Homemade Puffy Cloud S’mores

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

S’mores are a dessert phenomenon, really. S’mores are the beloved treat made from graham crackers, marshmallow and melted chocolate, typically put together and enjoyed fireside. It’s definitely a delightful idea. They say that the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in a 1927 Girl Scout publication, which would make a lot of sense. If you put enough girls around a fire, someone is going to come up with a way to make dessert happen, one way or another.

The thing is I’ve never been a S’mores girl (until now), and yet I didn’t know why. It seemed like everything was there on paper: my like for graham crackers, check; my love for chocolate, check; my obsession with toasted marshmallows, double check. But put it all together, and it just never excited me (however, I’ve also never understood the whole Brad Pitt thing, so it’s possible I come from the far away land of backwards). Come to think of it, I’m nearing my 100th blog post and 38th birthday and I’m pretty sure that I have just written “s’mores” for the first time in my existence. Make that the second time. And for the record, this cake or these cupcakes aren’t “s’mores cake” or “s’mores cupcakes” since there’s no graham representation. Okay, I finally got that off my chest.

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

So then why am I sharing Homemade Puffy Cloud S’mores with you? Because I realized what’d been missing all of this time was the homemade factor. It changes everything in the mysterious my-not-loving-s’mores case. See, what happened was that I received my much-awaited copy of my good friend Shauna Sever’s new book, Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes a few weeks ago, and even though I knew it would be fabulous, I didn’t expect to be so very inspired to make homemade marshmallows.

I literally couldn’t wait to make them, so I started with a batch of the Classic Vanilla (seemed like a great place to start). I was a little unsure what to expect, but I discovered that it was simple, fun and downright rewarding to successfully make a batch of homemade puffy, gooey, vanilla marshmallows. Then I spotted her recipe for Homemade Graham Crackers in the book, and I knew they were going to be yummy. So there it was: I was about to be s’mored. Or s’more someone else. Or worse. Little did I know that I was going to add a new sweet addiction to my collection, or that I was going to create crazed little cakelet girls who would literally follow me around with “Shauna’s book” begging me to make more “clouds.”

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

Yep, clouds. Why not, right? I just knew that cloud-shaped anything would likely taste a smidge better than square, and it just seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t have a cloud cutter on hand, but when this girl wants cloud s’mores, she gets cloud S’mores. I took the largest of the a set of this popular daisy-style cutters (Wilton Set of 3 Flower Cut Outs) that I knew I’d likely never use, and MacGyver’d it to make a cloud cutter by squishing it ever so slightly (I’ve also had my eye on this gorgeous Cloud Cookie Cutter). I used it for the graham clouds (above) and, of course, the marshmallow clouds.

I should tell you that even if you get a chance to only make one of these two components (homemade graham crackers or the homemade marshmallows), you can’t lose. The graham cracker were, thanks to Shauna’s fabulous recipe and easy-to-follow directions, simple to do and so tasty. Much like the marshmallows, I had never thought to make my own graham crackers before, and I am excited to add these to my cookie repertoire. They’re buttery, rich and kind of cute really.

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

Simply put, the marshmallows are heaven. I’ve already made 3 batches of vanilla bean, and I’m not only ready to try all of her unique variations, but I’m inspired to start experimenting. I think what surprised me the most about making homemade marshmallows is that the active time is minimal (it was 20-30 minutes), the process is straight-forward, and they are so easy to work with once they’re set. I literally just pulled the entire square slab from the pan in one piece, placed it on a cutting board and cut my clouds with ease. For some reason, I envisioned a sticky mess of sorts. I made these with pure vanilla extract and the addition of a vanilla bean–I am a huge vanilla bean lover, and I knew it would heighten the vanilla flavour and would be a lovely visual (who doesn’t love those glorious vanilla bean flecks?).

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

I decided to coat the entire cookies in milk or dark chocolate (I was inspired by these adorable bits of awesomeness) and then sandwich them together, in typical s’more fashion. My cakelets went crazy for these, and so did I. The homemade quality to it all really converted me, and I’ll never look back. Ever.

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

Because these keep well for several days, they make super gifts. I built each one in a mini loaf liner and then boxed some up for a friend, and she loved it. Or, of course you can always just keep’em around in case of emergencies.

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

On repeat: “Mum, can I have more clouds?” I may have created little cloud s’more monsters, but they sure had fun while it lasted.

