How to Make Homemade Chocolate Truffles

Recipe and photo credit: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_truffles/

chocolate-truffles-bite-horiz-a2-640

Basic truffle ingredients

  • 8 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality, 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Optional base flavorings:

  • Mint leaves (1 bunch, stems removed, chopped, about 1 cup)
  • Cinnamon and cardamon (1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods)
  • Amaretto (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Almond extract (1 teaspoon)

Truffle coatings

  • Cocoa powder
  • Finely chopped walnuts
  • Finely chopped almonds

Method

1 Heat cream to a simmer: In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer (stir and scrape down the sides with a spatula every few minutes).

If you are using one of the other recommended flavorings, stir it in with the cream (and ignore vanilla in the next step). If adding mint or other solids, after the cream simmers, remove from heat and let seep for an hour. Then strain away solids, and return the cream to a simmer and proceed with recipe.

2 Make chocolate base: Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla, and allow to stand for a few minutes then stir until smooth. (This chocolate base is called ganache.)

3 Refrigerate for 2 hours: Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours.

4 Roll into balls and chill overnight: Use a teaspoon to roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

rolling truffles in cocoa powder

5 Roll in cocoa powder: Roll in cocoa powder or chopped nuts and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.

 

Chocolate Pecan Pie with Bourbon

Recipe and photo by: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chocolate-pecan-pie-bourbon

Chocolate Pecan Pie August 20

Ingredients

CRUST

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup ice water

FILLING

  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) pecans
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

How to Make It

Step 1

In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the ice water. Knead the dough 2 or 3 times on a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2  

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Fit the dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until firm.

Step 3    

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant; coarsely chop. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, melted butter, bourbon and salt until blended. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Step 4   

Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until the center of the pie is set. Tent the crust with foil halfway through the baking time if the edge is browning too quickly. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Make Ahead

The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Rewarm at 325° for 15 minutes.

Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze

Recipe and photo credit: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/30578/filet-mignon-with-rich-balsamic-glaze/

All Recipes Filet

Ingredients:

  • 2 (4 ounce) filet mignon steaks
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over both sides of each steak, and sprinkle with salt to taste.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place steaks in hot pan, and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add balsamic vinegar and red wine. Cover, and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over.
  3. Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately.

Tip:

  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Make Your Own Greek Yogurt

Recipe and photo credit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/greek-yogurt-recipe-2103363

Greek Yogurt

Directions

Line a sieve with a coffee filter and set it over a bowl.

Place 4 cups plain whole-milk yogurt in the filter and refrigerate for 12 hours (you’ll get about 2 cups thick yogurt).

Divide among bowls; top with honey, dried fruit and walnuts. Serve with almond cookies.

Whole-Grain Dijon Mustard

Recipe and photo by:  https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/whole-grain-dijon-mustard-29677

Screen Shot 2017-08-05 at 12.36.15 PM

Game plan: You’ll need to soak the seeds for 2 days before you can blend and serve the mustard. Also, keep in mind that allyl isothiocyanate, the oil in mustard seeds that gives pungency and heat, tends to dissipate over time, so the longer the finished mustard sits in the refrigerator, the less spicy it will become.

INGREDIENTS (5)

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a small, nonreactive bowl and stir to combine. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 days.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and transfer the mustard mixture to a blender. Blend until the desired consistency is reached, about 30 seconds for a coarse texture. (Keep in mind that it’s not possible for this mustard to reach a completely smooth consistency.) Transfer the mustard to a small, nonreactive container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 months.

Martha Stewart’s Fluffy Eggnog

ms-eggnog

Try Martha Stewart‘s recipe for fluffy eggnog!

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large egg yolks, plus 2 large whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Large pinch of coarse salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces bourbon, such as Michter’s or Maker’s Mark
  • 2 ounces dark rum, such as Appleton Estate
  • 1 ounce cognac
  • Unsweetened freshly whipped cream, for serving
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes. In a medium saucepan, bring milk and salt to a bare simmer. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot milk mixture into yolk mixture.

  2. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is just thick enough to coat back of spoon and hold a line drawn by your finger, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Add cream, bourbon, rum, and cognac; cover and refrigerate overnight.

  4. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup sugar and egg whites in a heatproof mixer bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm (it should feel smooth between your fingers), 2 to 3 minutes. (For fully cooked eggs, a thermometer inserted into meringue should register 160 degrees.) Remove from heat. With a mixer on high speed, beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold into eggnog.

  5. Pour into glasses (or a punch bowl); top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Gingerbread House Tips

Matthew Lodes, the executive chef at the stylish Rose Bakery in New York City, does not mess around when it comes to gingerbread. Lodes, who is also a classically trained pastry chef, spends each Christmas season building towering gingerbread houses that take months of sketching, test runs and long hours in the kitchen. These are not the cardboard-like gingerbread houses that you find in your local supermarket: Most of the candy is made from scratch, the gingerbread is fresh and aromatic, and the houses are incredibly sturdy. Here, the gingerbread master himself tells Food & Wine how it’s done and shares his essential tips to help you make your most impressive, centerpiece-worthy house yet.

gingerbread-house

When it comes to the gingerbread: to buy or not to buy?
It’s absolutely important to make your own gingerbread. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it gives your house a unique, personalized touch. Unless, of course, you want to buy one from me!*

How do you prevent your homemade gingerbread from baking into a giant blob?
When you roll out your gingerbread, let it rest for a few hours—ideally, overnight. Then bake it at a low temperature, say 300°. This way your gingerbread won’t rise and will keep its shape. If the gingerbread does become misshapen, you can pull it out of the oven halfway through baking to trim the edges with a serrated knife. Then return it to the oven to finish baking.

The day after decorating, my gingerbread house is always a big, naked cookie surrounded by a pile of candy. Tips for making it stick?
Absolutely. I always add a bit of distilled white vinegar to the royal icing—it aids in hardening. A lot of people skip this step.

What about candy—any favorite decorations?
In the past, I’ve made a lot of the candy myself, but in all honesty, it’s a pain. Candy-making is dangerous; coming into contact with cooked sugar is painful and the pain can last for hours. Not to mention, the scar it will leave!

My suggestion? Just buy it. The key to picking your candy is in the size. I like small candy so that you can fit more details onto the house, such as Skittles and Tic-tacs. They adhere nicely to the icing and the small size shows how much work you put into it. I also enjoy sticking with the traditional seasonal colors for candy and I’ll occasionally dye my royal icing, as well. Another favorite ingredient: nuts. Whole hazelnuts, almonds and pecans add nice texture and walnut halves make for great mini-wreaths!

What is the most extreme gingerbread house you’ve ever made?
The biggest one I’ve ever made was four feet wide and three feet tall; however, it had to go in a narrow space, so it was only nine inches deep. It was tricky because I had to carry it up two flights of stairs. My only tip for transporting a gingerbread house is to hold tight!

Food & Wine: Rose Bakery Gingerbread House
© Matthew Lodes

So we all want to know: Any gingerbread house epic fails?
Luckily, I’ve never had a major disaster, but one time I was doing an all-day demo at Williams-Sonoma and my tempered chocolate roof didn’t want to cooperate—chocolate and hot lights do not mix well. To make matters worse, a chocolatier friend of mine from Spain, Ruben Alvarez, was there to watch me. He understood the situation, but that didn’t stop my roof from almost collapsing in front of the whole audience!

 

Article published in Food&Wine.