Truth be told, i cringed when i saw the tarts.

How horridly ugly! :(

When i first made them, it was for a mini hi-tea at my place with 2 thick skin but nice foodie friends who insisted (well, almost) on coming over for my desserts. The date — you won’t believe it but it’s true, was set over Instagram!

I didn’t have proper photos to blog about it then. As usual, (my) food photos taken indoor are totally hideous. I know i’m not that fussy over my ugly photos sometimes, but i decided that these tarts were worth a second shot and so, second attempt it is.

The first time i made these tarts, the consistency of the ganache wasn’t fantastic. I sorta made a mental note not to use the same recipe, same method for these tarts again.

When i made them again yesterday, i decided to give the recipe another chance except that this time round, i thought of boiling the cream first before pouring it over the chocolate (was using the Chocolate Truffle way). Little did i know that, this latest method used was exactly the same method as the recipe instructed. *facepalm* I’m such a clown. No wonder the ganache, again, wasn’t fabulous! I like my ganache smooth and silky.. not rugged and rustic looking like this. :(

I thought my tarts were extremely ugly.. nothing like the gorgeous photo i remember from DH’s magazine.. but guess what? I was wrong. Lol!

After i told another 2 gfs (who wanted to try these tarts) that they were totally unappetizing looking, i went to search for the magazine to scrutinize the photo to see what the difference but boy oh boy, the tart in the magazine was exactly the mirror image of mine! La lil la..

So.

I didn’t screw up after all. HEhehehehehe!

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tarts

(makes 6)

150g all purpose flour
50g cocoa
80g icing sugar
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, cold and chopped
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon iced water

Filling and topping:
1 cup dulce de leche
125g single cream
175g dark chocolate chopped
sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Method

1. Place the flour, cocoa, icing sugar, salt in a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add the egg yolks and vanilla, then the iced water and process just until a dough starts to form. Transfer to a large piece of plastic wrap and bring the dough together with the tips of your fingers. Shape into a disk and wrap in the plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
2. Lightly butter 6 x 8cm tartlet pans. Divide the pastry into 6 parts. Between two pieces of lightly floured baking paper roll each piece of pastry into a rough circle then line the pans, removing the excess pastry. Prick the pastry with a fork then freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
3. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and cut roughly into six squares; place the foil squares, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. Bake the crusts for 10-15 minutes longer or until cooked through. Cool completely in the pans.
4. Divide the dulce de leche between the pastry cases and, using the back of a spoon, spread evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Place the cream in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Spread the tartlets with the ganache and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Sprinkle with salt to serve.

Note : as you can see from the above picture, i used different tart case sizes, so i’ve got more than 6 tarts.

(recipe from Donna Hay Magazine, issue 62)

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Earlier on, i totally screwed up 2 portions of chocolate crust (i doubled it, aiyo!). I blitzed the dry ingredients with egg yolks and whatnots without the butter! What a bummer. But I persisted and kept my fingers crossed as i add in the butter after the ice water. The result? I got a dough that is wetter than a brioche dough!

Not just that i tell ya. The entire dough was sandy-like-feel! However, i refused to throw it away and these were the bakes that i managed to come up with — mini and giant chocolate truffle tart, spiked with Baileys, with the screwed up dough. Heh. Absolutely fugly, but good. Very good. PHEW!

Some friends are godsend. I’m truly blessed in this aspect because there are a few of them whom i can turn to whenever i need to. These friends, i’m always me when i hang out with them — jolly, bubbly, clownish, cheeky *yeah, finally admitting i’m one!* and always LOL like a man.. hahahahaha! I do not need to be prim and proper whenever i’m with them… (psstt : many others think i’m a girlie girl but oh lawdyy.. if only they knew. teeheeheee!)

1.5 years ago, a good friend brought me a packet of chestnut flour from France knowing how passionate i am in baking, Different baking ingredient, she said. And man, it sure was different! I had to google and google for recipes to use up this exotic flour. Grin. After reading through a few recipes in French  — thank gawwddd for Google Translate, i came to this bake – Chocolate Chestnut Flour Muffin. Muffin! Chocolate! I was pretty darn sure that the gf’s little girls would love it and i *think* i was quite spot on.. for the girls ate them up right after lunch despite their mommy’s earlier instruction, Save it for tea later, girls!

