Chocolates for Daring Bakers!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks athttp://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

When I saw the challenge posted at the forum, I wasn’t feeling quite excited to be honest. I remember a couple years back when I tried to make some truffles/bonbons without any knowledge of tempering. You could imagine how that ended up. Although I did try my hand at tempering chocolates at the Cailler Factory, I didn’t have all the gadgets and equipment to do so at home like the fancy thermometer and a slab of marble.

However, I did remember something during my very short on the job training in a pastry kitchen where I asked the chef how they temper the chocolates without the need of thermometers. She replied along the lines of testing the temperature with your bottom lip and knowing when it’s ready when you don’t feel any temperature at all, so to speak. So I went with that.

The result isn’t much of something to celebrate as it was just okay. Not the greatest nor the shiniest piece of truffle but tasty and took the form of the chocolate molds. We were required to make 2 kinds of candy for this challenge. For the first kind, we were required to use chocolate to make truffles or bonbons and for our second kind, anything we choose.

I decided to do both bonbons as I wanted to practice tempering without a thermometer. Which wasn’t a very good idea despite trying to follow the lip-test mentioned above. ;) But anyway, the bonbons I made are filled with ganache, mango and nutella. The first batch, which was the ganache filled, turned out pretty good and didn’t have any problems falling off the mold. The second batch however was the opposite. I did manage to salvage 4 pieces (total) of both mango and nutella. You should have seen my work space afterwards. I love chocolate but making some can be very very messy …Or maybe it’s just me. ;)

On the brighter side, I do hope to continue practicing my tempering.. perhaps buying myself a thermometer and some gloves eventually. Haha. Thank you to Lisa and Mandy for this challenge! :D

Katrina & The Chocolate Factory

Not a very original title at all is it? Forgive me but I like to go straight to the point ;). For this semester, we have Masterclasses which we could sign up for and there just happened to be a chocolate masterclass and obviously, I signed and lined up for it!

Finally, the day to go to the chocolate factory came. We took a 40 minute bus ride from school and arrived at the town of Broc. Funny thing was when we got out of the bus, everyone took a deep breath of ..cow dung. Eh. Only in Switzerland for you. That didn’t affect our excitement to make some chocolate though! We walked a few meters and TA DA~!

Welcome to the Maison Cailler!

Went in and was greeted by loads of chocolate! Check out the wall of chocolate bars! :O

But the best part was behind the reception…

Yes, that’s where we made our own chocolates! Pretty cool eh? Our instructor was Mr. Silvano Nobbs. My friends and I were thinking, “How can he make chocolates and be so thin?!” Seriously. :\

image from Ms. Wendelin

So, we got started and he told us that we’d be making chocolate bars and introduced us to the equipment and ingredients we’ll be using which were the Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Cremant (46% cocoa) and White Chocolate as well as loads of different toppings like nuts, dried fruit, chili powder (!), and even fancy gold and silver dust. He then explained the process of tempering and why we had do so and showed us how to do it.

Then comes the fun part, we grouped into pairs got started! Everyone scrambled up to pick their types of chocolates. My friend Ben and I chose the dark chocolate and cremant since we didn’t feel like eating something too sweet. Anyway, we mixed and melted them and tempered our chocolates! *I’m so happy I finally know how to do this. Can’t wait to try at home when I get back in June!*

Working it! --pics by Ms. Wendelin

Then we started picking our toppings. I chose almonds, hazelnuts, dried red berries, a few rice krispies and pistachios. Yup, love nuts in my chocolate especially almonds ^^

After filling our molds, we had to refrigerate our chocolates and so we went on the tour around the factory.

It started with the history of Cailler then we went through various rooms explaining their process of producing chocolate. There was also a mini production line and had free samples at the end. Some of my friends pretty much took pocket full of samples! :))

And what food tour doesn’t end with tasting right?! The last room was a chocolate tasting room of their chocolate lines basically. Tested a few but my throat couldn’t handle it anymore.

Afterwards, everyone went back to the demo-kitchen and packaging supplies were laid out and ready for us!

I was scared that I did my tempering wrong and that my chocolate wouldn’t come off the mold but it came off easily and was pretty good and shiny! The only thing I regret now is I should’ve added more nuts and rice krispies into the chocolate and not just on top.. maybe next semester >:).

(Left: hazelnuts and krispies, right: mixed hazelnuts, almonds and red berries with pistachios)

Not only did we get to take our creations home, but we also got Cailler aprons! ^^

And that concludes my day at the chocolate factory. One word to sum the whole experience: AWESOME! But before you go, I shall ask you this question:

PS. Ms. Wendelin, if you happen to be reading this, thanks very much for that awesome experience! And for taking loads of pictures of us! Haha :)

Eating out in Cebu!

