blood orange rosemary pâte de fruit

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

I was set on these. I mean set.

And when I’m set on something, it is pretty difficult to pull me back. I guess the correct term for that would be “stubborn”.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

Although I’ve been politely corrected and told, “Nah, you just know what you want. That’s not being stubborn.” Oh, do I really know what I want? Okay, that’s a whole other issue that I won’t even get into right now.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

I will admit it though. Yes, I am stubborn. You know, sometimes you just have to act and become completely and unreasonably obstinate about things or else life wouldn’t be quite as fun….or stressful.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

For instance, if you have the urge to bake a pineapple upside down cake on your day off, then go for it…No, baking a lemon pound cake it’s just not going to do it. Because you’re stubborn…and know what you want. That pineapple upside down cake is what you want.

And if you want to have your nails painted deep purple, the color called “heart throb” probably won’t do it. The color “I think in pink” may not work either. Because you’re stubborn…and you know what you want. Deep purple is what you want.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

And if you want to write a recipe for fruity treats that possess a harmonious balance of fruity tartness and sweetness and a texture that when you bite into them is initial resistance followed by a delicate bite, then writing a recipe for something that resembles gummy bears clearly won’t cut it. Although, I will revise that first attempt and bring it to you in recipe form soon because ummm…hello!!!! Gummy bears!! Kind of awesome, really.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

So I knew that writing a recipe for these little pastry jewels would be a true test, but I was out to conquer the “Pâte de Fruit Recipe-Writing Challenge” (…a serious challenge that I had formed in my mind and that nobody else around me was hopefully aware of..).

It took three attempts to get the desirable taste, texture, and consistency right on point. Stubborn much? Nah, I just know what I want. Right…

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

Yield:  Approximately 100 small pieces, depending on the size you cut them. Store for one month at room temperature fully enrobed. Keep well-wrapped in fridge for about one week.

Equipement: scale, candied thermometer, food processor, baking dish or tupperware that’s approximately 8″ x 8″, whisk, strainer.

ingredients:

1 blood orange

4 oz blood orange juice

6 small sprigs of rosemary

4 oz water

11 oz sugar

5 oz certo liquid pectin

4 oz sugar for coating

method:

1. Spray 8″ x 8″ baking dish with vegetable oil. Line baking dish with a piece of parchment paper that extends about 2 inches beyond the rim of the baking dish. Set aside for later use. (Note: The dimensions of the baking dish do not have to be exactly 8″ x 8″, as long as it’s close enough. I mean, let’s keep it real…I used a tupperware that was about 9″ x 5″ and that worked wonderfully. The size of the baking dish will only affect the height of your pâte de fruit.  The more area the baking dish has, the shorter your pâte de fruit will be. The less area the baking dish has, the taller it will be).

2. Cook the blood orange in boiling water for about 30 seconds in a sauce pan, until the peel has softened a bit.

3. Cut the ends off and discard them. Cut the blood orange into segments.

4. Place blood orange segments into food processor and pulse until blood orange is finely chopped. Add blood orange juice to food processor and pulse until mixture is well pureed.

5. Pour blood orange puree and 3 sprigs of rosemary into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat off. Put a lid on the pan and infuse for about 30 minutes, until the blood orang puree tastes like a hint of rosemary.

6. Place water and remaining 3 sprigs of rosemary into a separate small sauce pan. Bring water to a gentle simmer. Turn heat off. Cover pan with a lid and infuse for about 30 minutes, until water tastes like rosemary. Set aside for later use.

7. Strain blood orange puree into a bowl to remove the pulp, peel, rosemary, and fruit chunks. Pour liquid into the same sauce pan along with sugar.

8. Remove rosemary from water. Add water to sauce pan. Stir blood orange, sugar, and water to combine.

9. Cook over low heat until it forms a very thick syrup that coats the back of the spoon and the temperature is of 180 F.  Be sure to whisk constantly. Mixture should never come to a boil, but rather maintain a gentle and very low simmer. You may have to adjust the temperature as you cook it.

