Entries from March 22nd, 2007

Sugar High Friday #29: Nibby Cookies

March 22nd, 2007 · 28 Comments · Cookies, Recipes

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Emily of the compulsively readable Chocolate in Context came up with a creative challenge for this month’s Sugar High Friday: Chocolate in the Raw, a nice bookend to January’s Chocolate by Brand.

While I would have dearly loved to experiment with a fresh, raw, cacao pod, there were unfortunately no trips to cacao plantations scheduled for me at this time. I decided to settle for using one of my happiest discoveries when I became more serious about baking and moved on from Nestle chocolate chips and Hershey’s cocoa powder: the cacao nib.

Nibs have been described by both John Scharffenberger and Alice Medrich as "the essence of chocolate", and they literally quite are: the little fragments of cacao beans that have been roasted and winnowed to removed their outer shells. Not yet ground into chocolate liquor, nor combined with sugar and vanilla to form the familiar rectangular bars, nibs are nascent chocolate, scattered fragments of cacao’s dream.

Nibs used to be nothing more than a step in the process of turning cacao into chocolate, but then someone discovered that these nibs had an intriguing allure all there own. They have a nutty, earthy flavor, undiluted by sugar or other flavors found in finished chocolate – and a crunchy tang unlike any chocolate chip.

Alice Medrich has a wonderful essay on nibs in her must-have cookbook Bittersweet; in it she describes her first experience with this unusual new ingredient and how it inspired her to create new recipes around it. She describes in precise detail how nibs are not like chocolate chips at all: the flavor of nibs are more intense yet subtle at the same time, accentuating certain flavors and clashing with others. Their not-quite-chippy texture can also be a challenge; nibs don’t give under a bite like a chocolate chip and can instead be unpleasantly gritty if thrown haphazardly in a concoction.

But with proper use nibs can be a revelation, with a taste unlike any other: almost chocolate but not quite, slightly nutty, a little bitter, with fruity undertones. My one favorite recipe from Medrich’s book that really made me fall in love with nibs was her cacao nib ice cream – quite simply cream and milk infused with nibs, mixed with a bit of sugar, and spun into ice cream. The result is a pale, mocha-hued ice cream that has an astonishing depth of flavor: sweet, rich, and clean, like a memory of chocolate ice cream through misty glass. I make this over and over again and will have to put the recipe on here someday!

Other recipes I’ve used nibs in: Emily Luchetti’s Chocolate-Covered Cocoa Nib Florentines and Orange Ice Cream Sandwiches, where the nibs worked nicely with the pistachios and chocolate, and on Medrich’s Bittersweet Chocolate Tartlets as a crunchy contrast to the smooth chocolate filling.

For this month’s SHF, I decided to make a pair of cookies – nibs work well in buttery, not-too-sweet cookies where they can add textural interest and flavor contrast.

Nibby Pecan Cookies

The first, from Bittersweet once again, is a Nibby Pecan Cookie (top of post). This is a butter cookie that is cutting-edge yet down-home comforting at the same time, a rich golden dough studded with pecans and nibs. The crisp-tender cookie melts on your tongue, filling your mouth with the flavors of toasted nuts and deep chocolate. Medrich notes this cookies improve over time, and it doe; after a couple of days the flavors have melded and deepened into a deeply satisfying complexity. Completely different from the standard chocolate chip cookie, and you may have difficulty choosing a favorite after you try this!

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Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao Nibs and Sea Salt

This cookie, contributed by Elizabeth Falkner to Scharffenberger’s Essence of Chocolate (another source of interesting recipes using nibs) is a study of nibs and sea salt. Using a rich chocolate shortbread base which is appropriately tender and not too sweet, the crunch of nibs plays with the crackle of salt.

This is a perfect setup to experiment with different salts; I tried a fine-flecked fleur de sel from Camargue, the coarse-grained pink Himalayan salt, and red Alaea Hawaiian sea salt. The Himalayan salt made the most dramatic impact, as the large salt crystals gave the cookie a noticeable crunch of sharp saltiness. The fleur de sel from Camargue blended more smoothly into the dough, making for a more subtle hint of salt mixing with the chocolate. The red Hawaiian sea salt fell somewhere in between, and had a mellow, smooth taste all its own. There is certainly room for you to try other exotic salts and find which pleases you most! The shortbread is also quite toothsome on its own, with the nibs contributing their own unique dimension to the darkly chocolate flavor.

