February Kosher Connection Link Up : Purim Goodies!

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I have a special fondness for Purim. It has nothing to do with hamataschen, or groggers, or even the general color and sounds of the day. I love that I spend the entire day either cooking or giving out mishloach manot. We celebrate by having two seudot, one at about 11am and then another around 4pm. It is a busy, busy day that doesn’t stop – and it’s wonderful.  This month’s Kosher Connection Link Up is Purim Goodies, or treats you might put in a shaloach manot. I recently made (in the spirit of attempting to clean out my kitchen pantry) these recipes for chocolate bark. The white chocolate (use dairy chocolate – it’s totally worth the expense) has dried cranberries that have been rehydrated with Disaronno, with chopped almonds. The dark chocolate had peanutbutter candy filling (peanutbutter, confectioner sugar and light corn syrup) and pretzels with seasme seeds.


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The Scharffen Berger Experiments Part 3: Candy

Going into this experiment was not as easy as my other experiments. I knew I wanted to make candy, but deciding what kind of candy, what kind of filling, and what style I would use took a great deal of thought.
I needed a style of chocolate that would allow the chocolate to shine, to allow the differences to be easily spotted. After careful consideration, I decided to do a molded chocolate filled with an toasted, sugared almond center. I added cocoa powder and cinnamon to the sugar used to toast the almonds so there would be an additional level of flavor other than the sweet of the chocolate and sugar.

Chopped almonds mixed with cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon to make a crunchy, sweet filling.

I wanted to have a clear basis of comparison, so I knew I needed to do the opposite of what I did in the Mousse Experiment. There were two points I tried to make in this experiment, and I was successful. The first, that I could produce a candy with a filling that would accent both the similarities and the differences between the Scharffen Berger chocolates. The second, that the bad temper from the Scharffen Berger chocolate in the Mousse Experiment was a fluke.
I did the tempering the old-school way: glass bowl, double boiler style over a pot of gently boiling water. The result was beautiful! It was gorgeous to watch how the Scharffen Berger tempered: it was text-book this time. As always, the Callebaut tempered perfectly as well.  Take a look for yourself:

Tempered Scharffen Berger chocolate going into a squeeze bottle to be used in a chocolate mold.

 

Tempered Callebaut chocolate

In a blind taste test completed at my place of employment, I gave out samples to 12 people: one of each type of chocolate. The Scharffen Berger edged out slightly in this test, 7-5. The tasters in favor of the Scharffen Berger like that it was ” sweet, smooth, and reminded them of the texture of milk chocolate.”  The tasters in favor of Callebaut like the “strong, rich flavor and lingering taste.”

Partially filled molds with Scharffen Berger chocolate, filled with toasted almond crunch

The round molds are Callebaut chocolates, the square Scharffen Berger

L-R Scharffen Berger Chocolate, Callebaut Chocolate

Next Experiment: Cookies. Chocolate Cookies.  After that, it’s up in the air. Have I finished all my experiments, dear readers? Are there any more factors I need to consider before deciding who really makes the best chocolate?

Chocolate in Various Forms

From left: Chocolate covered cherries, chocolate-almond truffles, chocolate peanutbutter squares

Eat your heart out! Top: Chocolate covered cherry Bottom: Chocolate peanutbutter square

Chocolate covered cherries and peanutbutter squares – pick as you choose!

A handful of sweetness -take 2 and call me in the AM!

The Finale: on the tray, ready to go!