Lazy, Lighter Chocolat Chaud—Hot Chocolate with French Airs

Lazy, Lighter Chocolat Chaud—Hot Chocolate with French Airs

Lazy, Lighter Chocolat Chaud—Hot Chocolate with French Airs

Chocolate chaud hot chocolate cup TheTasteWorkshop.comIt snowed in the desert on National Margarita day. Neither event makes sense—a beach-boozy drink celebrated in winter and snow-covered cactus. Instead of tequila, my beverage is based on chocolate liquor—the meat of the cocoa bean.

Any cold day seems a good day for a hot chocolate break or breakfast treat to warm your body and soul. To help with that, I’m sharing this chocolat chaud recipe that I’ve tested until woozy with cocoa to get it just right, even if not exactly French.

Is this even French?

Enjoy rich foods fearlessly and without excuses! If only we could do this more often. Such a French food attitude wouldn’t need a “lighter” hot chocolate—Non Merci! You would instead sip traditional chocolat chaud, intentionally, slowly and happily—just enough to satisfy without feeling heavy.

I didn’t see “light” versions of chocolat chaud when I lived in France. Certainly not made in a microwave—not a classic French culinary move. So why create a lazy, lighter version? Because sometimes simplicity reigns and this three-ingredient version delivers on flavor and comfort.

In the U.S., hot chocolate may contain milk, water or both with cocoa powder or syrups instead of chocolate. French recipes include milk most often, sometimes cream, but milk paired with a high-quality dark chocolate is rich enough.

Is this even Chocolate?

As a kid, I reveled in making my own hot chocolate. Add a packet of cakey cocoa with chalky, sweet white bits to a cup, stir in hot water and voilà—chocolate for breakfast.

I loved this astronaut-ready freeze-dried instant hot beverage. Especially after meeting an astronaut who I was certain sucked up hot chocolate and marshmallow bits in zero-gravity.

Chocolate chaud Hot Chocolate TheTasteWorkshop.comIn college, I graduated from “milk chocolate-flavor cocoa mix” to Nestle’s chocolate syrup with hot milk. The cocoa mix has 16 ingredients and the syrup has 12, three of which are food colors.

If you grew up enjoying these options, then ignore the ingredient list–just enjoy it as a periodic treat. For me, everything changed when my friend Michel treated me to Chocolat Chaud in Paris at his quiet neighborhood bistro.

Liquid Chocolate

The best part of chocolat chaud that I’ve loved, is at the bottom of the cup. A morsel of soft, not fully melted, chocolate lingers. This “Pièce de Résistance” (proof of real chocolate), leaves you a couple spoonfuls of thick chocolate or sips of thick cocoa tonic to boost your mood.

Unlike the drinkable chocolate bar offered at the famous Angelina’s in Paris, most versions of hot chocolate I enjoy in Paris are neither thick nor super rich. Sometimes, whipped cream decorates the top, but for me, that’s just a pretty distraction diluting the cocoa flavor.  But I get grumpy when cold, so just ignore my whinging and bling up with dairy delights as you wish.

Chocolat Chaud Recipe

Hot milk mixed with dark chocolate pieces plus a hint of sugar to balance the bitter dark chocolate.

Ingredients

3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (about ½ cup—see notes for chocolate and chips)

1 ½ cup skim milk (see milk option notes below)

2 teaspoons powdered sugar (thickens drink & balances bitter notes in chocolate)

Dark chocolate options—3 ounces of:

  • 70% bittersweet chocolate bar (about ½ cup chopped). I like Valhrona (6 ½ squares is about 3 ounces), but pick any high-quality chocolate you like.
  • Dark chocolate chips (about ½ cup) tend to be only 60% dark chocolate, are sweeter, have a lighter chocolate flavor and different nutrient profile.

