The Classic, Timeless, velvety Queen of the Dessert world
Increasing innovation in the culinary world has caused dessert sections on menus to evolve and progress to include varieties that range from classics to new and intriguing. Whatever the ingredients are or combo of flavors is, chocolate continues reign as a classic, timeless, velvety ingredient.
With February being the month of love, hearts and all things sweet, chocolate fits perfectly here as our topic of the month.
7 Chocolate Fun Facts & Cooking Tips
1- Chocolate comes from the cocoa tree, where cocoa beans are extracted from pods before they’re transformed into smooth velvety chocolate; 70 % of Cocoa hails from West Africa.
2- Dark chocolate has more cacao and less sugar than other chocolates, so it is considered healthier than milk chocolate and white chocolate.
3- The smell of chocolate stimulates the brain waves that trigger relaxation.
4- In Dubai, “Al Nassma” founded by Sheikh Al- Maktoum, is the first company to manufacture camel-milk chocolate derived from camel milk. It’s considered ‘liquid gold’ in the Middle East and is full of Vitamin C.
5- Breaking up chocolate into pieces or using chocolate chips in baking/cooking is best because it helps the chocolate melt faster.
6- Adding a teaspoon of coffee in cake-baking brings out the intensity of the chocolate flavor.
7- “Ganache” is a culinary term for creamy chocolate icing/frosting consisting of melted chocolate, cooking cream, butter and vanilla essence.
Perfect Chocolate Fondant (Makes 2)
- 60g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, plus extra to grease ramekins
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 60g sugar
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C and place a baking tray on the middle shelf. Butter the inside of 2 small ramekins or moulds, and then put the cocoa in one and turn it to coat the inside, dusting off any excess.
- Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over, but not touching, a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. Allow to cool slightly.
- Vigorously whisk together the egg, yolk, sugar and a pinch of salt until pale and fluffy. Gently fold in the melted chocolate and butter, and then the flour. Spoon into the prepared moulds, till right before it reaches the top.
- Put on to a hot baking tray and cook for 12 minutes (14 if from cold, 16 if frozen) until the tops are set and coming away from the sides of the moulds.
- Turn off oven and leave to rest for 30 seconds- 1 minute and then serve in the ramekins or turn out on to plates– they’re great with vanilla ice cream or caramel sauce.