Sunday, March 08, 2009

Ultimate Chocolate Treats II - Classes

I'll be teaching Ultimate Chocolate Treats II, a demo class, at Shermay's Cooking School on 11 April 2009 (Saturday), 12 April 2009 (Sunday), 25 April 2009 (Saturday) and 26 April 2009 (Sunday) - the April schedule has all the necessary details. For all inquiries, please call the school at +65 6479 8442 or email

When drafting the line-up for this, I simply was not capable of trimming down the number of items I wanted on the menu to fit the 3 hr class format. So rather than try to pare down, it was decided that the recipes should be split over two entirely separate classes - Ultimate Chocolate Treats I, and Ultimate Chocolate Treats II.

The line-up for Ultimate Chocolate Treats II includes:

“I Love Nutella” Cupcakes
If you perchance sampled the legendary pastry chef Philippe Conticini's recipes specially created to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the world's favourite breakfast spread in 2005 at La Table Nutella, or already own a copy of the accompanying book, you will need no convincing from me that Nutella can be as fancy pants a dessert ingredient as they come.

These cupcakes may not be fancy - in fact, they are downright fuss-free - but are no less scrumptious for their lack of preciousness. A fairly shocking quantity of Nutella goes into the making of the cupcake batter, resulting in a soft, moist crumb that's hard to beat and a resonant flavour Nutella fiends will likely find hard to resist.

As for the frosting, there was no question it would have to be chocolate-and-hazelnut based. But rather than use hazelnut praline, an ingredient not readily available to most home cooks, it is based on good old Nutella and Valrhona Jivara Lactée 40% milk chocolate - I like to think of it as "Nutella Praline".

Truffes au Chocolat
No sugar snob, I'm as curious about the supermarket candy aisle as the latest single estate/single varietal/haut de gamme chocolate sensation. Life is simply too short not to indulge in guilty pleasures. To name one, I find this completely addictive. And I'm not alone; many a real chocolate lover I know has sheepishly confessed to being partial to these soft, creamy, melt-in-the-mouth, cocoa-dusted tiles.

The chocolate truffles I'll be demonstrating at class, based on Valrhona Manjari 64%, have a texture that's very much inspired by this Japanese treat. What's more, they are made with a very simple technique, no tempering required.

They can be left square (as in the picture above),
rolled into balls, or flavoured/finished in quite a number of other ways.

Double Chocolate & Walnut Biscotti
These light, crisp cookies are flavoured with Valrhona Cocoa, chockfull of Valrhona chocolate pearls, and wonderful with a post-meal espresso. A lovely variation is Spiced Chocolate Biscotti with Aniseed and Almonds (picture at the beginning of this post).

Chocolate "Pecan Pie" Bar Cookies
All the goodness of pecan pie, but with the addition of dark chocolate (Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55%) in the luscious brown sugar custard. An easy-to-handle, just-press-into-pan, rich and buttery shortbread base stands in for the pie shell.

The shortbread base is a versatile recipe that can accommodate a variety of fillings/toppings to create different bar cookies.

I'll put up a separate post on the Bonus Section with Extra Recipes, Ideas & Serving Suggestions:

Espresso Truffles Valrhona Manjari 64% Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with Illy Espresso and Pure Coffee Extract

Tea Infused Truffles Valrhona Manjari 64% Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with Jasmine Tea or Earl Grey Tea

Orange Truffles Valrhona Manjari 64% Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with Fresh Orange and Pure Orange Extract

Peppermint Truffles Valrhona Manjari 64% Dark Chocolate Truffles infused with Mint Tea and Pure Peppermint Extract

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bar Cookies Rich & Buttery Shortbread Bars with Sticky Chewy Caramel and Dark Chocolate Glaze (using Valrhona Equatoriale Noire 55% Dark Chocolate)

“Bounty” Bar Cookies Rich & Buttery Shortbread Bars with Coconut Candy Topping and Milk Chocolate Glaze (using Valrhona Jivara Lactée 40% Milk Chocolate)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are all mouth-watering!Definitely great with coffee or afternoon tea treat.Thanks for sharing the recipe.

9:04 pm, March 08, 2009  
Blogger Beaujolais said...

Wow this look incredible!

7:16 pm, March 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw a story on you in Today! Nice writeup. Question: How do you stay so slender despite all the chocs and candies?

7:36 pm, March 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything looks so good! I wish I could go but I live too far away. As always, your photos are to die for!

12:21 am, March 10, 2009  
Blogger ChichaJo said...

I am scratching at my monitor now...can you here it over there? :) Those all look amazing!!! Especially the Nutella cupcakes (I love Nutella with a passion)...could you share the recipe? Could I email you? :) Only if possible!

3:47 pm, March 27, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I have the recipe for Nutella cupcake & Double Chocolate & Walnut Biscotti?? Both looks soo YUMMY!

8:00 pm, March 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i made the cupcakes, truffles and pecan pie after your class, and i must say they all turned out fabulous, especially the pecan pie which was divine! Am now wait-listed on your Chocolate fudge cake class...unfortunately.

10:57 pm, May 13, 2009  

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