Steps:

  1. For your your pièce de résistance, pull aside about ⅓ (about 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons) of the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, and divide between two small tea or coffee cups.
  2. In a glass measuring cup (at least 2 cups), add 1 ½ cups milk. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.
  3. To the milk, add the remaining chocolate (about 2 ounces left) and powdered sugar. Whisk or stir with a metal spoon scraping any chocolate that sticks to the sides or bottom. Taste. If the taste is a bit bitter, add more powdered sugar–each teaspoon is only 10 calories. Microwave for 1 more minute, whisk or stir vigorously until frothy. 
  4. Pour in equal amounts into the cups each with the chocolate pieces waiting to be partially melted. No need to stir, unless you want a thicker drink. Find a cozy, quiet place to enjoy or share with kids or other adults and let time stop a moment to create a chocolatey memory.

Chocolate chaud Hot Chocolate TheTasteWorkshop.com

Milk Notes

  • Skim milk texture is thinner than whole milk, but the powdered sugar versus a crystalized sugar acts as a thickener.
  • If you use whole milk, it can bubble over, and possibly erupt in the microwave, so reduce the heat or the time to control this.

Serving & Make-Ahead notes:

  • Serve warm in the smallest coffee or tea cups you have (demitasse cups if you’re into French dishes).
  • If making ahead of serving, put in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight. Rewarm and stir before serving. The chocolate pièce de résistance will likely melt though, so you can leave that out, warm the cocoa, then add the extra chocolate to the cup.
  • If you don’t’ have a microwave, go old school and heat milk in a pot, add chocolate and reduce until thicker.

Calorie Notes–Urg. I hesitate to share since this beverage isn’t about watching calories, but it is a rich treat, so here’s some specs:

  • Skim milk calories versus whole milk for this recipe is about 50 more calories per cup.
  • Because this is a rich beverage, use small cups and enjoy slowly. Each serving is about 300 calories—just a bit more a Starbucks 16-ounce version at 400 calories, but it’s a different taste and flavor option.

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Cinder Toffee from Royal Highlands Fair in Scotland

Cinder Toffee from Royal Highlands Fair in Scotland

I ate honeycomb for the first time at the Royal Highlands show in Scotland where it was called cinder toffee. I adopted a Scottish accent after the first bite.

I’d eaten honeycomb-covered chocolate bars in London, but fresh-made honeycomb had heady aromas of caramel, toffee, butter, smoky flavors and a hint of bitter. All of these qualities make it a perfect garnish for flavor-forward desserts.

Honeycomb is also known as hokey pokey (New Zealand and Australia) and tire-éponge (Quebec/France). This recipe was provided by a pastry chef who specializes in flavorful foods. Chef Country Velador of New Wave Market and Super Chunk Sweets & Treats shared her recipe scaled down for home-kitchen use.

Ingredients (Super Chunk Sweets & Treats Recipe)
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ cup water
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup corn syrup
1½ cup sugar

Steps

Honeycomb from Superchunk Sweets and Treats

Superchunk Sweets & Treats Restaurant Quantity

  1. Line baking sheet with a silpat and set aside. Measure out the baking soda and leave next to the sheet pan with a whisk.
  2. In a large saucepan (final mixture will foam up dramatically), combine the water, honey, and corn syrup. Stir to dissolve the honey and corn syrup as much as you can. Add the sugar and carefully stir in, being careful not to get sugar on the sides of the pan. Put on the stove over high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and clip on a candy thermometer. Cook until the candy thermometer reads 305F.
  4. Take the pot next to the silpat and pour in the baking soda and quickly whisk it in. The honeycomb will puff up. Quickly pour it out onto the silpat, pouring all of the candy right in the center of the pan.
  5. Let cool completely before breaking up. Store in an airtight container.

Honeycomb goes a long way as a garnish for cakes or cupcakes icing, paired with chocolate, tucked in a yogurt, fruit parfait or sprinkled on ice cream or roasted bananas. Cook some up and play with it.

Eat within a few days or share with people to increase your popularity immensely. If it sits too long, it begins to absorb moisture from the air quickly and becomes sticky and soft. Don’t store in the fridge for the same reason, and wrap it in plastic wrap after it has completely dried to avoid exposure to moisture.

