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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

I made some dark chocolate truffles for my sweetie a few days back. Some how I had leftover ganache in my fridge, usually I would just take a spoon to it, but this time around I thought I'd be classy and make some candy instead.

(makes 8 pieces)
(prep time 30 mins + additional time for cooling, shaping and dipping)
Chocolate Ganache

First you will need to make the chocolate ganache, and then you will need to let it set in the fridge overnight.

Heavy cream 1/2 cup (use 36%)
Your favorite dark chocolate 5 oz (chopped up into small bits)
Butter 1 Tbs
Flavors like brandy, or any other liqueur  1 Tbs (optional) 

Milk chocolate 4 oz (to be used later for dipping the truffles in)
You will also need a small piece of Styrofoam (explained later)


Keep the chocolate bits in a large bowl and set aside.
In a heavy based pot bring the cream to a gentle simmer over medium high heat.
Pour half of the cream onto the bits of chocolate and mix well.
Then pour the rest of the cream, mix and combine very well.
Stir in the butter and flavours.
The chocolate should have completely melted and you should have a chocolaty smooth and shiny mixture in front of you that's difficult not to lick!
Let this mixture sit in the fridge for 6 hours or over night.

The next day you will be able to scoop it out with a spoon, and you should be able to shape them. They are very delicate and melt quickly in your palms so you need to work quickly and gently.

Dust some cocoa powder on your hands, this prevents the ganache from sticking to your hands too much, scoop out a tablespoon worth of ganache in your hands, carefully roll it into a small ball and place it back in the fridge. This is your basic truffle, you can roll this in cocoa powder, ground nuts, coconut flakes etc and you are set.

However I wanted it to have a hard outer shell similar to the truffles that you get from fancy chocolate stores.
That means you need to dip it in tempered chocolate.
You can make tempered chocolate from scratch but I cheat a bit and melt a regular chocolate bar on a double boiler and let it sit till it cools down completely and reaches room temp. The chocolate stays melted for a long time at room temperature. I used about 4 oz of milk chocolate for this.

I also like to freeze the ganache for 45 mins before dipping it in the chocolate.
Half way through freezing time take the ganache out and re-shape it into round balls, and stick a toothpick in it. Re-shaping it gives it a rounder shape (no flat bottoms), the toothpick makes it easier to dip them in chocolate and later you can stick it in some Styrofoam till the chocolate fully hardens, again this prevents flat bottoms.

Now all you gotta do is dip the truffles in melted chocolate and let it rest in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. Place them in candy liners and ta da you're done! I drizzled some melted white chocolate on top, made a little gift box and gave these to my honey :-)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramel Candy

I love it when it snows but I can't believe how awful it got on the streets yesterday! Hope everybody made it home safely last night.
Since most of us are stuck indoors, why not make a batch of homemade caramel candy? I think they make great gifts!

This was surprisingly very easy to make and came out perfectly soft and chewy. I found the instructions here and simply halved the amount of ingredients. This was a really good post about the the whole procedure, great pictures as well! I have listed the method here for convenience.

(makes over 1 lbs of candy)
(cook time 20-30 mins + extra time for cutting and wrapping)

Unsalted butter 1/2 cup
Light corn syrup 1/2 cup
Sweetened condensed milk 1/2 of a 14 oz can
Brown sugar 1 cup and 2 Tbs
Vanilla 1/2 tsp


Note: This is easier if you have a candy thermometer. I don't have have one, so I would test for the right temperature by dropping a small amount of caramel into an ice cold glass of water. I checked after every 5-8 mins. And when the caramel gathered at the bottom of the glass formed a firm ball in my fingers, I knew it was done.

Melt butter in a heavy base pan and add sugar to it.
Cook until sugar is dissolved over medium high heat... about a minute
Add corn syrup and condensed milk, stir and combine well.
Continue to cook over med high heat and stir often.
Cook until caramel reaches the firm ball stage. It took me a little over 20 minutes.
Add the vanilla or any other flavors at this point.
Pour this carefully in a buttered dish.
Allow to cool over night.
Sprinkle with sea-salt if you'd like, cut into desired shape and wrap.
I used kitchen shears to cut these, that explains the weird cut lines along the caramel :-)

I don't know if you can tell, but my caramel had tiny dark brown specks in it. That happened because I didn't stir the caramel often enough during cooking and it got dark at the bottom. So stir stir stir and then stir some more.