Cloud S'mores via Sweetapolita

Who doesn’t love dessert clouds?

cover photo (and all book photography) by Leigh Beisch

So here’s where the magic begins! How beyond adorable is the Marshmallow Madness! book cover? And the name? The colours? I love it all. Packed with approachable-yet-unique recipes and techniques (think Key Lime Pie Marshmallows, Sea Salt Caramel Swirl Marshmallows, Homemade Marshmallow Creme and so much more) and more visual yumminess than I ever imagined, this book is a new favourite around our house. I took away more than just the ability to make these recipes, but I acquired a versatile new skill. Love that.

I think what makes this book extra special is Shauna’s warmth, humour and innate ability to put people at ease (aside from her incredible talent). You simply want to be around her. I first “met” Shauna when she left a blog comment on one of my posts not long after I first started this blog at the end of 2010, and even after that first comment I knew she was going to be a friend. And she is. You can learn more about her over on her website and blog. And what’s more? She has a new book, Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques, available for pre-order now and released November 6th, 2012. Congratulations, Shauna! xo

So, using 2 of the sweet and simple recipes found her book, here are the recipes and details on making these Homemade Puffy Cloud S’mores. I realize this looks like so much info and so much work, but it’s really not. I promise.

Homemade Puffy Cloud S’mores

Yield: 15 Smores plus additional 18 graham crackers

Ingredients

  • 1 batch Classic Vanilla Marshmallows (below)
  • 1 batch Homemade Graham Crackers (below)
  • 8 oz best-quality chocolate (extra dark, dark or milk)

Instructions

  1. Follow the instructions for the Classic Vanilla Marshmallows.
  2. Follow the instructions for the Homemade Graham Crackers.
  3. Coat the Graham Crackers in Chocolate:
  4. Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper or silicone mats. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl in microwave, or in a heatproof bowl over a small pot of barely simmering water.
  5. Dip cookies into chocolate using two forks (or if you have a chocolate-dipping fork), covering entire cookie, letting the excess chocolate drip back into bowl. Place on Silpat or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Place filled sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.
  6. Assembly of the Homemade Puffy Cloud S'mores:
  7. Place one chocolate-covered graham cloud (be sure the chocolate is set) smooth side down into a baking liner (I used White Petite Loaf Baking Cups) or plate (you can even use cupcake liners, but depending on your cloud cutter, they may be too small). I popped mine in the freezer for a few moments before assembling them, to firm up the chocolate.
  8. Place cloud cut marshmallow (one side should be sticky) on top. Place second chocolate-covered graham cloud on top, smooth side up. If you need the top of the "sandwich" to stick to the marshmallow, you can try adding a dab of melted chocolate and letting set.

Notes

I used both Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets (dark) as well as Callebaut Milk Callets (milk) and dipped half of my graham cracker batch in dark and the other half in milk chocolate .

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Classic Vanilla Marshmallows

Yield: About 2 dozen 1 1/2"-inch mallows

shared with permission, as written in the book Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes by Shauna Sever

Ingredients

    For the Marshmallow:
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Classic Coating, plus more for dusting
  • For the Classic Coating:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch or potato starch

Instructions

    For the Marshmallow:
  1. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let soften for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F. Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.
  4. When the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume. Pour it into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners. Sift coating evenly and generously over top. Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.
  5. Use knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut into whatever size pieces you wish (a pizza cutter works great for squares). Dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess.
  6. Super vanilla-ize these mallows by adding a scraped vanilla bean or dab of pure vanilla bean paste along with the vanilla extract.
  7. For the Classic Coating:
  8. Sift the ingredients together in a large bowl or combine them in a food processor. I tend to make several cups' worth at a time and store it in an airtight container; it keeps forever.

Notes

For the my cloud s'mores I did the vanilla bean version of these, so in addition to the pure vanilla extract I added one scraped vanilla bean. It makes the vanilla flavour even more heavenly, and those beloved little black vanilla flecks are gorgeous in these puffy, pure white cloud marshmallows.

I used Knox brand gelatin.

I used a 9" square pan, rather than 8" so they would slightly shorter for the cloud s'mores. This yields about 15 2" x 3" clouds.

The first batch I made took about 30 minutes active time, but after I got the hang of it, the following batches took about 20 minutes.

