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Go With Your Gut January 20, 2010

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, Food, random stuff.
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OK, so you remember how we created the breaded pork strips for the My Wooden Spoon challenge?

Well, overachiever that I am, I thought maybe it might be fun to go for a second entry. You know, hedge my bets.  Cover my bases.  Have an excuse for a chocolate dessert.

My first thought was to create some sort of chocolate torte, something super decadent, using Tabasco as a flavoring, with the whole thing in a honey-sweetened corn flake crust.   Sort of an Aztec-inspired dessert – bittersweet chocolate with chilis and cinnamon and corn – doesn’t that sound wonderful?  Interesting, at least?

Yeah.  Then reality struck – I don’t have time to screw around with figuring out a torte, and, let’s be honest, do I REALLY need something like that in the house – especially if it’s as good as I think it will be?

But never one to just give up without a fight, I decided to go with the proverbial Plan B.

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We did start with the corn flake crust – it’s dessert, after all!

  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. honey

Melt the butter and honey together, then stir into the corn flakes.  I also added a sprinkle of cinnamon – I just could NOT get the chocolate-cinnamon-Tabasco combination out of my mind!

Anyway, you’re going to treat your corn flake crust much the way you would a graham cracker crust – I crammed it into the bottom of my mini-muffin tins – we’re going to make little bite-sized desserty bites!

It’s all about portion control, people.  Yup.

PhotobucketSo anyway, wanted crispy little shells for my filling, I baked my minis at 350° for, altogether, about 7 minutes – I set the timer for 5 and hovered for 2 or 3 more minutes.

Once out of the oven, I left the little crust thingies in the tins to cool overnight, then popped them out in the morning.   I had to be very careful – they were kind of fragile.  Not to worry – they’re bite sized, so it’ll just be a matter of popping them in our mouths anyway once they’re filled.

So the filling.

Rather than something heavy and rich and full of, I don’t know, whatever chocolate tortes are filled with, I decided to go with a light, fluffy chocolate mousse.

PhotobucketPeeps managed the whipped cream portion of the program – he dissolved what was left of a packet of gelatin (maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon, I’d guess) in a couple of Tablespoons of heavy cream, then bloomed it by heating it gently over the stove.

Then he took the rest of the half pint of heavy cream and whipped it.

Yup, it’s all light and diet-friendly around here, isn’t it?  Good thing we didn’t go with a flourless chocolate cake, huh?

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Meanwhile, I dealt with the chocolate part of the show.

In a double boiler (which was really a stainless bowl set over a couple of inches of almost-simmering water on the stove) I melted the chocolate – we use Ghiardelli chocolate chips – they’re good chocolate and comparatively cheap when you buy them at Sam’s Club!

Anyway, I melted together:

  • 6 oz. (by weight) of chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. black coffee (left over from that morning)
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco
  • a dab of butter – I think it was about a tablespoon, maybe 2
  • That’s what happens when you kind of make it up as you go along.

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So we got everything melted together, and I stuck my finger in the chocolate for a taste (like you wouldn’t?), and, hey, it was GOOD!  I was concerned, though, that once we got the whipped cream in there, we wouldn’t taste the Tabasco, so Peeps added another dash, and I added maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne to just kind of boost the Tabasco.

Yeah, don’t do that.

PhotobucketOnce the chocolate had cooled sufficiently, Peeps very carefully folded in the whipped cream.

And just like that, we’ve got chocolate mousse.  And not just chocolate mousse, but pretty darned good chocolate mousse, if I do say so!

But wait!  There’s more!

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We wanted little bitty  individual chocolate mousse bites, right?

The plan is to spoon the chocolate-Tabasco mousse into the corn flake-honey cups, then enjoy.

What was NOT part of the plan was that the cups would be so fragile that, after setting for the better part of the day, they’d literally crumble when I picked them up.

See, the honey in these cups is hygroscopic – it attracts moisture from, well, everywhere.  From the atmosphere.  Particularly a steamy kitchen where soup-making and pork-braising have been going on all day.

Great if you want your cakes to stay fresh, not so great if you want your crusts to stay crisp.

But I’ve gotta hand it to the corn flakes – the flakes themselves held up very well and stayed crunchy.

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So.  Instead of bitesized mousse bites, we had chocolate-cayenne mousse with crumbly corn flake- honey crumbs.

The corn flake -honey-cinnamon combination was spectacular.    I only used about 2/3 of the corn flake mixture to fill the muffin tins; however, the corn flake-honey-cinnamon-butter combination was so delicious, I stirred a scoop of non-fat vanilla yogurt into it the next morning for breakfast.

And the mousse – while a little on the, um, zesty side, was delicious.  The combination of chocolate and Tabasco is definitely something we’re going to revisit.

And while, once again, the final photo is . . . less than great, this time, it actually matches the final product.  Not that it was a failure, exactly.

Part of it was proportions – too much crust to too little mousse.  The honey and corn flavors simply overwhelmed the chocolate and Tabasco flavors.

Additionally, mousse is (or should be) all about the SMOOTH – those corn flakes were just too crispy – they really distracted from the silkiness of the mousse.  Each part was really good, just not together.

I should have gone with the torte, I guess.  Next time.

I am going to go ahead and submit this to the Wooden Spoon Food Challenge – what the heck, right?  I mean, maybe someone else out there in The Internet will really groove on it!

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Comments

1. Robyns Online World - January 21, 2010

I think it’s great that you submitted it even though it wasn’t a big success in your book. It helps encourage all of us to give these contests a try at least.

Thanks, Robyn. You know, each piece was very tasty . . . just together, they didn’t quite work. 😕

2. Brandy - January 22, 2010

Oh that is interesting. I agree that’s great that you still submitted it even if it didn’t turn out so great.

Thanks. It is frustrating, though, when what I had in mind isn’t what actually happened. . .


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