28 March 2009

Ultimate Chocolate Treats 1

Goodness, I seems to be attending many baking and cooking workshops lately! Adding more to-bake recipes to my already long list, but I couldn't help it coz the featured recipes are simply irresistable.

Today's class by Chef Joycelyn on Ultimate Chocolate Treats 1 showcases very classic chocolate-based desserts and baked treats that every homebaker can whip-up pretty easily and quickly, some of which are even no-bake ^^. Bonus recipes with permutations of the master recipes are also included in the recipe pack so that we could move on to variations. It's indeed very thoughtful of Chef Joycelyn!

A whooping 7 recipes were demonstrated within 3hrs!
  • Heirloom Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Ultra Fudgy Brownies
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
  • Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Crème Chocolat
  • Kirsch Whipped Cream
  • Black Forest Trifle - Layers of Crème Chocolat, Kirsch Whipped Cream, Amarena (preserved wild sour cherries) & Ladyfingers biscuits Soaked in Kirsch Syrup
This particular recipe produces brownies that are rich, dense and ultra fudgy in texture (as opposed to some recipes more cakey in texture)

The chocolate used here is Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% dark chocolate, a well-balanced Universal chocolate suitable for general baking. It says on the package, 'when in doubt, use this!' LOL. For a less sweet version, can also use the Valrhona Araguani 72% dark chocolate which are slightly more bitter with lower sugar content.

I love the texture of the brownies, a wafer-thin crispy crust with a fudgy interior, making it a decadent treat without being too intense. This is so unlike the cakey brownies I've eaten which are heavy in texture. Usually I would just eat one piece and that is like ok, enough. But this, I think I don't mind a few at one go!

This is the first time I come across a trifle. The components are
  • Ladyfinger biscuits dipped in Kirsch Syrup - a syrup made with Kirsch, a cherry eau-de-vie; can also be replaced by Absolut Raspberry or Currant Vodka
  • Preserved cherries. She uses Amarena Fabbri Wild Cherries in Heavy Syrup. I've mentioned in my previous entry that I like the Fragola Fabbri Strawberries in Heavy Syrup, but not so much of the Wild Cherries version.
  • Creme Chocolate - chocolate cream that is similar to mousse but thicker and more creamy. It can be eaten on its own or use as components in trifle-style desserts or as filling in layer cakes or tarts.
  • Kirsch Whipped Cream - whipped cream with Kirsch undertone.
Stunning composition for the ultimate chocolate lover or those with sweet-tooth, certainly not for the faint-hearted, as the flavours are intense and really sweet.

The chocolate chip cookies we are familiar with in Singapore are the ones from Famous Amos and Subway. This recipe is akin to the latter, which is the more soft and chewy type. Nonetheless, baking time can be adjusted to be make it slightly more crisp.
A generous amount of Valrhona Dark Chocolate Perles 55% is used here. Chef Joycelyn mentioned in her blog that this is the 'Rolls Royce' of baking pearls. LOL. There is no doubt in the quality of Valrhona products, what is amazing here the perles retain its spherical shape even after baking.
This is a no-bake recipe which is really simple. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate topped with salted roasted butter reminds me of those Mars or Snickers bars. Used to consume them but rarely now. Hey I can make my own now!

The Malted Milk Chocolate Ice Cream is divine! Not too sweet, nice blend of Valrhona Jivara milk chocolate and Ovaltine Malted milk powder (can also use Horlicks).
This homemade ice-cream is churned using the Cuisinart Ice Cream Machine; the machine has a built-in refrigeration unit which is able to churn ice cream with perfect creamy consistency within an hour. Although I am really tempted with the idea of homemade ice-cream, alas my kitchen simply does not have the space for another piece of equipment :(
We also tasted the Black Forest Trifle during class as it is best served cold. It is a neat idea to serve this dessert as individual portions in disposable plastic containers, I think perfect for no-frills home parties.
Like I mentioned, the flavours are rich and intense, I love the faint tinge of Kirsch.

A luxe idea of presenting the Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares - in gold foil! I'm already thinking about making this as Christmas treats for my friends, similar to the Mocha Walnut Fudge which I made in Dec 08.

Take-home treats for each participant - one chocolate chip cookie and one piece of the ultra fudgy brownies. The brownies would make yet another nice Christmas treat.
Looking forward to the Ultimate Chocolate Treats 2 class with recipes like Nutella cupcakes and Truffles Au Chocolat (think Royce Nama chocolates, ooohhh, I'm a fan!).


  1. Hey Meg, when is your Ultimate Chocolate II workshop? I hope to see you on 11 Apr as I'm going for the 11 Apr session! ;)

  2. Hi Jane,
    Mine's on 26 Apr. Looks like gonna miss you.

  3. Hi Meg.
    I also attended the Ultimate Chocolate Treats 1 class, but I guess on a different date. :) Wasn't able to attend the Ultimate Chocolate Treats II class... :(