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December 2009

Homemade Scharffen Berger Chocolate Liqueur!

I love chocolate liqueurs but the they usually fall short of the deep chocolate flavor that I adore. Imagine my pleasure then when I picked up a wonderful book the other day that my nephew gave me for Christmas and I found this recipe. It is absolutely wonderful and I'm pretty sure that I will be making up a large batch of it for our annual Winter Solstice Party. I plan on using my amuse buche' shot glasses and topping each one with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and s sprinkling of shavings. It's also just the thing to take plain vanilla ice cream way over the top with it's lusciousness! This liqueur also makes just the most fabulous martini in the world and its so much fun to let it slip that you made the liqueur yourself! I'd probably add just a wee bit of peppermint schnapps and a candy cane to add to the festiveness or for something a bit more sophisticated some candied orange rind and a bit of Grand Marnier! Whatever you do with this wonderful concoction, be sure to try to make it once this holiday season and please share your variations with me!  

And while you're at it...have a little Johhny Depp along with your chocolate! From "The Essence of Chocolate" by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger. SERVES 6 , 3 cups (change servings and units) Ingredients 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup boiling water 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup water 1 cup vodka (the recipe calls for plain, but I cheated and used 3 Olives Chocolate.....very very good!) 3/4 cup heavy cream, for topping Directions In a bowl, dissolve cocoa powder in boiling water. In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add sugar syrup to cocoa syrup. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar with a lid. Add the vodka, cover and refrigerate over night. (It will keep up to a month, but will lose potency over time.). To serve, stir well and strain again through a fine-mesh sieve into a martini glass, 2/3 full. Top with lightly-sweetened whipped cream, or float heavy cream on top. (Hold a spoon with the bowl down and the edge almost touching the liqueur in the glass. Pour the cream slowly over the back of the spoon until a layer 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep floats on top of the liqueur.) Garnish with cocoa nibs or chocolate shavings.



French Chocolate Bark for Yule!

Last night after my niece taunted me with descriptions of her French Christmas Bark I finally broke down and decided to make some for myself. It turned out to be the easiest thing in the world. I looked at Ina Garten's recipe which was very simple and then doctored it to my tastes! Chopping the chocolate was the most time consuming part! 

You will need:

1 9 ounce bar of bittersweet chocolate - chopped

1 9 ounce bar of Semi- sweet chocolate- chopped

(Treat yourself and use really good chocolate! It does make a difference!)

1 cup of candied ginger - chopped

1 cup of chopped dried mango

1 cup of salted, shelled pistachios

1 cup of dried cherries

Gold  and/ or silver sanding sugar

Ok...heres the hardest part! Melt the chocolate in a microwave set at 50 % heat . When about half to 3/4's of it is melted take it out of the microwave and stir with a spatula until the rest has melted. Thats it! One thing to remember is to  not let one drop of water anywhere near it or the chocolate will seize up into a funny ball. Lay a piece of parchment onto a baking sheet and pour the chocolate onto it, smoothing it into a rectangle. Artistically and abundantly drop all of the fruits and nuts onto the bark and dust it with the sanding sugar. My niece adamantly says to use gold leaf,  which I'm sure is lovely but I liked the additional texture that the sanding sugar added!  Let it chill until solid and break it up into pretty shard like pieces!  Ina uses cashews and apricots, but I loved the spiciness of the ginger and the salted cashews and mango makes it a bit like a fleur de sel caramel! I'm thinking of using a modified version of this as the bark frosting for my Yule log this year!

I am going make a dark and white version tonight with peppermint and probably one with pecans and  a spun sugar drizzle.......I'll let you know how they work! I'm addicted to chocolate so the combinations seem to be endless!

Christmas French Bark

Christmas French Bark

Christmas French Bark

Christmas French Bark