Hurhurhur.

Chocolate Chestnut Flour Muffin

makes 16 muffins or 8-9 giant ones

1 cup (115 g) chestnut flour
2 cups (230 g) white flour
150g sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 cups (500 ml) milk
2/3 cup (170 g) butter, melted
2 eggs
2-3 handfuls of chocolate chips

Method
1. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the chocolate chips.
2. In another bowl, beat eggs with a whisk, add the milk and melted butter. Mix well.
3. Stir egg + milk + butter to flour mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
4. Pour into greased muffin pan and bake 20 minutes in the oven at 375 º F (190 º C) or until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean and dry.
5. Allow to cool before removing from pan and store in an airtight container.

(adapted from here)

So how was the chestnut flour?

Funky.

Yup.. that’s right, funky! Almost smokey even, and nutty too but definitely funky. It took a while to get use to it but once you do, it’s rather addictive because it’s just so different that you wanna eat it again and again and again just to decipher or decode the new taste on the taste bud? Hahaa! Do i make any sense at all? Lol! But the strange thing is the muffin tasted almost normal the next day, no longer funky and smokey but nutty, yes. Hmmm…

Tips to make muffins with love handle! (Muffin tops)

I have always been fascinated by big ass muffins with huge tops. I ADORE THEM TO BITS. I don’t even cut them out to eat, i merely use my hand or chomp them off just like that. Hee! These tops are usually crisp on the outside, moist and tender in the inside. What’s not to love?

So i did a bit reading on my own and experimented another batch with my new-found knowledge. And. It worked!

What you need to do :

1. fill up your muffin cases to the brim and slightly more. if your batter is runny, let it sit out for at least 15-30 mins to thicken up a little (found this out by accident when i procrastinated. grin. so, procrastination isn’t an entirely bad thing after all. :P) before you fill up the cases.

2. instead of filling up your muffin pans with 12 cases (i assume everyone uses a 12-hole muffin pans), fill up only 6, with an empty hole in between, for space — you won’t want your muffins’ tops sticking together.

3. grease the entire top of your muffin pans.

4. turn up the heat – preheat your oven to 200-220c for at least 15 mins. Bake your muffins in this temperature for at least 5-10 mins before lowering the heat to the usual (in my case, 150c) for the rest of the baking time.

5. last but not least, have fun!

Good luck!

*photo taken with the phone

I have made chocolate truffle just once in this entire life of mine and trust me, i got traumatized. So difficult to shape!

Sometime last week, i decided to give chocolate truffle another go, with a different recipe no less. I read up a couple of recipes before deciding on this particular recipe which in my humble opinion, seemed pretty solid because of one additional ingredient. And guess what? Molding these chocolates was as easy as ABC! By the way, i didn’t even have to use my hands. All i did was scrapped the hardened chocolate with spoon, threw all of them into a plate of cocoa powder, gave them a roll or 2 and viola!

So simple but oh so orgasmic (and affordable too!) these wicked stuff! <3

Chocolate Truffle

(makes 30)

227 g good dark chocolate – i used 76%
120ml whipping cream
28g unsalted butter
2 tbsp alcohol, optional

Coating for chocolate

cocoa powder, toasted nuts, tempered chocolate, shaved chocolate, coconut flakes

Method

1. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Set aside. Heat cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a minute or 2. Stir with a rubber spatula till smooth. If desired, add liqueur. Cover and place in the fridge until the mixture is firm.
2. Shape anyway you fancy. Roll them, slice them, scoop them. But immediately roll the truffle in the coating, cover and refrigerate until firm. These truffles can last for a couple of weeks or frozen for a couple of months.

(recipe from Joybaking)

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No price for guessing what i’d be making this Sunday night! ;)

pssttt : my entire box got emptied out in less than a week and i actually doubled the recipe! Horrors!!

Previous attempt on Chocolate Truffle here.

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