For sandwiching the mallows in the s'mores, I only coated the top of the mallow batch while it sets, but didn't coat the underside, so that they would stick to the cookies.

I let the pan of marshmallows set overnight, for about 9 hours, and then removed it in one big slab from the pan, onto a cutting board, then cut into clouds (you could do any shape you like) using a cookie cutter.

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Homemade Graham Crackers

shared with permission, as written in the book Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes by Shauna Sever

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the butter pieces and the honey and blend until the mixtures comes together. Scrape out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat it into a rectangular shape; wrap well. Refrigerate until firm, but still pliable, about 1 hour.
  2. Position an oven rack in the center position and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out thinly, about 1/8 inch thick (you can gather the dough scraps and reroll as necessary).
  3. Cut out crackers with a 2- to 3-inch cookie cutter (or cut into squares with a pizza cutter) and place pieces on the prepared baking sheets, a dozen per sheet. Prick each one several times with a fork and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, if desired. Chill the pieces on the sheets for at least 15 minutes before baking. bake for 14 to 16 minutes until golden. Let set for 1 minute before transferring the crackers to a rack to cool completely.

Notes

I used standard whole-wheat flour (because it's what I had on hand) and it worked fine, but you can find the stone ground variety here: Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour. I'll try it this way next time.

I rolled the dough, as I do most rolled cookie dough, between two sheets of parchment paper on top of a slip-free mat (I use my Fondant Work Mat for everything).

I chilled the rolled dough for 15 minutes in the freezer before cutting with the cloud cookie cutter, then put the baking trays back in the freezer for another 15 or so before baking.

I didn't sprinkle with turbinado sugar (since I was covering them with chocolate).

This batch yields about 4 dozen 2"x 3" graham clouds.

These are so tasty, even on their own! They make a great snack for kids, and they keep well in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature.

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Sweetapolita’s Notes (a few more):
  • For my clouds, I simply bent these cutters so they were cloud-like, but you can also buy a Cloud Cookie Cutter.
  • These are incredible on their own, so if you opt for making just the marshmallows, once you’ve cut them you can keep in single layers in an airtight container (with one corner cracked ) somewhere cool and dry (not the refrigerator).
  • You can watch Shauna make these marshmallows here.
  • I used both Callebaut Dark Chocolate Callets (dark) as well as Callebaut Milk Callets (milk) and dipped half of my graham cracker batch in dark and the other half in milk chocolate .
  • Timing of the Homemade Puffy Cloud S’mores Prep: I made the marshmallow batch first (and set the pan aside overnight). I made the graham clouds that same day and sealed them in an airtight bag overnight. The next morning I dipped them graham clouds in chocolate and let them set. Later that morning I cut the marshmallow clouds and assembled the s’mores.
  • The cloud cutter I used is about 3″ by 2″.
  • These finished s’mores are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and will last for several days.
  • Milk chocolate is a lot softer to work with than dark, so when assembling the s’mores you’ll likely need to put the tray in the freezer for a few moments when needed.

Good luck & enjoy!

Related posts:

Last Minute Valentine Treat Ideas {No Bake}

Happy Love Day!

A short & sweet post for you today…

If you’re like me, and you were sure that you still had days or weeks until Valentine’s Day, and then woke up realizing it’s here, then you may need a few quick and easy treat ideas that you can whip up in a hurry. These recipes are all no-bake, require only a handful of ingredients and offer a little wow factor with now factor. Simple or not, these confections are actually some of my all-time favourites:

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Marshmallow Hearts

 

Sprinkled Chocolate Party Spoons

 

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark

 

Misty Minty Peppermint Patties

Jennie’s Peanut Butter Pie

Wishing you a day filled with love & cake (or, of course, some fabulous no-bake treats)!

 

P.S. I love you.

Related posts:

Sprinkled Chocolate Party Spoons

Chocolate Party Spoons via Sweetapolita

Admit it: you are even just a little bit happier in the presence of sprinkles. Right? Me too. Add pink spoons, jelly beans and good chocolate to the mix, and that’s my kind of party. What are they? Well, nothing more than a fanciful spoonful of delight that you eat straight from the spoon. They’re perfect for birthday parties, party favours or Tuesday afternoons. Now, I didn’t invent the chocolate party spoon, but wo-man, I sure wish I did. Honestly, why didn’t I think of that? I spotted the idea for these spoonfuls of happiness a few months ago, when Melissa shared them after seeing them on a really neat blog called Delicious Delicious Delicious. Mr. P explains that he saw them a in a baking book in Toyko, and that he had to give it a try. Even if it gave it my all, I could never resist giving these a go–they are just way too easy, too yummy and too awesome. I’m going to be making a heap of these for an upcoming February dinner party we’re attending, so I thought the girls and I could make a few yesterday, just to see how much time they take and to test them out.

