Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Double Dark Chocolate Cake Truffles for my Valentines (gluten and dairy free!)

For my Valentines... love Jacqueline

Shy confessions, Bloggereaders,

  1. I can be accidentally romantic.
  2. I haven’t been single on Valentines day in over 10 years (Big Sis said, “cry me a river”).
  3. I am reluctantly thankful for cake pops.

Valentines Day is not a huge marker in my book.  For the majority of those 10+ years Ruark and I went in and out with celebrating depending, honestly, if we felt like it or not.  We had started dating when we were so young, and found plenty of moments to show each other how we felt.  And in general I’m not a big fan of commercially-fueled tokens.  Two years ago the man I was with was away for work and had his friend stop by with a huge bouquet at the theatre I was working at.  Last year new boyfriend and I had no plans until mid-morning, when he called where I was out of town working and sweetly said, “I’m thinking it’s Valentines Day and you’re my Valentine, so we should be together tonight”.   I trained it back to NYC.

So this year, being single, I’ve been more contemplative about the love in my life in general.  Not at all mournful, just reflective.  I have so much love, so many people I’m surrounded by who have full, generous hearts, that I feel more in love than ever.

Oh, the 3rd point up there?  A few months ago I had to develop a gluten-free recipe for Valentine Cake Pops for Easy Eats.  Two weeks ago I made 75 chocolate chip and lemon zest cake pops in the shape of Winnie the Pooh honey pots for a baby shower.  They were cute, but not as adorable as I’d wanted them to be for the mom-to-be.  And they took me eight hours! Lastly, for the first Milk Bar Mondays swap last week I made Carrot Cake Truffles, which are essentially cake balls (and one of my favorite super-sweet recipes).

In the beginning of this road with cake pops, I was often cursing, whining, or whinging.  But the result of all the frustration?

Moments of joy this morning as I deftly baked, blended, dipped, flipped and formed these truffles.  I had some cake I’d been experimenting with (a new flour blend), some leftover liquid cheesecake, some bags of chocolate and lots of fun things to toss truffles in.  I found myself smiling in the silence of my kitchen, thinking about those I’d be wrapping and gifting these for.  They look so cute all ribboned up.  And, they were actually pretty easy.  I enjoyed making them.

While made of cake, these truffles taste a bit more ganache-y because of how dark, rich and buttery they are.   I tossed them in ground walnuts, dark cocoa powder, raw cacao nibs, and some candy hearts I had leftover from the Easy Eats recipe.  It was a very romantic morning in my kitchen.  I was in love with the natural light pouring through my windows and my ancient camera that was snapping away.

I hope you have a lovely Valentines Day, Bloggerreaders.  But more than that, I wish you much peace, love and sweet, sweet life… always.

– Jacqueline

Freshly rolled truffles

Double Dark Chocolate Truffles

Makes about 30 truffles

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter or butter-flavored Earth Balance
  • 10 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour (my blend was 1/3 cup brown rice and 1/3 cup tapioca starch plus 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup ground raw walnuts (optional)

For the Truffles:

  • About 4-6 Tbsp liquid cheesecake or prepared frosting of choice
  • 6oz dark chocolate (I used 70%)
  • Ground nuts, candies, cocoa powder, crushed cookies or cacao nibs for coating

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Grease an 8×8″ cake pan (I prefer glass)
  • In a small pot on medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in cocoa until smooth.  Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly while you continue.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat eggs on high until creamy, about 45 seconds.  Add the sugars and beat until thoroughly incorporated with no traces of sugar, 2-3 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly stream in butter/chocolate mixture.  Beat until incorporated.
  • Slowly add flour and salt.  Mix on low until incorporated.  Stir in walnuts.
  • Pour into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out relatively clean.
  • Immediately turn out onto a baking sheet and break up into pieces.  Allow to cool completely.
  • When cool, return to standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Paddle on medium/low until completely broken up.  Add liquid cheesecake or frosting 1 Tbsp at a time, until the cake comes together and you can easily roll a piece into a firm ball without it falling apart.
  • Roll batter in quarter-sized balls, placing on cookie sheets lined with wax paper.  My batch made 30.
  • Place all toppings in bowls (shallower and wider the better).  Melt chocolate in the microwave, first for 1 minute, then stirring to melt completely, then for another 30 seconds if the chocolate isn’t smooth enough (it should be fluid but only warm to the touch).
  • Quickly use your fingers to lightly coat each ball in chocolate, then toss into topping bowls, up to three in each bowl.  Shake / lightly toss the truffles to coat completely, then return to wax paper-lined trays.  Repeat with remaining truffles until done.
  • Refrigerate at least 10 minutes before packaging.
  • Share with those you love.  Or freeze them and slowly eat them by yourself, one by one…

I heart you Bloggerreaders

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Chocolate BlogHop! Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread (gluten and dairy free)

Dark Chocolate Tea Bread

“I’m in love, I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!”

