Ready for a chocolate education, the next best thing to taking a baking class is to get a copy of Cooking with Chocolate (Flammarion, October 2011) edited by Frederic Blau of Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona with photographs by Clay McLachlan.
Cooking with Chocolate is divided in two main sections, Techniques (Page 12 to 135) from Melting to Tempering to Coating and Molding, Bonbon Fillings, Decorations, Pastry Doughs and Sponges and much more.
The second main section is dedicated to Recipes (Page 156-399).
Cooking with Chocolate also includes a DVD where some of the recipes and techniques come to life.
With weather turning cold, I picked a recipe that has comfort food all over it.
Homemade Chocolate Spread
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 and 1/2 oz. (40 g) whole blanched* almonds
5 ⅔ oz. (160 g) whole hazelnuts
1 and 3/4 cups (400 ml) whole milk
1/2 cup (2 and1/4 oz./60 g) powdered milk
2 tablespoons (40 g) honey
5 and 1/2 oz. (150 g) milk chocolate, 40 percent cocoa
Either 5 and 1/2 oz. (150 g) bittersweet chocolate, 60 percent cocoa
Or 5 oz. (140 g) bittersweet chocolate, 70 percent cocoa
1 food processor fitted with a blade attachment
Small jelly jars
Sterilize your jars before using them: leave them in a 200°F (90°–95°C) oven
for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the almonds and hazelnuts in the oven and roast until they are a nice amber color right through. This should take about 10 minutes.
Leave them to cool and rub the hazelnuts between your hands to remove the skins.
Combine the milk, powdered milk, and honey in a saucepan and bring the mixture to the boil.
Grind the almonds and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor until they are reduced to a paste.
Chop the milk and bittersweet chocolates and melt both slowly in a bainmarie* or in the microwave oven (on “defrost” or at 500 W maximum, stirring from time to time).
Add the melted chocolate to the nut paste in the food processor and pour in the boiling milk-honey mixture. Process briefly. Strain the mixture through a chinois and pour it into jars.
● Chef’s note
This homemade chocolate spread will keep no longer than a week in the refrigerator.
(* Recipe from 'Cooking with Chocolate, Essential Recipes and Techniques' edited by Frederic Blau-Photographs by Clay McLaghlan- Flammarion- English Edition, October 2011- All rights reserved... Illustration is 'Teardrops' from 'decorations' segment in 'Techniques' section...page 52)