These were one of the quickest but most rewarding treats I have ever made, rivaling even this sprinkled goodness, which I didn’t think possible, and talk about yummy, sprinkle-induced joy. The girls and I made a bunch of these yesterday (Note: If you want to infuse some happiness into the lives of 2 and 4-year old girls, tell them on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon that you’re pulling out every sprinkle and wee confection you own so that they can toss them onto warm, melted milk chocolate sitting in a delicious pool on a Barbie-pink spoon.) and brought them to dinner with a few close friends and their kids. Everybody wins!

Chocolate Party Spoons via Sweetapolita
So on a whim I snapped a few quick photos, and decided to share these little beauties with you (staying true to my spread-the-sprinkle-love gospel). There are really only 3 steps to happiness: melting your favourite chocolate (white, milk, dark, extra dark), spooning it into the plastic spoon of your choice (to keep it level, you can rest the spoon handles on a book or, if you’re doing a bunch of them, you can even rest them on the rubber spatulas you’ve laid out on a cookie sheet), and tossing in your favourite sprinkles, jelly beans (I used Birthday Cake Jelly Beans, among others), dragees, or pretty much anything small enough to fit in the spoon. I say, sprinkle spoons for everyone!

I love the visual, of course, but I also love the texture. Every bite is different and no two party spoons are the same!

Sprinkled Chocolate Party Spoons

Yield: 24 chocolate spoons

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (180 g) quality chocolate (milk, dark, white--anything!), chopped
  • sprinkles, jelly beans, confetti quins, small chocolate candies, or any other small confection
  • You will Also Need:
  • 24 coloured plastic spoons
  • cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  • some spatulas (or a book) for resting party spoons while filling

Instructions

  1. Place your plastic spoons on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, resting the spoon handles on a rubber spatula or book, to level them out while filling.
  2. Temper your chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave (or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), by warming for 20 second intervals and stirring in between. When the chocolate is almost (80%) completely melted, remove from the microwave and keep stirring until the last few pieces are completely melted and the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Spoon melted chocolate into your plastic spoons, about 80% full (the sprinkles and candies will fill the rest)--any more than that, and they will likely overflow (trust me, it happened to me).
  4. Add your sprinkles, candies and more. Place cookie sheet in the freezer or refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set.
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Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • If you choose to add any chocolate bits to the melted chocolate spoons, be sure to wait a few moments for the chocolate to cool in the spoon, so your chocolate additions don’t melt.
  • When adding jelly beans, wait a few moments for the chocolate to start to set, so they don’t sink.
  • I recommend using a good quality chocolate–nothing crazy expensive, but just something that tastes great.
  • Use any colour spoon to tie into any party theme or idea.
  • Get adventurous with the sprinkles and candy you add–anything goes!
  • Spoon in the melted chocolate and then let kids do the rest. A perfect birthday party (or even rainy day) activity!

Good luck & enjoy!



 

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Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart {Giveaway Winners Announced!}

Here are the winners for the Seriously Chocolaty Giveaway:

Prize #1: Goes to Renee“Oh My Goodness!  I would have to say Chocolate Ganache is my absolute favourite!  Use it on any kind of dessert to elevate it, but really, the BEST part, is the left over bit in the bowl in the fridge.  Sneak a swipe at every entry!  Grab some grapes or banana pieces and dip those too!  And, all too often I see little tiny kiddie swipes in there too :)…”

Yay for Renee! She wins 2 spots in the November 24th & 25th (6:30pm-9:30pm) Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class at the highly-respected Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Artsin Toronto + 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Mexique 66% + 1 kg box of St. Domingue 70% + a copy of Barry Callebaut’s Simply Chocolate Magazine, featuring recipes from Canada’s top pastry chefs & chocolatiers. This prize values over $450!

Prize #2: Goes to Truc: “My favorite chocolate treat is probably a brownie.  Thanks for the giveaway!”

