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Romancing the Bean

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Whether you are spending Valentine’s Day alone, with a friend or even if you don’t celebrate at all, it is hard to ignore the red foil cherubs, pink and red hearts, and message heart candy everywhere. I personally look for any excuse to eat chocolate.  Chocolate recipes are fun, easy, do-ahead and delicious. They can also be eaten saved for Purim in just a few weeks time. Enjoy!

DIY Chocolate Truffles

Remember the scene in Ghost where Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are “throwing a pot” together on the potter’s wheel? The amorous encounter was nothing less than the perfect chick flick scene. Dreamy, romantic and hot! I wonder if enrollment for pottery classes went through the roof after that movie was released?

Well, I do not know anything about throwing pots, but making chocolate truffles can be pretty hot and romantic as well. Think about it – chocolate rolling in your hands…well, you get the idea.

This is a delicious and fun project. The homemade result is every bit as good as the purchased variety. Just remember the chocolate rules. Buy only the good stuff. Cheap chocolate will not make great truffles.

1 cup heavy cream

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely

1. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer (do not allow it to boil). Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit and melt for a few minutes before whisking.

2. Gently whisk the mixture being careful not to incorporate too much air into the chocolate. Cover and allow to cool for several hours. If you are in a rush, refrigerate until the chocolate sets firmly.

3. Scoop the chocolate mixture with a melon baller or teaspoons and gently roll between your hands to form a ball (the size of a grape). Roll the truffle in cocoa powder, chopped nuts or melted chocolate. Eat at room temperature.

Chocolate Mousse Puffs

This dessert is remarkably simple to assemble. It tastes as if you spent all day working on it and can be garnished with fruit, whipped cream, sorbet or whatever you are in the mood for. It is a great Passover dessert as it requires no flour or leavening products. Use the best quality chocolate and vanilla possible. You will need 6 4-ounce ceramic or glass ramekins.

2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil for pareve

Sugar for coating ramekins

6 ounces best quality semi or bittersweet chocolate (I prefer Callebaut)

1/3 cup brewed coffee

4 eggs-separated

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons sugar (divided)

Preheat oven to 350.

1. Lightly brush the ramekins with oil to the top and coat with sugar.

2. Place the chocolate and coffee in a medium saucepan and melt over very low heat.

3. Whip the egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar at high speed until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

4. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the whipped yolks.

5. Whip the whites to a medium peak. Add the remaining sugar and continue to whip until stiff but not dry peaks form.

6. Fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.

7. Ladle into prepared ramekins to the top.

8. The puffs can be refrigerated covered for 1 day at this point.

9. Bake in the oven until puffed and fairly solid (about 10-12 minutes).

10. Serve immediately with fresh fruit, sorbet, whipped cream or raspberry coulis.

Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here. For more articles by Laura, click here.
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