Honeycomb by Superchunk Sweets and Treats

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Add macaroons to your dessert menu to master a classic French treat with Italian origins that’s surprisingly quick and easy. Macaroons (mac-uh-ruinz) based on coconut, look and sound nothing like the butter-cream filled almond cookies macarons (mac-kaw-rhone except only pronounce half the “n” for that special form of French nasal linguistic torture). To avoid confusion, the French versions are called Rochers à la Noix de Coco (coconut rocks) or simply Rochers Coco to be short and slang.

Marmalade macaroons are not traditional. Typically, macaroons have three-ingredients (sugar, coconut and egg whites) that can be formed into playful shapes, often into a cone or pyramid shape in France. They’re most delicious when the tops and sides or edges have extra crispy browned, nearly burned bits. This marmalade macaroon was inspired by delicious marmalade I experienced while living in France and pleases any crowd with chewy-crunchy textures.

Fast & Easy Marmalade Macaroons

Makes 20

Marmalade Macaroon TheTasteWorkshop.com

 

 

 

Ingredients

5 ½ cups (14 ounce bag) sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt (optional, but helps balance the sweetness)
4 egg whites
4 tablespoons marmalade, minced (If marmalade is very syrupy and thin, use 3 tablespoons)

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together coconut, sugar and salt in a bowl.
3. Add egg whites and marmalade and mix with a large serving fork or spoon.
4. Scoop two tablespoons onto parchment paper in a mound and continue to make more mounds spaced about 2 inches apart. Fill a small bowl or cup with water, dip your fingers into water and with fingers of both hands, form each mound into a pyramid, wetting fingers as needed.
5. Place on middle rack in over, cook for 16-20 minutes or until firm on the sides and the edges and tops have begun to turn dark brown, nearly a burnt look.
6. After removing from oven, carefully slide onto two baking racks set side by side to fit the baking sheet size.
7. Let cool to eat if you can wait and store in the refrigerator in a covered dish.

Here’s an unscripted Facebook Live Video where I chat about bitter oranges, coconut flake differences & forming the pyramid shapes.

Happy Macaroon Day! The best 15 minute, 3-4 ingredient dessert ever if you like coconut. I'm showing a marmalade version with French influences (the shape) and in France–often called Rochers à la Noix de Coco (coconut rocks) or Roches Coco to be slang and short.

Posted by Michele Redmond on Thursday, May 31, 2018

 

 

 

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Citrus and Almond Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Glaze

Citrus and Almond Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Glaze

Citrus and Almond Olive Oil Cake with Tangerine Glaze

This isn’t a typical olive oil cake. Often they are dense and extra unctuous, which can be desirable, or lighter and cake-like. This version is in between thanks to a flavorful addition of moist almond meal and corn meal. These additions also create a nutrient-rich cake as well.

Despite a moist interior, the top of the cake develops a nice crust which holds up well to an addition of almonds and a grand marnier tangerine glaze. If tangerines are not in season, substitute with the related mandarin or clementines or “cousin” orange.

While I recommend following measurements when baking, I made this cake for a taste workshop and class at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris without the benefit of measuring tools or scales, so either it’s very forgiving or I made lots of lucky estimates that day.

Recipe for Cake

Olive oil cake cupDry Ingredients 1 ¾ cup ground almond meal/flour ¾  cup fine ground corn meal 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 2  teaspoons baking powder ½  teaspoon fine sea salt 1  cup sugar

The Topping: ¼ cup slivered almonds

Moist Ingredients ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil 3 large eggs 3-4 Tangerines (2 tangelos or oranges): 2 teaspoons zest for cake 1/3 cup tangerine juice for cake

Glaze Ingredients: 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon tangerine/citrus zest, finely grated 2 tangerines (3-4 Tablespoons) 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier Small pinch of salt

