Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From Aura’s Passover Test Kitchen: Heavenly Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls and Chocolate Meringue Almond Bark

Here it is folks, up to the minute breaking news from right here in Aura’s Test Kitchen and pomegranatesandhoney.blogspot.com. I’ve been in the kitchen trying to reinvent Passover. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it can be done. No more matzo flavored chocolate cake. No more weird tasting egg-puffed chiffon cakes. No more getting dessert out of a can.

We are free, so let’s eat like it! No need to be enslaved to your grandmother’s fruit compote recipe forever.

Every year I consider it my personal mission to come up with one or two never seen before Passover recipes. I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover desserts from childhood. But let’s face it, Passover desserts taste odd. Maybe some of you look forward to that matzo cake meal flavor, but I say let’s leave matzo where it belongs—on the seder table. On your dessert table, put these, because, well, why not?

I bring to you my latest creations…

Heavenly Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls

·         1 -8 ounce package pre-made Passover cake, such as Osem marble cake or chocolate chip cake
·         ¼ cup cream (dairy-free creamer is ok too)
·         ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
·         ½ teaspoon almond extract
·         5 squares of chocolate almond bark or 10 ounces of other chocolate for melting
·         1 ½  tablespoon finely chopped almonds

1.      Crumble the cake into a large bowl. You will get about 4 cups of cake crumbs.

2.      Put the cream and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and cook for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add almond extract and stir again.

3.      Pour the chocolate mixture into the cake crumbs and stir until well combined.

4.      Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop (will make 36 truffle sized balls) or a medium cookie scoop (will make 18-2 ½ inch cake balls) scoop out the batter and roll into balls. Place on tray and place tray into freezer. Note: it is quicker to make the balls larger, but it is cuter to make them smaller. It’s your choice, and may it be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.

5.      Melt the chocolate almond bark according to package directions. If using other chocolate you may need to make a ganache for dipping the cake balls, in which case, just go ahead and melt chocolate and a little more cream, but I’m taking the shortcut!

6.      Dip each ball in the melted chocolate using 2 forks, and give them a gentle shake before removing from the bowl to remove excess chocolate.

7.      Place on wax paper and sprinkle each with a pinch of chopped almonds as you go along, so the almonds stick to the still-wet chocolate. If you wait too long the chocolate will harden and the almonds won’t stick.

8.      Let the chocolate harden or stick them in the freezer and remove 30 minutes before serving. Feel free to double the recipe—I would if I were you. These are over-the-top delicious and you won’t taste any matzo in this dessert.

Chocolate Meringue Almond Bark

·         ½ cup blanched almonds
·         ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
·         4 fresh egg whites (none of that stuff in a carton—it won’t work)
·         Pinch of salt
·         1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
·         1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.      Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.      Place ¼ cup of the almonds and 1 teaspoon sugar into a food processor and pulse until it resembles crumbs. Finely chop the remaining almonds.

3.      Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and salt until very soft peaks have formed and it looks like whipped cream (but it won’t taste like it, so get your finger out of the bowl!). With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and the cocoa powder a little at a time.  Whip until stiff peaks form, taking care not to over beat. With a rubber spatula gently fold in the reserved sugar-almond mixture.

4.      Spread the mixture onto the parchment paper in an even layer, about ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds and the mini-chocolate chips. Bake for one hour, turn off oven, and leave it oven the oven another hour to dry out further. Remove from oven and cool for an additional hour (yes, that is 3 hours total so plan ahead).

5.      To serve, break into pieces, and be prepared to be completely blissed out.

6.      Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days if you are cooking ahead, which I hope you are.


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