I’m glad someone decided to taste these little flecks of the cacao pod before they were turned into chocolate, and realized what potential they had on their own. Who knows what other delectable gifts we have still to discover from the noble cacao tree?

Nibby Pecan Cookies

adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

makes about 48 cookies

3 1/2 ounces pecans

2 sticks (8 ounces) butter, room temperature

5 1/4 ounces granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/3 cup cocoa nibs

10 ounces all-purpose flour

Toast the pecans on a cookie sheet in a 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes until they are fragrant and dark. Let them cool and chop into small pieces.

Beat the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a stand mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes.

Add in the nibs and pecans and combine.

Add in the flour and combine carefully on low speed just until the flour is incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment and roll into a log about 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long.

Wrap the log of dough in parchment and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.

When you are ready to bake, take out the log of dough and let warm slightly – it will slice easier if the dough is softer. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Use a s harp knife to cut 1/4-inch thick slice from the log of dough. Place on the prepared sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the oven for 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway. You should start to smell the cookies at the end and the edges should turn golden brown.

Remove cookies from the oven and let cool on sheets for about a minute before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container for about a month. They taste best after 24 hours.

Chocolate Shortbread with Cacao Nibs and Sea Salt

adapted from Essence of Chocolate

makes about 36 cookies

5 ounces all-purpose flour

2 1/2 ounces cocoa powder

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cacao nibs, crushed with a rolling pin

1 teaspoon sea salt, any kind

6 ounces butter, room temperature

3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla and mix to combine.

Add in about half of the flour-chocolate mixture and combine on low speed. Add the rest of the mixture and mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add in the nibs and salt and mix to combine.

At this point the dough can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to 1/4-inch thickness.

Cut the dough into 1-in by 2 1/2-in rectangles or whatever shape you desire.

Place the shapes on the prepared sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway. The shortbread should be slightly firm but not hard.

Let cool on wire racks.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up a week.

And the site of the original Sugar High Friday.

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Goat Cheesecake for Donna Day

March 14th, 2007 · 31 Comments · Cakes, Custards, Recipes

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Peabody of the beautiful Culinary Concoctions declared the theme for this round of Hay Hay It’s Donna Day to be cheesecake, which got me all excited. The pastry world has certainly moved on from cheesecake as the boring old workhorse of dessert menus, the monolithic white slab covered with gooey cherry filling, or absurdist extremes of the Cheesecake Factory, where every slice is about a foot high and stuffed with so much chocolate, nuts, caramel, and fruit you don’t even know if you’re tasting any cake at all.

Wikipedia’s entry on cheesecake lists about fifteen different styles of cheesecake, so I’m sure everyone has their own idea of the perfect cheesecake, with the perfect texture, the perfect taste, the perfect bite. My cheesecake preferences are pretty middle-of-the-road: I like my cheesecake not too firm and dense, but not too soft and creamy either; the texture should be smooth and velvety on the tongue, not gummy or leaden (this may sound obvious, but I’m surprised at how often I’ve had cheesecakes that are the equivalent of flavorless rubber blocks).

What I’m liking about the revolution of cheesecake’s image is that it’s finally being used as a vehicle for sophisticated, intelligent flavor combinations – it’s no longer being treated as an expression of overexuberant excess, whether in size or adornments. Looking through my cookbooks, I found so many luscious-sounding recipes to try, from Claudia Fleming’s Cherry Cheesecake with Red Wine Glaze to Regan Daley’s Guava Cheesecake with a Cashew Ginger Crust to Dorie Greenspan’s Brown-Sugar Apple Cheesecake.

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I finally settled on a recipe from Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life, a book still tagged with dozens of recipes I need to try: Goat Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle, with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce. No, there’s no actual goat here – I guess Goat Cheese Cheesecake just doesn’t roll off the tongue as elegantly!

I wanted a challenge in the kitchen, and it turned out to be adventurous taste-wise, but in terms of execution it is astonishingly simple to put together. My boyfriend (the best kitchen assistant ever!) was rather nonplussed when I told him the batter was all finished after about 5 minutes of whisking.

This is a soft, creamy cheesecake – it’s made with goat cheese and crème fraîche, no cream cheese – but it has wonderful smoothness and lightness that accentuates the flavor of the goat cheese. Speaking of the goat cheese, obviously your enjoyment of this cheesecake will depend on the cheese you choose – pick one you like (no need to go for the ultra-expensive ones), and I would use a milder, lighter-flavored cheese – aged cheeses might give too strong of a flavor.

