Archive for Friday, February 10, 2012

Food: (Un)Chocolate for your sweetheart?

White chocolate isn't technically chocolate, but that doesn't mean it isn't perfect for the Valentine’s season.

White chocolate isn't technically chocolate, but that doesn't mean it isn't perfect for the Valentine’s season.

February 10, 2012, 11:32 a.m.

Updated: February 22, 2012, 12:00 a.m.

Chocolate gets top billing in the pantheon of sweets every year around Valentine’s Day.

It seems it’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing ribbon-wrapped truffle boxes, sculpted edible roses or someone balling up a foil wrapper, cocoa scent on his or her breath.

But what of the dark stuff’s albino cousin?

White chocolate barely gets a mention, unless your valentine prefers it over milk or dark.

In fact, it gets so little love that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t even classify it as chocolate.

Yes, despite its name, white chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor, which the FDA has determined must be present for an item to be labeled solely “chocolate.” Rather, white chocolate is simply cocoa butter combined with milk-derived ingredients and sweetener. Now, cocoa butter does come from the cacao bean — cocoa butter is created in the process that extracts and refines cocoa liquor.

White chocolate’s FDA “identity” has been established since 2002, but didn’t come with a name change, despite the classification.

Identity and names aside, now is as good a time as any to give white chocolate some love. The confection’s creamy sweet flavor is mild enough to be enjoyed in several combinations, but it pairs especially well with berries and, of course, its attention-loving cousins milk and dark.

WHITE CHOCOLATE COVERED BROWNIES

Makes 24 brownies.

1 cup butter or margarine (2 sticks)

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips for melting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

Place butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until melted but not hot. Pour melted butter into a large mixing bowl; blend in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients, except for white chocolate chips; stir until combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until brownies pull away from sides of pan. Remove from oven, and cool completely before cutting. Place cut brownies in freezer for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Place white chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl; microwave 25 to 30 seconds, stir. Microwave for an additional 15 seconds, stir again. Repeat this process until white chocolate is melted. Dip frozen brownie so it is completely covered in white chocolate.

Set on parchment paper to dry.

Store brownies in an airtight container for up to one week refrigerated, or in the freezer for one month.

Tip: For best results, freeze brownies approximately 2 hours before dipping into white chocolate. This will help prevent crumbs from falling into the melted chocolate.

(Recipe from chsugar.com)

FROZEN WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY MOUSSE BARS

Makes 32 bars.

Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

2 pints raspberry sorbet, softened*

1 (4-ounce) bar white chocolate, chopped

2 cups whipping cream

Garnish:

Fresh raspberries

White chocolate baking bar, shaved for curls

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all crust ingredients in small bowl. Press onto bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely.

Spread softened raspberry sorbet evenly over cooled crust. Freeze until firm (2 hours). Place white chocolate and 1/2 cup whipping cream in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100 percent power), 1 minute; stir. Microwave 2 minutes more; stir until smooth. Cool 30 minutes or until mixture reaches room temperature.

Beat remaining whipping cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Gently stir whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Spread over frozen raspberry sorbet. Freeze until firm (2 hours or overnight).

Garnish with raspberries and white chocolate curls just before serving. Store frozen.

*Substitute 2 pints raspberry-flavored sherbet, ice cream or frozen yogurt.

(Recipe from landolakes.com)

WHITE CHOCOLATE TORTE CAKE

Cake:

3 (1-ounce) squares white baking chocolate

1 cup milk or half-and-half

4 eggs, separated

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 (12-ounce) can raspberry filling

Frosting:

1/4 cup milk or half-and-half

3 (1-ounce) squares white baking chocolate

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

White chocolate curls (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans; set aside. Place 3 ounces white chocolate and 1/4 cup milk in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted (7 to 8 minutes). Stir in 3/4 cup milk. Set aside.

Beat egg whites in small bowl at high speed until foamy. Continue beating, gradually adding 1/4 cup sugar, until glossy and stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Combine remaining sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Continue beating until well mixed.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture until well mixed. Gently stir beaten egg white into flour mixture by hand.

Spread batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Place 1/4 cup milk and 3 ounces white chocolate in 1-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted (7 to 8 minutes). Cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat whipping cream in small bowl at high speed, scraping bowl often, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in raspberry filling.

Combine cooled chocolate mixture, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup butter in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy.

Cut each cake layer in half horizontally using serrated knife. To assemble torte, place 1 split cake layer on serving plate; spread with 1 cup filling. Repeat with remaining cake layers and filling, ending with cake layer. Frost top and sides of torte with frosting. Garnish with chocolate curls.

Tips: To cut cake layers in half, mark side of cake with toothpicks first before cutting with long serrated knife. To make white chocolate curls, place room temperature white baking chocolate on waxed paper. Pressing firmly against chocolate, pull vegetable peeler across chocolate in long, thin strokes.

(Recipe from landolakes.com)

WHITE CHOCOLATE-APRICOT BISCOTTI

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 squares white chocolate, melted

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds

3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs, chocolate, juice and extract. Add flour, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Shape 1/2 of dough into 15x2-inch log on center of each of two greased and lightly floured baking sheets.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes on wire racks. Place on cutting board. Cut each log into 16 slices; place, cut-sides down, on baking sheets. Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning over after 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

(Recipe from kraftrecipes.com)

PINEAPPLE WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK MACAROONS

5 egg whites, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup finely chopped sweetened dried pineapple

1 cup white chocolate chunks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in coconut, pineapple, white chocolate and vanilla. Drop mixture in 2-tablespoon portions onto a large, parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake until set and golden brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

Loosen by running a knife under each, and then serve warm or at room temperature. If you want to make ahead, cool and store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.

(Recipe from wholefoodsmarket.com)

MINI WHITE CHOCOLATE BLUEBERRY TARTLETS

Makes 42 to 48 tartlets.

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white chocolate chips, melted

1 cup powdered sugar

1 recipe sweet tart pastry crust (below)

Fresh blueberries

Make one recipe of the sweet tart pastry crust. While tartlets are cooling, make filling.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate on high for 30 seconds, then 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted, for a total of approximately 90 seconds.

Add melted white chocolate to cream cheese mixture, blending quickly to avoid clumps. Spoon a rounded teaspoon of filling into each tartlet and top with fresh blueberries.

Keep filling and baked tartlet shells refrigerated in separate airtight containers for up to one week. Filled tartlets can be kept refrigerated for 2 to 3 days before serving.

Sweet tart pastry:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold, unsalted butter or margarine cut into small pieces (2 sticks)

2 eggs, large

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, a pastry blender or your hands, add in butter and combine; dough will appear very crumbly at this stage. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until dough forms.

Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease tart pan with cooking spray or line the bottom with parchment paper. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Fit into tart pan.

Place in the center of your oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown and the center of the tart looks dry. Cool completely and fill with your favorite filling and fresh fruit.

(Recipe from chsugar.com)

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