26 April 2009

Ultimate Chocolate Treats 2

Apologies for MIA the past couple of weeks! Apart from an escape to Tokyo (gonna blog about it soon), spent most of the time nursing a stubborn common cold plus persistent cough and being half-baked in this insanely hot and humid weather. Hadn't totally waste my time away; have actually attempted recipes from the past few workshops attended, just that didn't feel like blogging at all. The end results weren't photo-worthy, poor lighting conditions (already my photography skill is mediocre), too hot and bothered after cooking/baking/washing up...blah blah. I blame it on the sucky weather :p I digress. Pardon for the ranting and lame excuses!

Anyways, have been looking forward to this second installation of Ultimate Choc Treats workshop at Shermay's Cooking School by Chef Joycelyn, for yet another sinful round of chocolate indulgence and hopefully uplift the lethargic spirit abit.
4 recipes were demonstrated in the class; variations in recipes are included in the bonus section of the recipe pack.
  • Decadent Nutella Cupcakes with Nutella Praline Frosting
  • Double Chocolate & Walnut Biscotti
  • Chocolate "Pecan Pie" Bar Cookies
  • Truffles au Chocolat
Most people enjoy nutella, so this should be a crowd pleaser. Joycelyn told us she had to work and tweak the recipe relentlessly to achieve this particular texture, consistency and flavour, something like 15 times! The result, a soft and moist crumb. Definitely yum! Curious that almond extract is used which somewhat lingered in the aftertaste? This is just a tiny bit that bothered me (I'm usually ok with almond flavour though), probably I would omit the almond extract to see how it fares for my palate.

This recipe delivers light and crisp biscotti, but not those super crisp type. Noticed they were sliced thicker but smaller in size than the ones taught during one of the past workshops back in 2007. The bite is more wholesome and chock-full of rich chocolaty taste.

To me, this is actually the surprise of the lot. Didn't think very much of shortbread cookies but I'm rather addicted to its rich and buttery taste after trying. The brown sugar chocolate custardy filling topped with pecans also enhanced the richness and goodness of this cookie. I'm sold! Alas, the shortbread base alone contains unfortunately high fat to flour ratio, not to mention the filling. Read: fattening! *sigh* Why must all rich and delicious foods be laddened with fats?!

Hey hey! This is the home-made version of my favourite Royce' Nama Chocolate! The plain-looking powdery squares may look nothing, but fans will describe the sensation as almost orgasmic with the chocolate's melt-in-the-mouth, creamy texture. Eaten cold (being highly perishable), the bitter taste of cocoa powder will first hit you and slowly the divine taste of rich and creamy chocolate will take over... leaving you wanting more. Hubby and I used to buy the Nama Chocolate very often and would devour squares after squares (one box never seemed enough).
The recipe itself is not difficult (hurray to no 'chim chim' tempering involved) and best part, lots of flavouring variations could be explored and adapted based on the master recipe. This would make lovely party treats that's sure to impress!
All participants brought home a goodies box of the nutella cupcake, biscotti and chocolate bar cookies, whereas the truffles eaten fresh on-the-spot.
I'm inspired! But just let me get over this 'hot/humid-weather-makes-me-sulky' mood, can? LOL!


  1. Hi Meg,
    Though I've been to this workshop, I can't help but to re-look at the bakes again! I've tried the double choc & walnut biscotti, and it's really top-notch! I'm very tempted to bake her Nutella cupcakes and the chocolate "pecan pie" bar cookies. It won't be long... Have fun baking these too! :)

  2. Hi Jane,
    Yes, I'm hoping to try the truffles soon (then no need to buy Royce anymore! haha) as well as the choc "pecan pie" bar cookies. The thing is, I have a long long list of to-bake but yet to try!