Sunday, November 21, 2010

coffee and chocolate

coffee bon bons
So one week before my next special order is due. I will be making a 12" cake, cupcakes, brownies, chocolate chip cookies and rice krispies treats. I bought all my supplies today and started advance preparations which included working on the chocolate decorations for my cupcakes. I went simple and did dark chocolate hearts with a little silver luster dust sprinkled on them. I used Valrhona Equatoriale 55% couveture which is freakin' AWESOME. If you temper chocolate, you will love working with this. It not only tempers easily but tastes amazing (but what Valrhona chocolate doesn't?) In case you're wondering about the percentage in the name, it represents the amount of cocoa mass or liquor in the chocolate. The higher the number, the less added sugar there is in the chocolate and the darker in color and more bitter in taste it is.

I had some leftover chocolate so I turned it into bon bons. My filling of choice was coffee made with Valrhona 33% Tanariva which is my favorite milk chocolate ever. When making a ganache, Chef Nancy firmly believes that the chocolate must be melted before you add the cream to it if you want a consistently smooth mixture. She also directs us to use a spatula to combine the two instead of a whisk so that you don't incorporate any additional air.
I used a little leftover luster dust on top because of course you can never have enough luster dust.

coffee ganache filling for bon bons
3 1/2 C (425 g) milk chocolate
5 T (75 g) butter at room temperature
1 C (250 mL) heavy cream
3 t instant espresso powder (such as Medaglia D'Oro), or to taste

Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie.
Combine the cream and espresso powder and bring to a boil.
Pour the cream into the melted chocolate a little at a time, using a spatula to combine.
Add the butter, stirring to combine.
Let cool to room temperature before using.

speaking of coffee...
I started drinking espresso while I was in France. I had it every day, at least 2 shots. Since I've been back, I've tried to limit myself a bit. I only get an espresso or cappuccino on the last day of my work week. I've tried a different place each week for last few months, so I figure I should start rating them as a matter of record. I am sticking to places in and around the Flatiron district since it needs to be close to Gramercy Tavern.
This past Friday I went to Eataly, a collection of Italian themed restaurants and shops on 23rd street opened by Joe Bastianich. They serve Italy's favorite coffee, Lavazza. The line was ridiculously long and the service disorganized and rude, but it was delicious coffee. It had a smooth, strong mouthfeel with no astringency or sourness. Having to fight my way through the designer bag-toting throng to place and pick up my order, though, kind of ruined my experience. You can read more about Eataly here.

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