Truc wins a 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Venezuela (72%) + 1 kg box of Tanzanie (75%)

Prize #3: Goes to Karissa Ferguson: ”I love truffles. My mom made my husband and me some last Valentines and we were crazy about them! I think it’s time I try them myself and would love to with these delicious chocolates :)”

Karissa wins 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Equateur (76%) + 1 kg box Milk Chocolate Couverture Ghana (40.5%)

Congratulations sweet winners! I’ll be in touch with you all via email.

True, true, I am a cake girl, but don’t let that cause you to believe that I don’t appreciate a good tart from time to time. Well, by now you’ve probably figured out that I’m pretty easy to convince that something is worth making if it involves good chocolate, butter, sugar, caramel and Fleur de Sel. Okay, well, very true–the list could have stopped at chocolate, as that’s usually enough to get me inspired. What is it about chocolate that draws us in? Dark chocolate, extra dark chocolate, milk chocolate, it really doesn’t matter to me as long as it is quality chocolate.

Today, in honour of quite likely the chocolatiest giveaway ever sponsored by Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts and Barry Callebaut, I decided to celebrate chocolate by making a Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart, which uses both my favourite Cacao Barry Extra Brute (extra dark) cocoa powder (you probably remember it from, well, almost every chocolate cake I’ve ever blogged about!) in the crust as well as one of the exceptional Cacao Barry Origine Dark Chocolate Couverture varieties (St.Domingue 70% cocoa) for a deep, dark and satiny ganache top. These rich and dark chocolate components are sandwiching a thick salted caramel filling and topped with a generous sprinkling of Fleur de Sel for one seriously decadent tart. Who knew that a dessert that stands a mere 1″ high could pack so much flavour and texture?

So as I mentioned in my last post, I have a super exciting, fabulously chocolaty giveaway for you guys, and I’m so excited to share it. No, that’s not blogger speak for “please enter my giveaway,” because I am sincerely excited about this. Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts in Toronto (where it all began for me!) has generously saved 2 places for a winner and friend to attend the upcoming Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class with Chef Marisa Scibetta, where students will learn the following techniques:

-    Easy chocolate tempering tricks
-    Molded and hand-rolled chocolates
-    A variety of specialty ganaches recipes
-    How to showcase and package your treats
-    Working with transfer sheets

In addition, the sweet folks over at Barry Callebaut have generously offered to send 3 sets of two Origins Dark and Milk Chocolate Couverture varieties + a copy of their Simply Chocolate Magazine (which I have and love, by the way!). As someone who has tried all of these varieties, I can promise you they are all unique and incredible so even if you cannot attend the class, you can still win the chocolate prizes.

Here’s how the prizes are structured:

Prize #1: 2 spots (for the winner + a friend) in the November 24th & 25th (6:30pm-9:30pm) Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class at the highly-respected Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts in Toronto + 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Mexique 66% + 1 kg box of St. Domingue 70% + a copy of Barry Callebaut’s Simply Chocolate Magazine, featuring recipes from Canada’s top pastry chefs & chocolatiers. This prize values over $450!

Prize #2: 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Venezuela (72%) + 1 kg box of Tanzanie (75%)

Prize #3: 1 kg box of Cacao Barry Origins Dark Chocolate Couverture Equateur (76%) + 1 kg box Milk Chocolate Couverture Ghana (40.5%)

As you may know, I took my passion for cakes and baking to the next level when I took many courses at Bonnie Gordon College beginning in 2008, and I believe with all of my heart that for those passionate about baking and confectionary arts, that is the place to start. My experience there was, literally, life-changing. I learned more than I could have imagined, and the moment I walked into the school for my first course, and those that followed, I was struck with a surrounding sense of creativity and warmth.  I say warmth because after being out of school for quite some time, I was a little unsure what to expect, but for a school that packs so much talent and knowledge, it was comfortable and inviting, and the classes were small and intimate; it was somewhere I wanted to be.  And be. And be. Sure, being passionate about baking is exciting, but being trained by some of the best in the industry, that is empowering. When I walked out of the school each time, I felt more inspired than I had ever been and pretty much ready to take on the world of sweets. With so many classes and courses added often, I will likey never stop attending.

