Friday, January 10, 2020


Today is Bittersweet Chocolate Day! This is a great day to celebrate, with a few clarifications on terminology. Don't fear, the holiday will be sweet..and not bitter! Although I have purchased chocolate that is labeled bittersweet, I buy chocolate based on its origins, fair-trade, and amount of cacao. Bittersweet is just too vague a term for me.

According to Wikipedia, Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate not liqueur) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands (the ones I like) print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The U.S. classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).

So for today's holiday, here's one of my favorite recipes for Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles from  from Joan Coukos that appeared in Food & Wine in 2005. It's an easy recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles Coated with a Blend of Chinese and Mexican Spices. Heaven!


1 cup heavy cream
3 Tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch of ground cloves
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
1 teaspoon ancho powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder


In medium saucepan, bring cream and corn syrup to a boil. Put bittersweet chocolate in medium bowl and pour hot cream over it. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in  butter. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in small dry skillet, toast coconut over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until just lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and let cool. Stir in cardamom, cloves, 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. In another small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, allspice, and chipotle and ancho chile powders. In  third small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of cocoa powder with five-spice powder and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar. Put remaining 1/4 cup of cocoa in another bowl.

Line  baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop up level tablespoons of ganache and drop them onto parchment. Place baking sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Using hands, roll each mound of ganache into ball; you may have to cool your hands in ice water periodically while you work.

Roll 1 truffle at a time into 1 of coatings. Return truffles to tbaking sheet, cover loosely and refrigerate until chilled.

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