Wednesday, September 23, 2020

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES: White Chocolate Day

Today is White Chocolate Day.  I like white chocolate, and I always have. My parents bought us two special treats at their favorite candy shop on the boardwalk in Atlantic City: Toffee (English toffee) and White Chocolate. I considered them "grown-up candies" that were fresh and presented in small individual boxes. As a child of 8 or 9, this was so different from penny candy or a 5 cent candy bar.

Officially white chocolate is not chocolate because it doesn't contain chocolate liquor. However, it does contain cocoa butter (along with sugar, milk solids, vanilla and lecithin). The most important thing to remember when buying white chocolate is that it must contain cocoa butter. Some brands on the market, and many of those little disks you see, are really just vegetable fat. Real cocoa butter should be an ivory color. The 'fake' white chocolate is 'white'. Why bother with that. Go for the real thing. You'll be rewarded by flavor!

One other hint: White chocolate scorches easily, so always use a low heat. In the truffle recipe below, be very careful when combining the white chocolate with the cream (see note).

There are several white chocolate brands on the market. I like Askinosie White Chocolate. Their White Chocolate Bar is 34% Cocoa Butter made from Davao Philippine beans. The main ingredient in their white chocolate is the non-deodorized cocoa butter which is then pressed in their factory. Askinoise combines this with goat's milk powder and organic cane juice and then crafts it for days in their 85-year old German melanguer.

Guittard also makes a fabulous white chocolate. They actually have two. My favorite is only available for professional bakers, and sadly I didn't need 100 pounds of white chocolate. I seem to remember it was about 44% cacao, so that's pretty close to 'chocolate'...

I sometimes use Lindt, too. Depends what I have when I decide to cook or bake with white chocolate.

It's funny but just this past weekend, I was talking chocolate .. well, we were talking dark chocolate.. and I mentioned I really like chocolate and citrus.  So now for White Chocolate Day, what could be better than White Chocolate Lemon Truffles? This is a simple and delicious recipe!

WHITE CHOCOLATE LEMON TRUFFLES

Ingredients 
1/4 cup unsalted butter
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 cup quality white chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp lemon extract or pure lemon oil
1/4 cup powdered sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for coating

Directions
Put white chocolate in bowl, set aside.
Melt butter along with lemon zest in small saucepan. Stir in cream and heat until bubbles just start to form at edges (do not boil).
Pour hot cream mixture over white chocolate. Add lemon extract and stir until smooth.
Cover mixture and refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to handle.
Scoop mixture out by heaping teaspoon fulls and form into balls.
Roll in sparkling sugar.
Freeze truffles 20 minutes or refrigerate one hour.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE POPPY SEED CAKE: National White Chocolate Day!

Today is National White Chocolate Day. I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, and white chocolate is no exception. I know it's not always considered chocolate, but I still love the taste. White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids that has a pale yellow or ivory appearance. The melting point of cocoa butter is high enough to keep white chocolate solid at room temperature, yet low enough to allow white chocolate to melt in the mouth.

I've posted recipes for white chocolate truffles, muffins, cheesecake, brownies, fudge, pancakes, other cakes, and cookies. This is a great recipe for White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake. You can bake it in a bundt pan, a square pan, or a loaf pan. It's perfect for a weekend brunch or toasted with butter and orange marmalade for breakfast.

Make sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe and not a product that uses vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter. Check the packaging for ingredients. I use Guittard white chocolate.

White Chocolate Orange Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream  (you can always substitute plain or Greek yoghurt for a tangy-er taste)
1 cup water
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped (Guittard)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 Tbs grated orange rind

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease and lightly flour a 13x9-inch cake or bundt pan.
In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternately add flour and baking soda along with the sour cream and water.
Once combined, mix on low until well blended and smooth.
Fold in chopped chocolate, poppy seeds, and orange rind.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.
When done, remove and let cool on wire rack.
Remove cake from pan and allow to cool completely. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES: National Pecan Cookie Day

Pecans and chocolate are a true marriage made in heaven! I've posted recipes for Chocolate Pecan Sandies, definitely a pecan cookie, but I thought I'd post a different one to celebrate National Pecan Cookie Day!

This recipe is adapted from Woman's Day, April 1, 2006.  As always, I suggest you use the very best ingredients. I use crumbled toffee in the recipe, and I use 15 ounces of 70% chocolate in place of the original 2 10-oz milk chocolate bars. I also use DARK cocoa. And, an FYI, there are over 1000 varieties of pecans. Whichever you choose, you'll go nuts for this recipe!

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3⁄4 tsp baking soda
3⁄4 tsp salt
2 1⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unsweetened DARK cocoa powder
10 oz English toffee bits
1-1⁄2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
15-oz dark chocolate (65-75% cacao), chopped coarsely (or dark chocolate chips)

Directions
Heat oven to 375°F. Have baking sheets ready.
Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until fluffy. Beat in eggs, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add flour and beat on low speed until blended.
Stir in cocoa powder,  English toffee bits, pecans, and chocolate.
Drop rounded tablespoons dough about 1 1⁄2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Cool on sheet 1 to 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD: International Banana Day


Tomorrow is International Banana Day! I adore Chocolate and Bananas, so any recipe with these ingredients works for me. This is an easy delicious recipe for Chocolate Banana Bread. I have several recipes for Chocolate Banana Bread. Let me know what you think of this one.

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

Beat butter and sugar in mixing bowl 2 minutes or until light, using electric mixer at medium-high speed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add bananas and vanilla extract at low speed, mixing until combined.

Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream. Fold in dark chocolate Chips.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.

Cool in pan set on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.