Friday, November 21, 2008

Chocolate Confections

I was in the mood to make chocolate confections and decided to try some recipes from a new cookbook by pastry chef Francois Payard. A few of the recipes just didn't work (chocolate marshmallows and chocolate popcorn) and I'm not sure I tried a few others and was happy with the results.

Chocolate mendiants are both delicious and easy to make. Use your favorite, good quality chocolate for the best flavor. I had semisweet (Sharffenberger) on hand so that is what I used but you can use bittersweet, milk chocolate or white chocolate as well. You temper the chocolate, spoon it out onto prepared baking sheet and top with assorted items. Let set for an hour then savor the smooth, flavorful chocolate. The mendiants were topped with caramelized walnuts and almonds with fleur de sel. I love fleur de sel with chocolate, such a wonderful combination!

The chocolate popcorn was one of the items that didn't really turn out the way it was supposed to but I tried it anway and the flavor was really good. Cocoa powder and salt mixed into a hot honey syrup then tossed with the popcorn. The syrup didn't end up being a pouring consistency so it clumped on the popcorn instead of coating all the kernels....I will try it again and try to see what went wrong.

One of my favorite chocolate snacks from Trader Joe's are their cocoa almonds. I found a recipe that seemed easy enough so I tried it out. The almonds were coated in a sugar syrup, melted chocolate to coat and tossed with cocoa powder. The concept is good but these were a little too sweet for my palate. Next time I think I will reduce the amount of sugar syrup used and try again. If I can get it right these will be wonderful!

More chocolate confections to come!

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