Savoring sweet chocolate is much like worshiping the very creation of sin. Your senses’ descent into the subtleties of chocolate‘s luscious flavor and dark tones torment the soul and induce irresistible cravings. The Devil himself judges you for craving the creamy darkness in your moment of weakness.
For centuries, royalty, nobility, and warriors have chosen chocolate as their love elixir of choice. There is something about chocolate that is sexy and erotic, yet innocent. Poets, musicians, and artists have all created beautiful art about the delicious allure of chocolate, the intensity of its sweet taste, and its place as an object of our affection.
Chocolate Dessert Recipes
- Tempering Chocolate Techniques
- Chocolate Rose Petal
- Black and White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Platter
- Romantic Chocolate Fountain
- Exotic Chocolate Fruit Temptation
How does this magical love elixir steal the show at every dessert and sensual encounter? Is it an aphrodisiac? Will it enhance one’s love life? Let’s explore a few of the myths and facts surrounding this illustrious food to see if, indeed, it is everything history’s claimed it is. Chocolate is more than just a food: it is a state of mind.
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Love Chemical – Chocolate
Throughout history, chocolate has been associated with courtship and romance. What makes this muddy brown confection such a great love potion? Medical experts suggest it is all chemical, triggering the effects of phenylethylamine, a “love chemical” that is normally present in the brain and triggered by chocolate.
The texture of your chocolate is important when building up a scene of seduction. Does it have an immorally crisp, clean snap? Is it provocatively shiny or dull? Are its colors pulsating and its texture velvety? Chocolate connoisseurs use very sensual words to describe chocolate, such as silky, high-quality, and strong. Before you start calling yourself a connoisseur of chocolate, you need to romantically savor and to exploit your senses.
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Tone, Gloss, Taste of Chocolate
The feel of chocolate should be neither too soft nor too brittle. Snap a piece of chocolate in half and listen carefully to the sound. High-quality chocolate emits a sharp, crisp tone, and the snapped edge will be clean. This sound is known as the chocolate’s snap. A good snap indicates high cacao content and well-tempered chocolate.
Look at the texture of a chocolate bar; how does it break? Is it a clean break, coming away accompanied by a hard and clear crack? You can discover a great deal about the quality of chocolate just by its snap.
Now hold the chocolate for a moment. Does it melt if you keep it between your fingers for more than a few seconds? If it doesn’t, it may contain a lot of vegetable fat. The surface of the chocolate should be smooth and shiny, indicating that the cocoa butter is properly crystallized, or tempered.
Chocolate should be kept and served at room temperature. This allows the chocolate to commence melting the instant it hits your sensitive mouth. Does it liquefy smoothly, or does it leave a floury sensation in your mouth? Granular residues may be the sign of too much sugar.
To properly taste chocolate, inhale the aroma of the bar and try to distinguish the different scents. Taste the Chocolate and slowly let a small piece melt in your mouth. Now you must find words to describe the aromas and flavors you detect.
In the Unites States, a set of federal regulations called the Standards of Identity governs the composition and nomenclature of chocolate. The following standards apply to all chocolates: cocoa butter and milk fat are the only fats allowed in the process and product. Chocolate-flavored coatings and pastel coatings, called compounds, are made with vegetable fats like palm kernel, cottonseed, and soybean oils. A specific type of chocolate must meet the requirements set by the Standards of Identity in order to earn its name.
- Unsweetened Chocolate: Also called chocolate liquor, unsweetened chocolate is made up of finely ground roasted cocoa nibs. Unsweetened chocolate can be natural or Dutch alkalized.
- Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate: Contains at least 35% unsweetened chocolate and less than 12% milk solids. Bittersweet chocolate often has an unsweetened chocolate content of 50% or more.
- Sweet Chocolate (Dark): Contains at least 15% unsweetened chocolate and less than 12% milk solids.
- Milk Chocolate: Contains at least 10% unsweetened chocolate and 12% milk solids.
- White Chocolate: No official Standard of Identity exists yet for white chocolate. It is typically made with cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, and flavorings.
Semi sweet and sweet chocolates are prepared by blending chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetening and cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. After processing, the chocolate is cooled and usually molded into bars (the generic term). Different manufacturers use different names for their bar products, such as blocks, squares, and bits. Chocolate is also granulated into what is known as shot, to be used in decorations by candy makers and confectioners.
Tempering Chocolate Techniques
Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate for coating or dipping. Proper tempering results in chocolate that has a smooth and glossy finish in liquid form. Chocolate is temperamental—it burns easily and should always be melted slowly in a double boiler for best results. If using a block of chocolate, coarsely chop the chocolate before tempering, and finely grate a few ounces of the unmelted chocolate. Melt the chopped chocolate in a dry bowl set over hot water, stirring until smooth. Do not allow chocolate to exceed 115°F.—test it with an instant-read thermometer.
Double Boiler Method: Double boiler cooking is about applying heat without exposing the pan containing the material to be cooked to any direct heat. A double boiler consists of two pans—metal, glass or ceramic—one inside the other. The bottom pan contains water and the top pan sits over (but not in) the water. Double boilers ensure slow, even heating and are handy for melting wax or chocolate, or cooking any sauce too delicate for direct heat. Double boilers can easily be improvised if you don’t own the specific kitchen tool. Break chocolate into small pieces and place in the top pan of your double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. (You may also use a glass or metal mixing bowl on top of a saucepan half-full of water.) Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally for best results.
