A Couple of Tarts

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf. ~ Epicurus

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sugar High Friday #27: Chocolate by Brand

This is my second opportunity to participate in Sugar High Friday, a food blog event first started by Jennifer at Domestic Goddess. This month it is brought to us by one of my pastry idols, David Lebovitz. Being that his passion is chocolate, it is not surprising that he threw the parameters of the event wide open and made the theme Chocolate by Brand.

On my trip to the Bay Area last summer, I finally was able to take a tour of the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory in Berkeley. I am partial to their chocolate because they are a Bay Area company and I used their semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate for all my creations when I was a pastry chef in San Francisco. While I was visiting, I bought a package of their cacao nibs. Up until now, I had only used them a few times and was saving them to try and recreate a meringue cookie I had at another Bay Area favorite, Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. At Tartine they call them rochers, which means boulders in French. The one I had on my visit had a crunchy outside and was chewy inside. The cacao nibs were a fine foil for the sweetness, adding chocolate, but not more sugar. I have been meaning to try and make them myself and SHF #27 gave me the perfect excuse.

The following recipe is a combination of two I found. The ingredient list (with the addition of the nibs) is from Emily Luchetti's Chocolate Meringue Cookies which is in Star Desserts. The technique came from the Almond Rocher recipe in Tartine Cookbook, by the owners, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. My version turned out wonderfully, although not as chewy as the one I had at Tartine.

Cacao Nib Meringue Cookies
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup Scharffen Berger cacao nibs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl. Heat water in a saucepan, bringing to a simmer. Put the bowl over the hot water and whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture in hot to the touch. Take the bowl off the water and begin to beat with an electric mixer (or on a Kitchen Aid with whisk attachment) at high speed until the mixture is thick and shiny and holds stiff peaks. Fold in the cocoa powder, cacao nibs and vanilla. Either drop by a spoon onto the baking sheet or use a piping bag to make "kisses."

Bake with the oven door slightly open (use a wooden spoon to prop it) for 17 - 20 minutes until they begin to crack and are dry to the touch. Take out, let cool and store in an airtight container.


Blogger David said...

I love those nibs too...great job and thanks for help with the round-up!

5:01 PM  
Anonymous veron said...

I love the taste that cacao nibs impart to the overall composition of desserts!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Brilynn said...

Those are adorable! I want some.

12:08 PM  

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