Steps: Pre-heat oven to 350˚F

  1. Lightly coat the base and sides of a 9-inch nonstick cake pan or a quick-release version.
  2. In a mixing bowl, add flours and whisk well to remove lumps. Add the salt and baking powder and mix well. Add the sugar and mix in.
  3. To an equally large or larger mixing bowl, add the moist ingredients. With a hand mixer, blend the eggs and oil for 2 minutes on medium speed (will form bubbles on the surface).
  4. Add the zest and juice and blend only a few seconds—a moist custard-like texture quickly forms.
  5. Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture and blend until incorporated. It has a cornmeal batter texture.
  6. Pour the batter into the oiled cake pan and bake on the center rack for 48-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool and run a knife round the edges to loosen.
  7. Sprinkle the almond slices on top of the cake.
  8. For the glaze, pour the powdered sugar into a bowl, add juice, zest, Grand Marnier and salt and mix.
  9. Pour some of the glaze on top of the almonds while the cake still a bit warm and retain some glaze to serve aside cut pieces of the cake.
  • A moderately flavored olive oil works best to infuse the cake with a hint of savory flavor; however, you can use a mild tasting extra virgin olive oil for a mild or even undetectable flavor.

 

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Easy French Brown-Butter Tart

Easy French Brown-Butter Tart

Easy French Brown-Butter Tart

Easy French Brown-Butter Tart

For bakers and home cooks who bake often, making tarts is easy enough. However, not everyone, including me, appreciates the specific measuring and techniques required for good tart dough. Now, after discovering this easy brown-butter tart, I’m dreaming of future tarts.

The dough is similar to a pâte sablée (“sandy” dough). It’s tender and crumbly like shortbread, holds its shape well and has a delicate brown-butter flavor. So, while it won’t replace all varieties of tart options, it can substitute for many sweet and savory versions.

I discovered this recipe while reading a post by David Lebovitz who wrote that upon hearing about this:

”I almost started choking. “Surely, you jest!” I wanted to cry out in disbelief”…”It was all just crazy-talk.”

The source, Paule Caillet of Promenades Gourmandes, is a culinary instructor I know through her Paris market tour cooking classes. The recipe works well, but after multiple tests, I made a couple minor ingredient revisions and heated the butter mixture on a cooktop rather than in the oven.

Brown-Butter tart

Brown-Butter Tart Recipe

Serves 8

Adapted from a recipe by Paule Caillat of Promenades Gourmandes

Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces or 85g) cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon flavorless cooking oil such as grapeseed or organic canola
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (5 ounces or about 142g)
  • ⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt (about 3 pinches)
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (5.5 ounces or 156g)
Steps:
  1. Butter a 9” (23cm) tart pan (removable bottom is best) and turn oven to 400˚F (204˚C).
  2. Add butter, oil, sugar and salt to a 6-8” pot or rounded sauce pan and turn heat to medium heat.
  3. Foam and bubbles will begin to form as the water evaporates from the butter. When butter is melted (about 3 minutes) briefly stir to mix ingredients and let cook for 4-6 minutes more or until you see a tan color form in the center or around the edges. At this point remove from the heat as this tan color can quickly overcook to a dark brown (a Beurre noir) sauce.
  4. Remove the pot from the burner, add the flour and stir with a soup spoon (works best) or spoonula until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and stick together. Place the dough into the center of the tart pan and spread it across the base with the back of the spoon.
  5. When the dough is still warm but cool enough to touch, press it with your fingers spreading it evenly across the base (it will be thin) and up the sides.
  6. With a fork, prick around the dough base about twenty times, then bake on the center rack for 8-10 minutes or until the tart dough is golden brown. Once the tart is cool, fill to your delight.
  • If you use a dark pot it will be hard to see when the butter is the proper color.
  • Whole wheat substitutions will not yield the same flavor or texture.
  • European butters or Kerry Gold Irish butter for example, have lower water content than most commercial American butters. This may increase the evaporation time a bit during browning and may cause the mixture to “spit” or “pop” hot liquid a bit. Swirl the pan once or twice if this happens to reduce “spitting”.
  • The tart base can be prepared a day in advance
  • Use as a savory tart base as well but leaving out the sugar. Sugar does affect dough structure, so it will not be the exact same tart base, but it will work.

The Queen of Hearts, she made some tarts, All of a summer day: The Knave of Hearts, he stole those tarts And took them quite away!

1865  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

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