Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Minted Chocolate Dream

I had a chocolate-loving friend over for dinner recently, so of course I had to make something with chocolate for dessert. I had been busy all day, and had very little time to get this done, so I pulled out an old quick and easy item that I hadn't made since I finished writing Speed Vegan--something I had called "Minted Chocolate Dream."

This is very rich, but because it has no cream or butter in it, it doesn't leave you nauseous (really--let's face it, some of our favorite "treats" are not kind to us). And considering the immensely gratifying effect, making this is so easy it's almost like cheating.

The first thing you have to do--if you're accustomed to working with chocolate--is overcome the terror of having water get into your melted chocolate. I say this because it's one of the big no-nos that get drilled into you, via books and bitter experience. They tell you that if even a microdroplet of steam should find its way into your melted chocolate, it will be ruined and you'll just have to throw it out and start over. Seriously. That's what the conventional "wisdom" is on the subject. This dogma was so strong in the lore and literature that even as an autodidact (or perhaps especially), I swallowed it whole, utterly forgetting that in Mexico they've been mixing water and chocolate for millennia--with great success. The Aztecs and Mayans used to enjoy chocolate drinks made with water long before the Spaniards invaded, ripped them off, and took chocolate back to Europe. That's when people started adding milk and cream and a ton of sugar, in an attempt to improve on the food of the gods.

As it turns out, it's not water that makes melted chocolate seize up, break, and cease to work as it should; it's the wrong proportion of water to chocolate. Sure, at first it will look ruined, and if you've been educated to believe that this first sign of ruination is in fact the end of the line, you will quite naturally (as I have done) simply chuck the whole mess out and start over. But if you don't lose heart at the sight, and continue adding water (and if it's hot water), eventually it will begin to flow again, and you'll have a "water ganache." It will lack the richness of a cream-based ganache, and it might, depending on a few minor variables, have a slight graininess as a result, but it will survive. Learn something every day, right? There's more.

As most chocolate lovers who read are now gleefully aware, there are compounds (antioxidants and such) in cacao that are extremely good for health. Dark chocolate--not milk chocolate--with a high concentration of cacao solids (70 percent or higher), is a bona fide superfood. So the only thing now lacking in my water ganache would be richness (purely for pleasure, of course). My solution: add a decent amount of essential fats, namely, Udo's DHA Oil Blend. That way, you restore richness and silky texture while adding nutritional value. In the book, I say "flax oil," but between you and me, what I always use is Udo's, because it's the best I know of, and provides both omega-3 and omega-6 (apparently it's important to get them both and at the same time).

Here's the Recipe, ripped right from the book:

Minted Chocolate Dream
Makes 4 servings
This ridiculously quick-and-easy yet elegant and delightful dessert is made without cream, although the result is very rich and creamy. Impossible, you say? Try it. You can get a small bottle of peppermint schnapps so you don’t have to buy a full-sized one (although it’s great to have around for sipping in cold weather).

8 ounces vegan dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup flax oil
1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps (optional)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 perfect fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl set over hot (but not boiling) water, stirring occasionally. Once it is melted, whisk in the boiling water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The chocolate will seize up at first, but keep whisking and adding the water until it becomes smooth and creamy. Whisk in the flax oil, peppermint schnapps, if using, and peppermint extract. Pour into 4 dessert goblets. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
            Remove from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with the mint sprigs at the last moment. After your guests have begun their spasmodic utterances of blissful approval, you can go ahead and tell them what’s in it. Show them the recipe if they don’t believe you.

Per serving, this provides 14.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids!

Note: In making the dessert in the picture, I also dusted the tops with a high-quality cacao powder, to give it an extra-attractive look. To do this, I made a paper shield so the cacao wouldn't get on the rim. The mint sprig I added last.

1 comment:

  1. I love Dark Chocolates especially in Drinks. Funny thing is that I'm drinking a hot dark chocolate drink right now. Really yummy and is perfect for the cold weather.