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The hazelnut brittle that covers the cheesecake really makes the recipe – it gives a pleasant nutty-sweet crunch to contrast with the smoothness of the cake, working perfectly in place of a crust. It was also great fun to make the brittle – basically you get to make hard caramel, grind it up in the food processor, and then add in ground hazelnuts, and remelt in the oven to form a sheet of golden caramel candy thoroughly flecked with nuts. If you don’t break it up again to form the coating for the cheesecakes, the shards also make gorgeous decorations for any dessert.

Finally, the blood orange caramel sauce adds another sweet-tart layer to the dessert, working with the brittle to temper the tanginess of the goat cheese. This is a dessert is really a fun workout for your tastebuds!

Goat Cheesecake Enrobed in Hazelnut Brittle with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

adapted from Kate Zuckerman’s The Sweet Life

makes (6) 4-in individual cheesecakes

Goat Cheesecake

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

pinch of salt

10 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature

5 ounces crème fraîche

Hazelnut Brittle

7 ounces granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup toasted, skinned, and finely ground hazelnuts

1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

4 1/2 ounces granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup blood orange juice (about 2 medium oranges)

For the cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease 6 individual ramekins.

Mix the eggs, sugar, and salt togther in a bowl and whisk for a couple of minutes until well combined and there are no lumps.

Add in the goat cheese and whisk until smooth.

Add the crème fraîche and whisk together until combined. Do not overwhisk or the cheesecake will develop a grainy texture.

Pour the batter into the prepared molds. Place the cheesecakes into the oven and bake for about 20 to 24 minutes, rotating halfway. The centers should be just set.

Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow to cool. Chill them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

When you are ready to unmold the cheesecakes, run an offset spatula or small knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it, then place a plate over the top of the ramekin, flip it over, and shake vigorously until the cheesecake comes loose from the mold.

The cheesecakes will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

To make the brittle: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 11×17-in baking pan with parchment or a Silpat (preferred).

Place the sugar, cream of tartar, and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan.

Cover and cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil, then uncover and reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until the sugar is a dark golden brown color.

Remove from heat and pour the caramel onto the prepared pan and let cool and harden.

When the caramel is cool and hard, break it into small pieces and place into a food processor. Grind the caramel into the fineness of granulated sugar.

Stir in the ground hazelnuts.

Place a clean piece of parchment or Silpat on the baking pan and spread the caramel and nut mixture onto the pan in a thin even layer.

Bake in the oven until the caramel remelts and bubbles, about 4-6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the sea salt over the hot caramel.

When the caramel is cool and hardened again, you can break it into pieces or grind in the food processor into brittle to use in coating the cheesecakes.

The brittle will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry location for a couple of weeks.

For the blood orange caramel sauce: Combine the sugar and cream of tartar together in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water.

Cover and cook over high heat until the mixture boils, then uncover and reduce heat to medium-high and cook until the sugar is dark golden brown – don’t let it burn!

Remove the saucepan from heat and carefully add in the orange juice (it will bubble madly). Return the saucepan to the heat and whisk the mixture so the caramel dissolves and mixes with orange juice.

When the mixture boils again, remove from the heat. Transfer to a heatproof container and place in the refrigerator to chill and let thicken before using.

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week.

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{SF} Charles Chocolates – The New Store is Open!

March 7th, 2007 · 15 Comments · San Francisco, Sweet Spots

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I’ve been a fan of Charles Chocolates since I tried the passion fruit heart at CocoaBella. Last year I visited the temporary store in San Francisco, and I got to see Chuck Siegel himself do a demonstration at CocoaBella with fellow chocolatier Christopher Elbow. Now it looks like Chuck is realizing his dreams, as well as those of all Bay Area chocolate lovers, with the opening of his new store in Emeryville.

I was lucky enough to see not only the store but to get a tour of the candy kitchen by Chuck himself – by the way, he’s just about the nicest guy you could meet – Willy Wonka’s got nothing on him.

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Right now the store is a sleek little space, with boxes of chocolates seeming to hover on glass shelves backed by art-gallery-chic brick walls, but this is only phase one: a brand new candy kitchen is being built right behind the store, and when it is finished customers will be able to get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, sit down, and watch Charles Chocolates being made through big glass windows.

