I’ll admit it…
I’ve been bad.
I’ve been super mean to chocolate this week.
Heck, I have downright abused it.
See… I’m trying to invent something new for you. I’m trying to invent something tasty and gooey… something delicious.
Unfortunately, I’ve ruined a LOT of chocolate in the process.
One of these bowls is a success! The rest… not so much. Can you guess which one is a success? I need to do some more testing before I unleash it on the hungry masses. Any taste tester volunteers? You will be paid in chocolate.
How does one abuse chocolate? It’s pretty easy to do. Chocolate is a delicate thing, temperamental and doesn’t like to be with certain things. Theres a fine little line between chocolate staying chocolate and chocolate turning into a crumbly dry mess that has no chocolate qualities to it. Im trying to take chocolate to somewhere between those two definitions.
I didn’t quite make it…
I’m not on the cover of Epicurious quite yet for inventing a whole new food group.
In the meantime, I decided to go ahead and use up the ruined chocolate.
This is some chocolate I literally cooked for 24 hours. It turned out beautifully shiny and tasted like brownies. The longer it sat, it got really dry and crumbly. Fellow food-player Kara told me that I caused an over-abundance of beta crystals which overseeded the chocolate and caused it to separate. I agree… mostly because it sounds all science-y and stuff.
Since it tasted like brownie I thought I’d use it to make brownies. Fudgy Brownies
I’m a Fudgy Brownie kinda guy.
Fudgy almost to the point that its Fudge.
If you want Cakey Brownies… don’t get me started.
It’s not right.
A Brownie isn’t supposed to be a short cake. Its like those “Raindrop Cakes” from Pinterest… “Oh? Since when is Gelatin a Cake?”
(NOT A CAKE)
now that I’ve settled that… back to making my Abused Chocolate brownies
I melted a cup of the dark “chocolate” crumbled dry stuff with a stick of butter. See all that grainy stuff floating. Thats totally NOT what chocolate is supposed to look like. At this stage I really had little confidence in my Brownie.
I let it cool and whipped in some eggs.
Fun little factoid about me. I love to start mixing things in bowls which are absolutely too small to add anything else too even though I know I’m adding a few cups more to it. I dunno why. I started in a saucepan then moved it to a cereal bowl here.
Just something I do. I’m not saying you should do it too because… its pretty stupid. I guess I enjoy doing dishes.
I folded in the sugar, flour, vanilla and baking soda. I then folded in about a cup of the Milk “chocolate” crumbly dry stuff.
I chose to move it out of a cereal bowl and into a stainless steel mixing bowl this time.
I poured the brownie mix into a baking pan sprayed and lined with parchment paper. I crumbled some oven-caramelized white chocolate on top. It was there, and begging to be used also… and it was utterly destroyed too. Why not? I put all that into the oven at 350 for 18 minutes.
Last week my Uncle Bill visited New England all the way from my old stomping grounds… San Antonio, TX. Bill is an Organic Chemist. We chatted quite a lot about some of my Mad Scientist experiments with torturing chocolate. He mentioned that he had read about people adding Baking Soda to onions when they are caramelizing them. It was said to hasten the caramelization process. I couldn’t wait to try it with White Chocolate!
It worked! Well, sorta… The chocolate did in fact brown very quickly… roughly in 1/3rd of the time… but it still tasted exactly like white chocolate. No flavor profile change. It turned a lovely color. I added some cream to it and made it into a Caramel-Colored White Chocolate ganache.
Uncle Bills beautiful wife Lyn is an acclaimed Artist among other things and is based out of San Antonio as well. She was up in New England selling art at the Beacon Hill Art Walk and teaching classes at the 11th International Encaustic Conference.
Lyn writes a brilliantly inspiring blog EarthShards.
The next time she visits we are planning to play in the kitchen and explore possible Encaustic Collage applications in cake design. It was so nice and refreshing to have someone who speaks “art-talk” so fluently join me for an afternoon.
She gifted me an beautiful limited edition journal featuring her art. I plan on putting my deepest darkest secret recipes in this. I encourage everyone to go see her art. You can find little nuggets like this, which I think is also applicable to the cake world…
The AB3 System gets you started by using Alignment, Breathing Room, and Thirds to plan your initial arrangement.
Here’s what the Cheat Sheet says:
A=ALIGNMENT – The direction a picture, element, or shape “points” – the best alignment directs the viewer’s eye into engagement with the message or focus of the work.
B=BREATHING ROOM – Allow your elements to establish a dialogue with each other. Leave enough space that there is a contrast between “quiet” and “busy.”
3’s=THIRDS AND THREES – Use the nine-space grid that photographers use to establish good “bones” for your piece, and think in odds rather than evens.
Back to the Brownies!
I topped the brownie with the Caramel-Colored White Chocolate Ganache and sliced it. I really had no clue what to expect because… that chocolate was NOT happy when it went into the recipe.
The White Chocolate which I had sprinkled on top completely melted away leaving large crunchy holes of gooey yumminess. The brownie itself was delightfully rich and moist. The brownie had a complex flavor, deep and rich, coffee and floral all at the same time. I had serious troubles not eating the whole thing before I could snap a picture.
Even my picky husband gobbled it up.
…and he doesn’t even like chocolate!
So, if you “ruin” some chocolate try to use it! Its not ruined, its just changed.
Change can be good!