10. Once the mixture has reached 180 F and the mixture has become thick and syrupy, turn off the heat and add the Certo. Whisk until well combined.

11. Pour into prepared baking dish and allow it to sit at room temperature for up to 5 hours.

12. Unmold onto a work surface. Peel off and discard parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares or rectangles.

13. Spread remaining 4 ounce of sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll the pieces in the sugar to coat. Arrange on a platter and serve.

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

blood orange rosemary pate de fruit

Enjoy!

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dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling

rosemary bon-bons

Hey there! Just wanted to wish everyone a very sweet and happy Valentine’s Day with this chocolate treat. I hope you enjoy these dark chocolate bon-bons with rosemary ganache filling.

May you find yourself surrounded with lots of sweet and kind love–not just today, but every day.

Notes:

1. This recipe requires a technique called tempering. To make things short, the temperature of the chocolate increases and then decreases so that the end result is a glossy, shiny, and streak-less chocolate that possesses a nice snap. I don’t explain the methods ( which are seeding, cool water, and tabling) in this recipe, but there is a lot of information out there of how to do so. I can also provide explanations if anyone would like me to.

2. This recipe requires a bon-bon plaque. The best quality plaques are made from heavy polycarbonate plastic and they will give chocolate its best shine and are nearly indestructible. However, I’ll tell let you in in a little secret and say that I bought mine in Sur La Table for $ 2.95. They are plastic and not quite as durable, but they did the trick just fine.

ingredients:

about 10 oz 70% dark couveture chocolate (this chocolate is used for tempering, so be sure that it’s couverture)

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary (about 2 grams each)

4 oz heavy cream

2 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 vanilla pod (or 1 gram)

recipe:

1. Place one sprig of rosemary on a sheet tray and bake at 450 F for about 10-15 minutes, until fresh rosemary becomes dry and crunchy.

2. Remove rosemary leaves from stem. Grind leaves in a mortar and pestle until leaves resemble powder. Set aside for later use.

3. Temper chocolate using whichever tempering technique you prefer and fill bon-bon plaques with tempered chocolate. Fill cavities with tempered chocolate. Grab plaque from two corners and vibrate it to release air bubbles from the chocolate. Be sure to hold end of tray and tap multiple times. Hold opposite end of tray and tap multiple times. Knock out chocolate into bowl, tapping and scrapping with bench scraper or spatula so that chocolate comes out. Place plaque upside down over parchment and drain for less than 60 seconds. Pick up plaque and give it a last scrape. Put plaque in the fridge so that chocolate sets completely.

4. Bring heavy cream to a simmer in a small pot and place two rosemary sprigs and vanilla pod in heavy cream. Cover pot and allow heavy cream to infuse with the rosemary and vanilla for about 30 minutes. Remove rosemary and vanilla pod from heavy cream and scrape vanilla seeds into cream. Uncover pot and bring cream to a simmer again.

5. Place white chocolate into a bowl and pour simmered heavy cream over white chocolate. Allow cream and chocolate to rest for about a minute so that chocolate softens and melts. Stir mixture gently from the center until everything is well combined. Add 1/2 tsp rosemary powder to ganache and stir. Allow ganache to cool completely at room temperature.

6. Place rosemary ganache into a paper cone or a piping bag with a small piping tip. Fill each cavity with rosemary ganache just below surface.

7. Re-temper chocolate and pour it on top of plaque to fill all cavities.

8. Smooth with scraper or spackle knife, removing excess chocolate. Allow chocolate to set completely.

9. Turn plaque over and bang firmly to release chocolate bon-bons.

10. Place a small pinch of rosemary powder over the upper right corner of each bon-bon for décor.

Enjoyyyyyyy!

crunchy nutty choco toffee

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

I love FaceTime. Thank you Steve Jobs for making your Apple/Mac products so…just so damn good.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

Because of FaceTime I get to see my 6-month-old niece who lives in Austin chew her sock and smile at my feeble attempt to make her giggle. Hearing her giggle is the best sound in this world by the way.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

Because of FaceTime I get to see Mark when he’s away on tour with his band Periphery. “So where in Europe are you today again? Oh, Prague, of course. How beautiful. I wish I was there too.”

