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.

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.

Quinoa Boulettes vs Ikea Swedish Meatballs

Quinoa Boulettes vs Ikea Swedish Meatballs

Quinoa Boulettes vs Ikea Swedish Meatballs

Mom would make Swedish meatballs for parties yet we weren’t Swedish, didn’t know anyone who was and Ikea was a two-day plane trip. Several decades later, braving my first trip to the hip-mega-everything store in search of kitchen doodads, I got overwhelmed and lost, but ended up following an aroma to the food court. I knew the source. I had rediscovered Swedish meatballs and memories of meatball platters, gravy and happy eaters.

Quinoa Boulettes Green Sauc

 

With this recipe, I’ve kept the appetizer angle of my childhood Swedish meatballs yet nixed the meat. However, calling them quinoa “meatballs” without using meat smells of “bait and switch” tactics. Instead, I embraced a European makeover by turning them into boulettes, a French culinary term, for small ball-shaped foods.

As a plant-based omnivore, I recognize meatballs have their own special textures and flavors. The chewy Swedish ones of my childhood oozed buttery-fat flavors but, I’ve served these multiple times to meat-centric eaters who enjoyed the crispy exterior and moist, flavorful interior. I just didn’t promise “hey they taste just like meat”.

Serve these quinoa boulettes as a complete meal with noodles and marinara or as a crunchy, healthy nibble to dip into an herby Greek yogurt, spicy marinara or garlicky vegan walnut pesto.

Quinoa Boulettes

Yield: Makes 35

Quinoa Ingredients  (makes about 2 ¾ cups cooked. Can be done up to two days in advance)

1 cup dry red quinoa (white or black works but red looks “meatier”)
2 cups liquid (water or low-salt vegetable stock)
½ teaspoon salt

Boulette Ingredients 

¾ cup bread crumbs (not panko)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sumac or other spice (see notes)
½ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika or other spice (see notes)
¼ teaspoon of cayenne
3 garlic cloves, minced very fine (about 1½ teaspoon)
3 large eggs
¼ small yellow onion, minced very fine (about ⅓ cup)
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil (for high smoke point)

Prepping Quinoa 

  1. To a pot over medium-high heat, add quinoa, water and salt.
  2. When boiling, stir quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.
  3. Cook 18-20 minutes or until no water remains in the pan.
  4. Remove quinoa from heat, leave covered 5 minutes, then uncover, use a fork to fluff it.

Making Quinoa Boulettes:

  1. Turn oven to 475˚F. Place one rack at middle position and one at the top position. Lightly oil a baking sheet. To a mixing bowl, add bread crumbs, salt and spices and mix. Add cooled quinoa, garlic, eggs and onion and mix with a spoon.
  2. If you have time to let the quinoa cool, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to let breadcrumbs soften and make shaping easier.
  3. With a 1 tablespoon measure, scoop slightly heaping amounts of quinoa, pressing into the measuring spoon with your palm to compact it, then push it into your palm to form a 1 ¼”-1 ½” size ball (smaller than a golf ball). Place on baking sheet.
  4. On the middle rack, cook 8-12 minutes or until exterior firms up and base browns. Move to top rack, cook 6-8 minutes or until crispy and dark brown. Broil for 2-3 minutes if not dark enough.
  5. Remove from oven and baking sheet to serve warm or store in refrigerator for later use.

Quinoa Boulettes Green Sauce F

Spice and Serving options:

  • Savory spice options: sumac, Hungarian or California paprika (sweet pepper flavor, not smoked), zatar spice or different powdered chilies instead of cayenne are possibilities.
  • These are popular with spiced Greek yogurt dips or the walnut herb sauce I make that is like a pesto without cheese.

 

About Me

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

Let’s Connect

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.

Happy Cooking: Jacques Pepin American Masters

Happy Cooking: Jacques Pepin American Masters

Happy Cooking: Jacques Pepin American Masters

Jacques Pepin Lifesized Cake at IACP 2015

Life-sized Oven Cake in Honor of Jacques at IACP 2015

Jacques Pepin American Masters Culinary Icon

 

Julia Child, Albert Einstein, George Lucas, Bob Dylan and now, Jacques Pepin, headline a PBS American Masters series. Pepin’s edition portrays his evolution from 13-year old apprentice to respected, influential chef turned popular TV cooking teacher, speaker and writer.

Past IACP president Barbara Fenzl, close friend of Jacques Pepin, was interviewed for the documentary along with culinary professionals including José Andrés, Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio and Marcus Samuelsson.

 

From Chef to IACP Founder to TV, Teacher and Author

One of the original founders of IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), Jacques was honored at the D.C. conference for his 80th birthday with over 100 cakes driven to or flown into D.C., including a cake the size of an oven.

Jacques cake flower

Incredibly edible cake for Jacques Pepin’s birthday at IACP

Barbara was interviewed during the D.C. conference for Pepin’s American Masters edition to provide a personal and professional perspective on his career. During her career, she worked with Jacques in many professional culinary venues, and when he started as traveling cooking teacher, he made multiple visits to teach at her Les Gourmettes cooking school in Arizona.

I met with Barbara recently and she shared how Jacques is a natural teacher who may have gravitated towards teaching even if a serious car accident had not ended his professional chef career. His evolution from high-end chef to teacher and author of nearly 30 cookbooks includes:

  • personal chef of three French heads of state including President Charles de Gaulle,
  • an offer to be the “first chef” of the white house under President John F. Kennedy, and
  • turning down the white house to learn more about and contribute to American cuisine for the Howard Johnson hotel chain as the Director of Research and New Development.

French Immigrant Embracing & Evolving American Cuisine

Jacques arrived an immigrant from France who embraced American culture and has influenced how we eat. Barbara knew him from his days of creating caramel cages to decorate dessert plates and saw his evolution to a food and culinary educator who made food and cooking approachable.

“even when he cooked with tongue, he pulled people into the food” says Fenzl.

Don’t miss this preview of an esteemed culinary compatriot and model for creating good food and engaging Americans to cook. PBS summed Jacques attitude towards food and cooking well: “Jacques’s catchphrase of “happy cooking”: honesty of ingredients, simplicity of approach, and a joy for sharing good food with loved ones”.

IACP Pepin Fenzel 400

Fenzl and Pepin at IACP 2011 Culinary Demo in Austin

Pepin’s fooditude can be promoted by anyone who loves food and shows how cooking can bring us all together as people and Americans.

“Jacques’s catchphrase of “happy cooking”: honesty of ingredients, simplicity of approach, and a joy for sharing good food with loved ones” (PBS)

Where to Watch:

PBS American Masters Jacques Pepin

Chef Michele with Jacques IAPC 2012

Favorite Pepin Quotes:

“Cooking is the art of adjustment.”

“You can’t escape the taste of the food you had as a child. In times of stress, what do you dream about? Your mother’s clam chowder. It’s security, comfort. It brings you home.”

“When you become a good cook, you become a good craftsman, first. You repeat and repeat and repeat until your hands know how to move without thinking about it.”

“Just because I am a chef doesn’t mean I don’t rely on fast recipes. Indeed, we all have moments when, pressed for time, we’ll use a can of tuna and a tomato for a first course. It’s a question of choosing the right recipes for the rest of the menu.”

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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