craving chocolate at the csca

Yes, I made those! Isn't that insane?!

Two of my coworkers and I took the “Craving Chocolate” class at the
Cambridge School of Culinary Arts last Monday night (now haven’t I already told you that I work with some pretty cool people?!).  It was taught by Marie Perfetti and in the CSCA’s traditional format where you’re handed a packet of recipes and you get to work on your own on a specific recipe.  Now I know that this format isn’t for everybody, and I will admit that at first I was a little bit disappointed by that fact at the beginning of this class.  But in the end, I accepted the fact that it wasn’t a class meant to focus solely on techniques for working with chocolate.  Instead, it’s more of a way for you to learn how to make things with chocolate and you do learn little bits of technique and terminology along the way.

One of my coworkers decided to make the toffee with bittersweet chocolate, nuts, and cranberries.  I — admittedly! — was a little intimidated to attempt the recipe during class because I don’t know if I could’ve pulled off making the caramel without somehow destroying it (or burning it) in the end.  She did an awesome job and the toffee turned out beautifully.  It was pretty funny watching her hack at it with a knife to break it into pieces at the end of class.  Sure was a great way to relief some stress!

Pouring the caramel into a half sheet pan; spreading melted chocolate on top of the caramel layer; and breaking it up into yummy chunks

My other coworker made the mimosa truffles with champagne and orange zest.  One of the neat things about the recipes is that you can change things if you decide to make them later.  In this case, I think I would try to make these but then dip them into dark chocolate.  These didn’t set up quite firmly enough by the end of the class so she ended up just pouring a little bit of the melted white chocolate on top, and then garnishing them with candied orange zest.  I tried one when I got home after putting it in the fridge for a few minutes, and it was delicious even though I’m not a huge white chocolate fan.

Chilling the mimosa truffle ganache over ice to thicken it; piping the ganache into little mounds that would be rolled into balls after chilling; the finished mimosa truffles

I made the Grand Marnier truffles even though I didn’t think I was a big fan of Grand Marnier.  (I don’t know why I thought that.  It’s orange.  I like orange.  It’s liqueur.  I like liqueur.  Hmmm …)  And again — confession! — I was pretty scared to try to make truffles on my own at home, so it was good to be in this setting where tools and help were readily available.  And I have to say, it was incredibly easy to make these.  Plus!  They were absolutely delicious!  Bonus!

Melting 18 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate into heavy cream; pouring the ganache onto a sheet tray to chill in the fridge; making little truffle balls; coating the truffles in cocoa powder

We traded pieces with the other class attendees and got to go home with two pastry boxes each filled with peppermint bark, chocolate covered turtles, chocolate cayenne truffles, peanut butter balls and fudge brownies. I had a
headache later that night from consuming so much chocolate, but it was
worth it! Such a fun class!

Two boxes full of deliciously handmade chocolate treats

To view more photos from this class, click here.

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