"I really want to customers to see what goes into the process of making our chocolates, to understand what we mean when we say everything is made by hand,", says Chuck. All of his chocolates are handmade by his workers in small batches – there is no huge warehouse full of candy since everything is made to order and shipped out within a few days. Walking into the current candy kitchen next door, one can see white-clad workers making blood orange marmalade on the stove for the chocolate yankees, pouring hot caramel into frames to be cut later with a guitar, or wrapping the chocolate bars individually in foil. Everything is clean, efficient, and precise – just as Chuck likes it.

When so much of the experience of fine chocolate is tied to appreciation of the finished product, to the fine glossy sheen of a chocolate bar, the perfect smooth roundness of a truffle, the delicate crisp give of the chocolate shell as you bite through to the ganache, attention to detail becomes paramount, and when the new candy kitchen is finished, it is Chuck’s hope that the public will really be able to appreciate how this dedication translates to the beautiful product for sale in the store.

But I would urge you not to wait for the new kitchen to be finished (it should be a couple of months away) but to head over to his store now, and check out all the goodies awaiting your hungry gaze and eager tongue. Some of my favorites follow:

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This a new collection of tea-infused chocolates that I was quite taken with – Chuck has used some very fine eastern teas from Teance of Berkeley and created some very unique tasting chocolates that range from delicate (jasmine) to earthy (oolong). I’ve made tea-infused chocolates before and it’s always a trick to balance the flavor and intensity of the tea with the right chocolate – Chuck explained to me that each tea is paired with a different blend of chocolates to achieve a perfect harmony in taste. I really like the lichee and osmanthus chocolates!

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One of their signature edible chocolate boxes – I asked Chuck how he came up with idea and he replied that it was actually born out of necessity – at one point his supplier was unable to deliver enough packaging for Chuck and his chocolates, so Chuck decided to make his own boxes out of chocolate. This brainstorm has turned into one of their trademark items – new designs for new collections are constantly coming out, from a Chinese watercolor-inspired lid for the tea chocolates to a pretty floral pastel for the spring collection.

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Chuck doesn’t just make great chocolates – he also makes some awesome pate de fruit. I am seriously in love with his new collection of wine infused pate de fruit; they taste like perfect distillations of the grape. Chuck uses wines from the gorgeous Artesa Winery in Napa to make his little hemispheres of bliss – the gewurztraminer and champagne flavors are light and sweet, the merlot and cabernet sauvignon delectably intense.

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One of their newest products, a chocolate-covered stick of caramel sprinkled with toasted nuts. Chuck is starting to branch out from his original box of chocolates – these little lovelies are like a supercharged version of those Japanese Pocky sticks – very portable and munchable.

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Beside the fact that the entire collection of Charles Chocolates is available at the store, another reason you should go is that you can try anything there! The staff is quite friendly and knowledgeable and eager to recommend the chocolates that will delight your tastebuds. Also, through the month of March, there will be free tastings every Saturday of certain chocolates – you can learn about how Chuck came up with the idea for different chocolates and how they are made.

I’ll give another update when the new kitchen is open and I get to take a peek inside, but I hope in the meantime you get a chance to make your way to Emeryville and try some of the best local chocolate around!

Charles Chocolates

6529 Hollis Street

Emeryville, CA

510-652-4412

store@charleschocolates.com

Open daily 11AM – 7PM

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Goji Berries, or, Mothers Really Do Know Best

March 2nd, 2007 · 29 Comments · Cakes, Chocolate, Fruit, Personal, Recipes

Goji Berry and Chocolate Cupcakes

One of the hot new health foods right now is the goji berry, which looks like a brighter, ovalish cousin of the cranberry and is touted as a “superfruit” for containing a pharmacy’s worth of antioxidants and vitamins in one tart little package. I first saw goji berries mentioned on Vosges’ new Goji Bar, which, by the way, is delightful – a not-too-bitter bar of chocolate embedded with chewy bits of berries and a flecked with Himalayan pink salt, giving it just the right addictive tang. Intrigued by this goji berry, I looked around to see dried goji berries being sold at health food stores for breath-catching prices, along with goji powder, goji juice, and goji health bars – clearly the fad was in full swing.

However, I then read that the goji berry was called qi zi in Chinese, which sparked my memory – I had heard this name before. Had I maybe seen this little fruit before in my childhood, in my mom’s kitchen, as she made soups and tonics from the mysterious contents of packages she brought back from Chinatown? I called my mom in Hong Kong.

“Mom, do you know what goji berries are?”

“Goji berries? What are you talking about?”

“You know, those little dried red berry things that are supposed to be really good for you?”

