Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chocolate Coated Coffee Beans

When I come across good quality coffee beans, I wouldn’t think twice to buy it. Even if it’s just for 100gr, I have to bring those babies home. So there is this new coffee kiosk in the traditional market near my house. It’s probably just a 3x4m kiosk but boy, does it have plenty of coffee varieties. I usually stop by to place my order then off to buy some veggies or whatever I come to the market for and get back there to retrieve that excellently made cup of coffee. It takes quite sometimes to make because the barista brews the coffee manually.

So last week, they offered me some beans from Vietnam. One sniff of the jar full of those perfectly roasted coffee beans will make you think you’re in Shangrila. That’s the thing with coffee I think. It contains caffeine. Caffeine is a drug. Just like its illegal cousins, it makes you more alert, focused, and happy. I like that. I really, really like that. So by the time I got home, I decided to half the beans to be ground later and some to be covered in chocolate. That way, you’ll get high faster, easier, and still not breaking the law.

“Sir, I need to report my neighbor. There is this crazy cat lady who never sleeps and I think she just might consume something illegal.” Said my neighbor.

I say.. Oh, neighbor.. I pity your existence.

Anyhow, let’s appreciate good beans by eating them. That way, you shall waste nothing.

150gr good quality milk/dark chocolate
75gr freshly roasted coffee beans


-Melt the chocolate in a bain marie.
-Once the chocolate has begun to melt, take the bowl off the water.
-Start tempering the chocolate by stirring. You need to let the heat dissipate so you can use your chocolate. This will take a while. You just need to keep on stirring to get it tempered. 

~~How do I know whether it’s tempered or not? 
Dip the back of a spoon into the chocolate and place in the fridge for 2-3 minutes. If the chocolate is completely set up, smooth and slightly shiny, then the chocolate is tempered.

-Once your chocolate is tempered, dump the beans in.

-Stir until all the beans are coated. Then using a small fork, take each coated beans and place it on a baking sheet.

-Put the coated chocolate in the fridge to speed up the setting up process.
-Peel the cocoa beans off the sheet and store in a glass jar (mason or Ball jar) in the fridge.

What sophisticated snack!

I'm glad I am patient enough to individually separate the beans. You can, of course, make it in a cluster of two or three beans. But it was such a zen moment for me. No TV, no cell phone, just me, the repetitive action, and the sound of chirping bird in a distance.

A little note:
-Know your beans and find the right chocolate that matches the beans.
-If you use milk chocolate, you don't need to add any powdered sugar to the chocolate when you temper it.
-I use dark but added about almost a table spoon of powdered sugar to give a hint of sweetness in the chocolate because I want to be able to taste the chocolate before the bitterness of the coffee beans kicks in.
-This is not popcorn. You will turn into an energizer bunny if you eat too much at the same time.

Anyhow, if you're an adult and you love coffee, do make this. I promise it is worthy of your precious time. 


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cheddar Brioche Buns

Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion

Ah.. I love Annie Lennox, I love 80s music, I love the cool air, and the smell of the rain!

I am not allergic to sun, it is just that my energy dissipates and my brain goes on hibernate mode when the sun is up in full blast. I am not a lizard, mind you, so there is no need for me to bask in the golden ray of sunshine and soak that vitamin D. Now that I am rejuvenated, I need to celebrate with something indulging, preferably sinfully.

When it comes to French pastry for breakfast, Brioche and Croissant are two of everyone’s top of the list. You can be a brioche person or you can be a croissant person. Though taking sides is the act of a person who has never tried both made from REAL butter. Yep, don’t say you like brioche or croissant better than the other if you have never tried tasting the one made with REAL butter and the dough is rested OVERNIGHT. Truly, they have the ability to transport you to cloud no.9. 

Both are yeasted, both use lots of butter, but one is far easier to be made and won't stain your shirt with flakes.

Now that.. is my golden sun to go with my coffee.

Shall we make it?

Adapted from Savory Simple.
340gr all purpose flour
1/4 cup dry milk
3 tbs granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs instant yeast 
3 eggs
1/4 cup lukewarm water minus 1 tbs
140 gr unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (or more as needed)
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, whisked (for egg wash)
coarse sea salt

-Mix the flour, dry milk, sugar, salt and instant yeast together. 
-Add the 3 eggs and butter. Mix everything and add the water little by little.

~~If you’re kneading by hands then you really need to pay the attention to the water and adding it little by little because enriched dough is a naughty boy. You’ve gotta spank it but treat it gently to really get him to do what you want. But if you have the luxury of owning a mixer, by all means, work that dough hook on a low speed! Whichever vessel you use, knead for 20-30 minutes.

-Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. 
-After 1 hour, place the covered bowl into the refrigerator and chill overnight (or 3 hours minimum).
-Set the dough on the counter for 45 minutes to soften the butter slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread your shredded cheddar cheese.
-Divide into 8 to make 8 buns.
-Place the buns on the prepared sheet, cover loosely with clingfilm and allow to rise for another 3 hours. 
-Brush the buns with egg wash liberally and sprinkle some coarse sea salt.
-Bake the buns in a 180C oven for 25 minutes or until they're a deep golden brown.

Baked to perfection!
Yes.. Yes.. I am a bread snob and I can snobbishly say you won't find brioche as good as these unless you make it by yourself using the ingredients stated or get on a jet plane and go to France. Because I can vouch that the bakeries around town do not use 100% pure butter and they sure don't have the time to let the dough rise overnight.

I did say something about making something sinful, right? Well, the addition of cheese in the dough just hits the bulls eye. These keep well frozen so you can wrap it individually and pop it in the microwave for breakfast. Of course you can invite Beelzebub over by putting some dark chocolate in the center. Cheese and chocolate? Perfect mate.

Or if you feel like inviting Lucifer over, slice the brioche and put some bacon and cheese in the middle. It's a thought. A completely sane thought.

Go ahead, indulge!


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