Book review time!
A couple years ago when I was working with chocolate a lot more, I took an Advanced Chocolate Work course through Red River College’s patisserie program. I loved it, and was thrilled at all the cool stuff I learned. My good friend Stephy joined me for the fun – and we did have a blast. That being said, we were seriously disadvantaged, learning alongside culinary arts students who knew their way around a commercial kitchen like the one we were learning in. So there was the learning curve for both chocolate work AND for all the other stuff. Nonetheless, we persevered, both earning our certificates. Yay us!
Upon completing that course, I immediately took to Amazon to find a good chocolate recipe book, and I did, and bought it, Andrew Garrison Shotts’ “Making Artisan Chocolates”. I also picked up a couple good quality chocolate molds and a variety of chocolate-making tools. Then guess what happened? Nothing.
I have made chocolates exactly three times in three years. It’s a shame, really, because I do enjoy it. It’s time consuming, fairly expensive, and extremely difficult – so getting up the energy to do it is always a problem. But it shouldn’t be, because the results are always spectacular and people get so excited when you give them chocolates you made. I love that stuff!
This weekend I had the house to myself so I was determined to try a recipe in the Shotts’ book.
I had picked up some couverture recently (milk, yummy) and so I picked a couple recipes that might work, but in the end I settled on something that wasn’t chocolates at all… but it looked SO GOOD in the book I couldn’t resist it. I had everything I needed on hand – no special trips to the grocery store required.
The Rocky Rhode Island Bar (RRIB) involves marshmallows, chocolate, cocoa butter, peanut butter, peanuts, and graham crumbs. Delightful!
The nice thing about this book is it references measurements in weight. I rarely get to use my trusty kitchen scale and I love to measure things. It very much brings me back to my days in the Advanced Chocolate Work course. Trying to figure out those scales was half the battle. The chocolate seemed simple in comparison, Stephy, am I right? You had to get there pretty early to snag a good scale. Some of them were downright impossible.
The RRIB is a layer of bittersweet chocolate, then peanut butter ganache/graham crumb mixture, then peanut butter ganache and peanut/marshmallow mixture, then a layer of peanuts, then a drizzle of bittersweet chocolate on top. Ummm, right?
So very right.
I can’t say this was the easiest no-bake recipe I’ve ever undertaken, but it definitely was a good reminder to me that I do love working with chocolate – it isn’t as difficult as I had it in my head to be – and I will definitely be doing more of this real soon. So, please watch for more chocolate-related recipes and pictures. I’m super excited to continue to add new things to my repertoire.
If I did it again, I would replace the bittersweet chocolate with semi-sweet. Don’t get me wrong, these are as delicious as they look. I swear I am regressing with my photography skills, though. What I lack for in photographic genius, though, I more than make up for in peanut-butter genius.
Mad peanut butter skills I tell you. Skippy the Squirrel, all the way!