate Recipes

This will be a new type of Saturday Sacrament, Sisters and Brothers.  Not only will I be revealing a companies products but also some of the recipes I used to incorporate non-chocolate items into chocolate dishes.  MarxFoods sent us some palm plates last year as some of you may recall -- I tried to set them on fire in my review.  After we won a Reader's Choice for our review, we received other plates.  Marxfoods also sent us some spices which is the food focus of their company.  They sent us two types of dried chilies, two types of dried mushrooms, vanilla beans, and fleur de sal.  Today I'm going to share with you how I tried them all out with chocolate recipes.  I want to give a big thanks to my food historian friend, Emilie, for her help in trying to figure how to use these spices as well as to our various Acolytes for trying the recipes or helping me create various treats you'll see below.  Success or failure rests on my brow.

The first thing I tried was the six Madagascar Vanilla Beans they sent my way.  First I added one bean to one cup of Splenda and let it set for three months.  I did the same with another cup as well at some point so I had two cups to play with in various recipes.  Several of the treats we made for our 2010 Christmas party were with this vanillaed sugar and I just left out any additional vanilla in the recipe. I think it turned out well each time.

That wasn't all I did with those vanilla beans, oh, no.  I'm going to get the most out of them that I can but that might take a while and I didn't want to put off this review forever.  I placed all six beans into a large bottle of vodka.  As you can see over the weeks it is taking the vanilla out and becoming extract.  It may take me a decade to use this much! When I finally remove the beans again I'll use them one final time by cutting them open and taking out the little seeds to use as flavoring and decoration for sugar cookies.  I know, that isn't all for chocolate but I do make treats and dishes that don't have chocolate.  Shocking, I realize for all of you to learn.

The Flor de Sal is a type of sea salt that I had a heck of a time trying to find a few years back when I had to test a cookbook about sweet and salty foods.  Now I can go back and try those recipes again so I'm grateful for this.  This particular type was from Portugal but MarxFoods has several kinds of gourmet salt you can discover.  I have to travel about town to find that much variety where I live.

I also received two types of dried chilies and I was confused as to how to use these.  Vanilla beans and flor de sal, that's easy because so many recipes I use call for those or their related components.  Emilie was a huge help here and she suggested I soak the broken up chilies in whole milk or broth.  I used heavy cream and then made two recipes.

I made a chocolate cake using the milder chilies, the Aji Cereza chilies that MarxFoods sent me.   I used a modified version of a Bon App├ętit recipe by only using the cake part of the recipe and substitution of the coffee for the heavy cream soaked chilies and leaving out the almonds so our Milk Chocolate Acolyte could eat it.  The result was two 9 inch round cakes we covered with frosting.  The cakes were a bit dry because I use whole wheat flour for all my flour needs but the chilies gave it a mild fruit flavor.  Next time I'll note to add more liquid to combat the dryness.

I tried to make truffles, again, with the Aji Panca peppers.  They wouldn't set up right and we too hard to form into balls or any shape at all so I'll simply call these "Hot Dark Chocolates".  This is basically the last of the Guittard 70% chocolate with a cup of heavy cream in which the peppers were soaked.  The result is a bitter chocolate with what I find to be a very spicy aftertaste though others who tried it and who like spicier foods and drinks than your Chocolate Priestess didn't think it was terribly spicy.   Razzle suggested that you could melt it again and use it as a savoy fondue for veggies perhaps.  What do you all think?

Again I was thrown about how to use the dried mushrooms that I received.  Emilie suggested refreshing them in cold water then simply dicing them to add to dishes I normally would.  We had some ideas but then I realized after the truffle failure I wanted to try simple first so I made a red sauce with added chili-cocoa powder for spaghetti and then diced the Black Trumpet Mushrooms on top.  I'm not a fan of mushrooms and this didn't look like any thing special so I didn't bother to take a photo.   The other mushrooms Marx sent me was these Matsutake Mushrooms and I am clueless how to use these with chocolate since these are Japanese mushrooms.  Any suggestions are welcomed, Sisters and Brothers.

There you go!  My sometimes crazy, sometimes tasting, sometimes unique experiments with spices from MarxFoods.  I will bake and cook with samples, I've reviewed cookware and you all may remember the ice cream failures of 2010.  But I really wish it had been easier to figure out what to do with 4 of the 6 samples they sent. 



I can't wait to see your next project on Marx Foods...Happy cooking!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks, PALATABLE. I was so busy at a convention this past weekend that I forgot to send them a notice about this post. I'll go do that now.

briarrose said...

A great bunch of experiments. :)

The failed truffles would make a great dip I think. Just remelt them with more cream or milk and they should be perfect.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Good idea, briarrose. Our Fruit Acolyte agrees but I think they taste fine just as pieces of chocolate, too.

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