Take the Bitter with the Sweet.

Yes, go for it! Go ahead and be bitter! Today you can be! Today is National Bittersweet Chocolate Day! Start indulging in your favorite chocolate until the bitter end! Am I getting a little carried away here? I’m sorry! I don’t mean to be obnoxious, but there are just to many perfect ways to express today’s bittersweet day! And just because it’s a day for bittersweet chocolate, it doesn’t mean you have to forget about your milk chocolate. Because we’ve got them all covered today to celebrate Hachez all the way from Germany.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Let’s first explore what makes chocolate bittersweet:

  • Legally, at least 35 percent pure chocolate with some small amount of sugar added.
  • Also known as: dark chocolate, when it is a European brand.
  • Characteristics: Usually darker and less sweet than semisweet.
  • No legal specifications for the term so not always darker and less sweet.
  • Semisweet and bittersweet can be used in baking interchangeably, depending on personal preferences.
  • Specific sweetness and color intensity varies by manufacturer’s recipes and cacao bean sources.
  • Uses: Baking and eating.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens (Chocolate Types, Selection & Storage)

So, let’s get this (tasty) bitterness out of the way, shall we? Let’s start with these two bittersweet chocolates made by Hachez. The Ecuador green package is a 58% cocoa and the São Tomé blue package is 73% cocoa. How bitter do you like to go?! Missing from our group would be the Madagascar in blue-violet package at 75% cocoa.

Hachez can impress even the best dark chocolate connoisseur. I thought I was a dark chocolate expert until I had some of the darkest Hachez chocolate (I believe 88% is my favorite) and I was blown away! It’s not overly bitter, it’s not “dry” or tastes chalky, it’s just a smooth, chocolatey taste that is very enjoyable! I tried both of these below and they are very good!

 

Back in 1890 Joseph E. Hachez refined superior cocoa from South America according to a simple recipe. The secret to perfect chocolate quality involves roasting the cocoa bean batch, meticulous conching and use of natural ingredients. We still adhere to this recipe today. Enjoy our chocolate compositions handcrafted with love and painstaking care.

Source: Hachez (Product Packaging)

Even though it’s “bittersweet” day, below I thought I would share a photo of some of the Hachez superior milk chocolate, influenced by Venezuela at 43% cocoa and in a yellow package. Silky, smooth milk chocolate, very dreamy and delicious!

DSC_0020

We will be exploring Hachez chocolates some more in the future, so expect to see more delicious chocolate from them coming to the blog! We will also be exploring Hachez’s Taste Navigator in a future post, so look out for that, soon!

To end the post for today, I had to share one of my favorite songs from back in the day, “Bittersweet” by Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Enjoy!

DSC_0018

Homemade Triple Chocolate Ice Cream.

You read that title correctly. Homemade *triple* chocolate ice cream! And I made it! I tried this recipe several years ago when I first received my Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker. I made this recipe the other evening with Ghirardelli Baking Chocolate. DSC_0122Do you think making your own homemade ice cream is difficult? It depends on how you make it and what tools you have on hand. For me, my stand mixer is handy with its ice cream bowl attachment. There is some preparation ahead of time, such as preparing the ice cream base at least 24 hours in advance so that the ice cream base is nice and cold. You also have to make sure your ice cream bowl for the stand mixer is frozen cold, once again, at least 24 hours or more. Once those two things are square, and you’ve prepped the stand mixer to GO, you just turn it on, pour in the mixture and watch ice cream happen!

According to Foodimentary, tomorrow is National Sundae Day, so this recipe comes in some good time to prep some ice cream for Saturday!

Please note that this recipe does require a stand mixer with ice cream bowl attachment. Also take note that below is the actual recipe from Kitchen Aid, the only change from my recipe is that the store was out of unsweetened baking chocolate, but I used bittersweet baking chocolate instead.

DSC_0130

A word of note from someone who has made the base of the ice cream before: If you can plan ahead and try to use large glass measuring cups when heating up the items over the stove, the easier it will be to transfer from bowl to stove, and so on. For example, I used a small sauce pan for heating water and my glass measuring cup – in essence, a double boiler. At the very end of all the preparation, I saved the remaining 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream, vanilla and salt in a large mason jar. When I was done mixing all the components in the middle part of the recipe, I just placed all the remaining liquid in the mason jar and mixed from there. It’s also easy storage in the refrigerator and it will be easier to pour the cold mixture into the frozen ice cream bowl mixer. There is a lot of action going on: heating, reheating, and mixing of heated portions. If you can make your life more simple by preparing in advance to avoid spillage and for ease of transferring portions from bowl(s) to pan(s), it would be worth your while, but not necessary to do. I thought I would share this handy hint as I have found myself spilling liquid portions because of carelessness along the way!

DSC_0129

And I have a little added bonus today for you as well! I took some video of the ice cream bowl attachment in action for you all to see! I will admit, it’s just under two minutes, and it does get a tad boring, but you can see the gradual thickening of the ice cream as it churns away in the ice cream bowl attachment.

As this wonderful gourmet journey continues, I hope to continue on with more videos and fun stuff!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But back to the ice cream… we had the ice cream bowl attachment going for about 15-20 minutes and then scooped the ice cream in a glass container and put it in the freezer overnight. My boys were able to have a small scoop from the ice cream maker itself, but it seems to need an extra blast of freeze in the actual freezer. The flavor and smooth texture of the ice cream is so yummy!

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 2 squares (1 oz. [30 g] each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 squares (1 oz. [30 g] each) unsweetened baking chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 bars  milk chocolate chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

  1. In small saucepan, place 1/2 cup whipping cream, semi-sweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate. Heat over medium-low heat until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat half-and-half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. In small bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside. Place egg yolks in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and gradually add sugar mixture; mix about 30 seconds, or until well blended and slightly thickened. Continuing on Speed 2, very gradually add chocolate mixture and half-and-half; mix until well blended.
  3. Return half-and-half mixture to medium saucepan; stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy. Do not boil. Transfer half-and-half mixture into large bowl; stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill thoroughly, at least 8 hours.
  4. Assemble and engage freeze bowl, dasher, and drive assembly as directed in attachment instructions. Turn to STIR (Speed 1). Using a container with a spout, pour mixture into freeze bowl. Continue on STIR (Speed 1) for 10 to 15 minutes or until desired consistency, adding milk chocolate during last 1 to 2 minutes of freeze time. Immediately transfer ice cream into serving dishes, or freeze in an airtight container.

This recipe makes approximately 16 servings.

Check out some of the photos of the process of preparation!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.