(five points if you can guess the movie)

Hello bloggereaders!

It’s February, and soon NYC will be painted pink and red and boxes of chocolate and racy lingerie will be put to good use in the throws of holiday romance.  Where will yours truly be this year?  Jury’s still out.  I actually dated a man for about 8+ years and I think we celebrated Valentines Day maybe twice?  I have a thing with forced romance or commercially-fueled celebrations.  All I know is the bottle of champagne I have still from one of the wineries on the South Fork will probably make an appearance.

But, heck, baking is what I do and celebrating with food is what I love, so it’s fitting that this month’s BlogHop theme, of which I’m excited to be one of the cohosts for the first time, is Chocolate!

I use chocolate (and carob) all the time: fair-trade, organic and usually vegan as I can then be assured of the dairy-free aspect.  I’m a big fan of extremely dark varietals, decked with spices or infused with flowers.  I ate my fill at the NY Chocolate Fest a few months ago, where I grabbed Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate, which I have been pouring over with hungry eyes (check out my Spicy Mexican Mulled Wine Cocoa play on one of his recipes).

I don’t think chocolate has to always be the center of the sweet, though, so when stretching my cranium for my bloghop contribution, I wanted a rich, spicy and subtle alternative to the abundance of chocolate this time of year.  Luckily, Young is a master at making a variety of complex, versatile chocolate desserts – I highly recommend his book as a present for the Valentine in your life.

The result?  This tea bread is of my new favorite recipes, and one that will be a staple in my hosting repertoire.  I bake delicious things all the time, but this I will serve with particular love.  Laden with fruit captured perfectly in a dense, spicy cake, the chocolate compliments the other flavors and the tongue finds it in just the right moments.  It’s solid without being heavy.  Exactly what you want in a fun take on a traditional British tea bread.  I’ve adapted it to be gluten free and, if you use dark chocolate, it’s naturally dairy free in Young’s original recipe.  I adjusted here and there for what I had in my pantry and to make sure the gluten-free flours could hold up.  I used puer tea as a nod to my friend Louis, who’s visiting from out of town and with whom I first drank puer years ago in San Francisco.  I’ve given slices of it out wrapped in parchment like little gifts from a Dickens novel.

Sh*t, I’m getting all romantic.  Here’s the blasted recipe.

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

Chocolate Ginger Puer Tea Bread

based on Chocolate Ginger and Cardamom Tea Bread from Paul A. Young’s Adventures in Chocolate

Note: you need to soak the fruits overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 5.5 oz crystallized ginger, chopped
  • 2/3 cup organic seedless red raisins
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • zest of one large orange
  • 6 Tbsp organic light brown sugar – Young suggests muscovado, which is divine but more expensive.  Take your brown sugar a step up and buy organic and it will have a flavor and texture more on par with muscovado)
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp strong tea – I used puer, which is a very dark, earthy tea.  Have fun with any spicy, strong black tea you like
  • 1 large organic egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature and beaten extremely well
  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3.5oz bar 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped – I used Divinebecause it’s fair-trade, 1 bar is exactly 3.5 oz, it’s not overly expensive and I hadn’t tried it before.

Directions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine ginger, raisins, nutmeg, orange zest, brown sugar and tea.  Mix to combine, cover and let sit 8 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325° and line a 8×4 inch loaf pan with parchment.
  • Add beaten eggs to fruit and mix thoroughly.  Add flour and incorporate completely.  Stir in dark chocolate.
  • Pour into loaf pan and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for 80-90 minutes, cool for 30 minutes before carefully removing from pan.

Young suggests wrapping the cooled cake in clean parchment and a kitchen towel and letting it sit for 24 hours.  He overestimates the layman’s patience, I believe.  I cut into this baby 1 hour after it was done baking and it was divine, but the wrapped pieces did taste even richer then next day.

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February is #chocolatelove month!
Please check out the recipes from the other co-hosts and peruse links below!

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Please join in on the #chocolatelove fun by linking up any chocolate recipe from the month of February 2012. Please link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by! The twitter hashtag is #chocolatelove.
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