Giveaway Closed

 

Here’s how to enter this chocolaty giveaway: 

 

1. Again, even if you cannot attend the Bonnie Gordon College class on November 24th & 25th evenings,  you are entered to win the premium Cacao Barry Chocolate Couverture prizes just by leaving a comment on this blog post telling me what your favourite chocolate treat is (baked good, pure chocolate, truffles, etc). That’s it! If you are able to attend the class (it doesn’t matter where you live, provided you can get yourself there), just make a note in your comment stating so, and you will be entered to win any of the prizes.

2. For an extra entry, tweet about this post (with the link) and include @Sweetapolita, then come back and let me know (your actual blog post comment is your entry, so be sure to write a separate comment for your tweet).

3. For an extra entry, tell your friends on Facebook (with the link), then pop back over here to let me know (your actual blog post comment is your entry, so be sure to write a separate comment for your facebook share).

Winner will be announced on Thursday, November 10th. Be sure to check back for see if you’re the winner. Good luck!

*Just a note that for those who are interested in registering for the Holiday Truffles & Bonbons class, they are offering a second date of December 15th & December 16th from 6:30pm-9:30pm. The giveaway for the class, however is for the November 24th-25th session. You can learn more about the class here.

Now, onto the incredible chocolate goodness that is this tart. When I first spotted this tart on Saveur, I knew I had to try it as I love sweet & salty (remember this cake?). This was, though, my first time using the Origine St.Domingue chocolate, which I used for the ganache top of this tart. What makes this chocolate couverture special is that, as the folks at Cacao Barry describe “Cultivated in limited quantities, harvested exclusively in one country, the rare beans that make up the exceptional chocolate couvertures of the Origine and Origine Rare collection are one of Cacao Barry’s best kept secrets,” and I have to agree. I’ve been a big fan of theirs for quite some time, but this chocolate is so rich and intense, which is exactly what I love in a ganache, so it was a perfect fit. My husband who swears he doesn’t like dark chocolate, said it was his favourite part of this tart. Hmm . . . I wonder what he’d say if he knew the St. Domingue is 70% cocoa (the milk chocolate is 40.5%). I think it’s because it is so smooth and the true cocoa flavour is so pure and decadent.

Here’s the recipe:

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart          {click to print}

*slightly adapted from Saveur

Servings: 8

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1⁄2 cups (180 grams/6 ounces) all-purpose flour

1⁄4 cup + 1 tablespoon (35 grams) dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder – Extra Dark)

1⁄4 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt

10 tablespoons (150 grams/5 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and softened

1⁄2 cup + 2 tablespoons (70 grams/2.5 ounces) confectioners’ (icing, powdered) sugar

2 egg yolks, at room temperature

1⁄2 tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract)

For the Caramel:

1 1⁄2 cups (300 grams/10 ounces) sugar

6 tablespoons (90 mL) water

3 tablespoons (45 mL) light corn syrup

1⁄4 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt

6 tablespoons (90 grams/3 ounces) unsalted butter

7 tablespoons (105 mL) 35% whipping cream or heavy cream (36%+)

For the Ganache:

1⁄2 cup (125 mL/4 liquid ounces) 35% whipping cream or heavy cream (36%+)

115 grams (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Cacao Barry Chocolate – Pure Origin – Saint-Domingue – 70%)

Fleur de Sel for garnish ( I used Fleur de Sel De Guerande- French Sea Salt ; 6oz)

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350˚F. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; mix in egg yolks and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Transfer dough into to a 9″ fluted tart pan with a removable bottom (such as Kaiser Bakeware Noblesse 9-1/2-Inch Non-stick Quiche Pan with Removable Base) and press dough evenly into bottom and sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

2. Make the caramel: In a small heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, salt and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook undisrupted until a candy thermometer inserted into the syrup reads 340°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, look for the caramel to turn a rich amber colour, then remove pan from heat and whisk in butter and cream (the mixture will bubble up, so be careful!) until. If you suspect your caramel has gone too far in colour and that it is burnt, you will have to discard and start the caramel again. Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate until firm, 4–5 hours or overnight.