Soooo sorry for the very very very late update! I am back in school right now and we are all so busy and stressed with school work. Being in school mode doesn’t give much time to update my blog considering my course is quite intensive which means we’ve got projects due every single week. Nope, not exaggerating.

Anyway, before I came back to school, I had a chance to go back home to Cebu for around 11 days. Wish I could’ve stayed longer but school calls. Missed a week of it actually. Why? Because my brother got married! Woohooooo!!! Congrats to them! <3 I wished I had a chance to cook or bake something while in my own kitchen but unfortunately, with all the pre-wedding stress around the house, I couldn’t. Boo.

Instead, I hung out with my friends who were in Cebu. Ate at places I hadn’t had the chance to eat at for a long time and basically had a chill mini vacation. [Miss you guys already! :( Can’t wait til June!]


So firstly, my family and I ate at Bistro Ecila. I recommended the place to my family after my friend took us out there to eat for her birthday last year. Everything we ordered tasted great! I would recommend the Italian Sausage Pasta (not sure if that was the actual name)! My sister ordered it and I was tempted to finish her plate.

Next, Trish, Alyssa and I ate at Tajimaya for our meat fix. Eat all you can grilled beef or chicken for P350 and additional costs for rice and drinks. We paid around P500 total each which is about $12 dollars. Worth every penny, seriously. I prefer the beef over the chicken and trust me that you’ll be ordering extra bowls of rice!

Moving on, Roch, Mons and I ate at Maya, a mexican restaurant which happens to be next door to Tajimaya. I’ve been hearing lots of great stuff about the place but I’ve never had the chance to eat there. It’s a bit on the pricey side especially for students like me. The food was very good and tasty. I’ve never really ate authentic Mexican food before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But I’m glad I went and finally got a taste! Favorites were the quesadilla, the hot wings and the burrito.

Lastly, for dessert, we went to La Marea. This cafe is very well known for its Warm Brownie Cup topped with Vanilla Ice Cream. I remember my family used to order loads of these to take back to the house. Yup, that good. Sometimes makes me wonder how many they make everyday since I’m pretty sure the demand is quite high.

So, that’s it from me for now. If you do come and visit my hometown, the lovely City of Cebu, don’t leave without trying these places!
Bistro Ecila
The Terraces
Ayala Center Cebu

Tajimaya
The Crossroads
Banilad, Cebu

Maya
The Crossroads
Banilad, Cebu
http://www.mayacebu.com/

La Marea
The Crossroads
Banilad, Cebu

or

The Walk
IT Park, Lahug

Cancelled flight + Cookies that didn’t exactly turn out right.

I’m supposed to be on a flight en route to New York at this moment. Supposedly. Due to the weather over there, my flight was unfortunately cancelled. I was half-expecting it to be honest; probably why I’m somewhat calm about the whole thing. I’ve rebooked for the 29th and hopefully all will go well then since I’ve already lost 2 days in NY. BOOOO! I’m mostly disappointed because I won’t have much time to visit places I wanted to spend more time in, but what can I do..

Anyway, I returned back to the apartment and changed back to my house clothes. A few hours, I had the sudden urge to bake. Baking is a form of therapy for me although not all results turn out well, especially on a bad day.

What were supposed to be nicely round cookies ended up like this.

Yep, I could totally imagine your face. xD

But even I was surprised when I thought of cutting them out instead of throwing them in the bin. Normally, a few months ago, I’m embarrassed to admit that I would frustratingly place the baking sheet immediately into the sink. But today, I looked for something I could cut out the mis-shapen cookies with and cut them into rounds.

excuse the blurry picture :p

They were delicious though! Too thin for my liking but that’s probably because the dough had too much butter which made it spread too much. But on the parts where it was somewhat thicker, it was really good and chewy. After it cooled, the tops were crunchy but the inside still chewy. The extra touch of coffee I added made it really smell good too.

So this got me thinking what my New Years’ Resolution would be; to think positive. I’ve always been too realistic to the point of being negative. So in 2011, hopefully, I’ll be able to fulfill this resolution. ;)

Lastly, I’ve asked this in my previous post but unfortunately my pictures weren’t good enough to get accepted at FB/TS, but anyone have any recommendations of places to visit (aside from Momofoku)? Food and other sites? ;)

Made me some doughnuts!

Last week, I had a sudden craving for doughnuts. I found this recipe from Joy the Baker and I was drooling with anticipation after reading the comments. I knew I had to make them.

These doughnuts were delicious! And just the kind I like too; a little melt-in-your-mouth but still has a bite and chewy (does that make sense?! xD). I had to control myself from eating more as my thighs arms were already protesting.

