Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Accent Chocolate with Quality Vanilla

Twin Delicacies Intertwine to Provide Flavor to Dessert and Beyond
Susie Norris, Author of Chocolate Bliss,
Accents Chocolate with Quality Vanilla

Anyone with a sweet tooth knows that the best way to satisfy a confection craving is with chocolate.  Susie Norris, a pastry chef, chocolatier, culinary school teacher and self-proclaimed Snickers Bar sneaker guides her readers through the many facets of her most adored ingredient, chocolate, in Chocolate Bliss. Norris not only celebrates chocolate in its traditional chip, but branches out beyond dessert.

Norris proves decadent desserts, rich sauces, flavorful entrees, and skin-soothing beauty treatments can be created by novice cooks by paring chocolate with vanilla to create sweet, savory, and unconventional applications.

Norris knows that for chocolate to be the star of the show it needs a strong supporting cast.  Whenever she uses vanilla, she chooses Nielsen-Massey.

"Chocolate can be great all by itself, but it takes some additional input to turn it from an ingredient into a blissful, decadent indulgence.  Nielsen-Massey's extracts are especially good at enhancing chocolate's natural richness.  They bring out the best flavor available in your recipes," Norris said.

Since 1907, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been dedicated to pure vanilla products. Their beans are hand-picked for perfection. A proprietary cold extraction process slowly and gently draws the delicate and distinctive flavor from the vanilla beans, creating a pure, natural product. 

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla compliments Norris' chocolate creations, and with some additional help from cherries picked this summer during the heart of cherry season, you can wow your friends and family with rich, decadent Black Forest Cupcakes.

Black Forest Cupcakes

Yield: Ices 16 cupcakes

Chocolate cupcake batter from your favorite recipe


2 cups fresh, frozen, or canned sour cherries, pitted
A splash of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt

Chantilly Cream
½ cup confectioners' sugar
Seeds of 1 Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean or substitute with 1 tablespoon of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste
2 cups heavy cream

Dark chocolate shavings, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 16 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

Make the completed cake batter as directed.  Ladle it into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity about three-quarters Full.  A big pastry bag works well for this job.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  The cupcake tops will form a dome and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Allow them to cool in the pan to room temperature.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the cherries.  Combine the cherries, vanilla, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for 3 minutes.  Then allow the mixture to cool.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, scoop out a big, round chunk of each top with a melon baller or a paring knife.  This will later be filled in with Chantilly Cream and cherries.

To prepare the Chantilly Cream, sift the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl and set aside.  Place the vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and let it run for several seconds at medium speed, which will release the flavor of the seeds.  

Stop the mixer, add the cream to the mixing bowl, and whip at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cream reaches medium peaks.  Stop the mixer, and mix several tablespoons of the cream into the bowl of confectioners' sugar to make a paste.  Then add the sugar paste into the mixing bowl and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.  You will see fluffy whipped cream speckled with black vanilla seeds.

To make the chocolate shavings, use a vegetable peeler or sharp chef's knife on a large block of room temperature dark chocolate and shave the chocolate into large curls.  If only small pieces of chocolate are available, very finely chop them to make more of a chocolate dust.  Set shavings/dust aside.

To assemble the cupcakes, take the scooped-out cupcakes out of their baking pan.  Fill each one with a little whipped cream, then a generous scoop of drained, cooked cherries.  Cover them up with another dollop of whipped cream, then chocolate shavings on top.  Or try icing the entire cupcake with big whipped cream rosettes and adding a cherry on top along with the chocolate shavings.


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