Tag Archives: chocolate

chocolate roulade

Finishing Up Leftover Ingredients: Heavy Cream in Mocha Roulade

In Parts 1 & 2 of my “How to Use Up Leftover Ingredients” quest, I made Martha Stewart’s recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake, using up leftover sour cream that would otherwise go to waste from the Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies recipe.

On the same morning that I worried over how that cake would turn out (well, in fact), I also ventured to make Martha’s Mocha Roulade, which is essentially a rolled sponge cake filled with mousse, in order to use up some leftover heavy cream.

Not having espresso in the house, and since Mark doesn’t like coffee flavoring, I basically skipped the “mocha” part of this recipe, and went straight at it from a chocolate cake/chocolate mousse perspective.

It seems like most bakers would consider the roulade (rolling up what is essentially a flat cake without it breaking) to be the more difficult part, I actually found the chocolate mousse the most challenging.

I melted the chocolate and whipped the egg yolks well enough (maybe?).

melting chocolate
melting chocolate – double boiler

Then the recipe calls for boiling sugar, corn syrup and water, and then adding that mixture to the whipped egg yolks. Frankly, I’m not sure if I just didn’t bring the sugar syrup to a high enough temperature (being lazy and not using a thermometer) or what, but there were some hardened clumps of corn syrup which never evened out. Do I even need the corn syrup? Can I just make a simple syrup with sugar and water? Discuss.

For the mousse, you whip up some heavy cream and fold that into the chocolate/egg/sugar mixture as the final step to create that airy, silky mousse….which mine was not.

Either way, the mousse ended up tasting fine but it definitely was not as light and fluffy as I think it should’ve been. Plus, ya know, clumps of hardened corn syrup.

While the mousse was chilling, I turned my attention to the chocolate sponge cake for the other half of my roll.

This was so interesting to me – never having made a sponge cake before, I thought for sure that my batter was way to wet and light. It was almost just like whipped egg with a pinch of chocolate flavoring added in. Also, interesting that you whip the egg yolks and egg whites separately and then combine them gently together.

Once the cake was baked, the fun really began!! On a tea towel dusted with cocoa powder, I laid out the baked cake, and while still warm, gently but tightly rolled the cake into a log, incorporating the tea towel.

chocolate on a tea towel - ready to roll sponge cake
chocolate on a tea towel – ready to roll sponge cake
sponge cake
chocolate sponge cake
rolled sponge cake
rolled sponge cake

Once, completely cooled, I unfurled the cake to reveal a slight curved cake – like the way my yoga mat looks when I unbundle it on the floor before class, where the edges are curled up.

I spread my mousse out on the cake and rerolled it to create the swirled mousse/cake log. I really thought this turned out a-okay for a first roulade attempt. My lessons were really all about the mousse: 1. make sure egg yolks are seriously whipped, 2. use simple syrup instead of this weird corn syrup mixture, 3. make sure it’s light and fluffy!

FYI I still didn’t end up using up all the leftover heavy cream from the Caramel Sauce recipe I made last week, but oh well.

 

mmmmm crispy edges and chewy center on this chocolate chip cookie

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie?!?! I believe they have been named the #1 favorite cookie to bake at home. There are a million good recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and for years, my go-to was from The Joy of Cooking (still a fave).

But since I’m working on all of Martha Stewart’s recipes from her Baking Handbook and I was desperately in the mood for chocolate chip cookies, I figured I’d try out hers!

In this book, she actually gives a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies, but since all I had on hand was mini chocolate chips, then mini chocolate chips it would be 🙂

I always tend to start with the fairly standard ratio to make basic drop cookies: 1 part flour, to 1 part sugar (usually half white and half brown) to 1 part butter. 1 egg per 1 part. 1-2 teaspoons vanilla per your liking, 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, and 1 part chocolate chips.

Then you can play around with these ratios to find your ideal taste and texture.

