Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Chocolate deliciousness

Just in time for when I got this annoying sore throat and cough, I made the perfect pick-me-ups for when you have a cold: chocolate pastries. More precisely I made Sarah Bernhardtbakelser, a more luxurious version of the swedish chocolate macaroons (chokladbiskvier). While chokladbiskvier usually are filled with a plain or chocolate buttercream, sarah berhardt pastries are filled with chocolate ganache. It's a rich chocolate truffle on a crispy and chewy almond cookie, coated in even more chocolate (usually not white, that's just my preference).

Not a lot of people make these themselves -- unless they're part of the recent homebaking trend (though those people seem to prefer elaborate cupcakes and french macaroons) -- as they're considered time consuming and hard to make. While they might not be the thing for new or stressed bakers, they're not that difficult to make at all.

My best trick for making these as painlessly as possible is actually to make the almond macaroons (i.e. the bases of the pastries) one day and then finish them another day. At times I've made a relatively big batch of the macaroons and popped them all in the freezer only to thaw and finish a few at the time later.

My second trick is to choose the right recipe for the almond macaroon base. Normally I love Sju sorters kakor and I do follow their recipe for the chocolate ganache, but I never use their almond base recipe. It's too firm. It's much better to double the amount of egg white, making it more runny (like cake batter). That way you'll get a real smooth surface and not too thick cookie that doesn't bake properly. However, if you prefer a thick base then Sju sorters kakor's recipe is for you.

And last but not least: make sure the ganache -- once on the macaroons -- is really cold and set before dipping in the chocolate. And make sure the chocolate isn't too hot as it'll melt the ganache and/or result in a really thin coating.

I made the white chocolate coating way too thick this time, but you can't really have too much chocolate, now can you?

If you've never eaten these -- I promise they taste 10 times better than my crummy pics make it look! Promise!


Footnote: Sju sorters kakor is a very popular recipe book that was first printed in 1945 and has since been reprinted and revised many times (in 2005 they printed the 83rd edition). That's almost 70 years that it's allegedly never been out of print. My mum have three different editions of the book, I have one. The title can be translated as "seven types of cookies/cakes" (kaka means both cake and cookie/biscuit, though not cake as in tårta/gateau/torte) -- the number of baked goods you were supposed to serve when having guests. Of the seven on should be a soft cake, e.g. sponge, and one should be a kaffebröd, e.g. cinnamon rolls. The published have printed an edition in english called Swedish cakes and cookies [link to Amazon page with preview].

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