3. Make the ganache: Bring heavy cream almost to a boil (I remove from heat as soon as I see a few bubbles under the surface) in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in hot cream; let sit for a moment, then stir slowly in a circular motion with a rubber spatula, until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and spread with a small offset spatula, then refrigerate until set, 4–5 hours or overnight. Sprinkle tart with sea salt, slice and serve chilled.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • When I read the reviews for the original recipe, there was a lot of concern from Saveur readers who had tried the recipe stating that the caramel filling oozing out when served, which is why it says to serve chilled. I wanted to firm up the caramel, to avoid it being too sloppy, so once I stirred in the butter and cream, I put the caramel back on the stove on medium heat and heated to 240°F. In the end, this made it quite firm and almost toffee-like. It tasted incredible, but next time I will try it without that step, the way it reads in the recipe and will save the more firm toffee for candy.

Either way, it’s amazing . . .

Good luck & enjoy!



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Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

I think I’ve found my sugar & sprinkles soul sister recently. I really do. The funny thing is, I had popped by Jessica’s blog from time to time when I would spot her yummy treats linked by friends on twitter, but I didn’t really get a chance to sit down and really take a good long look through her recipes until this past week. That’s when I came across the sprinkled masterpiece of epic proportion: her cake batter chocolate bark. Much like Jessica, I wasn’t what I’d really consider a “bark person” until this recipe came along, but what’s so fabulous about it, aside from the obvious delightfulness, is that it took me 5 minutes active time to make this (and about 5 to eat it–whoops). That’s the incredible thing about this, and about bark recipes in general: you take existing chocolate (of any kind, but the better the chocolate, the better it will be, since it’s really the only ingredient), melt it down, spread it out, add some bits & bites of yumminess, set it, break it and . . . ta-da!

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

The possibilities are endless, which is why making your first batch of bark can be a wee bit dangerous. You may find yourself rummaging frantically through cupboards, pantries, and old handbags, looking for random candy bits, nuts, dried fruit, or pretty much anything tasty to create your next batch. It’s so fun, simple, quick, and rewarding, which is why I fear I’m hooked. If you don’t believe me, you can see what else Jessica has discovered, or what Naomi, Michelle, or Maria have to say about their experiences with bark. Go on, you’ll see.

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

My kind of party.

Sprinkle Bark via Sweetapolita

Oh crumbs — it’s almost gone? How did that . . . who took my . . . where did the . . .

Who me?

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. There’s something seriously therapeutic about tossing handfuls of sprinkles onto shiny, gorgeous, silky melted quality chocolate. There may be something even more therapeutic about snapping off a rainbow-coloured piece of that same chocolate and tasting rich chocolate and crunchy bits of sprinkles all at once. I’m not sure life gets any better than that.

Why not make a batch of this, wrap it in a fun crystal clear cello bag and tie it with some fun polka dot ribbon for birthday party favours?

I’m off to whip up a collection of birthday cakes for a special friend this weekend, but I’ll be back very soon with that vanilla cake post I mentioned on Wednesday and then next week I’ll be celebrating my very 1st blogiversary!

If you haven’t had the joy of browsing Jessica’s heartfelt, humorous, and incredibly delicious blog how sweet it is before, I definitely recommend it. You will likely come across several other cake batter recipes–this girl can concoct some seriously decadent creations. Come to think of it, she and I could create some serious mischief together. We should get on that.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Cake Batter & Sprinkle Bark

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (180 grams) high quality dark or extra dark chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces (360 grams) high quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) white cake mix
  • sprinkles of choice (jimmies, non-pareils, Wilton gold edible star sprinkles, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Chop chocolate. Melt dark chocolate either in the microwave or a double boiler. If using microwave, place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe container (I use a Pyrex glass measuring cup), and heat for 20 second intervals, stirring each time with a silicone spatula. Be careful not to burn the chocolate--when there are just a few small bits left un-melted, you can simply continue to stir until it is completely smooth.
  3. Pour melted dark chocolate onto your parchment/mat and spread (with a small offset spatula for ease) until desired thickness is achieved. Freeze for 20 minutes to set.
  4. Melt your white chocolate. Whisk in cake mix slowly, stirring well until smooth. Let it sit for approximately 3 minutes (or at least until it slightly thickens).
  5. Remove pan with set chocolate from the freezer and pour white chocolate on top, repeating the same spreading technique as you did with the dark chocolate. Toss sprinkles on right away. Freeze for 20 more minutes.
  6. Once set, break or cut into pieces. Store in the refrigerator.
  7. Try not to beat yourself up when you repeatedly sneak and snack on pieces every time you open the refrigerator for something else.
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*slightly adapted from how sweet it is “cake batter chocolate bark”

Good luck & enjoy!

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