So go check out Joy the Baker’s recipe for these awesome, appropriately titled OMG Doughnuts! You won’t regret it. ;)

 

 

Doughnuts on FoodistaDoughnuts

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I don’t know for you but the month of August happens to have the most amount of birthdays amongst family and friends. A total of 6 people celebrate their birthdays in this month.

This time around, my friend W celebrates her 19th birthday. My friends had planned a surprise birthday dinner for her and I wanted to bake a mini cake for her. When I asked my friend A on what kind of cake I should bake and she replied, “Chocolate. For sure she’s not allergic to chocolate.” Yes, W, poor girl, is allergic to tons of things.

Now, I’ve always wanted to try baking a flourless chocolate cake and so I did! I found this recipe over at Two Spoons, halved the recipe since I was using a 6″ round and it yielded 2 more extra ramekin-sized ones as you can see in the pictures here. I also made a few adjustments with the amount of sugar as I didn’t want it to be too sweet.

The end result was a light, moist, melt-in-your-mouth, chocolatey cake with a lovely rustic sunken cake look! I loved it. Everyone who tried it loved it. And most especially the birthday girl! I would definitely be making more of this.. soon. Too bad I didn’t have vanilla ice cream on hand because that would’ve been the icing on the cake, so to speak. ;)

Here's a picture of the actual mini cake; Photo taken with my friend Gio's camera

Love you W! Can’t believe we won’t be seeing each other soon. :(


Flourless Chocolate Cake

adapted from Two Spoons

125g dark chocolate
1/4 cup butter
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. icing sugar
3 egg whites
2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 150C. Butter your baking pan or ramekins.
-Melt chocolate and butter over double broiler or in the microwave. Let cool.
-Mix egg yolks and icing sugar.
-Using a hand mixer, whip egg whites while gradually sprinkling the 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and beat until stiff.
-Fold egg yolks into the chocolate mixture until well incorporated.
-Fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture until no streaks are left.
-Pour mixture onto your pan/ramekins. Bake for 25-30 mins. Let cool or serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream.

*The cake will shrink and deflate during cooling. You can also dust with confectioner’s sugar.
*This recipe yielded enough for a 1″ inch high, 6″ round cake + 2 medium sized ramekins.

Mango Chocolate Mousse Charlotte

I’ve always wanted to do a Charlotte cake after seeing such pretty pictures at FoodGawker and Tastespotting and I finally had the opportunity to do so for my sister A’s 12th birthday.

Since she wanted a chocolate mousse filling, I wanted something fruity to accompany it and since we all love mangoes (Philippine Mangoes FTW!), it was a no-brainer. For the ladyfingers, I used the recipe from Desserts by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan which is really, really good, light and fluffy and I suggest you to try it if you haven’t! You can use it as a sponge cake layer instead of piping it in the traditional ladyfinger shape which I did for the cake layers.

Unfortunately, when we sliced the cake, the mousse wasn’t chilled enough as I had hoped (since I made it on the afternoon the same day) so I took this cross-section shot the next day, just to give you guys a visual of how the cake looks inside. As you notice, we love mangoes so much that there aren’t any left on top anymore.


The mousse was really good, tasty, not too sweet and I’ll definitely be making it again in the future. Overall, the cake was great! Slightly bitter from the chocolate mousse and sweetened by the mangoes.

So to my young minion sister, enjoy your last year as a kid for you’ll officially be a teen next year! I’ll be leaving soon and won’t see you til next year and God knows you’ll be taller than me by then (NOO!!!). I love you to bits and remember to keep your feet on the ground and think before you do. OK?

For the chocolate mousse recipe, click here.

So basically, the layers went on like this (from top):

Mango, chocolate mousse, ladyfingers, chocolate mousse (just enough to cover the mangoes), mango, chocolate mousse, ladyfinger.

Ladyfingers

from Desserts by Pierre Herme by Dorie Greenspan and Pierre Herme

Makes enough for 2 9″ discs or one 9″ disc and about 30 or so ladyfingers
Ingredients:

6 egg whites

2/3 cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp.

5 egg yolks

1 cup minus 1 tbsp. all purpose flour

powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions (shortened by me):

  1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Whip egg whites while gradually sprinkling the 2/3 cup of sugar until stiff.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp. of sugar and egg yolks until well mixed.
  4. Fold 1/2 of the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Fold the rest in.
  5. Sift the flour over the egg white mixture and fold until flour is well incorporated.
  6. Using a 1/2″ round tip, pipe into ladyfinger shapes or 9″ discs if you wish. About 1/2 – 3/4″ high and 1″ width for ladyfingers.
  7. Dust ladyfingers with powdered sugar and let stand for 15 minutes. Dust one more time until sugar is absorbed. (No need to dust the discs.)
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden.