'Happy Chocolates' for a Happy Valentine's Day

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Cookbook Author and Pastry Chef Susie Norris launches a new line of artisan chocolates online and in Pasadena, CA.

What better way to celebrate 20 years in the food business than to launch Happy Chocolates, the new line of high-quality retail bonbons in classic flavors with a modern seasonal influence. Food writer, pastry chef, and educator, Susie Norris, has specialized in chocolate since 2000, running Happy Chocolates as a wholesale supplier to premium hotels and restaurants. She is now indeed very happy to provide these gourmet confections directly to consumers online and in the new cafe, Le Petit Biscuit, in Pasadena, CA - part of a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Susie’s first book, Chocolate Bliss (Penguin/Random House, 2008) is a sweet philosophy of chocolate (with recipes.) Her next book, Hand-crafted Candy Bars (Chronicle Books, 2008, with Susan Heeger) features candy-bar makeovers with artisan ingredients. She recently completed her third cookbook, A Baker’s Passport (Amazon/2019), with over 200 technique-driven recipes for sweet and savory baking classics culled from her global travels and her award-winning blog, Food Market Gypsy. The book is designed to inspire home cooks and those who like to explore global cuisines.

“My childhood love of chocolate grew into a love of culinary travel: Paris, Vienna, Mexico, Spain. Chocolate’s history is meaningful to so many people in so many different countries.” The flavor profiles of Happy Chocolates are influenced by European classics like Belgian creams, French caramels, dark chocolate from equatorial growing regions, and delicate Asian design.

About the Owner
Susie Norris is a pastry chef, cookbook author, culinary educator, and food-focused traveler. She taught baking and pastry arts at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in California where she runs artisan chocolate business, “Happy Chocolates”. Her culinary travel blog, FoodMarketGypsy.com documents her travels to baking capitals and culinary hot spots. Within a year the blog won the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Digital Media Award. A Baker's Passport is a collection of her most-requested recipes from the blog.

Susie’s work has appeared in/on The Food Network, KTLA Morning News, NBC’s syndicated television show Daytime, The New York Times, The Times London, The Washington Times, and more. She is based in Los Angeles with roots in Kentucky bourbon country and the farm-to-table culture of the Berkshires of Massachusetts. She is the author of Chocolate Bliss (Random House/Celestial Arts, 2008), and Hand-Crafted Candy Bars (with Susan Heeger, Chronicle Books, 2013). Susie is known for her lively baking classes, road-trip tours of farmers’ markets and urban food halls, and workshops highlighting pairings of chocolate and craft spirits. Visit her at http://www.FoodMarketGypsy.com.

Try Happy Chocolates signature bonbons from Chocolate Bliss at home!     

Artisan Caramel Bonbons        
Makes about 30 truffles                                            
2 cups sugar
¼ cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), finely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside. Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy pan. Stir gently until all the sugar is wet, and make sure no sugar crystals are on the sides of the pan. Place over medium heat—no stirring—and allow the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes. You can cover the pan for a few minutes as it boils, which will wash away any unwanted sugar crystals on the sides. You’ll start to see a light amber color form around the edges of the sugar. Continue boiling until the mixture is the color of honey or maple syrup. This is now caramel, so be careful because it is very hot!

Turn off the heat and plunge the saucepan into the ice water to “shock” the sugar and stop it from cooking. Place the pot on a heatproof surface, add the butter, then the cream, vanilla, and salt. It will steam and bubble up. Stir it together, and once the mixture has cooled off (about 10 minutes), add the dark and milk chocolates and stir until mixed. If the caramel sticks to the bottom of the pan, return the pot to the burner and stir over very low heat.
Transfer this mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool and firm up in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. With a melon baller or sturdy spoon, scoop out as many balls as you need (any unused portion can be reheated and used as a sauce over ice cream). Roll them between your palms to achieve a round shape. Refrigerate them for about
30 minutes, then dust them with cocoa powder and serve.

Recipe may be reprinted with the following credit:
Chocolate Bliss
Penguin/Random House 2008

A Chocolate Recipe from A BAKER’S PASSPORT:

Chocolate Pots de Crème FROM Chantilly, FRANCE
Yield: 4–6 servings
Level: Medium

This is the quintessence of the simple and important French dessert. As chocolate slowly swept through the European aristocracy in the 1700s, elegant pots of cream—some for drinking, some for holding little dessert custards —became a feature of a well-laid table, along with English silver and thin Chinese plates. Today, you can find antique sets of these lidded vessels in vintage shops or from fine porcelain purveyors. The favorite filling, a dark chocolate baked custard, became part of classic French cuisine. Today, chefs serve it in individual ramekins for dessert. Who doesn’t become child-like and content at the sight of your very own little dish of smooth, chilled, dark chocolate custard? It’s topped with a dollop of Chantilly Cream, created in the aristocratic town of Chantilly.

Equipment: medium bowl, small saucepan, ramekins or 1 (9-inch) cake pan, deep baking dish
Time: 1 hour (plus 2 hours for chilling)

For the Pots de Crème:
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted
1 egg
2 egg yolks
¼ cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk
½ cup (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

For the Chantilly Cream:
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Place the melted chocolate in a medium bowl, then add the egg, egg yolks, and sugar and whisk together; set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream, vanilla, and salt together over medium heat and bring to a simmer (also known as “scalding”) with bubbles along the edges of the liquid. Pour a small amount (about ½ cup) into the chocolate mixture and stir. Continue to add the milk mixture slowly to the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly until all of the milk mixture is incorporated.

Using a ladle or large spoon, divide the batter into 4–6 (3-inch-wide) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a deep baking dish filled with 2 inches of water. Bake for about 30–35 minutes until the sides of the custard are firm and the interiors are slightly fluid in the center.

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the Chantilly Cream. Combine the cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat to full volume, about 2–3 minutes.

Top the custards with Chantilly Cream. Serve on a plate with cookies and berries.

Recipe may be reprinted with the following credit:
A Baker’s Passport by Susie Norris
Amazon/February 2019

Trina Kaye – The Trina Kaye Organization     TrinaKaye@tkopr.com / 310-963-3964


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Susie Norris

Susie Norris
since: 06/2009
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