sous vide tempered chocolate
I’m not much of a chocolatier, but I’ve watched my dad temper chocolate and make truffles a dozen times or so.  The transformation that takes place during the tempering process is fascinating, and it only becomes more curious with my first attempt to temper using sous vide.  Notice the pattern of dark, shiny dots and lines?  I didn’t put it there.

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It doesn’t matter how old you are – there’s still a little kid inside you who just loves roasting marshmallows over a campfire.  However, if a campfire is a impractical for your next dinner party, try this simple trick: use your fondue set for tableside s’mores.  [Caution: locate your nearest fire extinguisher before attempting, and don’t serve alongside that bottle of 90 proof Brandy.]

To make your s’mores a bit classier, try using premium chocolate (sorry Hershey’s, it’s not me, it’s you).  I prefer Seattle-based Theo Chocolate’s Coconut Curry and Fig, Fennel & Almond, though there are hundreds of exotic flavors out there that will easily earn you your Open Flame Artisan Pastry Making merit badge.

If you love chocolate dipped foods, but aren’t quite ready to turn your fondue set inside out, Berries.com offers a variety of chocolate dipped fruits, cake pops and other sweets ready to ship right to your doorstep. And, for the real smores faithful, they even offer chocolate covered smores sandwiches!

http://www.berries.com/

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rosemary fudge

When I attended the Seattle Chocolate Festival last year, my eyes were opened to a whole world of savory chocolates.  I tried basil, lavender, cayenne… even tequilla-flavored chocolate.  This rosemary fudge is surprisingly quick and simple to make, and is a wonderful twist on a bake sale favorite.

Makes: about 2 lbs.
Total kitchen time: 30 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 tea bags, a tea infuser, or cheesecloth
  • 12 Oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 Oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. gray salt, sea salt, or black salt (don’t substitute table salt)
  1. Strip the rosemary needles off of the twig and pulverize them in a mortar and pestle to release their inner oils.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, put the rosemary in a plastic bag and rough it up with a rolling pin.
  2. Divide the rosemary between the two tea bags.  Pour the condensed milk into a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the tea bags and submerge, being careful not to let the rosemary spill out.  Bring the condensed milk to a simmer (you’ll see wisps of steam) then remove from the heat and let the rosemary steep in the milk for 15 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, line the inside of a shallow 8”x8” baking dish with parchment or aluminum foil.  Try to get the foil as smooth as possible, so it doesn’t leave wrinkles in the finished fudge.
  4. Remove the tea bags from the saucepan, pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of a spoon to release as much flavor as possible back into the condensed milk.
  5. Add the chocolates and baking soda to a large glass or metal bowl and stir until the baking soda is evenly distributed.  Add the condensed milk and place the bowl on top of a pot of boiling water to form a double boiler.  Gently stir until the chocolate is almost fully melted.  Remove the bowl from the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate mixture is smooth.
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle the salt evenly across the surface of the chocolate.  Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.  To serve, remove the block of fudge from the baking dish and cut into 1” pieces.

You can also try this recipe with sage, basil, or anything else that sounds good to you. 

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