Direct Heat Method: This method may be used if the chocolate is to be added to a batter, but do not use it for chocolate for dipping or molding. Use very low, even heat. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat when small lumps remain and stir to complete the melting process.
Microwave Method: Using a microwave-safe container, place the chocolate in a microwave oven at medium power for 45 seconds. Remove and stir well. If not melted, return to the microwave and repeat the heating step, stirring every 10 seconds. When small lumps remain, remove, and continue to stir to complete the melting process.
Always melt chocolate carefully. Overheating or accidentally adding moisture may cause the chocolate to thicken to an undesirable viscosity.
Chocolate Rose Petal
Yields two servings.
Edible gourmet rose petals are available for eating with chocolate; they are quite tasty. Confirm at the store that the petals are pesticide-free or grow the roses yourself. They make a romantic garnish for salads, entrées, and desserts. Experiment with different fillings.
- 14 ROSE PETALS, gently rinsed
- ½ cup NATURAL CREAM CHEESE, at room temperature
- 4 ounces WHITE CHOCOLATE or SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE
When purchasing rose petals, make sure you choose large, clean ones. Wash the petals gently and pat them dry with paper towels. Prepare fourteen petals by rolling them individually around small pieces of the soft cream cheese. Set the stuffed petals about half an inch apart on a baking sheet. Temper chocolate according to the instructions above.
Place the tempered chocolate in a parchment cone or small pastry bag with a tiny tip. Place your finger on the tip to hold the chocolate in until you are ready to dribble it. Before the chocolate cools, dribble it over the top of all the petals by moving your hand back and forth, covering half of each petal’s top. Place in the refrigerator to chill for up to six hours. Because rose petals are perishable, they are best eaten within hours after preparation.
Serve the finished delicacies on plates covered with doilies, or with another delicious dessert. Light some candles, put on some romantic music, turn off the lights, and place the platter on table—then snuggle up and take turns feeding each other.
Black and White Chocolate Covered Strawberry Platter
Yields two servings.
Strawberries, or fruit nipples (as they are sometimes called), are the perfect complement to chocolate. Huge, red, juicy strawberries dipped in white and dark chocolate with a sip of brandy or champagne makes the perfect beginning or ending to a lovely evening.
- 10 large STRAWBERRIES, with long stems
- 4 ounces WHITE CHOCOLATE
- 4 ounces SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE for coating
When purchasing strawberries for dipping, look for ones with the stems still on them, if possible; that way you will have something to hold on to as you dip the berries, without missing some of the fruit’s surface. Wash the strawberries and thoroughly pat them dry. Temper the white and dark chocolate in separate double boilers; keep the colors separate.
Hold the strawberries by their stems. Dip one at a time, lowering the tip of strawberry into the chocolate until half of the fruit is covered. Gently shake the berry to remove excess chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Alternate with white and dark chocolate until all the strawberries are covered. Set the berries about half an inch apart.
Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Because strawberries are perishable, they taste best when eaten within hours of dipping.
Other fruits are also great for dipping. This process is a great aphrodisiac—use delicious recipes laden with flavors, enticing aromas, and miraculous ingredients to stimulate your date’s desires. A mental aphrodisiac is anything that captures your imagination and connects you to your sensual feelings.
When dipping fruits in chocolate, make sure that the fruits are dry. Any residual moisture will cause the chocolate to seize up or become stiff. Some great fruits to use are bananas, apples, oranges, raspberries, blackberries, seedless grapes, kiwis, pineapples, and papayas.
Romantic Chocolate Fountain
Chocolate fountains are all the rage in culinary seduction, and a gushing fountain of the magical love elixir is the perfect touch for your special evening. Imagine rich, warm chocolate flowing down layered tiers, surrounded by a lush selection of fresh fruit. If you are looking for something unique and elegant, the chocolate fountain is not only scrumptious but entertaining as well. Shop for a small chocolate fountain, something that won’t be overwhelming but will still draw attention and elicit gasps of appreciation.
No special chocolate recipe is necessary for a chocolate fountain. Filling a fountain is as simple as melting chocolate, pouring it into the fountain, and starting the flow.
Exotic Chocolate Fruit Temptations
Yields two servings.
Exotic fruits dipped in white and semisweet chocolate with a sip of brandy or champagne will create the perfect ending to an enchanting evening.
- 1 large KIWI, firm, not too soft
- ⅛ GOLDEN RIPE PINEAPPLE
- 4 ounces WHITE CHOCOLATE
- 4 ounces SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE for coating
Wash the fruit, peel it, and thoroughly pat it dry. Slice the kiwi into quarter-inch wheels and the pineapple into 2-inch by ¼-inch crosswise slices. Temper white and dark chocolate in separate small double boilers, and keep the colors separate.
Hold the fruit on one side and dip one at a time, lowering one-quarter of the way into the chocolate until half of the fruit is covered. Shake the fruit gently to remove excess chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Alternate with white and dark chocolate until all the fruit is covered and set about half an inch apart. Place in the refrigerator to chill for up to 12 hours. Because these fruits are perishable, they are best when eaten within hours of dipping.
Alternatively, try this delicious “tree” of fruit: core two pineapples and place them over a paper towel holder. Toothpick a few small palm leaves to the top pineapple to form the illusion of a palm tree. Using toothpicks with frills, pin fruit slices to the tree. Place the pineapple tree on a silver platter and serve with dipping chocolate.
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