For instance, here I was going for flatter, crisper cookies with harder edges and softer middles. So we upped the butter a little bit.

Also, for most drop cookies, you want to start with room temp butter. But I actually like to melt it slightly in the microwave which also helps create the flatter cookie.

My tips:

  1. Don’t eat them when they’re hot. The temperature masks the flavor.
  2. Realize that they are going to spread in the oven and don’t place them too close together – some of mine ran into each other creating more square-ish shapes.
  3. Create 5 tablespoon-sized balls for really really huge cookies that you can then stack together with icing to turn them into a layered cookie cake! (This is my next project with these cookies).
  4. If you have chocolate chunks, go for that instead of chips since the chips kind of get lost in the expanse of cookie. It would have been deliciously chocolatey to have bitten into a huge hunk of chocolate.
  5. Eat with milk or a malty porter.

My execution was pretty good on this recipe, although I made them a bit larger than Martha did (about 2.5 tablespoon balls). With the excess of butter they definitely spread out upon baking.

I cooked them until the edges and tops were golden brown, and then let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

They turned out delicious – flat and crispy as desired.

 

Easy Winter Peppermint Bark

One of my all-time favorite holiday treats is peppermint bark. I’m particularly taken with the Ghirardelli version which uses dark or milk chocolate layered with white chocolate, and what appear to be crushed up bits of candy cane.

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But I sometimes feel like store-bought chocolates can be a bit waxy and I strongly prefer dark chocolate to other kinds. (85% cacao is an excellent mid-afternoon snack to wake up and because it’s so strong, no fear of eating the whole bar!) It seems like most of the peppermint bark in stores has at least some element of white chocolate in it, which I could do without.

So I decided to make my own wintery peppermint bark with deep dark chocolate, crushed up candy canes, and a bit of peppermint extract for an extra minty kick.

Note that you can use other kinds of chocolate to suit your preference! It’s such a simple recipe, but you’ll need wax paper or even better, shallow silicone ice trays which will make perfect little rectangles! Or you could find some fun holiday shapes like pine trees! Or make your own Hanukkah gelt if you find a tray with circlular molds.

Here’s what to do:

Melt your chocolate. I chose a mix of 70% and 86% cacao which is bitter but still palatable as a dessert. (Pick your mix of favorite chocolates!) Use a glass bowl set over a pot of boiling water (not touching the water) and continually stir the chocolate until it’s a smooth glossy liquid. Start with either a bag of chocolate chips or 5 standard size bars. This will make enough treats to eat yourself and share with a few friends.

Depending on how much chocolate you use, you will want a candy cane ratio such that each bite gets some chunks. For 5 chocolate bars, I used a total of 8 regular candy canes (they taste so much better than those round red and white dinner mints). First I finely crushed up 3 candy canes in a Ziploc bag using a meat hammer (you could also use the back of a frying pan).

Once the chocolate was melted and smooth, I turned off the stove heat and mixed in my 3 crushed candy canes and ½ tsp of peppermint extract to really amplify the mint flavor which can get lost in the overpowering dark chocolate (guess that’s why it’s standard to use white chocolate).

Line a pan with a lip (I used a pretty small one since I only used 5 chocolate bars) with the wax paper so that the paper hangs over all the edges. Pour the chocolate mix onto the wax paper and use a spatula to spread it evenly (or evenly pour the mixture into your silicone ice trays).

 

Then, in the Ziploc bag, I crushed up the remaining 5 candy canes into a mix of small and medium chunks. Don’t crush them into too fine a powder or else you won’t get that satisfying candy cane crunch in your bark.

Sprinkle these crushed candy canes over the chocolate along with a smattering of sea salt (a trick I learned from Carla Hall on The Chew).

Refrigerate until hard. Either pop the chocolates out of the silicone mold or break up the large chocolate sheet into bite sized chunks with a knife.

Wrap them up in cellophane or craft paper and make cute tags for friends and family! Yum!

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