Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Welcome to the adventures of a Culinary explorer...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Truffe au Chocolat

At the end of my senior year in high school (Class of 2010!), my French teacher decided that we have a full blown French cuisine pot-luck party on 19th of May, the day of my birthday. (The picture on the right is a cake bouquet my family surprised me with. Not much relevant to the story but it's so cute!) Incredibly flattered that she’d decided to organize a French party on this day of all days, I grinned and let my classmates make a list of things to cook. Only five minutes later I found out that I had to cook too, something French, and the food would count for part of my final exam grade. Happy Birthday to moi… Eh?

I signed up for “chocolate covered petite madeleines, topped with a layer of nuts”. Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it? What I was planning on doing was running to Publix, grabbing a box of petite madeleine cakes (if you haven’t tried them, try them now. Your life without madeleines is like lemonade without the lemons, skydiving without the parachute, shoe stores without the clearance racks. My point: try them), some pre-made fondue chocolate, and a bag of nuts. The idea was to melt the chocolate on the cakes and just sprinkle chopped nuts on top, then refrigerate. Easy, and also basically cheating because I wouldn’t make the cakes nor the fondue from scratch.

Has it ever happened to you when your guilt takes the form of Gandhi and beats you over the head with a stick? Ok, good, I’m not too different then. And of course you’ve got your mothers who always guilt trip you into taking “the road less travelled by”. After some contemplation, I decided to make home-made chocolate truffles, better known as “Truffe au Chocolat”.

Since I’d never made any form of chocolate at home before, I chose a basic French truffle recipe from http://frenchfood.about.com/od/desserts/r/basictruffles.htm. However, the preparation pictures are my own.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


• 2/3 cup heavy cream

• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/3 cup premium cocoa


In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream just to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately. Add the chopped chocolate and vanilla extract and stir until the mixture – ganache - is completely smooth.

Chill the ganache until it is hard enough to roll into balls. Measuring out a heaping teaspoon, quickly roll the ganache into a ball. Roll the ball in the cocoa powder and chill.

Makes 16 servings.

I doubled this recipe and took truffles as a treat to all of my classes. Result? I had no idea I was living a life without the lemons, parachute, and clearance rack. Truffe au Chocolat turned out wonderfully rich. They’re not like your average Hershey’s bar; instead they explode into a silky wave when bitten. They are best enjoyed when eaten in nibbles. Dark chocolate lovers, like myself, try extra cacao percent in your chocolate. I coated my truffles with French vanilla cocoa powder, there are lots more flavors you can pick from. Nuts, dried fruit, jam, anything that makes your mouth water, can be mixed into the truffle batter.

In case you were wondering, I got a 100 on my French final.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yoplait Whips, heaven in a cup

Walking down the dairy product aisle, I see golden light. An opera gathers in the back of my head, singing in an angelic tone, “Key Lime Pie, Cherry Chiffon, Peaches 'n Cream, just for you.” I push my cart towards the light and reach for the yogurt cups with tiny halos perched on top. “Raspberry Mousse, too,” my head sings.

The Yoplait Whips have changed the yogurt industry by exceeding in taste, texture, price, and health benefits.

First launched in 2001 with six flavors, current Whips portfolio now offers nine flavors nationally and internationally, including the launch of Vanilla Crème last July.

Apart from the incredible taste and fun airy texture, the yogurts come packed with Vitamin A and D, protein, and calcium. Yoplait combines the two nutrients to bring the only leading yogurt with vitamin D, which our bodies need to absorb calcium. And guess what? They’re cheaper than other yogurts, too.

Yoplait Whips come tagged at a mere cost of fifty cents per cup. They are conveniently sold individually so that we can mix and match flavors, maybe even purchase a different flavor for each day of the week. I pack one for my school lunch every day, and they do not go bad or lose their texture by lunch time.

“We’ve received overall incredibly positive feedback from our consumers,” said Zoe Schwartz, marketing associate for Yoplait Whips. “It’s these comments and value we bring to the consumer that keeps us going and gets us excited about our work every day.”

Makers of Whips have made these yogurts easy to enjoy in a number ways, including as an ice cream from the freezer. Recipes made from the yogurts have emerged to broaden the platter of Yoplait. Try this Key Lime Yogurt Pie recipe from www.yoplait.com. Who knew yogurt could make a full blown dessert?

Key Lime Yogurt Pie

Key lime yogurt, fresh lime peel and juice give a refreshing tangy taste to a cool pie that’s only 170 calories a serving.

Makes: 8 servings

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin

4 oz (half 8-oz package) fat-free cream cheese, softened

3 containers (6 oz each) Yoplait® Light Thick & Creamy Key lime pie yogurt

½ cup frozen (thawed) reduced-fat whipped topping

2 teaspoons grated lime peel

1 reduced-fat graham cracker crumb crust (6 oz)

1. In 1-quart saucepan, mix water and lime juice; sprinkle gelatin on lime juice mixture; let stand 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes.

2. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add yogurt and lime juice mixture; beat on low speed until well blended.

3. Fold in whipped topping and lime peel. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

For more yogurt recipes, visit www.yoplait.com. Share your experience with Yoplait Yogurts on www.theskilletda.blogspot.com, or email questions/suggestions to theskilletda@yahoo.com.