Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Chocoholics Everywhere, Unite!

It's no secret that I adore chocolate. Especially when served warm, like as a hot fudge sauce, a molten lava cake, and especially a steaming mug of hot chocolate! Unfortunately a dairy and fat intolerance leves me unable to partake in some of the truly decadent items like Nickel's Chocolate Cake (which seems odd on their menu given that the leader of the chain is the teeny tiny Celine Dion) or the Caramel Brownie Cheesecake from LaRocca. Small amounts of the good solid stuff are still on the menu, as is cocoa powder, so I'm not completely cut off!! Chocolate facts and a recipe seemed to be the perfect complement to my adoration post, and so I present to you my Hot Chocolate Recipe along with this list of facts from K-chan at I Can't Believe I'm Back in Toronto.

  • Chocolate does not pair very well with wine because the acid fights against the cocoa solids.
  • The best pairing is a drink that has sugar in it such as beer or port. The bubbles in beer also help to cleanse your palate.
  • When melting chocolate, you should use either a stainless steel or copper bowl because they are good conductors of heat. Do not use a glass bowl because glass is a very poor conductor.
  • When stirring and handling melted chocolate, you should use a high heat spatula because regular ones could disintegrate and ruin your product.
  • When double-boiling chocolate, keep the water on a very low boil because water could splash into the bowl. If water gets into your chocolate, it turns into fudge and it cannot be corrected. If this happens, you can still use the chocolate (for hot chocolate, etc.), but not for making bonbons.
  • Ganache is a combination of chocolate and fat (35% cream and butter). Ganache can be used for the soft centres of truffles, hot chocolate mix, icing, mousse, and fillings of cookie sandwiches, among other things.
  • When making truffles, the chocolate coating around the ganache must be airtight in order to keep bacteriaout and prolong shelf life. If the seal is airtight, truffles can last for up to 10 days unrefrigerated.
  • Chocolate should be kept at room temperature. Refrigeration subdues flavour.
  • If you're serious about chocolate making, you might like to purchase a laser read thermometer that can take the temperature of a substance without touching it.
  • The chocolate that professionals use, in its starting form, is called chocolate couverture, which you can buy in chips. The chip form makes it easy to melt the chocolate evenly.
  • It's the cocoa butter in chocolate that gives it that melt-in-your-mouth feel. Cheap chocolate (like in chocolate bunnies) has a waxy mouthfeel because it has vegetable oil in it instead of cocoa butter.
Now for the recipe!

Vegan Creamy Hot Cocoa Mocha
Makes 1 steamy mug of goodness!
1 teaspoon rich cocoa powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
pinch salt
3/4 cup soy milk (I use low-fat)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp Butter Toffee syrup
1/3 cup hot strong coffee
  1. Mix cocoa, brown sugar, and salt in a mug.
  2. Heat soy milk in the microwave (be careful, it can curdle if it boils!!).
  3. Pour a little bit of boiling water into the cocoa mixture and stir to a paste.
  4. Add the hot soy milk, vanilla, syrup and coffee and blend well.
  5. Enjoy!

Truffles photo courtesy of Grocer's Daughter Chocolate, Hot Cocoa photo courtesy of Jupiter Images.

1 comment :

BC said...

Hmmm, I don't think beer and chocolate is a good combination. The alcoholic drink must be sweeter than the chocolate. Port works. Ice wine works but you have to watch the sugar. Go for the higher rating at the LCBO for a guideline (o being very dry).