“You mean qi zi? I put that in the abalone soup, but you always left the berries at the bottom. I also made that tea with it that’s really good for restoring nutrients to your body, but you would always say it tasted bad and refuse to drink it.”

“Oh…” silence as I realize how foolish I was to not recognize my mother’s wisdom and her ability to be far ahead of any health-food-fad curve.

“You know, I still have a bunch of them at home. You can get them at any Chinese grocery if you want.”

So this magical new superberry, which is supposedly found only in the Tibetan Himalayas and just discovered to have all these healthful properties, has long been used all over Asia and could be purchased in Chinatown just a few blocks from my place, for less than a tenth of what the health-food stores were charging!

Most of the commercial crop of goji berries, or wolfberries, as they as also called, come from the Ningxia region of China. There are currently many claims floating around the internet that the goji berries from Tibet are of a different species, are grown differently, processed differently – pretty much all arguments by the suppliers that only their product contains those all-important antioxidants and nutrients and you shouldn’t accept any common substitutes.

I am not pretending to be an expert on goji berries or to have investigated all these sites, nor do I wish to get involved in any debates about the differences between various strains of goji berries, but I do know that goji berries have long been renowned in China for their healthful benefits, and have many uses in Chinese medicine – for example, that tea my mom would make every month for me actually was a tonic brewed from several ingredients, goji berries among them, and was meant to help balance the female system after each monthly cycle. And it wasn’t the goji berries that made it taste bad, it was another herb called dong quai!

Goji berries themselves taste like a cross between a cranberry and a raisin, more on the tart than the sweet side, with an herbal undertone. They are always found dried, and will vary from raisin-soft to quite hard. Unless you are planning on eating them out of hand, their hardness should not concern you; when soaked in water the berries will plump up and become quite soft. I have seen packages of goji berries all over Chinatown and in large Asian groceries; they can be tricky to locate if you don’t read Chinese as they are not always called “goji berries”; sometimes they are labeled as wolfberries, or the curious name “Medlar”, or even by their scientific name, Lycium barbarum.

There are some caveats to purchasing them – sometimes processors will add sulfites to the berries to increase the vibrancy of their red color. If possible, try to buy them where they are stored in an open bin so you can inspect them more closely.

I found another riff on the theme of goji berries and pink salt on Chockylit’s wonderful blog Cupcake Bakeshop – a goji berry-studded cupcake topped with a swirl of chocolate ganache and a sprinkling of salt. There is again the lovely interplay between rich chocolate, tart berries, and the crunch of salt. I am particularly enamored of the Himalayan salt because of its infinite variations of pink among its crystals(so pretty and springlike!) but be warned that because of the crystal size it does have a robust, intense flavor – I found the amount of salt indicated for the ganache was a bit much for me, especially if you sprinkle more salt on top of the cupcakes – you may want to err on the lighter-handed side and add more salt to taste.

I’d like to offer one of these cupcakes to my mom and tell her thank you for looking after my health, even when I didn’t realize or appreciate it. I’m realizing I don’t need to fall for the latest food fad or trendy superfood – my mom always knew best all along.

Goji Berry and Chocolate Cupcakes

Goji Berry Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache and Himalayan Pink Salt

makes about 30 cupcakes
  • adapted from Cupcake Bakeshop

Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 7 ounces (200 g) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 12 ounces (340 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) sugar
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (156 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (22 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 3/4 cup goji berries, chopped

Chocolate Frosting

  • 5 ounces (142 g) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 ounces (57 g) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons (57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 1 cup (120 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 cup (61 g) whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cupcake pans with cupcake liners.
  • Place chocolate in a metal bowl. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.
  • Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Pour mixture into bowl of stand mixer and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Add one egg at a time, mixing for 30 seconds between each one.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. Add to the mixture and beat until blended.
  • Stir in the goji berries. Scoop into cupcake cups and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

For the ganache:

  • Place chocolates into a heatproof metal bowl.
  • Heat cream in a small saucepan on the stove until bubbles form around the edges. Pour cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute then stir until combined.
  • Add butter to the chocolate a few pieces at a time and stir until everything is melted and combined. If the mixture won't melt completely, place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until it is melted.
  • Whisk together sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla in another bowl until combined. Pour the sugar mixture onto the chocolate mixture and stir until combined and smooth. Let sit at room temperature until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Beat in a stand mixer until fluffy.
  • To assemble the cupcakes, pipe the ganache onto the top of the cupcakes, then sprinkle (sparingly) with the pink salt.

 

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