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

And because of FaceTime I get to see my wonderful mother who lives in Spain. I always tell her that I love her and that I can’t wait to see her. And then she’ll say, “I know. I can’t wait to hold you, but isn’t it great that we can at least see each other so often through FaceTime?” Yes, it is mom.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

Yesterday I was in the middle of making this recipe when mom called me on FaceTime. I pretended I had everything under control, but I still had to get my mise en place in order so that everything was ready to be added to the toffee when it reached the correct temperature.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

However, I knew I didn’t have the situation completely under control: the sugar was already cooking and the butter still had to be cubed, the pecans still needed to be chopped, the baking soda and vanilla had to be measured out, the candy thermometer had to be placed on the side of the pot, a few recipe adjustments had to be marked down on my recipe book before they evaporated from my memory, etc. But when mom calls, everything can wait.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

“What are you doing? You seem busy…” she stated (in Spanish, of course) as she heard the clanking of pans and sheet trays and saw how I turned my back on her a few times to check what was going on in the stove. I told her that I was in the middle of making toffee. “I can call back later or we can just talk tomorrow…”

“No! It’s okay. I can multitask!”

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

I told her a few things about my day. She told me a few things about hers. And through it all, I managed to show her how to finish the recipe. “Oh shit! Hold on mom! The sugar has reached 305 F and I have to add a few things to it before I pour it….”

“Really, we can talk at another time if you want to. You seem like you have a lot going on…Mmmmmmm…that looks delicious,” she stated as I poured the toffee over the chocolate and graham crackers.

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

And just like that, I got to feel extremely close to my mom. I always, always do, no matter how physically apart we are. But that moment was pretty special and magical. I never thought I would be able to share a such a spontaneous moment that involved doing something I love with all my heart (cooking/baking) with a person I love with all my heart while being thousands of miles away. I guess I’m just extremely thankful for it. That’s it.

Oh yeah, and I’m also very thankful for these delicious crunchy nutty choco toffee treats!

sweet-lab

sweet-lab

Ingredients:

12 graham crackers (or 24 if they’re cut down the perforated line–as long as the dimensions of the rectangle you build is about 7.5″ x 9″).

3/4 C dark chocolate chips

8 oz sugar

2 oz water

2 oz honey

6.5 oz butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 C pecans

sea salt

*Yield: Anywhere from 12-24 pieces, depending on how you cut/break up the toffee. Cover toffee in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.*

Note: There will be additional toffee left over after pouring it over chocolate/graham crackers. I simply poured the extra toffee over another silpat or a greased baking sheet to have extra toffee at hand. If you don’t want to have extra toffee, cut the recipe for the actual toffee in half. Keep the same amount of graham crackers and chocolate chips.

Recipe/Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon baking mat (ie: silpat).

2. Place graham crackers on parchment paper or on silpat in rows and of 4 x 3 to end up with the dimensions of 9″ x 7.5″

3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over graham crackers and bake for about 10 minutes, until chocolate softens and becomes spreadable.

IMG_3930

4. Remove cookie sheet from oven and gently spread the melted chocolate chips over graham crackers with an offset spatula, trying your best to not knock the graham crackers out of place. The melted chocolate should cover entire surface of graham crackers. Refrigerate so that chocolate cools down and firms up.

IMG_3933

5. Meanwhile, toast pecans at 325 F until they toasted all throughout. Allow pecans to cool. Roughly chop pecans and set them aside for later use.

6. Cook sugar and water over medium heat and add honey when sugar and water mixture looses its murky appearance and it becomes clear, after about a minute or so.

7. Add butter and continue cooking until it reaches a temperature of 300 F–305 F (hard crack stage).

8. Remove from heat and add vanilla, baking soda, and toasted pecans. Stir and pour mixture over the prepared chocolate and graham crackers. Spread toffee gently over chocolate/graham crackers so that it reaches every edge and corner of the rectangle. Allow toffee to completely cool before cutting/breaking it up in pieces. Sprinkle sea salt over toffee. Enjoy!

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