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Blackberry Framboise, Lavender-Rose with Pistachios

White chocolate in its purest form for vegans and non-vegans. Just as vanilla ice cream is a blank canvas, so, too, is white chocolate, awaiting an imaginative creative palette to bring it to life. Although, allow me to clarify the term “real” in the title that in no way implies white chocolate, vegan or otherwise, contains nutritional health benefits. Now that we have that out-of-the-way, in circling back from my last Weekend Chocolatier post, I addressed the challenges of making white chocolate at home. As I mentioned, there are several DIY recipes out there that, unfortunately, didn’t pass muster, but I remained undaunted in my pursuit to formulate a facsimile that I would  enjoy eating, be proud to serve, and feel confident using for cake banding. I wasn’t expecting to create a vegan white chocolate. But low-and-behold, I stumbled on to a non-dairy, plant-based, soy-free alternative. Coconut cream! (see recipe) The inherent problem with making white chocolate is that it requires special handling. In order to effectively incorporate the dry ingredients: milk, sugar, and vanilla, specialized equipment is needed to grind the solids into a proper couverture, otherwise the texture is gritty. The other alternative is adding them in a liquid form, but that presents a different challenge.

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Cappuccino Royale

Introducing water based ingredients, such as milk into melted cacao—which is oil based—chemically doesn’t marry well without an officiant. Enter lecithin. Lecithin is commonly added to chocolate as an emulsifier to give it its smooth viscosity (available in health food stores or online). Nevertheless, this new-found discovery doesn’t come without a caveat or two. For one, cream is perishable and subsequently the chocolate needs to be refrigerated. Then there is the issue with which type of coconut cream. The brand used can and will make or break the end result. The only brand I recommend is Kara’s coconut cream in the carton (available in Asian grocery stores, or online through Amazon ). It works perfect every time. The other important point is that the cacao butter must be deodorized cacao, otherwise the natural cacao flavor can overpower. The final caveat is that it doesn’t hold up re-melted. It separates. And I don’t recommend it for dipping. Cake banding, yes. IMG_2400Dipping, no.  Nonetheless this chocolate is delicious, creamy smooth, non-dairy, soy-free, and oh, did I also mention that it’s easy to make. More directly, it’s opened a new door of flavor sensations.  Be capricious. Let your hair down, add espresso, liqueurs, and layer different flavors of chocolate, texturize with dried fruit, florals, and roasted nuts to create petit fours of Blackberry Framboise and Cappuccino Royale. (see recipes)  

Recipe notes: What you will need: 1-cup or ramekin, a measuring cup, whisk, kitchen scissors, and chocolate/candy molds or plastic container. Active prep time for plain white chocolate 10-minutes. Inactive time for tempering: 1-hr. Yields (1) 3-oz candy bar. Difficulty level: Very easy. For triple layer petit fours, active pep time 30-minutes. Inactive time for tempering 1-hr 15 minutes. Difficulty level: Fairly easy. Yields 3-3oz bars

Ingredients:

White Chocolate Base 

Preparation:

  1. Place cacao wafers in heat proof measuring cup and microwave for 2-minutes in 30-sec intervals.
  2. In a cup or ramekin, add coconut cream. Note: For best results, do not shake carton. Use cream from the top since it contains more fat and less water.
  3. Add sweetener and flavoring to cream, and whisk.
  4. Add lecithin to cream 1/4 teaspoon at a time whisking well after each. If using gel caps, snip ends with kitchen scissors and squeeze to extract oil, whisking well after each gel cap to fully incorporate.
  5. Gradually add emulsified coconut cream to melted cacao while whisking thoroughly
  6. Check for desired flavor and sweetness, and adjust to personal taste.
  7. Whisk well one last time before pouring into mold, and refrigerate to properly temper chocolate: approx. 1-hr.
  8. Unmold chocolate and foil wrap to preserve freshness.
  9. Keep refrigerated.
  10. To order candy molds, click for retail information.

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Cappuccino Royale

Prepare each layer separately using the white chocolate recipe as a base for the first two layers, and finish with a thin coat of dark cacao. Yields 3-3oz bars.

Preparation:

Cappuccino Chocolate:

  • 3-oz (90gr) in weight or 1/2–cup deodorized cacao wafers 
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 3-Tbsp “Kara” brand coconut cream in the carton
  • 1-Tbsp instant espresso
  • 1-2 tsp. Stevia or honey
  • 1/2-tsp Kahlua or coffee extract
  • 1-tsp. Grand Mariner or pure orange extract
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4-tsp or 5-gel caps liquid lecithin (sunflower)
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts toasted
  • 2-Tbsp-dried apricots thinly sliced

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  1. Randomly arrange dried fruit and toasted nuts in mold.
  2. Follow preparation for white chocolate.
  3. If instant espresso is freeze-dried, grind in spice mill to a fine powder. To effectively blend, sprinkle 1-tsp at a time on top of coconut cream and allow to bloom before whisking and adding remaining teaspoons. Cream will be a dark cappuccino color, but will lighten when tempered
  4. Add sweetener and flavoring
  5. Whisk to fully dissolve
  6. Once chocolate is completely emulsified, allow to thicken at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before pouring into molds, whisk occasionally

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  1. While waiting for chocolate to set, begin preparing middle layer.
  2. Whisk cappuccino chocolate one last time before pouring into mold
  3. Pour just enough chocolate for ingredients to adhere, but aren’t totally submerged.
  4. Transfer to refrigerator and let temper 5-10 minutes
  5. Finish middle layer of white chocolate and allow to thicken following same procedure of whisking occasionally
  6. Remove mold from refrigerator and pour middle layer leaving enough room for a thin layer of dark chocolate.
  7. Transfer to refrigerator and temper 20-30 minutes
  8. Melt 3-oz dark cacao and pour final layer. Refrigerate 1-hr.
  9. Unmold and foil wrap to preserve freshness. Keep refrigerated

Blackberry Framboise

Prepare each layer separately using the white chocolate recipe as a base for the first two layers, and finish with a thin coat of dark cacao. Yields 3-3oz bars.

Preparation:

Blackberry Chocolate:

*The blackerry extract is non-alcohol based however I’ve never used it, so I don’t know if it renders a true blackberry flvor  color. I used 3/4 cup blackberry infused vodka then reduced it to a tablespoon to achieve the blackberry flavor and color.

  1. Randomly arrange dried fruit, florals, and toasted nuts in mold.
  2. Follow preparation for white chocolate.
  3. Add sweetener, flavoring, and lecithin
  4. Once chocolate is completely emulsified, allow to thicken at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before pouring into molds, whisk occasionally

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  1. While waiting for white chocolate to thicken, begin preparing blackberry chocolate for middle layer.
  2. Whisk 1st layer of white chocolate one last time before pouring into mold
  3. Pour just enough chocolate for ingredients to adhere, but aren’t totally submerged.
  4. Transfer to refrigerator and let temper 5-10 minutes
  5. Finish blackberry chocolate and set aside to thicken following same procedure of whisking occasionally
  6. Remove mold from refrigerator and pour middle layer leaving enough room for a thin layer of dark chocolate. Transfer to refrigerator and temper 20-30 minutes
  7. Melt 3-oz dark cacao and pour final layer. Refrigerate 1-hr.
  8. Unmold and foil wrap to preserve freshness. Keep refrigerated. How long will it keep refrigerated? Well, I can’t answer that because at the moment, I can’t stop eating it!