Another point that I would like is make is on the wrapping material, I tried both cellophane and wax paper. The cellophane obviously has a lot of options in pattern, colors etc but they are a pain to twist and don't hold the shape. Wax paper does a better job and the candies look more homemade.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

I recently made this batch (see pics below) without the chocolate coating and without shaping them. I just drop 2 Tbsp worth of the dough on a cookie sheet and baked them for 20 mins.
I think they look fantastic this way - partially beacuse I have a better camera now :-) What's not to love about these, very quick and easy and always a crowd pleaser.

Original post starts here.
These are perfection! Nice and chewy in the inside.
I browsed through several recipes and came up with this version.
So cute in chinese takeout boxes, don't you think they make perfect little food gifts?
You won't believe how easy it is to make them.

(makes about 18-20 cookies)
(prep time 10 mins)
(bake time 20-25 mins)

Sweetened coconut flakes 14 oz
Dried coconut flakes (unsweetened) 1/3 cup (lightly toasted)
Condensed milk 2/3 cup
All purpose flour 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs
Large egg whites 3
Nice pinch of salt
Dark chocolate bits 1/3 cup


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and rubber some butter over it. Keep aside.
Mix all of the coconut, flour, condensed milk and salt together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites till they become frothy and form stiff peaks. Takes about 1-2 mins with a hand held mixer.
Fold in the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Scoop out 2 Tbs worth of the dense and sticky coconut mixture and shape it gently using two spoons.
Place the cookies 1" apart from each other and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins.
After baking for 20 mins I realised that the top of the cookie wasn't toasty enough.
I didn't want to bake them longer and risk over cooking them, so I placed the cookies under the broiler for a a minute or two to get the tops all goldeny brown. You want to keep an eye on the cookies while you are doing this. They can burn quite quickly. It also helps if you rotate the cookie sheet to make sure all the cookies are equally browned.

Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and peel them off the wax paper, allow to cool completely.
A lot of recipes that I went through made a chocolate ganache for dipping these in, but the ganache remains soft and its hard to keep the cookies together in a box without the ganache rubbing off and making a mess.
So for the second batch of cookies that I made, I just melted some regular dark chocolate and dipped the cookies in that. The chocolate hardened after a bit and I was left with perfect little coconut macaroons.
Note to myself: Next cookie to try "Macaron"!

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Class pics :-)

Nicole! you did a wonderful job helping mt out yesterday, thanks a bunch :-)
Another class, another day of meeting great people.
Thank you Carolyn for sending me the pics.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Nargisi Koftay

A royal delicacy!


Finely ground lamb 1 lbs
Hard boiled eggs 4 large
Red onions 1 cup (sliced fine)
Tomatoes 1 cup (chopped fine)
Yogurt 1/3 cup
Green chilies 2-3 med (chopped fine)
Garlic 1 Tbs (minced)
Ginger 1 Tbs (minced)
Black pepper 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Coriander 1 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Oil for cooking 4-5 Tbs

Spices for the meatballs:
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Red chili flakes 1/2 tsp
Garlic 1 tsp (minced)
Cumin seeds 1/3 tsp
Egg yolk 1
Bread crumbs 1 1/2 tsp


Heat some oil in a pot.
Add the onions and fry until dark brown.
Add the chilies, garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 secs till the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, mix well and simmer on med high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and are soft.
Add the yogurt and blend with a blender to make a smooth gravy.
Add all the spices and keep aside.
Meanwhile, mix all the spices listed under "Spices for the meatballs" in the ground meat.
Wrap the meat around the eggs (the eggs need to be room temp).
In a separate frying pan, heat about 2-3 Tbs of oil and quickly sears the sides of the meatballs to a light brown color. Don't worry about cooking the meat, the meatballs with cook fully in the sauce.
Gently add the browned meatballs into the gravy and cook for 15 mins on med high heat or until the meat is cooked through. Stir once half way.

Great with naan.

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