April 27, 2011

Maple mousse in edible cups for Daring Bakers

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at http://thedaringkitchen.com/!

Oh yeah!!! I was soo excited to see that there was an award offered this month for the most creative edible container! But it turned to be one of my most uncreative months! Yeah, I did make some fun containers that I have never tried before, but I did not "wow" myself! We did get some very pretty pictures of the mousse and the edible containers, though!! I am very happy with this set of natural light photography! :-)

Now that the time for the challenge is over, I am getting new ideas (ofcourse!!). I think maple mousse truffles covered in tempered chocolate would have been nice! Maybe even a maple mousse cake pop covered in a myriad of colors... A chocolate cage, or a sugar cup.. Oh my! I should've done some of those..... But the best part of this challenge is that I have a new found love towards chocolate art! I am fearless of tempering chocolate and I have great interest in learning about chocolate art now!! The mousse was amazing, it showed me how better pure maple syrup is, how maple flavored syrup cannot capture even remotely the goodness of pure syrup! It was pure heaven in a chocolate cup. The recipe yielded enough mousse to cover dessert for more than a few days!! I am happy with the outcomes of the challenge. The challenge was YUMMMMMMYYY!!! :-)

Bacon Cups:

24 thin slices good quality bacon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
2. Take a muffin pan or 6 small ½ cup capacity heat-proof bowls, turn upside down and carefully form aluminum foil covers on the back of 6 muffin cups or the bowls.
3. Taking 2 strips of bacon at a time crisscross the strips over the backs of the muffin cups and cut to size a tad longer then the bottom part of the cup. Now use 1 to 2 more strips to cover the sides of the muffin cups in a weaving fashion. You want a full tight weave because bacon shrinks a lot. For smaller cups I used a shot glass with a square of bacon for the bottom and I wrapped 1 strip around the side.
4. Tuck the ends of the bacon strips inside otherwise they will curl while cooking. A good idea is to insert 4 toothpicks where the crisscrossed bacon meets in the weave.
5. Place muffin pan in a cookie tray to catch drippings. Bake in oven for about 25 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is golden and crisp but not burned.
6. Cool completely, a good hour, before removing your cups delicately from the foil.

Nut Bowls:

 1 1/2 cups crushed nuts of your choice such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts
 1 egg, beaten, at room temperature
 2 tablespoon sugar
 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces
1. Use a food processor or a zip-lock back with a rolling pin to crush your nuts if whole, use about 1 cup of whole nuts to get 3/4 cups crushed. You want it somewhat coarse.
2. In a bowl mix the nuts with the beaten egg and the sugar.
3. Take 6 small ½ cup capacity Pyrex cups or a similar container and line the inside with aluminum foil. Spread ¼ cup of the mixture in the bowl, all the way up to the sides making sure you have a thin and even clean layer all around.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F/175 degrees C. until the nuts are golden and fragrant (about 15 minutes). Let cool completely before unmoulding.
5. Melt chocolate (either in the microwave or over a double boiler). Dip the rims of the cooled nut bowls in the chocolate. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened and is set.

Maple Mousse:
 1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
 4 large egg yolks
 1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
 1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)
1. Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).
3. Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
4. Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.
5. Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
6. Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
7. Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your edible containers.

Vegan Maple Mousse:
 1 package (12 oz.) soft silken tofu
 ¾ cup (14 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup
 2 teaspoon agar-agar
1. Let tofu come to room temperature. Using a food processor, blender, or hand mixer, blend tofu until just smooth.
2. Sprinkle agar-agar on the maple syrup and let it rest for 10 minutes. Heat maple syrup on the stove to a boil and then let it simmer 5 minutes until the agar-agar has dissolved.
3. In a food processor, blender, or a large bowl, blend the tofu with the maple syrup until creamy.
4. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Remove from the fridge and divide among your edible containers.

Meringue (optional):
 3 large egg whites at room temperature
 ¾ cup (165 g./5.5 oz) sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F/150 degrees C.
2. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat for a few minutes until the whites become stiff. Now add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking until the mixture is stiff and glossy. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down and the mixture won’t fall out.
3. Place baking parchment on to a clean baking sheet. Using a spoon or a piping bag, dollop the meringue into circles that fit inside the rim of your edible cups. (See mine, I wanted height but they fell a bit...which is OK...freeform art)
4. Put the tray in the oven, then immediately turn the oven down to 250 degrees F/130 degrees C. and bake for 45 minutes.
5. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a few hours.
6. Place meringues as decoration on your maple mousse which has already be spooned into your edible containers.

Chocolate Tulip cups:

Blow some balloons to the size of an orange or bigger, depending on the size of the desired tulips cups. Melt chocolate in 15s increments in the microwave until melted and smooth. Let the chocolate get to slightly warm temperature. Dip the balloon slightly slanted and overlapping so as to make the petals of the tulips. Hold the balloons vertically on a parchment lined sheet pan for a few seconds and let harden. Gently snip the upper tip of the balloon with scissors and let the air escape slowly. Remove the balloons and fill the chocolate containers with your desired filling and enjoy!

I used light chocolate candy melts (Michaels) and white chocolate chips (Hershey's) swirled together for my tulip cups.

Chocolate cups using cupcake liners:

Melt chocolate at 15s increments in the microwave until melted and smooth and at about 40C. Temper the chocolate using the microwave method (just google!!). Brush a layer of melted tempered chocolate onto the bottom and sides of a cupcake liner placed in a muffin pan. Tempered chocolate will dry quickly and will have a snap to it when broken. Enjoy with your favorite filling!

Sugar Brandy Snaps:

Check out this link for the recipe I used to make sugar brandy snaps. I didn't use brandy or ginger though! :-) I just kept them as flat snaps and I thought they looked stunning!! Follow steps 1-3 for sugar snaps!

The texture and taste of real tempered chocolate is much much better than candy melts. They seemed a bit chewy for my taste whereas the chocolate cups that I made with tempered semisweet chocolate were amazing!! Chocolate and maple mousse go very well together! YUMM!

Candy melts are convenient in that we do not need to go into the trouble of tempering them. They also set pretty quick. They are good in that we can make cut outs and/or mold them a bit easier (I felt) than real chocolate.

My chocolate tulip cups and chocolate cups were satisfying!! Maple mousse was just out of the world! It would have been fine if it was a little less sweet.

Thanks for visiting!! Enjoy your week! Couldn't stop myself from posting all these pictures.. Hope you enjoyed going through the pictures as much as I did presenting them!